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What we know today, Tuesday October 6

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In today’s breaking news, South Australia adjusts its border rules, Donald Trump leaves hospital, what we can expect from tonight’s budget and more. Follow this post for live updates through the day.

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SA ‘border bubble’ extended

South Australia’s COVID-19 transition committee has decided to extend the state’s “border bubble” with Victoria from 40km to 70km.

The buffer zone allows residents in either state to move across the border without the same restrictions applied to other interstate travellers.

In other changes announced today, Premier Steven Marshall also announced that travellers would be able to enter South Australia from NSW and the ACT via the Victorian border town of Mildura rather than the much longer trip to SA from NSW via Broken Hill.

“People transiting from NSW or the ACT through Mildura will be allowed to pass through Victoria,” Marshall said.

“Not to stop for two days and go the local pub, but if they are bonafide travellers then they’ll be allowed to progress through to South Australia without having to start the clock ticking on two weeks worth of isolation in South Australia. Or in fact in that situation in Mildura being turned back at the border.

“So a lot of people have made the very common sense suggestion to us that we provide this relief and that’s been taken up by the transmission committee.

“Without that people would have to travel through Broken Hill which adds hours and hours onto the trip. They very correctly argued that this meant people were on the roads for longer and it leads to fatigue and that can actually have some perverse road traffic and road safety outcomes.”

Both changes come into effect from midnight tomorrow.

A decision on increasing the size of the crowd for Port Adelaide’s upcoming AFL preliminary final has not yet been finalised.

However, Marshall indicated the transition committee was likely to increase the crowd maximum of 25,000 for the Adelaide Oval fixture.

There were two new cases of COVID-19 in SA today – a man and a woman in their 20s were recently returned from overseas and tested positive while in quarantine.

SA Health said the pair, who were travelling together, had been in a medi-hotel since their arrival “and there is no public health risk”.

Fast-tracked tax cuts tipped for today’s Budget

Millions of Australians will have income tax cuts fast-tracked in a federal budget set to focus on driving business investment and job creation.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will tonight outline the Federal Government’s plans to guide Australia out of the coronavirus recession.

“Tax relief allows more Australians to keep more of what they earn,” he told Sky News.

“It rewards effort, encourages the power of aspiration, but it also encourages and leads to greater economic activity as people with tax relief spend more.”

Parliament last year passed the Coalition’s three-stage tax cut package.

If stage two is brought forward in the budget, people earning up to $90,000 a year will receive an extra $1000.

Workers earning more than $90,000 a year could pocket up to $2500.

It is unclear whether the Coalition will also attempt to speed up the third stage, which would put people earning $45,000 and $200,000 a year in the same tax bracket.

Many of the budget’s other big ticket items have already been announced.

Road and rail projects worth $7.5 billion will be brought forward to get the Australian economy moving again.

The national broadband network will receive a $4.5 billion upgrade, while almost $1.5 billion is set to be spent on a manufacturing strategy.

The budget is also expected to outline an eye-watering budget deficit of more than $210 billion and national debt above $1 trillion.

“The budget position remains sound but then we were hit with a once in a century pandemic and Australia has not been immune,” Frydenberg said

University reforms set to be delivered by SA senator

A crucial senator will deliver the Morrison government the final vote it needs to pass controversial university funding reforms.

Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff, who hails from South Australia, will support the legislation with some changes.

Universities in his home state will receive more support and students who fail subjects in their first year will also be better protected.

His lower house colleague Rebekha Sharkie confirmed the party would support the higher education bill.

“With the amendments that we have negotiated with the government, we will be supporting the package,” she told Sky News on Tuesday.

Education Minister Dan Tehan said the “job-ready graduates” laws would provide more university places for Australian students.

He said the bill would make it cheaper to study in areas of expected job growth and provide more funding and support to regional students and universities.

“I want to thank the Senate cross bench for their good faith negotiations. I look forward to continuing to work with the cross bench to secure passage of the legislation,” Tehan said.

Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie says the changes – which would more than double the cost of humanities degrees while cutting fees in maths, science and other areas – would hit poor people hardest.

She’s described the bill as a “dog’s breakfast” and taken aim at the government over being unable to prove its claim the package would lead to 100,000 new university places by 2030.

SA Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young and independent Rex Patrick – who quit Centre Alliance earlier this year – had urged Griff should reject the laws.

“We believe this bill will have a negative impact on South Australia’s young people, research capacity and job creation in our state,” they said in a joint statement.

The University of Adelaide has argued the bill will deliver its students a nine per cent increase in HECS-HELP charges and reduce the university’s funding by 15 per cent.

“Any changes (the Centre Alliance) negotiate to the bill will be like putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone,” Patrick said.

Trump leaves hospital, with treatment to continue at White House

US President Trump has returned to the White House after spending three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center battling COVID-19.

Trump climbed the stairs at the South Portico of the White House, removed his mask and saluted as he looked over the South Lawn. He appeared to be breathing deeply.

In a video posted shortly thereafter, he defended his conduct and suggested he may be immune from the virus.

“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it,” he said.

“You’re gonna beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently. And you’re gonna beat it. I went, I didn’t feel so good, and two days ago, I could have left two days ago, two days ago I felt great, like better than I have in a long time. I said just recently, better than 20 years ago. Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen. We have the greatest country in the world.”

The disease has killed more than one million people worldwide and more than 209,000 in the United States alone – the highest death toll of any country.

Trump, 74, has not had a fever in more than 72 hours and his oxygen levels are normal, his medical team told reporters outside the hospital.

The doctors declined, however, to discuss any toll the disease could have on the president’s lungs or disclose when Trump last tested negative for coronavirus.

The team added that the president had received supplemental oxygen twice in recent days.

“He may not entirely be out of the woods yet,” Dr. Sean. P. Conley, the White House physician, said.

“If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or improving, better yet, then we will all take that final, deep sigh of relief.”

However, Conley said the medical team believed Trump was ready to leave the hospital, stressing he would have world-class medical care around the clock at the White House.

Conley said doctors were in “unchartered territory” because Trump had received certain therapies so early in the course of the illness.

Motorcyclist dies near Mt Barker

A 19-year-old Mt Barker man has died after his motorcycle hit a tree near the Adelaide Hills town.

SA Police said they are investigating the crash, which occurred just after 5pm on Monday at the intersection of Ironstone Range Road and Petwood Road.

The solo rider died at the scene.

His death takes the South Australian road toll to 68, compared to 80 at this time last year.

One in 10 may have caught virus: WHO

Hundreds of millions of people may have already been infected with the coronavirus, far more than the current tally of about 35 million, according to the World Health Organisation.

“Our current best estimates tell us that about 10 per cent of the global population may have been infected by this virus,” WHO emergency operations chief Mike Ryan told the UN health agency’s executive board on Monday in Geneva.

“It varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies depending on groups. But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk,” Ryan said.

“We are now heading into a difficult period. The disease continues to spread,” he said.

There are currently 7.8 billion people in the world, according to UN statistics.

The share of people with COVID-19 varies among countries, between cities and urban areas and between social groups, Ryan said.

Even though the true number of cases is likely far higher than the reported numbers, the WHO estimate means that the vast majority of people have no antibodies and remain at risk of contracting COVID-19, the senior WHO official stressed.

Ryan said that outbreaks were surging in parts of southeast Asia and that cases and deaths were on the rise in parts of Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region.

– InDaily staff with AAP and Reuters

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