Australia coronavirus news live: low-key new year celebrations as border closures cause chaos

Australia coronavirus news live: low-key new year celebrations as border closures cause chaos

Sydney and Melbourne city streets were largely deserted on New Year’s Eve, while Victoria prepares to close the border to NSW at midnight

9.29pm GMT

The trade minister, Dan Tehan, says Australia’s existing network of free trade agreements will deliver another round of tariff cuts from today.

Tehan has issued a New Year’s Day statement promoting the benefits that will flow to Australian farmers and export businesses when trade barriers are reduced.

Australian fresh or chilled beef exporters will benefit from further cuts to Canadian tariffs in 2021 under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The value of fresh or chilled beef exports to Canada increased by 92 per cent to reach $33 million in 2019-20.

Tariff reductions on Australian sheep and goat meat exports under our bilateral free trade agreement with Korea helped increase those exports by eight per cent, to reach $169 million in 2019-20. Starting today, tariffs on these products will be cut from 6.7 to 4.5 per cent.

9.19pm GMT

For anyone frustrated that La Niña means we don’t have as warm a New Year’s Day, at least it’s not -33C anywhere in Australia today.

VIDEO: Before plunging into Lake Baikal to ring in 2021, these Russians, endearingly called “walruses”, run several kilometres through #Siberia in swimsuits and holiday costumes, with temperatures hovering around -33 degrees C (-27 degrees F) pic.twitter.com/iPMIp5YZ2B

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