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Key posts

  • Most of Victoria’s COVID rules will end in November, with one key exception
  • Academic skills survived remote learning, study finds
  • Nationals accept net zero target by 2050
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Most of Victoria’s COVID rules will end in November, with one key exception

Unvaccinated adults and older children will be barred from accessing all but basic services until 2023 under the Victorian government’s path back to freedom announced by the Premier on Sunday.

From 6pm on Friday, Victorians will be allowed to travel across the state, density limits at hospitality venues will increase only for fully vaccinated people, retail centres will reopen and masks will no longer be required outdoors, in time for the Melbourne Cup long weekend when 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over will have had two vaccine doses.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announcing changes to the road map yesterday. Credit:Wayne Taylor

By the end of next month, almost all the current COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, with a key exception.

“If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not getting in,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

More on Victoria’s road map here.

Academic skills survived remote learning, study finds

While many parents worried about learning loss when schools shut for more than 12 weeks in Sydney during the Delta outbreak, a research report from the Centre for Independent Studies has found the average student has not fallen behind pre-pandemic achievement levels.

“The picture is better than we initially feared,” research author Glenn Fahey said. “It’s a situation where we can be alert but not alarmed.”

Mr Fahey says Australia’s relative success can be attributed to students being responsive and tech-savvy, solid teaching practices and schools and government bodies ensuring children had access to technology.

Read more about the study here.

Nationals accept net zero target by 2050

Australia will make a formal pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 after Nationals MPs backed the goal in a tense meeting on Sunday that cleared the way for policies within days to adopt cleaner fuels, electric vehicles, and more renewable energy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to ask federal cabinet to endorse the target today and finalise a policy package with measures such as investments in hydrogen energy and rewards for farmers to offset emissions.

Senior Nationals head towards their party room meeting on Sunday. Credit:Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The package will be revealed before he departs on Thursday for a G20 meeting in Rome and a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow where he will be asked to commit to net zero.

But Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce refused to reveal the conditions he had gained from Mr Morrison over the weekend to secure the agreement, leaving the cost of the deal to be confirmed after cabinet has set the target.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thank for your company.

It’s Monday, October 25. 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.

  • Melburnians are just days away from being reunited with friends and family in regional Victoria. From 6pm on Friday, regional travel limits will be scrapped, Melbourne gyms and retail are back and masks won’t be mandatory outside. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews says the changes are possible because the state is expected to hit its 80 per cent double-dose vaccination target this week (several days earlier than originally anticipated). Victoria yesterday recorded 1935 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths. There are 787 coronavirus patients in Victorian hospitals. Of those, 146 are in intensive care. Seventy-three per cent of Victorians over the age of 16 are currently fully vaccinated.
  • Students in years 2 to 11 return to face-to-face learning in Sydney today. It comes as an Australian study finds students’ academic skills largely survived remote learning. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is expected to hold a press conference later this morning regarding the return to schools, so stay tuned for that. NSW recorded 296 new, local cases of COVID-19 yesterday and four deaths. There are 480 coronavirus patients in NSW hospitals. Of those, 119 are in ICU. When it comes to vaccines, 84.4 per cent of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
  • The Nationals have agreed to sign up to a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 after yesterday’s party room meeting. However, while the majority of the party room supported the target, the agreement was not unanimous. The deal paves the way for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to jet off to international climate talks later this week. We don’t yet know the exact terms which led to the Nationals giving their nod of approval. But we can expect safeguards and support for rural and regional communities.
  • Police investigating the disappearance of missing WA girl Cleo Smith say they are searching for the driver of a car spotted near her family’s campsite the morning she went missing. The WA government is currently offering a $1 million reward for anyone that can provide information that leads to Cleo’s whereabouts.
  • Queensland police have warned unauthorised people trying to enter the state will be stopped following a number of failed attempts. The Sunshine State recorded no local cases yesterday.
  • The ACT recorded nine new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. There are now 20 coronavirus patients in Canberra hospitals. Of those, 11 are in intensive care. When it comes to vaccinations, 87.3 per cent of residents aged 12 and over have had both jabs.
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