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Victorian Labor IBAC inquiry continues; Building Better Regions Fund under scrutiny

An Australian rover is headed to the moon as part of a future NASA mission.

The Trailblazer program, backed by $50 million in federal government funding, is a part of the Moon to Mars initiative which launched in 2019.

The mission, which is expected to happen as early as 2026, will seek to collect lunar soils and attempt to extract oxygen from them.

In other space news, Star Trek actor William Shatner will blast off on Wednesday.

As one of four passengers selected for the flight by US billionaire Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin, Shatner, at age 90, is poised to become the oldest person ever to venture into space.

Government colour coding for regional grants

A Nationals backbencher has revealed colour-coded lists, only available to government MPs, were used in the latest round of the controversial $1.38 billion regional grants program.

Round five of the Building Better Regions Fund, worth $300 million, was announced on Friday, with Labor analysing where the money was politically spent and finding the infrastructure grants were overwhelmingly awarded (88 per cent) to Coalition-held and marginal seats.

Former Somyurek staffer to front IBAC

A former staffer to disgraced Labor party powerbroker Adem Somyurek is set to appear before a Victorian anti-corruption inquiry.

Adam Sullivan will give evidence at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission inquiry into allegations of branch stacking by Labor MPs and their staff on Wednesday.

Mr Sullivan worked for Mr Somyurek and his allies in Labor's moderate faction - federal member for Holt MP Anthony Byrne and state MP for Kororoit Marlene Kairouz.

Carbon tariff alarm as climate concern rises

Australia faces thousands of job losses and a multibillion-dollar economic hit if exports are slapped with carbon tariffs as a consequence of the Morrison government's climate policies, new research shows.

Senior Liberals and Nationals have long resisted ambitious emission reduction policies for fear it would cost jobs and industries.

But a new Climate Council report argues a lack of policy ambition could cause severe economic harm for Australia, through the introduction of carbon tariffs on products manufactured by those industries.

Pfizer takes steps towards vaccines for children

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has taken the first steps to have its COVID-19 vaccine approved in Australia for children aged five to 12.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt says there is still some work to be done for Pfizer to get the "double green light".

A Pfizer spokeswoman told AAP trial results had shown a favourable safety profile and robust antibody response for two doses of its vaccine.

The 'Happiest Man on Earth' has died

Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku has died in Sydney aged 101, a Jewish community leader says.

Mr Jaku last year published his best-selling memoir, "The Happiest Man on Earth".

"Eddie Jaku was a beacon of light and hope for not only our community, but the world," NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive officer Darren Bark said in a statement.

- with Australian Associated Press

This story Political controversies back in the headlines first appeared on The Canberra Times.