NSW hits 80% vaccination target; Victoria’s seven deaths include 15-year-old girl – as it happened

Last modified: 07: 00 AM GMT+0

What happened today, Saturday 16 October

We’ll leave it there for today. Thanks for following along. Before we go, here’s a quick recap.

  • New South Wales hit the 80% double-dose vaccination target, paving the way for restrictions to ease further on Monday. The state recorded 319 new cases and two deaths.
  • Victoria recorded 1,993 new cases, and seven new deaths, including a 15-year-old girl. The federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, sought to pressure the state government to further loosen restrictions under its roadmap.
  • There were 20 new cases recorded in the ACT. Some travel restrictions have been eased between the ACT and parts of regional NSW.
  • Tasmania recorded no new cases after its first day of a snap lockdown.
  • Queensland reported no new cases. It also shut the border to Tasmania.
  • WA reported one positive case.

See you tomorrow.


NSW Nationals select Nichole Overall to run in John Barilaro’s seat

An author, local historian and communications professional will seek to keep former NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro’s electorate in the party’s hands, AAP reports.

Nichole Overall has been preselected by Nationals members to run for the party in the Monaro byelection, triggered by Barilaro’s resignation from politics.

Overall is the author of a history of the City of Queanbeyan. She hosts a true crime podcast called Capital Crime Files.

Last year, she received Monaro’s Woman of the Year award, in recognition for her work as a local historian, involvement with organisations such as Meals on Wheels and Headspace, and other volunteer work.

Barilaro, who presented her with the award in 2020, said on Saturday he had known Overall for many years and that she was dedicated to the community.

“Nichole’s passion for helping others is unrivalled ... She is always the first person to put her hand up if you need a hand,” he said in a statement.

“The decision to retire as the member for Monaro was not an easy one, but I know Nichole is the best candidate for the job – she will take up the fight for the region to ensure that Monaro gets its fair share.”

John Barilaro says Nichole Overall is the best candidate to represent the people of Monaro
Former deputy premier John Barilaro says Nichole Overall is the best candidate to represent the people of Monaro. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Overall said in a statement said that as well as being a vocal advocate for the Queanbeyan-Palerang region, she was passionate about regional and rural communities across the electorate.

“My commitment to the people of Monaro is to ensure the Nationals in government continue to build on our ‘push for the bush’, protecting our communities and delivering improved roads, community projects, education, health and social services,” she said.

The deputy premier, Paul Toole, called Overall a “straight shooter” who could carry on Barilaro’s legacy.

The candidate is a patron of a local domestic violence and homelessness support service, and is involved in promoting and developing women’s football in the region.

The byelection is one of up to four the premier, Dominic Perrottet, will face early in his tenure.

Barilaro has held Monaro since 2003, and he currently enjoys a margin of 11.6%.

The seat was held by Labor before Barilaro first won it. The date for the byelection has not yet been set.


A desperate search is under way for a four-year-old girl who has gone missing at a campsite in rural Western Australia, AAP reports.

Cleo Smith was last seen about 1.30am on Saturday at the Blowholes campsite on the coast at Macleod, north of Carnarvon.

The girl was wearing a pink one-piece sleepsuit with a blue and yellow pattern when she was last seen.

Police will conduct a full land search and rescue mission.

Missing four-year-old Cleo Smith
Missing four-year-old Cleo Smith. Photograph: WA Police/AAP


If you’re wondering what will change in NSW on Monday, click through to our handy explainer below.

For the fully vaccinated, key changes include being able to have 20 visitors at home, and funerals and weddings with no caps.


NSW hits 80% double-dose vaccination target

Restrictions will ease further in New South Wales on Monday, the premier, Dominic Perrottet, has said, after he confirmed the state had reached the 80% vaccination target today.

80% in NSW! Been a long wait but we've done it.
Feels great to break this news. Huge thanks to all the nurses and vaccination hub staff at @NSWHealth, the GPs, the pharmacists, and each and every person who rolled up their sleeve to get us here.

— Dom Perrottet (@Dom_Perrottet) October 16, 2021

Restrictions ease further on Monday, so keep up to date with @NSWHealth and @ServiceNSW. Summer in NSW is looking good.

— Dom Perrottet (@Dom_Perrottet) October 16, 2021


It’s been confirmed that the Australian Grand Prix will be held in Melbourne next year.

Great to have the date confirmed for the 2022 Australian Formula One Grand Prix. See you at Albert Park from 8-10 April. https://t.co/7Tag32JN1p

— Martin Pakula 💉💉 (@MartinPakulaMP) October 15, 2021


And getting closer, too, Vics.

99,000 jabs into Big V arms yesterday.
1st dose 88% (16+)
Double dose 65% (16+)

— Richard Willingham (@rwillingham) October 16, 2021

Nearly there, New South Wales.

