Australia news LIVE: Australia, US and UK to unveil new defence pact, NSW health staff yet to get COVID vaccines, Victorian lockdown could ease

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  • Australia, US and UK to announce landmark new defence pact
  • The morning’s headlines at a glance
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Submarine deal all about China: security expert

Australia, the US and UK will all stress that today's major announcement is not aimed at any one particular country.

But no one has any doubt what is driving this move.

As Eric Sayers, an expert in Asia-Pacific security policy at the American Enterprise Institute, told me today: “This is solely and 100 per cent about China and we should stop pretending it is anything else. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

Sayers said the US and UK were inviting Australia into an exclusive club by agreeing to share such a “highly sensitive technology” as nuclear-powered submarines.

“This is a significant step by the US and UK to empower one of our closest allies in Asia with an advanced capability that doesn’t just get offered to anyone,” he said. “This is one of the most special and unique ways that countries can co-operate.”

NSW health workers’ future uncertain as vaccination deadline looms

Thousands of unvaccinated NSW Health workers face being stood down or redeployed unless they get a jab by the end of the month, with one-in-six yet to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health’s 140,000-strong workforce has been given the deadline to receive at least one jab, despite being able to access a vaccine since February when the first phases of the federal rollout began.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian at Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference, her second appearance this week, even though she had indicated they would stop as of last Friday.Credit:Janie Barrett

An email sent on Tuesday to Western Sydney Local Health District staff, covering hotspot hospitals such as Westmead and Blacktown, said almost 2000 district staff members had not received a single inoculation.

Eighty-eight per cent of all clinical staff in the state’s public health system has received the first dose and 81 per cent are fully vaccinated, as the September 30 deadline for health workers looms and the workforce faces its most difficult period in the pandemic.

Read more here.

Australia, US and UK to announce landmark new defence pact

Australia, the United States and Britain will unveil a landmark new security pact to share advanced technologies, including nuclear submarine technology, in a major international announcement on Thursday morning.

As part of the pact, to be known as AUKUS, the US would help Australia develop a nuclear submarine capability, which could result in Australia dumping its $90 billion submarine deal with France, sources confirmed.

(From L-R) Scott Morrison, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson will launch the AUKUS alliance on Thursday morning.

The working group will enable the three countries to share information in areas including long-range strike capabilities, artificial intelligence and underwater systems in a thinly veiled bid to counter China, Politico reported, citing a White House official and a congressional staffer.

The announcement will be made at 7am (AEST) when the White House said US President Joe Biden would deliver “brief remarks about a national security initiative”.

We'll cover this event for you live so stay tuned.

Read more here. 

The morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of today's news. Here are the main headlines this morning:

  • Australia, the US and Britain are set to announce a major new security deal this morning to share advanced technologies including nuclear submarine technology. The announcement is due at 7am (AEST) so stay tuned.
  • Thousands of unvaccinated NSW Health workers face being stood down or redeployed unless they get a jab by the end of the month, with one-in-six yet to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Victoria could ease some lockdown restrictions today, while the state government's new sweeping social reforms propose preventing religious schools from sacking or refusing to employ teachers because of their sexuality or gender identity.
  • Sydney's 12 so-called local government areas of concern had their 9pm-5am curfew lifted yesterday.
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