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Australia news live: Mark Butler warns long Covid a ‘major health challenge’, ACCC to investigate energy prices

Watchdog to examine whether power companies are gaming the system; NSW and Queensland to hand down budgets. Follow all the day’s developments * Get our free news app; get our morning email briefing * Environment report Coalition didn’t release paints ‘damning story of neglect’, Tanya Plibersek says * Bid to ban new gas connections to homes to be launched by Victorian Greens * NSW government urged to act on rental crisis and social housing ahead of state budget Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who is due to hand down his first budget on 25 October, has spoken to Nine Newspapers, saying the government’s bottom line is being affected by higher than expected interest rates on outstanding debt. As interest rates on government debt rise to their highest levels in eight years, amid rising global inflation, could combine to derail any plans to bring the budget under control. After a wasted decade, the Liberals’ legacy is a trillion dollars of debt with not enough to show for it and now the cost of servicing all that Liberal debt is going up too. We’ve been upfront about the significant challenges in the economy and the additional pressures on the budget we’ve inherited, including the cost of rising bond yields. Continue reading...

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