Australia

Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets in final

Mitchell Marsh plundered a ferocious 77 not out from 50 balls as Australia overhauled what appeared to be a challenging 173 with seven deliveries to spare in Dubai.

The all-rounder shared a dominant stand of 92 with opener David Warner and continued to attack after the opener was bowled for 53 from 38 balls.

Marsh was dropped on 68 but at that stage only 15 runs were needed from 19 balls, the highest chase in a Men's T20 World Cup final a near certainty.

Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.

Australia begins Covid-19 booster vaccination programme

Today marks the formal beginning of the booster program, but more than 173,000 boosters had already been administered in Australia as of Saturday.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently being offered for booster shots, even for people who were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab.

While the government's expert advisory group on vaccines said Pfizer was the preferred shot, AstraZeneca could be used as a booster for people who received it as their primary course, or if they had an adverse reaction to an mRNA vaccine.

Seasonal worker advocates welcome minimum pay requirements

The ruling will include Pacific seasonal workers but advocates say more needs to be done to protect workers from exploitation.

Joe Karu from the Vanuatu National Workers Union welcomes the news, saying that previously the piece rate meant some seasonal workers couldn't keep up with the cost of living.

"It's very good news," he said.

Pacific labour expert Rochelle Lee Bailey from the Australian National University has examined the seasonal workers scheme since 2007 and said this decision is a long time coming.

Fiji receives last batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Australia

Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes said they have been able to surpass their initial commitment for the AstraZeneca jabs.

“And we’re here today to announce that we’ve delivered almost 1.1 million vaccines in the six months. But it doesn’t end here as our support for Fiji will continue”

Fiji’s Minister of Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the donation enabled Fiji to vaccinate more than 50 percent of the target population against COVID-19.

Australia eases international border ban for first time since March 2020

After 18 months of some of the world's strictest coronavirus border policies that banned citizens from coming back into the country, and leaving it, unless granted an exemption, some 14 million Australians in Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra are now free to travel.

More than 80 percent of people 16 and older in those two states and the capital territory are fully vaccinated - a condition for the resumption of international travel.

Vanuatu authorities seize 50kg kava powder from seasonal workers

Kava importation is prohibited in Australia. There is an exemption that allows passengers (18 years or over) to travel with up to 4kg of kava (roots or dried form) into Australia for personal use only.

It is alleged that a parliamentarian is using the seasonal workers as a means of getting the products into Australia in the form of commercialisation the Vanuatu Daily Post reports.

According to the Acting Principal Biosecurity Officer (PBO) of the DOB, Sam Armstrong, only those who have a valid kava export licence and export facility can export.

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.”

Australia, NZ miss out on World Sevens Series event due to Covid-19

The 2022 schedule was announced on Tuesday with the series to kick off with a pair of men’s and women’s rounds in Dubai starting in November.

But while Hong Kong returns as a stop, Sydney and Hamilton (New Zealand) have missed out because of its stringent pandemic protocols.

Instead, Spain will play host for the first time with men’s and women’s events scheduled in Malaga and Seville from January 21-23 and January 28-30.

Toulouse in France will also welcome teams in May next year.

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.