Australia settles with Naval Group over $90bn submarines contract cancellation
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, confirms the Australian government has settled with Naval Group to conclude the Attack Class submarine program.
The former government made the decision to scrap the contract on the basis of advice about the capability requirements for the Australian Defence Force, advice that was accepted by Labor in opposition. But the way that decision was handled has caused enormous tension in the relationship between Australia and France. France, an important ally. An ally that we have a history of fighting alongside in two world wars and an ally that has a significant presence in the Pacific at a time when tension in it the Indo-Pacific means that we need to work with our partners. I want to thank the Naval Group for the positive and professional way that it has engaged with Australian officials to reach this settlement.
Some of the details will remain confidential, but Albanese says the Australian government has agreed to pay 550 million euros which equates to around AU$830m.
This is a fair and an equitable settlement which has been reached. It follows as well discussions that I’ve had with president Macron and I thank him for those discussions and the cordial way in which we are re-establishing a better relationship between Australia and France.
He says it takes the total cost of the “failed policy” of the former government to $3.4bn, but this is less than the $5.5bn Senate estimates was told it would cost.
But it still represents an extraordinary waste from a government that was always big on announcement but not good on delivery, and from a government that will be remembered as the most wasteful government in Australia’s history since federation. Tens of billions of dollars wasted across a range of programs that have resulted of course in – have contributed to the $1 trillion of debt that the incoming Labor government has inherited.
We are now just waiting for the PM’s press conference to begin momentarily.
Funding for Standards and Trade Development Facility
The foreign minister, Penny Wong, and the trade minister, Don Farrell, have announced $2.9m in funding to the Standards and Trade Development Facility.
The STDF helps developing and least-developed countries participate in the multilateral rules-based trading system, and implement quarantine standards to gain access to international agricultural markets.
An effective, rules-based trading system with the WTO at its core is fundamental to the global economy – including the stability and prosperity of our region.
Our priority is to ensure our partners can support their development goals by exercising their WTO rights and fulfilling their WTO obligations.
Sydney warehouse fire
Firefighters are battling a warehouse blaze in Rockdale in Sydney’s south.
Residents are advised to close windows, doors and vents.
‘Among the dearly departed’
Former Liberal MP for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman has written an opinion piece today on life after losing his seat.
Some have warned me that losing an election is like a grieving process. There is a bit of that. Certainly, some friends and residents talk to you as though you are among the dearly departed. Others on the streets cast their eyes away to avoid such a conversation.
The hardest part has been the farewells for my electorate staff who cease their employment shortly after the election. They have lived and breathed the campaign and my work as an MP and feel the election outcome as much as I have so it is a difficult time for them.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese will hold a press conference in Sydney at 10.15am
There are reports in French media that Australia has settled with French company Naval Group over the cancellation of the submarines contract by the former government. We have not confirmed, but we shall see if that’s what the press conference is about.
Victoria reports 23 Covid-19 deaths, 6,224 new cases
Victoria has recorded 23 Covid-19 deaths overnight, with 6,224 new cases reported.
There are 454 people in hospital, including 27 in intensive care and four ventilated.
Boost for Sydney-Hunter rail upgrade plan
A major business lobby group has backed reported plans for a $1bn overhaul of rail services between Sydney and the Hunter that would pave the way for faster train services, AAP reports.
NSW will work with the federal government on the upgrade, with $500 million to be set aside in June 21’s state budget.
In the run-up to May’s federal election, Labor pledged $500 million of commonwealth funds to a scheme to link Sydney and Newcastle, saying if it won government it would prioritise a link that could eventually cut travel time between the state’s two most populous cities from two-and-a-half hours to 45 minutes.
The NSW plan, focused initially on the Sydney-Central Coast link, will improve the Tuggerah-Wyong connection and include new electrified tracks, rail bridges over the Wyong River and station upgrades.
Work is set to begin in 2025.
The revamp will reportedly make it possible for express passenger services to overtake freight services and all-stop passenger trains, speeding up travel times.
Committee for Sydney chief executive Gabriel Metcalf on Saturday welcomed the move towards upgrading the link, saying a NSW government commitment meant state and federal governments were “now working together to deliver on fast rail”.
“Getting on a trip from Gosford to the city in 25 minutes and Newcastle under an hour will be a game-changer for commuters, students and many others,” Metcalf said in a statement.
“It will reshape the geography of our city.
