Australia

Aust To Keep Making AstraZeneca Doses

Australian Health Minister, Greg Hunt on Thursday rejected reports CSL would stop producing the vaccine in Melbourne this year, as coronavirus cases reached a new national daily record.

“CSL and AstraZeneca are on track to complete the full 50 million-dose production run in Australia and the 3.8 million supply from overseas,” he told reporters.

“Our expectation and our plan is that that program will be completed in full. All of those extra doses are being supplied to the region.”

MoU to grow agricultural trade between Pacific Island Countries and Australia

Signed 6 October by Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Gabrielle Vivian-Smith and DT Global Asia Pacific Managing Director, Frank Maiolo the MoU will strengthen the partnership between the department and DT Global through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA Plus) program.

The PHAMA Plus program is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Kylie Minogue confirms she is moving back to Australia

She told BBC Radio 2's Zoe Ball she "couldn't believe" the public reaction to the news.

But Minogue said she will "always" want to regularly visit the UK after she moves back to the country of her birth.

She said: "I've had friends call me, my friend at my local restaurant was like: 'Kylie, what do you mean? You can't go'."

"I said: 'I'm not really going. I've lived here for 30 years, I'm always going to be back."'

The 53-year-old said she does not think "too much will change" after her move as she will come back often.

Australia to end offshore processing in Papua New Guinea

The federal government is ending offshore processing in Papua New Guinea for asylum seekers detained after trying to reach Australia by boat.

The arrangement was set up in 2013 under the then-Labor government and authorised regional processing in PNG.

Under a timeline announced on Wednesday, processing in PNG will permanently end on 31 December.

As of July this year, there were 124 asylum seekers in PNG, of whom 88 have been found to be refugees.

Australia's big gamble on the US over China

It's a definitive move for a country in the Asia-Pacific region, experts say.

The security deal with the US and the UK gives Australia a huge defence upgrade from the world's most powerful military.

But it's a gift with strings attached. And there is debate over whether such a decision - made without public consultation - will play out in Australia's national interests.

As China has grown in power, it has begun to challenge US dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia defends role in security pact amid French condemnation

Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied, saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal.

France says the Aukus pact has led to a "serious crisis" between the allies.

In an unprecedented move, it has recalled its ambassadors from the US and Australia as a sign of protest.

Under the Aukus pact, Australia will be given the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines as a way of countering China's influence in the contested South China Sea.

Indonesia and Australia renew defence and security ties

Memoranda of understanding (MOU) were signed in counter-terrorism, defence and cybersecurity, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto added discussions took place over the possibility of Indonesian military cadets attending Australian academies, in what would be "a historic first".

The Indonesia trip, by Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton, was the first such ministerial visit from Australia since the start of the pandemic.

Victoria records 246 COVID-19 cases as regional restrictions may ease

Contact tracers have so far linked 121 of the new cases to existing outbreaks, but the number of cases who were in the community while infectious is no longer being reported each day.

The new cases resulted from 42,258 test results processed on Sunday, when 29,955 vaccine doses were delivered at state-run sites.

Last week the Victorian government shifted away from trying to reach zero cases of coronavirus in the community, and is instead focusing on keeping case numbers as low as possible while getting people vaccinated.

Australia says it's given 2.1 million vaccines doses to the region

The Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja told parliament this was one of the reasons why assistance to the Pacific remains critical.

He said on pandemic response, Australia had fronted up with COVID-19 vaccines.

"We have now gifted over 2.1 million life-saving vaccines to our neighbourhood. Because until everyone is safe from COVID, nobody is safe.

"And similarly, hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs depend on strong economic growth across our region."

Australian police clash with anti-lockdown protesters

In Melbourne, mounted officers used pepper spray when elements of a 4,000-strong rally broke through police lines.

Police arrested 218 people, and at least seven officers were injured.

In Sydney, where lockdown measures have been extended for another month, more than 1,000 officers dispersed protests.

It came as the state of New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, recorded 825 new locally-acquired cases, the highest number for any Australian territory in a 24-hour period.