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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

Good morning. Let's do it.

1. Let's start with something nice: for the first time since July 2019, there are no active fires burning in NSW. Ben Shepherd, chief inspector of the NSW RFS, told Business Insider Australia he expects smaller fires to crop up, as is normal for this time of year, but the worst of the season appears to be behind us. “[We need to] quickly start doing some of that preventative work in areas that didn’t burn this year ahead of next fire season,” he said.

2. You probably won't be surprised to learn Australian tourism has taken a significant hit thanks to both the bushfires and the looming threat of coronavirus. 35% of overall bookings have been cancelled, according to Tourism Australia.It is now launching a new set of campaigns to attract international and business visitors back, and encourage domestic travellers to ‘see their own backyard’.

3. Australia can expect a coronavirus stimulus effort very soon. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's package will include, per the AFR, a heavy focus on tax relief measures. It will "target jobs, small business cash flow and capital investment." It seems like the government has a real fear this could hurl the country into recession.

4. Yesterday was Super Tuesday, the biggest day in the US presidential primaries. The clear winner of the day was former vice president Joe Biden, who staged a substantial comeback and swept the majority of states competing on that day. Biden benefited dramatically from other candidates dropping out to help him arrest the momentum of left-wing challenger Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator still racked up a few big wins, including a strong lead in California – the most delegate-rich state in the entire country.

5. Mike Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world, had an extremely bad, no good Super Tuesday. Despite spending a massive $500 million on his campaign, he won a single race – in American Samoa. That ends up as over $100 million per delegate, which doesn't sound like value to me. He's now dropped out of the race entirely and endorsed Biden.

6. The World Health Organisation has confirmed the mortality rate of the coronavirus globally is about 3.4%, with older people particularly susceptible. By contrast, the seasonal flu kills 0.1% of those infected. Though the latest numbers mark an increase in mortality, experts have predicted that the fatality rate of COVID-19 could decrease as the number of confirmed cases rises.

7. Australia has seen its second coronavirus-related death – a 95-year-old woman in NSW. The patient was a resident of a nursing home in Sydney's north. Another elderly resident at the same premises has also tested positive.

8. The coronavirus is certainly having some strange impacts. The new James Bond movie "No Time to Die" will be delayed 7 months because of concerns around the impact of the virus on the global theatrical market. This is the third time the movie has been delayed. Hollywood generally is starting to feel the impact of the coronavirus, as production on the next “Mission: Impossible” movie has been halted in Italy and Disney’s big-budget “Mulan” remake could take a substantial hit at the global box office.

9. Woolworths has now set a limit on the amount of toilet paper customers can buy, thanks to the ongoing spree of panic buying. The Retailers Association says there's actually no real danger of toilet paper running out – it's largely locally produced, for one – so keep that in mind before you charge to the nearest supermarket to stock up.

10. One from the world of fintechs: regulators in Australia have signed off on 'screen scraping' – the controversial technique neobanks and similar platforms use to access your financial data. In short, it involves providing your online banking details to a fintech, which then accesses your account to get your financial data. Once open banking rolls out this year, they won't need to do that. The big banks don't like screen scraping, because it lets nimble challengers peel customers away from their platforms. The country's regulators have decided, while not perfect, screen scraping is the best way forward until we have open banking.


Here's one for you: the first thing Joe Biden did when taking to the stage after his Super Tuesday rout was... mix up his wife and his sister.