Interstate borders open as flight bookings jump 134 per cent

Victoria has opened its borders to fully vaccinated people arriving from Sydney, who will no longer have to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test when they arrive.

But the rules will be different for people who are not fully vaccinated. They will have to isolate on arrival, get tested within 72 hours, and remain in isolation until they receive a negative result.

Greater Sydney is now an orange zone while the rest of the state is a green zone, although all NSW travellers will still need a permit.

NSW residents are celebrating their new-found interstate travel opportunities.

Virgin Australia said bookings for flights soared in the 24 hours after Victoria and Queensland signalled they would open their borders before Christmas, once vaccination thresholds were met.

Nearly half of all bookings were made for travel during December and January.

Queenslanders are being urged to get the vaccine quickly, if they want to be fully protected from COVID-19 when the state re-opens its borders.

The push comes as Australia closes in on its 70 per cent double-dose target for people aged 16 and over - which could be reached today.

More than 85 per cent of over-16s have received a first jab, leaving about three million people yet to roll up their sleeves.

Baird to front ICAC today

Former NSW Premier Mike Baird will front the state's corruption watchdog on Wednesday after two public servants testified his office had concerns about a grant at the centre of a probe into his successor Gladys Berejiklian.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian "exercised public functions" in a position of conflict given her secret five-year personal relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

Regional development grants went to cities

More than half of the federal government's regional development grants awarded since 2018 went to postcodes classified as major city areas.

They represented $624 million or 27 per cent of the total value of the grants from the start of 2018 until June 30 this year.

Going by grant value, $860 million or 37 per cent of the total funding was awarded to inner regional areas.

Areas classified as being outer regional received $521 million or 23 per cent of the money, while a combined eight per cent of the total grant value, or $161 million, was allocated to remote or very remote areas.

Rail workers on strike

Train commuters in NSW are being told to make other arrangements as rail workers strike over the lack of progress on a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Commuters on Sydney Trains and the NSW TrainLink Intercity network will have fewer services on Wednesday, with some running to a reduced timetable and others replaced with buses.

Queen declines 'Oldie of the Year' award; Kanye is Ye

The Queen may be 95 but she has turned down the Oldie of the Year trophy because she feels she does not meet the criteria, believing "you are only as old as you feel".

The monarch "politely but firmly" declined the award, but sent a message with her "warmest best wishes".

And finally, you might have heard this news overnight but US rapper Kanye West has won legal approval to officially shorten his name to Ye. Not Ye West. Just Ye.

- with Australian Associated Press

This story Interstate borders open as flight bookings jump 134 per cent first appeared on The Canberra Times.