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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Caitlin Cassidy

Dominic Perrottet urges people in NSW to stay out of flood water – as it happened

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet and NSW minister for emergency services Steph Cooke during a visit to the Hawkesbury SES unit at Wilberforce north-west of Sydney.
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet and NSW minister for emergency services Steph Cooke during a visit to the Hawkesbury SES unit at Wilberforce north-west of Sydney. Photograph: Gaye Gerard/AAP

That’s it for today, thanks for reading

Here are the main stories on Saturday, 8 October:

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday, and we hope to see all of you back here tomorrow.

And the rainfall “winner” is …

Thought it was worth taking a poke about the Bureau of Meteorology rainfall data from 9am to 5pm in NSW to see which weather station came out on top. And the winner was (drumroll please):

Mangrove Mountain in the Hunter with 37.8mm, followed by Trangie in the central west with 33.8mm and Bourke in western NSW with 33.6mm (weather stations that have not been recently updated not included).

The Hawkesbury River in Windsor on Friday.
The Hawkesbury River in Windsor on Friday. Photograph: Jane Dempster/AAP


The folks at AAP have this update on a shooting in Brisbane:

Police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Brisbane.
Police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Brisbane. Photograph: Darren England/AAP


Ok so this is obviously not strictly Australia news but the pictures in this piece are really worth a look:

Speaking of Andrew Thorburn and Essendon, this is also a good piece that we recently published:

NZ whale beaching

About 250 pilot whales have beached on Chatham Island, according to reports.

The mass stranding at the island east of New Zealand comes less than a month after a similar event involving more than 200 whales in Tasmania.

Stuff reported that the NZ department of conservation had been informed of the stranding, which had occurred before in the region.


Andrew Hastie weighs in on Andrew Thorburn

Coalition MP Andrew Hastie, who was caught up in scraps about Christianity before he even entered parliament, has weighed in on the Andrew Thorburn saga.

The shadow defence minister launched a passionate defence of the ousted Essendon football club chief executive, seemingly comparing Thorburn to the “many Christians [who] have died rather than submit to the will of tyrants”.

The email that started with the line “I love Australia” was sent to those on his MP mailing list last night. Hastie said:

I’ve always thought that our country is big and strong enough to be a home for people from all ethnicities, creeds and religions.

Our strength comes from our diversity.

Whether you’re Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, secular or Christian – I respect your freedom to live consistently with your conscience and beliefs.

He went on to say:

On Andrew Thorburn’s untimely departure from Essendon, I stand with him.

In doing so, I affirm the oldest historical creed of Christianity—the Apostle’s Creed.

Over the past few days, many critics – especially in the media – have demanded Christians like Mr Thorburn conform their beliefs to the ideology of the present age.

But the Apostle’s Creed is a statement of belief that has come down to us through the millennia, uniting Christians of all nations and denominations.

Many Christians have died rather than submit to the will of tyrants.

You can read an excellent feature on Thorburn and Essendon here:


‘Be careful on the roads’: Perrottet on people attending Bathurst 1000

Just to wrap up that press conference, Perrottet had this to say about the thousands of people who are attending the Bathurst 1000 car race:

The main message I would say is please be careful on the roads. We will have lots of people in Bathurst tomorrow, many people leaving at the same time and it isn’t just simply heavy rainfall.

To those people at Bathurst, and right across the state, please be careful on the roads. Look out for each other and that is the … Australian way, that’s what has got us through natural disasters in the past.


Driving through flood water: ‘You do not know’

In relation to the flood rescues, York said:

Sometimes people take a choice and think that their vehicle is able to get there a flooded road and that is very dangerous decision to make because you do not know the state of the road or damages underneath the water and you don’t know how deep it is.

Sometimes through just the heavy rains coming in a confined area they get caught between areas and the need to be rescued.

Sometimes the flood rescues have been medical assistance getting ambulance officers into help with the community.

