HomeCoronavirusAustralia news live: flood warnings for northern NSW; Malka Leifer appeal dismissed

Australia news live: flood warnings for northern NSW; Malka Leifer appeal dismissed

Infrastructure Australia has released a national study into the impacts of the pandemic on roads, internet and rubbish.

The report notes traffic levels largely rebounded after lockdowns across the country, with second-hand car sales rising as people opted to drive and avoided public transport.

A near-empty street in Melbourne during the strict restrictions due to the coronavirus. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Usage of public transport dropped enormously, to between 10% and 30% of usual levels, but rebounded to a “new normal” of 60% to 70%.

Infrastructure Australia estimated that up to four million employees have been working from home since March with about one-third keen to remain remote.

The shift has driven up energy, water and waste consumption in homes, and strained broadband networks. It also drove enormous growth in online retail trade, recording five times the annual growth of 2019.

The report labels six key areas as priorities to be addressed in the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan.

It calls for a mitigation of growing car dependency, improved waste management and examination of repurposing real estate in CBDs.

The report found some regional communities saw a boom in tourism and population growth, with people moving away from metropolitan areas.

That has resulted in a 200% increase in net migration from capital cities to regional areas.

Infrastructure Australia chief executive, Romilly Madew, said the findings show compared with other developed economies, the nation’s infrastructure networks were resilient.

“Across sectors, we found that Australia’s governments and infrastructure providers navigated dramatic changes to community behaviour and network requirements, and rapidly adjusted their service provision,” she said.

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