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Australia news live updates: question time begins ahead of federal budget 2022; Lismore CBD evacuated; man’s body found in Qld flood waters

Scott Morrison tells question time defence force ready to assist in NSW flood zones; many buildings in Lismore ‘expected to flood again’ as CBD ordered to evacuate; foreign minister announces ‘Magnitsky-style sanctions’ targeting 39 Russians; treasurer Josh Frydenberg says election will be held ‘in a matter of weeks’; nation records 24 Covid deaths, with record high daily case numbers in Tasmania. Follow the latest updates live

The New South Wales government has approved fewer than 400 disaster relief grants for flood-ravaged northern rivers businesses, despite receiving almost 8,000 requests for help since applications opened almost a month ago.

After the state’s north was left reeling by weeks of devastating floods, the government announced grants of up to $50,000 for small businesses to help pay for cleanup costs, repairs, replace damaged stock and to lease temporary premises.

Today it’s been revealed that the unemployment rate will have a friend for the first time in 50 years. This is a remarkable achievement that belongs to 26 million Australians. We’ve avoided the scouring of the labour market so reminiscent of previous recessions in Australia in the 80s and 90s.

We now have an unemployment rate that is very, very low and we are banking that dividend, now with the cost of living.

Would you be providing that if Australians weren’t going to the polls in a matter of weeks?

We would of course be providing cost-of-living relief given the circumstances that Australia now faces. There’s higher expected inflation, indeed, it’s a global phenomenon. There’s petrol prices rising above $2 a litre and with the other challenges on Australian companies.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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