It is important if you are cut off, we are having a number of townships that have been cut off, but isolated farms that you stock up with provisions while you can. So that you take the pressure of emergency services having to resupply and that you are able to be safe if you are on higher ground in your premises with enough provisions as well. As well as medication. It is important for the community to prepare.


Six flood rescues in 24 hours

The NSW SES commissioner, Carlene York, says that in the past 24 hours, the service has received more than 330 calls for assistance and had to perform six flood rescues.


Rainfall to ease

The Bureau of Meteorology NSW manager of weather services, Jane Golding, says “the good news is that this system is moving through very quickly” and that she expects rainfalls to ease around midnight.


Steph Cooke, the minister for emergency services, says the main areas of concern for the SES include Wagga Wagga, Forbes, Warren, Gunnedah and Bathurst.

Dominic Perrottet warns of flood risks across NSW

Perrottet says there are 63 flood warnings current across the state:

The best thing that we can do, as a state and as a people, is to continue to follow those instructions, be careful on the roads, don’t drive through floodwaters and just be aware of the challenging circumstances that are in front of us. As I said earlier, don’t let your past experience guide the present situation.

We do have rivers, we do have dams that are completely at capacity, so it doesn’t necessarily take heavy rainfall to create flash flooding across our state. Be cautious on the roads, be cautious right across our state, and I just want to finish by thinking, particularly the SES, but all of our volunteer organisations for everything they do over what will continue to be a very difficult weekend for our people here in New South Wales.

Lastly, again, if it is flooded, forget it. Please don’t drive through floodwaters. Don’t put your life at risk, your family at risk, or our volunteers at risk as well.


The NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, is speaking in Sydney with the emergency services minister and representatives from the SES and Bureau of Meteorology about flooding in the state.


With that, I will pass you into the extremely capable hands of Nino Bucci.

Enjoy the rest of your weekends, and stay dry.

Bathurst 1000 race goers battle the mud

Race goers in the central tablelands are riding out muddy, wet conditions today at the 2022 Bathurst 1000.

The nearby Macquarie River has been rising since Friday – expected to reach major levels at Warren late Saturday evening.

A muddy campground at the 2022 Bathurst 1000.
A muddy campground at the 2022 Bathurst 1000. Photograph: Murray Mccloskey/AAP
Race goers at their campsite in rainy conditions at the 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000.
Race goers at their campsite. Photograph: Murray Mccloskey/AAP


Reproductive rights march in Melbourne

In Melbourne, protestors including the Reason Party and Victorian Socialists are gathering in support of reproductive rights.

The rally is in opposition to MP for the Western Metropolitan region Bernie Finn’s annual anti-abortion March for Babies.

Safe Schools founder and Victorian Socialists candidate Roz Ward is speaking alongside rally chair Liz Walsh and Emma Sinclair, candidates for the Western Metropolitan region.


Barwon River warning

In Victoria, a flood warning has been issued for the Barwon River.

Minor flooding is possible in Geelong from this evening.

The BoM:

The Barwon River at Geelong is currently at 1.70 metres and rising, below the minor flood level. The Barwon River at Geelong may reach the minor flood level (2.30 metres) Saturday evening. The river level may peak near 2.40 metres Sunday morning.


Western NSW in flood

Many areas are already flooding:


'Major flooding is already occurring' in NSW, BoM says

The Bureau of Meteorology has released an update on the flood risk that continues across New South Wales and southern Queensland following days of rain and thunderstorms.

Another system of rain and thunderstorms is developing across New South Wales and southern Queensland today, bringing moderate to heavy rainfall.

Districts likely to see the most rain today in New South Wales include the Southern Tablelands, Central Tablelands, Central West Slopes and Plains, Northwest Slopes and Plains, and coastal areas between Ulladulla and Newcastle.

In Queensland, the most rain is expected in the Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Central West districts.

The BoM said as rivers rose there was “significant risk” of inland flooding in NSW.

Major flooding is already occurring at Macquarie and Lachlan rivers.

