National News

JobKeeper reduced as Vic restrictions ease

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The reduction in the JobKeeper wage subsidy has gone ahead on Monday, just days after the JobSeeker supplement was reduced.

But Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised the government will continue to support Australians through the pandemic, saying his October 6 budget will focus on economic recovery and creating jobs.

Pointing to a new report by Deloitte Access Economics, the treasurer said it makes clear the government "acted fast and well" and that JobKeeper and JobSeeker have been the "standouts" cushioning the economy.

Even so, from Monday the JobKeeper will be reduced from $1500 a fortnight to $1200 for full-time workers and to $750 for part-time workers.

The JobSeeker supplement was reduced from $550 a fortnight to $250.

Meanwhile, Melburnians came out of curfew for the last time on Monday in what Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described as one of his "safe and steady" measures in unwinding the state's coronavirus restrictions.

The decision came as the 14-day rolling average for new COVID-19 cases dropped to 22.1 cases for Victoria when the target was between 30 and 50 cases.

"We are ahead of schedule, we have made more progress we had hope to make at this point in time," Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

He expects 127,000 people will be allowed to return to work from midnight, which is also 30,000 more than originally expected.

Among other actions, Year 12 students will be able return to school for assessments on October 3 with primary school students to return from October 12, but exercise limits of two hours per day within 5km will remain in place.

Even so, Victoria recorded another two deaths on Sunday, taking the state's death toll to 784 and the national figure to 872.

Elsewhere, NSW recorded no new infections for the first time since June 10, but health officials urged people to remain vigilant as the school holidays start.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham hopes a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand can be put in place before the end of the year.

He said preparations are being worked on to make sure people can travel between the two countries as safely as possible.

"I hope in opening up to New Zealand that we can see as many states in Australia as possible welcome visitors from New Zealand when we do so," Senate Birmingham said.

NZ Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters confirmed negotiations are ongoing.

"We are going as hard as we possibly can. It depends on Australia and the assurance that protocols are sound enough," he told reporters.

"I think it is sooner rather than later now."

© AAP 2020

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