Victoria will exceed its share of national COVID-19-recovery stimulus spending, Premier Daniel Andrews says.
The Labor leader, whose state has been Australia’s worst-hit by the pandemic, on Saturday vowed “people who have lost the most will get the support they need”.
National cabinet was told by the RBA on Friday that states should lift their fiscal investment over the next two years to two per cent of GDP or $40 billion over the next two years.
“Our share of that would be about 10 (billion dollars),” Mr Andrews said.
“Over a two-year period … I’m very confident we will have significant investment of that and more to save jobs, to grow jobs and make sure we’ve got a strong economy in that medium term.”
Victoria on Saturday reported an additional 182 COVID-19 diagnoses, plus 13 more deaths, taking the national toll to 485.
NSW and Queensland each reported nine new cases on Saturday.
“All of us need to make sure that we are using our budget, our borrowing capacity, to save jobs and to grow new jobs and that you’ve got to use the weight of the state budget to protect household budgets,” Mr Andrews said on behalf of state and territory leaders.
At a national level the management of borders remained a top priority.
The federal government has pleaded with premiers and chief ministers to ease their restrictions but closures remain in place.
“What we’ve seen from COVID-19 is that some of the arbitrary restrictions that have been placed on regional rural Australia by the states have had serious impacts,” Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told ABC TV.
“I’m not asking the states to tear down their broad restrictions. I’m just asking them to use common sense.
“I’m asking them to engage with the agricultural sector, with regional communities, to understand the practical solutions that continue to help regional rural Australia put food and fibre on your table, but also look after their wellbeing.”
Federal opposition MP Andrew Giles said in relation to border restrictions that states and territories needed to act on “the best health advice” available.
Australia’s medical expert panel continues attempts to define a coronavirus “hotspot” to provide clarity on when states can close their borders.
The term is being used to restrict travel but there are no guidelines on its meaning and the measures are having impacts including on people accessing health care and agricultural supply chains.
Tourism businesses have also said they’re at boiling point over the lack of clarity on closures.
Western Australia has no border opening in sight and Tasmania’s borders will remain closed until at least December 1.
Queensland has warned its borders could remain sealed for several months or until its infections have fallen to zero.
On Saturday the Sunshine State reported seven more cases from a youth detention centre cluster would mean indoor and outdoor gatherings without a COVID-safe plan in Queensland’s southeast would immediately be capped at 10 people. There would be a 30-person limit on gatherings elsewhere in the state.
Aged care homes in the state’s southeast would also go into immediate lockdown.
National cabinet is due to develop an agricultural workers’ code for cross-border travel – similar to arrangements already in place for truck drivers – when leaders meet again in two weeks’ time.