Numerous flood watches have been issued for renewed flooding across both inland and central coastal regions of New South Wales, including major flooding for the following catchments:

  • Gwydir River, Namoi River

  • Macquarie, Belubula River, Mandagery Creek

  • Bogan River, Lachlan River

  • Wollombi Brook, Lower Hunter River, Colo River

Many more catchments are listed for minor to moderate flooding, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system. The rain is expected to ease significantly by Sunday afternoon before moving offshore Sunday evening.


Boy, 11, dies after getting caught in rip current

A boy has died on the south coast of New South Wales after getting caught in a rip.

The 11-year-old was swimming at Murramarang beach in Bawley Point when he became stuck. Just after 1.20 pm Friday, emergency services were called and retrieved him from the water about an hour later.

He was taken to Batemans Bay hospital in a critical condition but died shortly afterwards.

A report will be prepared for the coroner, with inquiries under way into circumstances surrounding his passing.


Two recovering from shark bites

A man attacked by a shark in Port Hedland on Friday remains in a stable condition, while the victim of another attack in Victoria is also reportedly on the mend.

On Friday morning, a man in his 30s was bitten by an unconfirmed species of shark and almost had his arm severed while spearfishing offshore from Port Hedland. He remained in a stable condition on Saturday.

The previous day, a well-known local surfer was reportedly attacked at Nuns beach in Portland, on Victoria’s south-west coast. The Herald Sun reported on Saturday that the 17-year-old had since had surgery after suffering nasty gashes on his foot.


Victoria to act on dangerous goods

The Victorian government is updating the state’s dangerous goods laws after two devastating fires caused by the illegal stockpiling of chemical waste.

The minister for workplace safety, Ingrid Stitt, released the government’s response to the independent review of the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 today.

The review was conducted in response to the two catastrophic fires in 2018 and 2019, which caused significant environmental contamination and a more than $100m clean up bill.

The review makes 49 recommendations. The government supports 22 of them in full, 15 in principle, says it will undertake further consideration of 11 recommendations and has noted one.

Stitt said dangerous goods laws would be updated to be clearer and improve compliance, better aligning them with the state’s occupational health and safety legislation.

The government’s response and the review can be found on the Engage Victoria website.

This fire at a factory in 2019 was one of two blazes that prompted the review.
This fire at a factory in 2019 was one of two blazes that prompted the review. Photograph: AAP


Flood warnings in NSW and Victoria

A flood warning has been issued for Castlereagh River at Mendooran, 75 km from Dubbo.

Victoria isn’t out of the woods, either. More than 20 requests for assistance have been attended to by the SES in the past 24 hours.


It’s about to get very wet across much of NSW

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting isolated six-hour falls above 70mm in parts of New South Wales as a surface trough draws humid, tropical air over the state.

The BoM:

A low pressure centre is expected to deepen within the trough today and then cross the coast late today or early Sunday, before quickly moving well offshore during Sunday morning.

Heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding may develop about the Central Tablelands, Hunter and Metropolitan districts from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. Six-hourly rainfall totals between 30 to 50 mm are likely, with isolated falls above 70mm possible. Thunderstorm activity in the warning area may also bring isolated heavy rainfall during the afternoon and evening.

Damaging winds, averaging 60 to 70km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90km/h may develop along coastal parts of the Illawarra, Metropolitan and Hunter as the low moves off the coast late on Saturday and early Sunday morning.

Heavy rainfall is expected to ease by early Sunday morning, with winds weakening by late Sunday morning as the low moves away.


Flooding on the Namoi

A flood warning has been issued for the Namoi River in the northern tablelands, where the main flood peak has moved to Goangra.

Minor flooding is slowly easing at Bugilbone.

The BoM:

Further rainfall is forecast for the remainder of Saturday through to Sunday, which may lead to further river level rises and flooding along the Namoi River.

The Namoi River at Bugilbone is currently at 5.07 metres and falling, with minor flooding. Renewed rises are possible with forecast rainfall.

