The global death toll from coronavirus has eclipsed one million people but Australia’s new case numbers remain low.
The number of worldwide cases throughout the nine-month pandemic has also topped 33.2 million.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said nobody wanted to see the grim milestones.
“It is a reminder that we are living in the midst of a global pandemic,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
“This is a pandemic that has been visited upon Australia from outside our shores and is one that has impacted on us greatly.”
Australia’s death toll has reached 882 after another seven deaths in Victoria.
The state recorded just 10 new coronavirus cases in yet another low set of daily numbers.
Mr Morrison congratulated Victorians for “flattening that curve for Australia once again”.
“I said Australia will not win until Victoria wins and I believe Victoria is now beginning to win,” the prime minister said.
“That’s good news for all Australians and we thank Victorians for their great sacrifice over these many months to ensure that Australia can move forward together.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt seized on the latest set of low numbers to implore the Victorian government to ease coronavirus restrictions. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg urged the state to reopen schools for all students.
NSW has recorded two new cases of coronavirus, both of whom were returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
The state has now gone four days without any locally acquired cases.
With community transmissions slowing considerably in Victoria and grinding to a halt elsewhere, Mr Hunt said the time was right to do away with state border restrictions.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan heeded his call, announcing the state’s hard border closures would be relaxed.
Residents of NSW and Victoria – who remain subject to tight exemption criteria – will be allowed to cross the border from October 5, provided they undergo quarantine.
The same restrictions apply to other states.
The prime minister has also flagged international travellers could soon be allowed to quarantine at home rather than spending two weeks in a hotel.
Ahead of next week’s federal budget, Mr Morrison has pledged $800 million for a package of measures to help individuals and businesses work online.
But days after cutting JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, he was quizzed about extra support for families still doing it tough.
There are fears cutting both supports by several hundred dollars per fortnight could leave people unable to pay their rent or mortgages out on the street.
Mr Morrison downplayed the prospect of a budget boost, saying both payments were transitioning as more people returned to work.
“People’s incomes, increasingly, will be supported by their jobs, not just by the taxpayer,” he said.
The prime minister said people on reduced JobKeeper subsidies could apply for the dole to top up their wages.
“JobSeeker is there to support and buttress what is otherwise happening with their income supports and so the two will work together,” he said.
Mr Morrison said people struggling to pay bills would get further income support.