79.81 NSW double dose. @9NewsSyd

— Chris O'Keefe (@cokeefe9) October 16, 2021

Social historian and author Nichole Overall has been chosen as the @NSWNationals candidate for Monaro, in by-election triggered by @JohnBarilaroMP’s resignation

— Gavin Coote (@GavinCoote) October 16, 2021

Police have made several arrests as anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine protesters attempted to congregate near a park in Melbourne’s inner-north, reports AAP.

Officers significantly outnumbered the would-be demonstrators, as the mounted branch circled Princes Park in Carlton North and the air wing hovered above.

Organisers made multiple attempts to meet at other locations using an encrypted social media channel before giving up just before 2pm.

“Today has been called. The police have succeeded temporarily in squashing the Melbourne protest movement. We need better strategies to get the numbers together,” a post read.


Some more details on that NSW social housing announcement we mentioned earlier, from AAP.

The NSW government will accelerate the construction of hundreds of social housing projects to provide shelter for the vulnerable and create jobs for tradies.

It’s the latest step in the state’s economic recovery as lockdowns ease.

Treasurer Matt Kean on Saturday pledged $183m to fast track the build of 1,400 new homes in western Sydney, Coffs Harbour and Wagga Wagga.

“This will help us bounce back better because it will create 1100 new construction jobs, largely in western Sydney,” he said.

The waitlist for social housing in NSW is currently 50,000 strong.

The news was immediately welcomed by the housing sector.

Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler tweeted that “any day when more vulnerable people get access to secure, affordable housing is a good day.”

Community Housing Industry Association CEO Mark Degotardi said it was welcome news for the thousands of families waiting up to 10 years for a safe home.

“In previous years a string of state governments failed to invest in building new social housing, and that’s left our state in a dire situation today.

“Our state will need 5,000 new homes every year for the next decade if we are to keep pace with soaring demand.

“It’s great to see this government stepping up to tackle the escalating housing crisis.”

Degotardi earlier spoke at a press conference alongside Labor leader Chris Minns, who said he was “thrilled” at the announcement.

Social housing was a key plank in the opposition leader’s budget reply speech, delivered this week.

The support package includes $20m for 45 new homes for large Aboriginal families, and another $20m for new and upgraded social and affordable homes through the Aboriginal Community Housing Investment Fund.

An extra 990 households will get the benefit of $10m in rent assistance.


Hello everyone. This is Luke Henriques-Gomes, taking over from Caitlin Cassidy for the remainder of the day.

The Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull courtship continues, this time over climate targets.

Kevin makes a powerful point. Net zero by 2050 is good. But it’s the bare minimum. The critical issue is to increase the 2030 cut. You cannot start getting to net zero in 2049. We need substantial near term increased emission reduction targets. https://t.co/rVUWwruBIU

— Malcolm Turnbull 💉💉 (@TurnbullMalcolm) October 16, 2021


Western Australia reports positive Covid case in truck driver

WA Health is reporting one new case of Covid-19 overnight.

Contact tracing teams are following up 10 close contacts and 60 casual contacts of a truck driver who tested positive in Victoria on 5 October.

So far 62 people have returned a negative test result with the other results pending.

The driver, who is now in South Australia, was in WA between 30 September and 3 October, was potentially infectious during that time, but health authorities say the risk to the public remains low.


Over in Sydney, Everest race day is getting under way, and 10,000 punters are eagerly streaming into Royal Randwick.

Dust off your fascinators, etc.

The crowd was initially capped at 5,000, but the premier, Dominic Perrottet, granted an exemption for the $15m race to double its capacity with a Covid-safe approval to have one person per 4 sq metres.

It is the first major event since lockdown was lifted on 11 October, and I can’t imagine there’s any chance it will result in transmission of Covid-19.

Crowds at the The Everest race day at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney
The crowd at the The Everest race day at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
A woman in a Day of the Dead mask arrives at Royal Randwick Racecourse
A woman in a Day of the Dead mask arrives at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images
People run to reserve a table as the turnstiles open at Everest Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse
People run to reserve a table as the turnstiles open. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images


New Zealand’s Super Saturday is a hit, with record vaccinations and a lower number of daily COVID-19 cases , AAP reports.

Saturday had been dubbed Super Saturday by prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with a series of community events and aimed at upping NZ’s lagging vaccination rates.

With more than half the population - including greater Auckland, Northland and much of the Waikato - in a form of lockdown, broadcasters also screened a nationwide telethon - or “vaxathon”.

Celebrities including Taika Waititi, Lorde, Marlon Williams and sports stars appeared on the eight-hour live broadcast, all backing the vaccination effort.