The Namoi River at Goangra is currently steady around 7.40 metres, with moderate flooding. Renewed rises are possible with forecast rainfall.


The Dubbo blowhole?

Amid the wild weather, Dubbo is putting on quite a show.


Warnings of renewed flooding for NSW

In New South Wales, flood warnings are in place for the Nepean, Hawkesbury, Namoi, Macquarie, Bogan, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Edward, Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara, Warrego, Paroo, Barwon, Darling and Macintyre Rivers.

There are seven catchments issued with flood warnings in Queensland including the lower Macintyre and Weir rivers in the Border Rivers, the Bokhara River in the lower Balonne River system, and the Paroo, Bulloo, and Barcoo Rivers and Cooper Creek.

The BoM:

Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are forecast for much of New South Wales for the remainder of Friday through to the weekend. This is likely to cause renewed flooding in the New South Wales inland rivers and the Hunter, Shoalhaven and Greater Sydney districts.

Renewed major flooding is possible for the Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie, Belubula, Lachlan and Bogan Rivers and Mandagery Creek from Friday into the weekend. Minor to moderate flooding is possible for many other inland river catchments in the flood watch areas, many of which have experienced flooding due to previous rainfall in recent months.

Major flooding is also possible for the Lower Hunter and Colo Rivers and Wollombi Brook over the weekend. Other coastal catchments in the Hunter, Shoalhaven and Greater Sydney districts may see minor to moderate flooding from Saturday.


Woman dies after car ploughs through Sydney home

A woman has died after a vehicle ploughed through a home in Sydney’s west, AAP reports.

The woman was in the house in St Marys along with three other people when the crash happened about 5.20am on Saturday.

Police and paramedics tried to save the 50-year-old but she died at the scene.

The three other people in the house were uninjured.

After the crash, police stopped the driver who allegedly ran from the scene with her baby. The pair were uninjured.

The woman was arrested and taken to Nepean hospital to undergo mandatory testing.

Police urge anyone with information or video of the incident to come forward.


On this day:

Nick Kyrgios pulls out of Japan Open with knee injury

Nick Kyrgios believes his “heartbreaking” call to pull out of the Japan Open could also have been a smart one by gifting him a restful launch pad for a powerful European finish to his breakthrough season, AAP reports.

Australia’s Wimbledon finalist sacrificed a crack at two titles in Tokyo when ominous twinges in his knee persuaded him to pull out just minutes before he was due to take on American Taylor Fritz in Friday’s quarter-finals.

It meant he also had to abandon his doubles semi-final alongside his fellow Australian pal Thanasi Kokkinakis, putting an end to what had been a successful week in which a second singles title of the year had looked his for the taking.

Instead, the 27-year-old has had to fly home to Australia to rest his vulnerable left knee which has often caused him problems.

Obviously very disappointing, it’s one of my favourite tournaments, I’ve had great memories here,” said Kyrgios, who had the previous day been enthusing about what a tremendous week he’d enjoyed with his team in the Japanese capital. “But pulling out is the smart option for my body. I’ve got a couple of events left in the year and I want to do well in them, so I have to be smart.”

Kyrgios plans to play the ATP 500 Basel Open at the end of October and has also set his sights on one of the season’s big prizes the following week at the Paris Masters in Bercy.

The Canberra maverick has played consistently well in a campaign during which he’s begun to fulfil expectations and hasn’t apparently been distracted by off-court controversies. So his season could yet end as it started, with a major doubles triumph alongside Kokkinakis.

The “Special Ks” won the Australian Open together in January and could lift the end-of-season ATP finals trophy in November if all goes well.


‘Many more’ flooding events expected in coming months: NSW SES

Storey warned despite blue skies in some areas this morning, heavy rain will set in from the afternoon through to tomorrow.

