New Zealand agrees to trans-Tasman bubble with Australia early next year, plus all the other news stories you need to know today.

New Zealand commits to a travel bubble with Australia by March, Jacinda Ardern confirms.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed a trans-Tasman bubble will open with Australia by the end of March 2021.

The NZ government has come under increasing pressure to restore pre-COVID travel arrangements, ending the need for a mandatory 14-day quarantine for international arrivals from Australia.

Quarantine-free travel will also require Australian government approval and COVID case numbers staying low, as they are now. 

Jacinda Ardern commits to trans-Tasman bubble by March. Image: Getty. 

Ardern said the NZ government would name a precise date "in the New Year once remaining details are locked down".

New Zealand has also agreed to start a bubble with the Cook Islands, which has not had a single case of COVID-19, within the same timeframe.

Ms Ardern said one-way travel from the Cooks to New Zealand would come before any opening to Australia.

'Cyclone' warnings as wild weather continues to hit QLD, NSW.

Wild 'cyclone-like' weather is set to continue to pummel parts of southeast Queensland and northern NSW for several days, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. 

The BOM on Sunday warned that wild weather affecting northern NSW was building up, with heavy rain, damaging winds, potentially serious flooding and dangerous surf conditions expected.

It said heavy rainfall over Leycester Creek and Wilsons River from Friday to Sunday had caused significant rises in river levels. 


Moderate flooding is expected in Lismore on Monday and into Tuesday.

Heavy rainfall is also expected to become severe again over parts of the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers from Sunday night into Monday morning. 

The SES has had over 700 call outs since this extreme weather event began at the end of last week.

"Rainfall rates could be locally enhanced with thunderstorms, leading to the possibility of very heavy rainfall and dangerous flash flooding," the BOM said.

"At this stage, the widespread heavy rainfall is expected to ease late Tuesday or early Wednesday. 

"Thunderstorms may still produce localised heavy falls that may lead to flash flooding during Wednesday."


The BOM also warned damaging winds averaging 60-70km/h were likely along NSW's coastal fringe from Yamba to as far south as Crescent Head on Monday. 

NSW hits nine days without new local COVID case, Victoria surpasses 44 days.

NSW has recorded a ninth straight day without a local COVID-19 case and removed the final restrictions for South Australians entering the state.

The zero locally-acquired infections in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday were accompanied by three cases found in returned travellers in NSW hotel quarantine.

A hotel quarantine cleaner last week picked up the virus, after 26 days without a local case.

NSW Health also on Sunday again implored those in Batemans Bay and southwest Sydney to come forward for testing with even the mildest of symptoms after fragments of the coronavirus were found in sewage.

Victoria has recorded one new case of COVID-19 in its revamped hotel quarantine system but no new cases in the community.

The state has now reached 44 days without local COVID-19 transmission.

The hotel quarantine case is the sixth recorded COVID-19 case since the Victorian government resumed its hotel quarantine program earlier this week.

Five of those COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, from a total of 6233 tests.

Climate action calls spill onto Melbourne streets as UN calls for countries to declare climate emergency.

Protesters calling for the declaration of a "climate emergency" have clashed with police in Melbourne amid news the federal government is unlikely to rely on "carry-over credits" to reach its 2030 Paris emissions reduction target.

Some activists glued and chained themselves to each other and the pavement on Saturday, before being arrested by officers carrying bolt-cutters.


Saturday's dramatic street scenes follow Prime Minister Scott Morrison's address to a Pacific Islands Forum overnight, during which he hinted the government could ditch the controversial plan to use Kyoto credits amassed before 2020.

Labor climate change spokesman Mark Butler on Saturday accused the government of misrepresenting the data, saying Australia was only on track for a 22 per cent reduction by 2030.

The forum comes days after the prime minister confirmed he would not speak at an online summit organised by the United Nations, the UK and France, a move Mr Butler said demonstrated Australia's "isolation" on climate policy.

The head of the United Nations has called on governments around the world to declare a state of climate emergency until net zero emissions are reached.

More than 70 nations were involved in the event, including China. Greenpeace Australia said it was embarrassing the prime minister wasn't speaking at the UN summit.

NSW father killed by a rip, while trying to rescue son. 

A man has died and his son is in hospital after they were pulled from the waters of a NSW Central Coast beach.

