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Around the world about 200 Covid-19 candidate vaccines are being developed, with more than 40 in human clinical trial stage. The Australian government has agreements to secure four of the most promising vaccines, and will roll them out if they prove to be safe and effective.

Here is an explainer on these four vaccine candidates:



Australia extends Homebuilder scheme until March

The Australian government is extending one of the measures it put in place to try and arrest the economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic – although at a reduced rate.

The Coalition government extended its Homebuilder scheme until March – when its main stimulus measures, the wage subsidy jobkeeper and the additional Covid supplement to the unemployment benefit, jobseeker, are also due to expire.

The renewed Homebuilder scheme aims to provide a boost to the construction industry, with eligible home builders entitled to a $15,000 grant towards the cost of the build. That’s reduced from $25,000 from when the scheme was first launched earlier this year, but the cap for eligible homes has increased. The three-month extension is expected to see an additional 15,000 homes built on top of the 27,000 homes predicted to be supported by the scheme.

House construction is down in Australia; while 170,000 new homes were built in the last financial year, the Treasury predicts, even with the government scheme, only 140,000 homes will be constructed in the current financial year.