“As we emerge from two-and-a-half years of disruption and lockdown, this is a project that will get people inspired about Sydney’s future and kickstart our economic recovery.”
NSW reports 22 Covid-19 deaths, 6,254 cases
New South Wales has reported 22 Covid-19 deaths overnight, with 6,254 new cases records. There are 1,219 people in hospital, including 41 in intensive care.
Dangerous conditions along NSW coast
Surf Life Saving NSW has warned hazardous weather conditions, strong winds and large southerly swells make it dangerous along the coast – particularly for rock fishers.
Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Lifesaving Joel Wiseman said:
People should consider staying out of the water. Rock fishers in particular are at risk and should avoid coastal rock platforms exposed to the ocean. This time of year is statistically a very dangerous period for rock fishing accidents and tragedies.
Only a handful of beaches are patrolled at this time of year by council lifeguards and it is likely these beaches will be closed due to the conditions.
Mehreen Faruqi says being made Greens deputy leader is an honour
Greens deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi says it is the honour of her life to be elected to the role, pledging to take a stand on discrimination, AAP reports.
The NSW senator who migrated from Pakistan in 1992 will be the first Muslim Australian in the senior leadership of a large political party.
“In a diverse society, it is appropriate and frankly, necessary, that our parties and their leadership are reflective of our highly multicultural country,” Faruqi said after the first post-election partyroom meeting in Melbourne.
The partyroom re-elected Melbourne MP Adam Bandt to the leadership at Friday’s meeting, ahead of this weekend’s national conference in the Victorian capital.
Faruqi – who came to Australia with her husband, one-year-old son and two suitcases – said she would use her position to “continue to speak up against racism, Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination in our society”.
“This is something I have never shied away from, and a fight I will take up until everyone in our community is treated with respect and dignity,” she said.
The senator noted the Greens and its grassroots movement had an immense task ahead of it.
“To ensure the new parliament takes decisive, meaningful action on the many complex problems facing our country and our world: not least, the climate crisis and the inequality crisis,” she said.
Prior to the election, the Greens had co-deputy leaders in senators Larissa Waters and Nick McKim.
Nadesalingam family in new home
Friend of the Nadesalingam family, Angela Fredericks is being interviewed on ABC’s Weekend Breakfast.
Fredericks says it was an incredible night to welcome the family to their new home in Biloela:
I arrived at the house with the family to show them their new home and it’s got this beautiful backyard and the girls started running. That was the most special moment for me. These girls for four years have been stuck in cages and so for them to have grass in their backyard and run free was just so, so overwhelming.
She says today will be Biloela’s Flourish festival, the multicultural festival of diversity, where Nades, Priya, Kopika, and Tharni are the guests of honour. Tomorrow will mark Tharni’s fifth birthday in a park.
She’s just so excited, and just can’t wait to see all her friends and be running around and playing games…. It will be a ping birthday. You can see I have pink on, at Tharnicaa’s request today. It’s a pink weekend.
Fredericks called on the government to let the family stay permanently.
We need to end the uncertainty for this family. It’s been over 10 years. Enough is enough. They belong here. We want them here. It’s time. Let’s make this permanent.
Aged care Covid warning
Ministers Mark Butler and Anika Wells have told aged care providers to act “with a sense of urgency” and speed up their fourth-dose Covid vaccinations as the sector continues to grapple with almost 700 outbreaks and a growing death toll.
The aged care ministers have also warned providers with low vaccination rates they would be required to explain themselves and show how they would turn around sluggish booster rates.
Good morning, and welcome to the live blog for Saturday, 11 June. I’m Josh Taylor and I’ll be bringing you all the news this morning.
The defence minister and deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, is at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore where overnight US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe met for an hour, but still disagree on the matter of Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Marles will not be meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
We are expecting to see more of the family today, with events planned in the town to mark their return.
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, held meetings on Friday in what Ardern said was a reset of the relationship as a result of the election of the new Labor government.
Ardern reiterated NZ’s long-standing opposition to deporting New Zealand citizens on character grounds when they have lived most of their lives in Australia, but Albanese would not say whether there would be a change in policy.
The Greens held their first party meeting after the election, and Senator Mehreen Faruqi was appointed deputy leader of the Australian Greens, replacing Senator Nick McKim and Senator Larissa Waters.
And as the long weekend gets underway in parts of Australia, we might see more chaos at the airports again, after massive queues at Sydney and Melbourne airports on Friday, due to ongoing staffing issues.