FROM AUSTRALIA - NEWS IN BRIEF

Thousands still without power in Sydney

Flood-affected farmers to receive upgraded grants from govt

Damage bill rises as floodwaters recede in Townsville

The Coalition pledges $19.4 million in an attempt to entice migrants to regional areas

More Support to Keep Children Safe Online

4000 New Commuter Car Spaces Ready For Northwest Metro Opening

Victoria to ban gay conversion therapy

'Voters can’t stomach hypocrisy'




Thousands still without power in Sydney

10 Feb 2019

Sydney- M E Times Int'l: Thousands of Sydney residents are still without electricity after an intense burst of thunderstorms caused widespread power outages.

Endeavour Energy on Saturday resumed work to restore power to a remaining 5700 properties which lost power on Friday evening.

"There are nearly 300 electrical hazards needing repairs particularly where trees and large branches have fallen across powerlines," a statement said.

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Nine people were rescued from floodwaters and more than 40,000 properties were without electricity after the storms across Sydney and the Illawarra and the Hunter regions.

Flash flooding in Parramatta and other parts of western Sydney turned intersections to lakes and led several drivers to ask the SES for help.

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Flood-affected farmers to receive upgraded grants from govt

Sydney: The Morrison and Palaszczuk governments have upgraded grants for residents affected by ‘devastating’ record-breaking flooding in parts of North Queensland to $75,000, up from $25,000. Speaking in Sydney, Scott Morrison says the relief grants will draw from $100 million in Commonwealth funds, with an additional $3 million to supplement the Queensland Government’s mental health services. Mr Morrison says hundreds of thousands of cattle are likely to have been lost in the flooding disaster, threatening locals’ ‘very livelihoods in the complete other direction’ after transitioning from drought to inundation. Anyone who may be feeling distressed can contact the following organisations for support.

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Damage bill rises as floodwaters recede in Townsville

Canberra:  The damage bill in the wake of the Townsville floods has risen to $80 million as residents work to clear debris from homes, with over 6500 claims lodged according to the Insurance Council of Australia. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visited affected areas commending the work of authorities and organisations assisting on the ground as well as demanding the government act swiftly to offer disaster relief. Authorities are warning residents to remain cautious in the clean-up effort with much of the mud contaminated with sewage.

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The Coalition pledges $19.4 million in an attempt to entice migrants to regional areas

Canberra: The Federal Government will try to get the states and territories to agree to a plan for population growth at a meeting of treasurers in Canberra, but some states are sceptical about the Coalition's commitment to delivering on its promises.

The meeting comes as the Coalition pledges $19.4 million in an attempt to entice migrants to regional areas, to address skill shortages outside the nation's capital cities.

Ahead of the meeting, Immigration Minister David Coleman will announce funding to spruik regional areas as an attractive location for skilled migrants to settle.

The cash pledge, over four years, includes expanding the use of designated area migration agreements (DAMAs), which lower the criteria for skills, language and income for migrant workers.

Such agreements have already been rolled out in the Northern Territory and the south coast of Victoria.

The Federal Government will also speed up processing of sponsored visas in regional areas.

"Our skilled visa programs are about supporting Australian businesses and creating opportunities for more Australians," Mr Coleman said.

"These regional initiatives will see the Department of Home Affairs work directly with regional employers and communities to attract migrants."

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More Support to Keep Children Safe Online

Canberra: The Morrison Government is today announcing further measures to support families and keep children safe online.

We are investing $10 million in a new Online Safety Grants Program to enable non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver practical online safety education and training projects.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of our Government’s top priorities was keeping our kids safe online.

“Every mum and dad, including me and Jen, worries about our kids when they go online.  It’s terrifying for parents,” the Prime Minister said.

“Jenny and I sit down with our girls and talk to them about being safe and responsible.

“We all have a role to play to ensure our children have the tools and information they need to stay safe whenever they are online.

“We’ve seen too many tragic cases of online abuse and bullying. This new suite of measures will help keep our children stay safe online and support parents, community leaders and teachers to do our bit.

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4000 New Commuter Car Spaces Ready For Northwest Metro Opening

Sydney: Thousands of new commuter car parking spaces have been completed along the Northwest Metro rail line, which will open to customers from Rouse Hill to Chatswood within months.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it is another major milestone on the $8.3 billion Metro project, which has only been made possible because of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s strong economic management.

“Sydney Metro will provide turn-up-and-go train services up to every two minutes and revolutionise the way we get around our great city,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“As part of the major investment we are providing 4000 new commuter car spaces to make it as easy as possible for commuters using the Metro.

“This is the first time 4000 new commuter spaces have been opened at once in Sydney and it is 1000 more than we originally proposed.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said all of the new commuter car parks will open at the same time as the Metro Northwest rail line.

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'Voters can’t stomach hypocrisy'

Sydney: Sky News host Peta Credlin says hypocrisy is the one thing in politics voters can’t stomach. Ms Credlin argues the Opposition on Friday embedded hypocrisy into the party after accusing the government of playing politics with a committee inquiry into Labor's plan to remove franking credits. Ms Credlin says the issue is not that the inquiry is political. It is that the politics of Labor's franking credits policy is now becoming a real headache for the party.

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Victoria to ban gay conversion therapy

Melbourne: Gay conversion therapy is "bigoted quackery" and it will be banned in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced at a pride march in Melbourne.

The state government says the ban would be an Australian first and comes after an investigation by the Health Complaints Commission the practice resulted in long-term psychological harm and distress.

The so-called therapy has changed and even cost people their lives, Mr Andrews said before joining the Midsumma Pride March in St Kilda on Sunday.


 














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