I’m not sure who would appear on Australia’s vaxathon, but I do like the sound of it.

Ardern’s ambitious goal was to get 100,000 Kiwis - or two per cent of the population - vaccinated in a single day.

A total of 69,582 people had been vaccinated by 1pm, including 19,773 first doses.

An exultant Ashley Bloomfield, NZ’s director general of health, said Kiwis had broken the 100,000 barrier just after 3pm:

Already there and more to come. Let’s do this. Fantastic effort. Go whanau (family).

Speaking live on the vaxathon, Ardern called for 150,000 jabs. “Go big or go home,” she said.

The vaccination drive will be a huge help as New Zealand confronts a Delta outbreak which is forecast to worsen. The government predicted this week case numbers would reach about 140 per day by the end of the month.

Junior Elisara is vaccinated at the Beach Haven vaccination centre in Auckland
Junior Elisara is vaccinated at the Beach Haven vaccination centre in Auckland. Photograph: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern poses with nurses during a visit to the Pasifika Youth Vax festival
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern poses with nurses during a visit to the Pasifika Youth Vax festival. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
A person gives out food and supplies after people are vaccinated at the Beach Haven vaccination centre in Auckland
A person gives out food and supplies after people are vaccinated at the Beach Haven vaccination centre in Auckland. Photograph: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images


The trajectory of the Victorian outbreak in 2020 and 2021 is trending alarmingly similarly.

VIC Active Cases By Postcode🗺️ pic.twitter.com/XfX5rY54Qx

— CovidBaseAU 🦠📊🇦🇺 (@covidbaseau) October 15, 2021

This is August 2020. Depressingly similar https://t.co/Dt794a2hUJ pic.twitter.com/LNmtFkOP9i

— Luke Henriques-Gomes (@lukehgomes) October 16, 2021

because there may actually be a time we look back and wonder at how our attention was captured by COVID-related numbers. 34k tweets/rts/replies/quote-tweets from Mon-Thu this week on COVID data. also appreciation to those who've been tireless in crunching and interpreting it all. pic.twitter.com/8JVCanTeK0

— ᗪavid Spencer (@Busabx) October 16, 2021

Ten refugees in Australian detention granted asylum in Canada

Ten refugees currently held in Australia’s offshore detention system will be granted asylum in Canada before Christmas, following a collective effort of donors, volunteers and organisations in Australia and Canada.

Eight individuals and a family group of two have been approved by the Canadian government to resettle in Vancouver and Toronto, the first approvals for refugees being sponsored by the Operation #NotForgotten partnership.

For the past two years, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has been working with Vancouver-based migrant and refugee settlement service MOSAIC and volunteer network Ads Up Canada to resettle refugees first sent to detention in Papua New Guinea and Nauru in 2013.

Since November 2019, applications for 150 refugees and 96 separated family members have been lodged through Operation #NotForgotten but the Canadian government’s assessment process has been significantly delayed by Covid-19.

Of the 10 approvals, six are currently in PNG after years of detention on Manus Island and four are in Australia, having been medically transferred from PNG and Nauru.

Under Canada’s refugee sponsorship scheme, sponsors are responsible for providing income support for refugees for the first year after arrival and must have raised the designated levels of income support before an application can be lodged.

Around $AU19,000 is required for an individual and around $AU32,000 for a family of five.

The news follows the closure of Papua New Guinea as an offshore detention centre by the end of the year.

Some 107 people still remain on Nauru, which is continuing indefinitely. Of those transferred to Australia for medical care, 88 remain in detention.


Former Test cricketer Jason Gillespie says he is shocked by evidence to a NSW parliamentary inquiry that has raised questions about the state’s kangaroo harvest, AAP reports.

A report on the health and wellbeing of kangaroos and other macropods, tabled in the upper house on Friday, casts doubt on the accuracy of kangaroo population estimates used to set cull quotas.

Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann said the findings had convinced her that culling kangaroos was “unnecessary, unsustainable and cruel”.

Echoing the concerns, Gillespie labelled the killing of wildlife depicted on the coat of arms “a national disgrace”:

The kangaroo is a native species, it belongs to our land. How can we continue to allow its commercial killing? It’s time to stand up and show the world Australians care about the protection of the kangaroo.

The NSW inquiry heard of inadequacies in the monitoring of kangaroo populations and oversight and scrutiny of non-commercial licences granted to landowners to shoot them.

Faehrmann is urging state environment minister Matt Kean to consider the evidence before signing off on a new five-year commercial kangaroo harvest management plan before the end of the year.

The commercial killing of kangaroos is also in the spotlight ahead of World Kangaroo Day on 24 October.

Australia’s record when it comes to protecting native species has been criticised as lamentable. It has the world’s highest rate of mammal extinctions and some 400 native animals listed as threatened.