That heavy rain coming on top of saturated soils and catchments and dams that are already full and overflowing [we] can really see that flooding risk escalate really, really quickly. Not only riverine flooding risk, which we’re monitoring closely, but that flash flooding risk, in particular. A lot of roads may see flash flooding affecting them very, very quickly and catching people unawares.

He said with above average rainfall forecast through spring and summer, residents should expect “many more” flooding events in coming days and weeks.

There is definitely a flood fatigue situation across many, many parts of the state. And in particular in the west and the south of the state as well, who have been experiencing major flooding now for what feels like the best part of a year. Many areas in the west and south are still subject to major flooding as we speak, and with the heavy rains continuing in those areas in the coming days, that’s going to exacerbate that risk.

Unfortunately, the bureau’s forecasting an above-average rainfall storm and flood season, so we’re probably gonna see many more events like this over the coming months.


NSW SES urges drivers to monitor flood warnings

New South Wales SES assistant commissioner Dean Storey is appearing on ABC News, urging drivers returning home from school holidays and weekend trips to monitor flood warnings.

With the expected heavy rainfall impacting the Hunter, Greater Sydney, and Illawarra over the next sort of 24 hours, so our key focus is on that flash flooding risk in those areas.

If you are in those affected areas or travelling through those affected areas, monitor those conditions and never drive through floodwaters. A lot of roads are already flooded in many parts of the state and will be flooded in the coming 24 hours. So, make those smart decisions for yourselves and your families. And the smartest decision you can make is to never drive through those floodwaters.


Rise in respiratory viruses among kids

Emergency rooms across Australia have been inundated with children struggling to breathe – and it’s not because of Covid-19, AAP reports.

Respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus and influenza, have been hitting kids more frequently and in patterns not before seen.

According to Perth paediatrician Asha Bowen, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are experiencing a peak in RSV cases – something that would usually happen in June. But during the pandemic, RSV surprisingly peaked nationally in January and February.

For RSV to climax in September and October, it gives hope that things are moving back to normal and towards the depths of winter – but it’s anyone’s guess if that is actually going to happen, Bowen said.

Normally we see RSV and then influenza and then the other spring viruses like rhinovirus, metapneumovirus and others. But there has been no sort of usual pattern this year … they are cropping up whenever now and maybe it is because Covid has left them room. We found Covid had its peak nationwide in January and February and then the other viruses came.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians president and paediatrician Jacqueline Small said it had been a tough winter for all but especially children.

Now we’ve entered spring, we’re hoping for a reprieve from the volume of viruses circulating in the community. We must remain vigilant and remember we can always do more to protect ourselves and our children, such as keeping up good hygiene and staying home if you’re sick.

The number of people presenting to emergency departments with respiratory illnesses other than Covid-19 and asthma increased over the winter months, with children under five making up an increased proportion.

Medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Monash Health, Professor Rhonda Stuart, said everyone was catching up on viruses they didn’t get during the pandemic. There was hardly any influenza and very few other respiratory viruses in 2020 and 2021.

It’s not necessarily immunity. These viruses often like to transmit in the winter because we’re all indoors and we don’t physically separate so much, and it’s much easier to transmit during the winter months. But as spring comes and the doors open, and we have good ventilation, and people are outdoors, respiratory viruses and Covid won’t transmit nearly as easily.


Sarah Hanson-Young calls for increased funding for native animals at risk of extinction

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young is fronting the opening of the Southern Koala and Echidna Rescue in South Australia today.

The community funded rehabilitation centre will provide care for injured, sick and displaced native wildlife in Adelaide’s southern suburbs and Fleurieu region.

Young will use her speech to call for increased funding to native animals at threat of extinction.

The environment minister this week committed just $224.5m over four years to stop extinction, which experts say will actually cost $2bn a year. The federal government needs to commit much more money to saving our precious wildlife.

We have seen here in South Australia the devastation on our environment from the climate crisis with horrific bushfires killing and injuring wildlife and every summer we see the images of koalas searching for water in extreme heat. This budget will be a test for the new government. If they actually want to save our wildlife from extinction they will put more money where their mouth is.


