Can the Australian property downturn be worse

Sports International border closings bring Australian companies to the brink of collapse

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Companies . Passengers at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito: is the plane going to Europe? When rumors of imminent border closings began to circulate at the end of last week, hectic attempts to get hold of a flight to Germany began.

Look up the definition, spelling, synonyms and grammar of 'Rand' in Duden online. stand on the edge of a ravine. 〈In a figurative sense:〉 bring someone to the edge of madness, ruin (make someone almost mad, almost ruin).

© Provided by ABC Health Roni Law has granted "farewell cuts" to its clients, many from China who are choosing to return home. (ABC News: Jack Fisher)

While the Australian economy was in the black this week, some recovery is still a long way off.

Many companies still affected by international border closings are now staring at a two-pronged downturn.

As international tourism virtually grinds to a halt, companies relying on travelers and students from China fear the worst now as Beijing-Canberra relations hit a new low.

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Since November 8th, the federal government has introduced a digital entry registration for returnees from risk areas, and the federal states are also issuing new quarantine rules. These are all expected to adhere to the federal government's model quarantine regulation

At Roni Law's hair salon in Sydney, "goodbye cuts" have become the norm as customers, many from China, return home while others are stuck overseas.

"We ask them when you're coming back. They say: I don't know, maybe not. I have a conversation like this every day," she says. The hair salon of

Ms Law, Luve Hair Spa, is located in what was once bustling Chinatown in Haymarket.

It is based on the steady influx of international students in and out of the country.

While many are trapped overseas, others stuck in Australia are fed up with the high cost of living and no clear timetable for getting back to study on campus.

"They waited too long [for the universities to reopen] so they decided to go home now," said Ms. Law.

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The pandemic has hit Ms. Law's business with a 90 percent drop in sales - and with international borders expected to not fully open until next year, she is panicking.

"There aren't enough customers for the business, and the rent is really high - we're really struggling with that," says Ms. Law.

Tourist areas like Chinatown - popular with travelers and international students - are hardest hit.

"You can just stay open and hope for more business, but there's no one in Chinatown ... what more can we do?" Ms. Law says.

The relaxation of international travel restrictions is still a long way off

News that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be launched in the UK next week. The Malaysian restaurant Kopitiam Cafe by

Peter Chan in Sydney is one of many who depend on open international borders.

The threat of government shutdown looms amid delays in spending votes.

Senate leaders are trying to resolve last-minute objections to two must-pass bills that could trigger a brief government shutdown, even if struggling to get critical deals, new pandemic stimulus and a large government funding package before the end of the year. © Alex Wong / Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) takes the elevator as he arrives on November 13.

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"I hope it's good news that the vaccine comes through, everyone will try. After one push, you can go overseas and enjoy life," says Chan. However, with Health Secretary Greg Hunt confirming Australia won't see its first bumps until March, the opening may not come soon enough. "Before [COVID] we were still happy and smiling and we can survive, since COVID came in business has been in decline," says Chan. In the meantime, Ms. Law is asking the government to ease travel restrictions faster. "We should protect our country, but it's way too long and nobody knows when the border will open," she says. Ms. Law says she is grateful for the government's financial relief, but both fear their businesses may not survive if it doesn't return to normal soon. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government did everything possible to support businesses. "There are parts of the economy and sectors of the economy, be it because international borders are closed or because other health-related restrictions are still making it difficult. That is why our economic support has to be there," he said this week.

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, Wyoming, claimed Thursday that Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul is holding back the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from passing the 2021 annual budget for the Department of Defense. © Greg Nash-Pool / Getty Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said Thursday that the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 set "a very dangerous precedent".

"Again, $ 128 million in support of people in the travel agency sector, small businesses who have had some tough times due to the limitations of our international borders, and this, in turn, is designed to build that bridge to the other side." of states have also introduced grants and stimulus measures to help sectors affected by COVID-19. The NSW government

Free $ 100 for food and entertainment for every adult from this month through early 2021. cost the government $ 500 million.

Earlier this year the Victorian government gave up

announced that it is investing $ 3 billion in cash grants, tax breaks, and cash flow support to help businesses affected by ongoing restrictions. Rumors fuel real estate downturn as relationships are sour.

Short-term rents and overseas property investments have fallen in some cities in Melbourne's eastern suburb of Box Hill, according to some companies. According to Lauren Chen, executive director of Austrump Real Estate, her business is currently around 20 percent of prepandemic levels.

Could Trump's troop withdrawal from Afghanistan trigger a government shutdown?

Senator Rand Paul's objection to provisions in the annual defense policy bill, which he claims will make it harder for the president to reduce US troops in Afghanistan, has increased the possibility of the government being shut down. © SAUL LOEB / Getty Images Senator Rand Paul is pictured on November 10, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

"From 2016 to 2017, we sold around 400 to 500 properties a year - but this year the number is very small, [we have] sold less than 100 properties," she says. And as a sign of how feverish China-Australia relations have become, rumors are circulating among Chinese buyers that the Australian government may target them. "The most interesting thing I saw is that if the Australian government realizes that you are an overseas buyer, they can seize your property right away," says Ms. Chen. "I was shocked to hear such unfounded gossip." The short-term rents of international students have also dried up. Ironfish Real Estate executive director Christine Tao says while long-term leasing has weathered the storm, many apartments in the CBD are empty with no short-term stays. "The biggest impact is of course the short-term rent because tourists and not can come to Melbourne ... but I think once the country opens and the border opens, the recovery should be pretty quick," she says.

Australia looks to 2021 with confidence

At the moment the waiting game continues, but for many the patience is waning. "The only thing that keeps me going is sitting around here, doing a little work, looking around and seeing what's going on," says Chan. He's been in business for 24 years and this year was like no other. and

Even as international students start to push back, Ms. Law laments the lack of urgency to allow students to return to Australia.

"If the government were to consider bringing these students back to Sydney now, it would be a really big help to the company and Chinatown," she says.

Rand Paul railed against COVID relief plans, called for the economy to reopen.
Republican Senator Rand Paul said the US should "stop borrowing" and railed against plans for additional COVID-19 relief funds as business stimulus talks picked up on Capitol Hill in the holiday season. © Greg Nash-Pool / AFP via Getty Images Rand Paul (R-KY) asks questions about election security and the 2020 election process during a hearing on December 16, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.