More on the protests in Melbourne:

A large police presence in Carlton North for today’s planned protests. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/JXar8hbePV

— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) October 16, 2021

Mounted Police are circling Princes Park as the Air Wing hovers above. Police significantly out number protestors. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/NoQDrHZsqZ

— Sarah Booth (@sarahbooth_14) October 16, 2021

Covid Commander Weimar says the "turning point" for Melbourne "is pretty soon.. days away not weeks away" as the roadmap target looms closer. Will be the subject of much discussion in day and week ahead.
And "conditions will evolve quite rapidly in coming weeks".

— Heidi Murphy (@heidimur) October 16, 2021

Protestors are attempting to gather in Melbourne, again.

Police have just arrested another man at today’s protest at Princes Park. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/X8CPSFh0Ds

— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) October 16, 2021

A lunchtime bike ride around Princes Park, as protesters try to gather amid hundreds of police. pic.twitter.com/wekpbXmW9r

— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) October 16, 2021

The Victorian Pride Centre in St Kilda is now administering Covid-19 vaccines.

A “fabsolutely jabulated” campaign sounds somehow even more enticing than Bunnings and a sausage.

We’re launching our Fabsolutely Jabulated campaign today. Go get Fab Jabbed!
 https://t.co/Au2BICzJkB page for more LGBTIQ+ vax info.
Make a booking at the @VicPrideCentre pop-up run by Star Health and @ThorneHarbour starting Monday October 18. pic.twitter.com/Ve9XaHLDPl

— Victorian LGBTIQ+ Commissioner (@VicLGBTIQ) October 16, 2021

Queensland shuts border to 12 Tasmanian LGAs

Twelve LGAs in Tasmania have been listed as hotspots by Queensland health authorities.

The new restrictions will come into effect from 1am Sunday, 17 October.

Anyone who has been to a Covid-19 hotspot in the past 14 days or since the start date identified for the hotspot isn’t allowed to enter Queensland, unless they are a Queensland resident, someone relocating to Queensland or have an exemption.

📌🗺️ New COVID-19 hotspots have been declared in Tasmanian LGAs

📍Brighton 📍Central Highlands 📍Clarence City 📍Derwent Valley 📍Glamorgan-Spring Bay 📍Glenorchy City 📍Hobart City 📍 Huon City 📍Kingborough 📍Sorell 📍Southern Midlands 📍Tasman pic.twitter.com/2jxkLW1jce

— Queensland Health (@qldhealthnews) October 16, 2021


Weimar is asked how the state’s hospital system will cope with rising Covid-19 numbers, considering there is a fortnight delay, give or take, on hospitalisation rates.

Cases have hovered around 2,000 for the past three days:

There is a huge amount of work going to prepare the hospital system for the growing caseload, the caseload that we expect to see in the weeks ahead.

If I look at the increase today in hospital admissions, about 100 more than this time yesterday, and we put that down to the significant rise in numbers we saw a week or 10 days ago, that is typically how long it takes for the numbers to feed through.

Hospitals and health services are doing an amazing job in caring for people. Here we have 43 Covid patients and in Casey we have 37 patients. That is a lot to bear in an individual setting in those patients need a lot of complex care from health staff. We have a lot of work happening across the hospitals in creating more space and CovidSafe. That has an impact on the capacity across the wider system to care for other people in clinical care.


Weimar is providing a breakdown of today’s case numbers. He says there is a “fairly predictable spread” across the south-east suburbs, with the highest concentration of cases in the LGA of Casey.

In our northern suburbs, we have 457 cases, that is now under a quarter of today’s cases, and we are seeing over the last days or two weeks a consistent pattern whereby the northern suburbs are a decreasing share of the state’s Covid activity.

In our western suburbs, we have about a third of our cases today, 642 cases, in the eastern suburbs, 111 cases, and in the south-east, 602 cases.

There have been 168 new cases in regional Victoria, including 22 in Greater Shepparton, 26 in Geelong, 17 in the Latrobe Valley, 22 across Warragul and Drouin, 17 in Bendigo and 16 in locked-down Mildura.

Victoria has passed the milestone of 5 million vaccine doses administered since the rollout began. Some 65.3% of eligible Victorians are now double-dosed.


I am delighted to confirm over 5 million Victorians have now received their first dose of vaccine. So over 5,006,000 Victorians are now at least first-dose vaccinated. That means 88.5% of the over 16 population has now had their first dose, and 64.3% have had double dose, and all those numbers continue to rise across all those age groups in a really encouraging way, and my thanks to everybody who continues to come out and get vaccinated, really good to see, especially ... as we hurtle towards our 70% and 80% milestones for double-dose vaccination.


