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Australia news live: year’s first Covid numbers to reveal impact of new variant

The XBB.1.5 variant spread rapidly in the US, but it’s unclear if it will have a similar effect in Australia. Follow the day’s news live

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Chalmers also addressed the findings of the population report, which is set to be released today.

Asked about Australia’s ageing population, Chalmers said:

It is a huge challenge … The way that our population changes and evolves and grows over time Is really crucial to our society but also to our economy as well. And covid has had an extraordinary impact on our expectations for population growth: whether it’s fertility, whether it’s migration, whether it’s the slowest population growth a couple of years ago, in the depths of covid that we’ve had for more than a century. All of these things are really crucial determinants when it comes to thinking about and planning for our future. And so we need to make sure as a government and as a society that we’ve got the services and the infrastructure to keep up with population growth … One of the most important things that we can do and that we are doing is to build the kind of workforce that can support a population, which is getting bigger, but also getting a bit older as well and some of those trends have been exacerbated by covid.

This is obviously part of an ongoing effort from our counterterrorism authorities. You’re right, that it does apply to conduct which [allegedly] occurred in 2014. Our understanding is that there has been no threat to the community since she returned and there’s obviously a process to go through now which involves the AFP and others. And so I don’t have much to add beyond that .

Our assurance for the Australian people … is that we will always do what is in the interest of community safety. And making these decisions for the right reasons and well-founded decisions. And so people can expect us to continue to monitor and take all of the necessary steps.

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