Emergency services were called to Frazer Beach at about 1.30pm on Sunday after bystanders and a recreational boater pulled the two unconscious men from the water.


It is reported the father, 55, had tried to rescue his son, 20, when he got caught in the strong undercurrent.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Phil Clark described the scene as “devastating”.

Family mourn mother-of-two who fell to her death in the Grampians National Park.

Rosy Loomba's husband and two young sons watched their mother and wife plunge 80 metres to her death at a Victorian lookout over the weekend, after she climbed a safety barrier and slipped.

The 38-year-old was visiting the Grampians National Park in Victoria when she fell from the Boroka Lookout, near Halls Gap, about 3pm on Saturday. 

She died at the scene, with her family describing her as a "good life partner and best mum," as told to the Herald Sun.

It took emergency services more than six hours to get to and retrieve her body.

Local authorities had been nervous in recent months and years at the more daring Instagram photos taken at the popular tourist spot, fearing they would end in death.

Murder charge after NSW servo stabbing.

A man has been charged with murder after another man was fatally stabbed at a Newcastle service station while walking his daughter's dog.


24-year-old Zack Mavin is accused of first threatening a Shortland service station employee with a knife shortly after 8pm on Saturday.

He then allegedly ran to a second petrol station on the same road and argued there with a 54-year-old man who was walking his dog.

Robert 'Bob' Palmer was allegedly stabbed in the stomach and died at the scene.

The 24-year-old was later arrested at a nearby home after being tasered by officers. He was formally refused bail on Sunday.

30 arrested in clashes after Trump rallies.

Presidential loyalists skirmished with anti-Donald Trump demonstrators over the weekend in Washington, leading to dozens of arrests, several stabbings and injuries to police officers.

The disturbances came hours after rallies in support of Trump's baseless claims that he won a second term as President.

Police in the District of Columbia said they arrested nearly 30 people for a variety of offences, from assault to weapons possession and resisting arrests and rioting. 


The violence had broken out after sundown on Saturday.

Four men were stabbed around 10 pm after a fight downtown, police said. Eight police officers were also injured during the demonstrations, officials said.

The earlier rallies of mostly unmasked Trump loyalists were intended as a show of force just two days before the Electoral College meets to formally elect Democrat Joe Biden as the 46th president. 

Huge COVID vaccine push launched in US.

The first shipments of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine have left a factory in Michigan on a convoy of semi trucks, kicking off an historic effort to stop a surging pandemic that is claiming more than 2,400 lives a day in the United States.

Mask-wearing workers at a Pfizer factory in Michigan began packing the first shipments of its vaccine in dry ice early on Sunday.

Three trucks carrying pallets of boxed, refrigerated vaccines rolled away from the Kalamazoo facility at 8:29 am, escorted by body armour-clad security officers in a pickup truck and a SUV.

The United States expects to immunise 100 million people, or about 30 per cent of its population, by the end of March, US Operation Warp Speed chief adviser Dr Moncef Slaoui said in an interview with Fox News.

Workers clapped and whistled as the first boxes headed to the trucks. 


The long-awaited moment comes as the US death toll was approaching 300,000 and infections and hospitalisations set daily records. 

Brexit talks expected to push to 11th hour.

London and Brussels are expected to agree to more talks on an elusive trade agreement, but have a long way to go to avert a turbulent "no deal" exit for Britain from the European Union's orbit on December 31, EU sources say.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the president of the EU's executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave negotiators a Sunday deadline to find a way to resolve an impasse on arrangements that would guarantee Britain zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the EU's single market.

Johnson and von der Leyen would be in touch on Sunday and EU sources said a statement was expected about 1130 GMT (2230 AEDT) on whether to abandon the negotiations or keep trying for an 11th-hour deal.

Both said on Friday that a "no deal" was now the most likely outcome but EU sources said on Sunday they expected efforts to continue.

Around the world.

- More than 300 boys taken on Friday night from a school in Nigeria by gunmen, remain missing.

- American country music legend Charley Pride and Steel Magnolias actress Carol Sutton have both died of complications from COVID-19.  

- A single event in Boston has been linked to up to 300,000 coronavirus cases across the US and even some in Australia, according to scientists.  

- With AAP

Feature image: BOM Twitter/ Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post/Mick Tsikas-Pool/Getty.