There has been quite a significant jump in hospitalisations in Victoria overnight. Weimar says this is likely due to the increase in cases in the past fortnight.

There were 695 patients in hospital yesterday with Covid-19. Today there are 798. People requiring ventilation has also jumped by 59 overnight:

There are 798 people currently in hospital with Covid. That is a significant jump in the last 24 hours and we think it really reflects the increase in cases we have seen in the last 10 days, 14 days or so. We have 163 people in ICU, and 160 of those are on a ventilator. Of those people in hospital yesterday, 89.2% were not fully vaccinated and, of those in ICU yesterday, 95.9% were not fully vaccinated.


15-year-old Victorian girl dies with Covid-19

Victoria’s Covid-19 commander, Jeroen Weimar, is up now, confirming the state’s 1,993 local cases and seven deaths, including a 15-year-old girl:

I am sad to say that seven Victorians have lost their lives as a result of Covid in the last 24 hours. That includes a man in his 80s from Darebin, a woman in her 70s from Whittlesea, a man in his 80s from Murray Valley, a woman in her 60s from Casey, another woman in her 60s from Darebin, and a man in his 50s from Hume-Moonee Valley.

I am also very sad to confirm that a 15-year-old has very sadly passed away, with a number of conditions, but she was positive. That is a sad and tragic case, we won’t be making a more comments on her but we will send our best wishes to her family and the family of all those who have lost their lives with Covid, particularly in the last 24 hours.


Victorian health authorities were due to step up at 11.45am. In the meantime, the ACT has followed NSW in moving away from daily press conferences.

There have also been some changes to reporting exposure sites.

ACT COVID-19 update (16 Oct 2021):
◾ New cases today: 20
◾ Active cases: 495
◾ Total cases: 1,414
◾ Negative test results (past 24 hours): 2,373
◾ In hospital: 15
◾ In ICU: 10
◾ Lives lost: 8

COVID-19 vaccinations: 77.3% of 12+ fully vaccinatedhttps://t.co/2rCcWDk4wl pic.twitter.com/hZn77ESDxF

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) October 16, 2021

Hi Canberra, you can expect to see changes to our reporting of exposure locations going forward.
Here’s a rundown of the changes:
• Monitor for symptoms locations will no longer be listed in our exposure locations table. pic.twitter.com/5zlOakQYtt

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) October 15, 2021

Queensland reports zero new Covid cases

There have been no new local Covid-19 cases in Queensland.

Saturday 16 October – coronavirus cases in Queensland:

0 new locally acquired cases recorded in Queensland overnight.

3 new overseas acquired cases, detected in hotel quarantine.#covid19 pic.twitter.com/Xhgp0YHQZ6

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 16, 2021


While we wait for Victoria’s press conference, here is a full breakdown of NSW’s 319 new cases:

  • 89 are from South Western Sydney
  • 51 are from Hunter New England
  • 51 are from Western Sydney
  • 25 are from Sydney
  • 22 are from South Eastern Sydney
  • 21 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven
  • 18 are from Murrumbidgee
  • 10 are from Western NSW
  • Seven are from Central Coast
  • Seven are from Southern
  • Four are from Far West
  • Four are from Mid North Coast
  • Four are from Nepean Blue Mountains
  • Three are from Northern Sydney
  • One is from Northern NSW
  • Two are yet to be assigned to an LHD

Queensland is quick off the mark. The state will be imposing restrictions on parts of Tasmania from tomorrow.

Reportedly, anyone entering Queensland from the 12 Tasmanian LGAS currently in lockdown will be required to quarantine from 1am Sunday.

📢 From 1am Sunday 17 October, there will be restrictions in place for anyone who is entering Queensland from certain parts of Tasmania.

More info to come shortly.

— Queensland Health (@qldhealthnews) October 16, 2021


Asked if Victoria should “open up to the rest of the world” like NSW, Frydenberg says:

I would like to see Victoria open up to the rest of the world, as I would like to see Queensland open up to the people of New South Wales and Victoria. As I would like to see WA as well. I would like to see the states open up, I would like to see Australia open up and the prime minister’s already made some announcements in that regard.


Frydenberg is asked about the government’s internal discussions on net zero by 2050.

The prime minister’s going to Glasgow and that’s a very clear sign of our intent and our commitment to doing our part as part of a global effort to reduce emissions and that is what we are doing.

He argues central banks and commercial banks and investors are factoring in a lower emissions world, are factoring in the net-zero targets.

This is a reality that we need to be very conscious of because we want to benefit from these changes that are occurring in international capital markets, not be disadvantaged by them.

At the same time, our major trading partners like Japan and Korea have moved to net zero. The United States has mad every clear its intent and the United States is our largest investor and our most important strategic ally. The world is moving and Australia is moving.