For Eurovision fans, Liverpool in the UK has been chosen to host the contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine.

It should be an emotional event.


Perhaps you’ve got to be old, like me, to understand just how weird it is for the former federal finance minister Nick Minchin to be booed at a conference of self-styled conservatives for not being rightwing enough.

Minchin is a Howard-era small government rightwinger who made an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Australia conference last weekend. His mistake was to tell attendees the Liberal party didn’t need much changing. Sustained booing ensued.

Minchin suggested everyone calm down. People ignored him. Minchin noted he’d “fought every conservative fight in the Liberal party for 30 years”. Pain persisted. Minchin then told the audience he was not “going to take any rubbish from you” having been in the “trenches” for decades.

There are 62 flood warnings active across much of New South Wales following record rainfall in Sydney.

Introducing Ben Roberts-Smith v the media

Over at Full Story, our daily podcast, an excerpt of an upcoming series has been released this morning in a rare Saturday episode.

Australia’s most decorated living soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith, is suing three of the country’s most trusted newspapers for defamation over articles he says falsely accuse him of war crimes.

Whatever the outcome, the ramifications will be immense for public interest journalism, Australia’s military and the man venerated as a modern-day war hero.

The first episode will be released in full on 17 October.


Possible landslides forecast for NSW amid widespread flooding

A significant band of rain is bringing heavy showers, thunderstorms and strong gusts across NSW as widespread flooding continues and forecasters warn of possible landslides, AAP reports.

A trough tracking over NSW towards the coast was developing on Saturday and was likely to bring intense rainfall and the risk of flash flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Helen Kirkup said on Friday.

Six hourly rainfall totals of 30-50mm are predicted in the Central Tablelands, the Hunter region and metropolitan Sydney, with isolated areas expected to receive up to 70mm.

After a soggy week in NSW, heavy falls on already saturated grounds would heighten the risk of landslides and debris falling across roads, Kirkup said.

While the worst of the weather is forecast for Sydney, the Hunter region and the Central Tablelands, other areas can also expect rain. The system is expected to blanket the state, with widespread showers forecast from the mid-north coast to the southern end of the state.

Damaging winds are forecast through the Sydney metropolitan and Illawarra coast on Saturday through to Sunday morning, with winds of 60-70km/h and peak gusts of more than 90km/h.

Campers at the Bathurst 1000 have been warned of muddy, stormy and potentially dangerous conditions, with heavy falls predicted across Mount Panorama on Saturday and Sunday.

Up to 100mm could fall on the tens of thousands of fans expected to attend, potentially leading to flooding along the Macquarie River in Bathurst.

As rain continues to soak much of NSW, and flood peaks flow down already swollen rivers, the bureau has warned of a widespread risk of significant riverine flooding for multiple inland catchments. Major flooding is occurring along the Macquarie, Darling, Culgoa and Lachlan rivers.

Renewed flooding is a risk at inland and coastal catchments including the Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie and Belubula rivers, Mandagery Creek, the Lachlan and Bogan rivers, Colo River, Wollombi Brook and Lower Hunter rivers.


Good morning

New South Wales is bracing for another day of heavy rainfall and flooding with widespread falls expected to hit much of the state, Victoria and Tasmania over the weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned “extensive and significant riverine flooding” was likely for many inland catchments due to saturated soils and dams at capacity, leading to landslides and renewed river rises.

Major flooding is already occurring across the Macquarie, Darling, Culgoa and Lachlan rivers, while numerous flood watches have been issued across inland and central coastal parts of NSW.

In Sydney’s inner west, the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) at Homebush has been activated ahead of the severe weather event.

Based at Rural Fire Service Headquarters, the hub of experts supports the State Emergency Services (SES) emergency response.

It’s Caitlin Cassidy here on the blog today, to guide you through today’s news. If you want to get in touch, you can Tweet me at @caitecassidy.

Let’s dive in.

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