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Australian government announces 1.2 billion AUD wage subsidy scheme for apprentices

CANBERRA, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Government has announced that it will subsidize the wages of trainees and apprentices in all industries to improve the employment prospects of young Australians.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday that the government would spend 1.2 billion Australian dollars (about 859 million U.S. dollars) over the next 12 months on the 50 percent wage subsidy.

He estimated that the scheme would create 100,000 new apprenticeship positions, accelerating Australia's economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

"Already 760,000 jobs that were either lost or reduced to zero hours as the COVID crisis hit, have come back into our economy. We want to continue to recover what has been lost and get young people into work," he said in a media release.

The government also said that the subsidy will be available to employers of any size or industry, Australia-wide who engage an Australian apprentice or trainee from Monday, Oct. 5, until the 100,000 cap is reached.

Treasurer Josh Frydenerg will on Tuesday night reveal the full federal budget for financial year 2020/2021 after it was delayed by about five months because of the pandemic.

Greg Hunt, the Minister for Health, on Sunday announced that the budget would include 230 million AUD (164.6 million USD) to subsidize treatments for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer with one of the lowest survival rates for any cancer.

As of Sunday afternoon there had been 27,136 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 14.

Of the new cases, Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, recorded 12 and one new death was also reported in the state. The national death toll has increased to 894.

"Today's death is linked to a known aged care facility outbreak. To date, 806 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria," said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Sunday.