Frydenberg has now taken to comparing the federal government’s record with the Victorian government.

The federal government has been providing more than twice the amount of economic support over these Delta lock downs than the Victorian government. That is the record. More than twice.

Health authorities in NSW have provided a greater breakdown of the state’s 319 new local cases and two further deaths.

Some 89 of today’s new cases are from south-western Sydney, 51 are from Hunter New England and 51 are from western Sydney. There were also two new cases acquired overseas.

A man in his 60s from Sydney’s inner west has died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. A woman in her 90s from south-eastern Sydney died at St George Hospital. She was not vaccinated.

It brings the death toll since the Delta wave to 460.

There have been 460 Covid-19 related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021 and 516 in total since the start of the pandemic.

There are currently 652 Covid-19 cases being treated in hospital, including 138 people in intensive care and 73 requiring ventilation.

Some 91.7% of eligible NSW residents have received their first vaccination dose, while 78.8% are fully vaccinated.


Frydenberg says there has been a massive increase in young people presenting to hospitals with mental health concerns.

Our children’s mental health, our community’s mental health and our community’s wellbeing is also at stake here, not to mention the severe economic cost.

Frydenberg says it is “really sad that Victorians are being held back”.

He says Victorians “should be getting the same freedoms as the people of New South Wales” at 70% and 80% vaccinations rates.

He continues:

Melburnians have spent more time in lockdown than any other city in the world. There are going to be more cases, particularly among the unvaccinated. This is what living with Covid means. An elimination strategy is not a viable strategy.

It should probably be noted that the Victorian government has been clear it is not pursuing Covid-zero.


The federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has stepped up for a doorstop to criticise the Victorian government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

We may lose the curfew at 70% but you still can’t move more than 25km from your home ... Victorians are looking at what is happening in NSW and saying ‘Why do those people get the freedoms at 70 and 80% that we here in Victoria are not getting?’

Victorians have done the right thing. They have spent so much time in lockdown. They have gone and got the jab in record numbers. It is now time that the government gave back their freedoms and their lives.


New Zealand Covid cases rise by 41

Over in New Zealand, there are 41 new cases.

There are 41 new community cases today. As at 10am, 20 of these cases are linked, 13 of which are household contacts and 21 remain unlinked

— Tom Dillane (@tomdillane1) October 16, 2021


Tasmania’s director of public health, Dr Mark Veitch, says of the 158 primary close contacts, 40 tests have been returned. All are negative.

He won’t be drawn on whether the state will move out of lockdown on Sunday.

I can’t comment on the likelihood of the lockdown being lifted on Monday night. It is a good thing that we haven’t picked up any cases amongst the contacts so far.


ACT records 20 new cases

Just looking at the ACT for a moment, the territory has recorded 20 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in the ACT in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.

This brings the total number of cases for this outbreak to 1,414.

Of these cases, 14 are linked to known cases or ongoing clusters.

There were 15 patients in ACT hospitals, including 10 in intensive care.


Gutwein says he’s not satisfied by the $3,000 fine issued to a man who is accused of entering the state illegally and escaped hotel quarantine.

That said, it is not lost on anyone that it has taken one individual to do the wrong thing and leave the heavy lifting to everyone else. That simply is not on. I have expressed to Tasmania police that the sum of the fine that this individual has received at the moment simply doesn’t appear to be in line with the crime. This is a breach that has brought southern Tasmania to a standstill and I have requested that they consider what other action can betaken against this person as well as anyone who has been an accomplice to the escape in the first instance. In light of the circumstances that we are in, I believe that we should throw the book at people that flaunt our rules and send our very strong signal that this is just simply not on.


Gutwein says women’s Big Bash League games will go ahead as scheduled but without crowds.

The Hobart Hurricanes are scheduled to play the Sydney Sixers tomorrow at Blundstone Arena.

Gutwein says Tasmania is at 83% first dose, with 68% of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

“The next 48 hours remains critical and I ask all Tasmanians in the south to work together to get on top of this as quickly as we can,” he says.

He says a “few” police infringement notices were issued yesterday, with “half a dozen” warnings given.

Gutwein says 45 cars were turned around at checkpoints across the state.


Tasmanian premier says state has recorded no new Covid cases

The Tasmanian premier, Peter Gutwein, says the state has not recorded any further cases, after southern Tasmanian was plunged into lockdown yesterday.

He said there are 158 primary close contacts.


The Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester says he will attend a Nationals party room briefing that will discuss whether the Coalition will agree to set a net zero by 2050 target.

Chester, who announced recently he would step aside from party room meetings after being increasingly dismayed with his federal colleagues, said he would attend Sunday’s briefing because the issue was “too important”.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, he said:

After careful consideration, I will attend The Nationals Federal Parliamentary party briefing on Sunday in relation to setting a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. The issue is too important for me to exclude myself from the party room debate, despite my ongoing reservations about the conduct of a minority of colleagues on a range of matters, in recent months.

