Australia news live: Tennis Australia will pay for quarantine; dead students estates to be pursued for Hecs debt

The world’s media will be largely fixed upon Washington DC today after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, but here is what is happening closer to home.

The Productivity Commission has called for a shake-up of the $6.4bn of public funding given to vocational education and training, but courted controversy with a recommendation that the government chase the estates of deceased students to repay outstanding loans. Australian students have amassed $58bn in unpaid loans, with the proposed rule change relating to deceased estates estimated to recoup around $46m over a decade. The commission has also called for the introduction of minimum upfront fees to challenge the idea of the loans representing “free money”.

A Queensland-based coal seam gas company is hoping to drill hundreds of new wells in an area
declared off-limits due to a previous environmental disaster at the site. An Arrow Energy spokesman said the company has extensive modelling that suggests the proposed drilling would be safe.

Subalpine forest areas are struggling to recover from the 2019-20 bushfires,
researchers suggest, but eucalypt forests on the New South Wales south coast appear to be faring better than expected.

Applicants for parent or partner visas have mistakenly been sent “outdated” government letters,
advising them to book international flights out of Australia, despite the inherent risks of doing so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the Australian Open has confirmed it is footing the bill for the quarantine of all players, walking back from comments made by its chief executive, Craig Tiley, that the Victorian government would foot part of the bill for quarantining Australian Open players, coaches and officials.


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