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  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Dominic Perrottet targets western Sydney for 2023 election battleground

New NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet plans to divert tens of millions of dollars from a CBD stimulus fund to the city’s west, cementing his government’s focus on western Sydney as the key battleground for the 2023 election.

The 39-year-old Mr Perrottet, sworn in on Tuesday as the youngest Premier in the state’s history after winning a secret Liberal party room ballot against Planning Minister Rob Stokes 39-5, vowed to shift the Coalition’s focus from the pandemic to families and cost of living pressures.

Dominic Perrottet at his first press conference as NSW Liberal leader.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Penrith MP and Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres was appointed Mr Perrottet’s deputy leader, a deal struck to send a message to western Sydney that the Coalition was committed to the city’s fast-growing region.

Mr Perrottet said his first priority as Premier would be to guide NSW through the pandemic recovery, and he would not make wholesale changes to his frontbench until the state is out of lockdown.

Read the full story here.

‘Harder and harder’ to find hospital beds as Victoria’s COVID surge bites

Doctors say it is becoming harder to find beds for critically ill Victorians and patients who have undergone life-saving surgery amid rising COVID-related hospitalisations, and predict the pressure will worsen before it eases.

As Victoria reported a national daily record of 1763 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Tuesday, Australian Medical Association Victoria vice-president Sarah Whitelaw said the hospital system faced mounting challenges in caring for COVID and non-COVID patients.

A COVID-19 isolation ward at the Austin Hospital.Credit:Eddie Jim

A key aim of repeated lockdowns was to stop the hospital system being overwhelmed, but Dr Whitelaw said it was increasingly likely Victoria would face that scenario in coming months.

“I think it would be fair to say everybody is saying this is escalating more quickly than we had hoped,” she said.

More on the situation in Victoria here.

Qld borders will ‘not necessarily’ open at 80 per cent: Premier

After weeks of evading questions about whether Queensland’s borders would reopen when the state’s vaccination rate hit 80 per cent, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has given her clearest indication yet.

“Not necessarily.”

The Queensland Premier has repeatedly cast doubt over whether the state’s borders will reopen once the vaccination target is hit – expected to be early December – while more than 11,000 Queenslanders remain stranded in NSW or Victoria, some living in tents.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the state’s borders will “not necessarily” reopen when 80 per cent of people aged over 16 have been double vaccinated.Credit:Matt Dennien

The national reopening plan, agreed to by state and territory leaders in July, states that at 80 per cent, there should only be highly targeted lockdowns, and vaccinated residents should be exempt from all domestic restrictions.

But when asked directly on Tuesday, “will the borders open at that 80 per cent?” Ms Palaszczuk simply replied: “Not necessarily.”

“It depends on the situation of the day; it depends on what’s happening in NSW and Victoria.”

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Wednesday, October 6. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • NSW’s Dominic Perrottet has been sworn in as the state’s 46th and youngest-ever premier. He will receive health briefings this morning as he prepares to steer the state out of lockdown. Mr Perrottet says he wants to take his state from “good to great”. Meanwhile, NSW Nationals MPs will elect the state’s new deputy premier later this morning following John Barilaro’s resignation earlier this week. Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole is considered the frontrunner. It comes as the Perrottet government prepares to target western Sydney ahead of the 2023 election. NSW yesterday recorded 608 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.
  • Doctors say it is becoming harder to find beds for critically ill Victorians amid rising COVID-related hospitalisations. Experts predict the situation will get worse before it gets better. It comes as Premier Dan Andrews insists Melbourne will begin to reopen once his state’s 70 and 80 per cent double-dose targets are met. Earlier this week, the Victorian capital claimed the title of the world’s most locked-down city. Yesterday, there were 1763 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Victoria and four deaths (a national record for daily case numbers).
  • Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is this morning isolating after a staffer at his Melbourne electorate office tested positive to COVID-19. His office has been closed and deep cleaned. Mr Frydenberg says he has so far tested negative for the virus.
  • In Queensland, there were two new cases reported yesterday – one linked to south-east Qld’s aviation cluster and another detected in someone arriving in Brisbane from interstate. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her borders won’t “necessarily” open at an 80 per cent vaccination rate. She insists it “depends on the situation of the day” and “what’s happening in NSW and Victoria”.
  • The ACT recorded 33 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and five deaths. There are fourteen coronavirus patients in Canberra hospitals and 94 per cent of Canberrans have received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine (65.1 per cent have received both doses).
  • In sports news, Football Australia says it will hold an independent investigation after Matildas veteran Lisa De Vanna suggested she was sexually harassed, indecently assaulted, bullied and groomed during incidents dating back to 2001.
  • And in international news, a Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower says the social media giant is putting “astronomical profits before people”. Former product manager Frances Haugen has called for politicians to rein in the power of big tech while testifying before US Congress. She says Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy”.
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