My position remains that The Nationals have a responsibility to provide a rational, sensible and moderate voice in Federal Parliament that reflects the views of mainstream, regional Australians. In simple terms. The Nationals need to stay involved in the climate and emissions reduction debate, and negotiate a positive outcome for the future of our regions, including Gippsland.

Chester said he supported the National Farmers Federation’s policy position to “achieve net zero emissions by 2050 with appropriate caveats to protect the long term sustainability of the Australian agricultural sector”.


The murder of UK MP David Amess has been declared a terrorist attack:


ℹ New exposure sites in in Northern NSW:
📍Ballina - Blooms the Chemist, Ballina Fair Shopping Centre -Sunday 10 October, 11am to 11:15am
📍Ballina- Aldi - Monday 11 October, 3:45pm to 4pm
📍South Grafton - Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology - Wednesday 13 October 2:30pm to 3:15pm pic.twitter.com/hQpN756dvl

— Northern NSW Local Health District (@NNSWLHD) October 15, 2021

Here’s where ACT residents will be able to travel quarantine free under new border rules.

Markus has made a handy map:https://t.co/fx0lYc9rqm

— Anna Vidot (@AnnaVidot) October 15, 2021

NSW treasurer Matt Kean is making a Covid-19 economic recovery announcement.

It includes some $150 million of new social and affordable housing:

We’ve done a lot during this pandemic to support the services to our homeless people. But today, we’re shifting gear by providing a secure pipeline of new housing, which will not only support our homeless and vulnerable people, but also, it will provide economic security for tradies and their families. We are allowing community housing providers to come forward with shovel-ready projects that will help our most vulnerable people in this state.

We’re not just, however, providing new housing, we’re also providing rent support for people in the private rental market, or those who are looking to get into the private rental market. We know that our partnership with community housing providers in the past will mean that the investment today in new housing will provide about $150 million of new social and affordable housing. All of this today builds upon what we’ve done in the past to help the homeless. We are a government that is committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness, and today goes a long way to achieving that goal.


Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein will provide a coronavirus update at 11am 🚨 #covid19tas

— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) October 15, 2021

As families split overseas look to international borders opening, Susan Chenery has written a harrowing piece on hundreds of people stuck in northern NSW amid state border closures.

The entire state of NSW is declared a hotspot by Queensland health authorities.


AAP is reporting on the estimated $140m worth of heroin hidden inside a shipping container sent to Melbourne from Malaysia, which has been intercepted by Australian authorities.

The 450kg haul is the largest shipment ever detected in Australia.

Australian federal police and Australian Border Force officers will address media in Melbourne on the bust this morning.

A Malaysian national has been charged after the drugs were found secreted inside a container of tiles.

He faced the Melbourne magistrates court on Friday and has been remanded in custody to next appear in court in January 2022.


Prime minister Scott Morrison has given his condolences after the death of David Amess.

Shocked & terribly saddened by the awful loss of Sir David Amess, stabbed & killed in the UK while doing his job, serving his local community as an MP. Our deepest sympathies & condolences to @BorisJohnson, all his colleagues in the UK Parliament & Sir David’s family & friends.

— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) October 15, 2021

We are thinking of you here in Australia on this terrible day for you all.

— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) October 15, 2021


2.516% of todays tests in VIC came back positive

•Outbreak Total: 3,879,630
•7d sum: 530,870
•Today: 79,214🥈

•Outbreak Total: 1.11%
•7d avg: 2.425% (+0.018%)
•Today: 2.516% (+0.431%)

Weekly Growth Rate
•Positive Rate⬆️9.32%
•Daily Tests⬆️5.97% pic.twitter.com/MuYmaqrQsO

— CovidBaseAU 🦠📊🇦🇺 (@covidbaseau) October 15, 2021

NSW records 319 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases

The NSW numbers are in.

The state has reported 319 local Covid-19 cases overnight, and two additional deaths.

NSW COVID-19 update – Saturday 16 October 2021

In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:

- 91.7% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 78.8% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
- 66,311 tests pic.twitter.com/aWigP24cMZ

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 15, 2021


Victoria reports 1,993 Covid-19 cases

Victoria’s case numbers are in.

The state recorded 1,993 Covid-19 cases overnight and, sadly, seven further deaths.

Reported yesterday: 1,993 new local cases and 0 cases acquired overseas.
- 40,386 vaccines administered
- 79,214 test results received
- Sadly, 7 people with COVID-19 have died

More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/kfkOaAUBOo

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) October 15, 2021

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is back calling for Victoria to ease Covid-19 restrictions in line with New South Wales after the state recorded two consecutive days of cases exceeding 2,000.

