9.37pm GMT
21:37

The federal government has said it is considering granting “alternate entry” to Australians returning from overseas if they can prove they have already been vaccinated for the virus, AAP reports.

“The Australian government is considering mechanisms for recognising an international immunisation certificate for Covid-19 and potential alternate entry and quarantine arrangements for returning Australians who may have been vaccinated if it is safe to do so,” a health department spokesman told the Sydney Morning Herald in a report published on Wednesday.

Updated
at 9.41pm GMT

9.03pm GMT
21:03

On Tuesday night NSW Health issued alerts for multiple new venues including two churches in Wollongong.

Anyone who visited the St Nektarios Greek Orthodox church on Sunday 27 December between 9am and 10.15am, and the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox church on Sunday 27 December between 10.30am and 11am must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive further advice from NSW Health.

Authorities had previously warned places of worship were a high-risk venue for transmission as the virus can spread from singing indoors.

Alerts were also issued for several shops in Figtree, a suburb of Wollongong.

All venue alerts can be found here:

There were reports of long queues at testing centres in Wollongong – the city about 70km south of Sydney – on Tuesday after Gladys Berejiklian revealed authorities were racing to understand how a resident of the city contracted coronavirus without having visited northern beaches, the centre of Sydney’s cluster.

Updated
at 9.40pm GMT

8.55pm GMT
20:55

Australia has experienced the biggest expansion of casual employment in the country’s history, according to new analysis that suggests the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been “starkly unequal”.

My colleague Daniel Hurst has the story here:

Interestingly, the Australia Institute analysis also found that about one in three Australians want to continue minimising how much they travel for work, according to its survey into which Covid-19 related behaviours Australians hope to retain post-pandemic.

Retaining less work travel, which in turn means less traffic and pollution, was the top answer, selected by 35% of the 1,018 respondents.

Retaining increased funding for mental health and family violence services was selected by 33% of respondents, and keeping working from home arrangements, selected by 32% of respondents.

Normalising not going to work when sick was chosen by 28% of respondents, and lower population growth (due to restricted immigration) was selected by 26% of respondents.

The least popular option was to keep the gas led-recovery, selected by only 6%.

Ben Oquist, executive director of the Australia Institute, said:

Tellingly, last on Australians’ wish-list for the new year is the Government’s much-vaunted ‘gas led recovery’ which only 6% of Australians selected as something they’d like to keep from 2020.

Updated
at 9.17pm GMT

8.33pm GMT
20:33

Good morning, and welcome to the Australia news live blog for 30 December. I’m Elias Visontay. Here’s what’s making news this morning.

-The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has foreshadowed further tweaks to restrictions as “the [coronavirus] threat of greater Sydney is almost becoming as equal to parts of the northern beaches”. Health authorities in her state are urgently trying to understand how a Wollongong resident contracted Covid-19 despite not having visited the northern beaches – the centre of Sydney’s cluster.

-Berejiklian will announce that at least three new locally acquired cases outside of the northern beaches – including the Wollongong case – were detected in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Tuesday, when she provides her Covid-19 daily update, expected at 11am.

-Australia has experienced the biggest expansion of casual employment in the country’s history, according to new analysis that suggests the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been “starkly unequal”.

-The SCG will host the third cricket Test against India after Cricket Australia deemed it safe to play in Sydney.

Anthony Albanese is putting Labor on an election footing for 2021, with a new push to rally the party’s grassroots members for the forthcoming federal campaign.

Victorians are being urged not to venture into Melbourne’s CBD to celebrate New Year’s Eve unless they have a booking.

If you want to get in touch, please send me an email to elias.visontay@theguardian.com or get in touch via Twitter @eliasvisontay.

Updated
at 9.14pm GMT



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