Victorians have done the right thing- got the jab, spent 256 days in lockdown & now they deserve their lives & freedoms back.

It’s time to put Victoria back in the fast lane & ease restrictions at 70-80% vaccination rates like NSW.

OpEd in @theheraldsun👉https://t.co/dTpo880iZW pic.twitter.com/otk8K9rYMb

— Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg) October 15, 2021

Guardian Australia’s Elias Visontay has been speaking with families trapped across borders after the NSW government’s announcement quarantine-free travel will begin on 1 November.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, yesterday announced immediate family members would be able to enter Australia when travel caps were lifted.


Queensland health authorities will provide a Covid update outside Bunnings Underwood at 11am DST.

ACT expands travel zone into NSW

The ACT border zone has been significantly expanded.

Under the new standing exemption, ACT residents will be able to travel freely within a string of approved border postcodes, including the South Coast, without needing to quarantine or complete an exemption form to return to the territory.

NSW residents within the postcodes will also be able to travel freely into the ACT.

1/7 ⚠️ Travel to NSW from the ACT expanded from 12:00pm today⚠️
ACT Health has expanded the approved border postcodes to better align our travel restrictions with NSW where possible. pic.twitter.com/yhOjj6cWcR

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) October 15, 2021

BREAKING: Canberrans can go to the coast

From MIDDAY 16 Oct (today) ACT expands NSW postcode zone to a huge area inc the South Coast.

AND reasons for travel are "now aligned" w NSW, which means 16+ must be fully vaccinated.

No more 'approved reasons only'.

— Anna Vidot (@AnnaVidot) October 15, 2021


The Queensland government is warning the wet season may impact the vaccination rollout with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting the potential for floods and cyclones this summer.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk:

Severe weather could make it difficult for many Far North Queenslanders to get vaccinated this summer.

I’m urging all Queenslanders – but particularly those in the Far North of our state to get vaccinated now.

Health minister Yvette D’Ath said health experts were concerned about the ramifications of severe weather on the vaccination rollout due to the increased likelihood of La Niña development in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

We all know that Queensland is prone to floods and cyclones each year, which often means widespread damage, interruption to services and road closures – and often our northern and central Queensland communities are worst impacted due to cyclones and flooding.

Right now, we are offering as many vaccination clinics as we can in rural and remote communities across the state – but there may come a time this summer when it’s not safe or possible to get our vaccination teams into certain communities due to severe weather or natural disasters.

There’s absolutely no reason to delay the vaccine – Covid-19 will come to our regional communities, it’s just a matter of time.


A Malaysian man has been charged after authorities intercepted 450 kilograms of heroin hidden inside a container of tiles sent from Malaysia to Melbourne - it’s believed to be the largest shipment ever detected in Australia

— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) October 15, 2021

Over in the UK, Conservative MP David Amess has been stabbed to death.

He is the second MP to be killed in just over five years, after the murder of Jo Cox.

All our hearts are full of shock and sadness at the death of Sir David Amess MP.

He was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics. pic.twitter.com/SIx6SZ1P3w

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 15, 2021

Heartbreaking to hear of the death of Sir David Amess. A decent man and respected Parliamentarian, killed in his own community while carrying out his public duties. A tragic day for our democracy. My thoughts and prayers are with David’s family.

— Theresa May (@theresa_may) October 15, 2021


Hello everyone, it’s Caitlin Cassidy here, up and ready to guide you through this weekend’s news after a whopper Friday.

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday made quite a stir when he announced international travel would resume in Sydney without quarantine for vaccinated travellers from 1 November. NSW recorded 399 Covid-19 cases yesterday.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, later clarified that while he welcomed the announcement, the quarantine-free travel would only apply, at least in its initial stages, to returning Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members. He reiterated the decision for opening borders lies with the commonwealth, not state governments.

Morrison also, at long last, announced he would be attending the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow next month. Presumably, a climate plan, and whether the commonwealth will be committing to net zero by 2050, will be revealed before then.

While the ACT wakes to its second day of eased Covid-19 restrictions, Hobart today enters its first full day of a three-day shutdown to contain the threat of a Delta outbreak. No further cases have been reported in Tasmania since an interstate traveller who breached quarantine tested positive to the virus. The ACT recorded 35 cases and one death yesterday.

Over in Victoria, the state recorded 2,179 local Covid-19 cases and six deaths as health minister Martin Foley announced fully vaccinated people in NSW will now be allowed to enter Victoria without quarantining for 14 days from 19 October, provided they test negative to Covid-19 upon departure and arrival.


Luke Henriques-Gomes and Caitlin Cassidy (earlier)

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