Heavy rain brings joy and concern to NSW
9 Feb 2020
(See Translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - M. E. Times Int'l: Heavy rain is drenching large swathes of eastern NSW, forcing road closures and sparking concerns about the risk of flash flooding.
The NSW State Emergency Service has received 215 call-outs since midnight and more than 500 since the rain set in on Wednesday.
The Bureau of Meteorology on Friday morning issued a severe weather warning that stretches along the coast from the south of Wollongong up to Lismore in the north.
Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle could all be affected by flooding, the bureau says.
"Given current weather forecasts are predicting heavy and prolonged rainfall in the area over the coming days - the first in the area since the bushfires - it is essential for safety reasons that the road is closed until it can be assessed safe for traffic."
Buses are replacing a number of train services due to the increased risk of landslides.
NSW Maritime executive director Mark Hutchings says conditions are also dangerous out at sea.
The NSW Rural Fire Service said the heavy rain was welcome in bushfire-ravaged parts of the state.
The highest rainfall total of the past 24 hours has been recorded in Byron Bay, which has received more than 280mm.
Two months' worth of rainfall is expected in coastal and inland areas over the coming week.
Supporting at Risk Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life
Canberra: Programs supporting younger at-risk veterans and veterans transitioning to civilian employment are set to expand to hundreds more people as part of a significant funding boost from the Morrison Government.
An extra 170 young and vulnerable veterans leaving the Australian Defence Force annually will get guidance and a single point of contact with 10 additional case coordinators backed by a $4.8 million investment in the Coordinated Client Support program that already helps around 1,200 veterans facing difficult circumstances. The investment means the entire high-risk cohort of veterans leaving the ADF will now be covered under the Coordinated Client Support program.
The Government will also boost the resources of the Personalised Career Employment Program by $5.6 million and will expand its eligibility to another 1,600 ADF members each year looking for career development and job placement support as they set up for civilian life.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was backing younger veterans facing tough challenges as they transitioned out of the ADF.
“We’ll show the same commitment and duty to those veterans who have served us that they have shown our country,” the Prime Minister said.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said “We are committed to putting veterans and their families first and by providing those most at risk with a single client coordinator it ensures a seamless continuation of support as they leave the ADF, assists them to access appropriate health treatment as well as the finalisation of their DVA claims,”.
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson welcomed the further announcements, particularly the potential benefits to members of Townsville’s veteran community.
Labor Demands Berejiklian Cooperates With Veteran Suicide Commissioner
Canberra: Former veteran and Labor Shadow Minister for Veterans, Greg Warren has called on Gladys Berejiklian to commit that NSW will cooperate fully with the Federal National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.
Mr Warren said: “Gladys Berejiklian must commit to fully cooperating with the investigation into veteran suicide. More than just words though, we need action. Gladys Berejiklian should commit to implementing State-based recommendations made by the new Commissioner
“More than 400 veterans have taken their own lives since 2001 – an unacceptable statistic that sends a shiver down the spine of every Australian.
“It is always a great tragedy when a serving or former member of the Australian Defence Forces takes their own life.”
Mr Warren expressed his disappointment in Gladys Berejiklian’s record on veterans in NSW.
Virus will deliver economic hit: Morrison
Canberra: Australia will take a weighty economic hit from the coronavirus outbreak compounding the costs of the bushfire crisis, the prime minister has warned.
Federal Treasury officials are scrambling to model a range of scenarios as coronavirus continues to spread around the world.
There is a high level of uncertainty, and the economic impacts will largely depend on efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus, but Scott Morrison says one thing is assured.
"Clearly the global effect of all of this, let alone the domestic, will combine to put, I think, a real weight on the economy," he said on Thursday.
"There will be an economic hit because of the coronavirus, just as there will be as a result of the bushfires.
"We expect a hit, particularly in this quarter ... how much more it extends beyond that really does depend on how this virus continues to play out at a global level."
Children’s Brain Cancer Focus of $7.1M Grants
Sydney: Ground-breaking research into aggressive childhood brain tumours is a major recipient of a $7.1 million investment into cancer research announced by the NSW Government.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said research has the potential to deliver a new care model, therapies and better outcomes for children with in-operable brain tumors.
“Despite significant advances in childhood cancer treatments, the prognosis for kids battling aggressive brain cancers worldwide remains bleak,” Mr Hazzard said.
“The NSW Government, through the Cancer Institute NSW has invested more than $16 million over the last five years in paediatric cancer research.
“In addition Australia’s first Comprehensive Children’s Cancer Centre will be built at the Sydney Children’s Hospital by the NSW Government with an investment of $608 million.
“The latest funding boost for researchers will hopefully help get new treatments from the laboratory benchtop to the bedside much quicker, giving some hope to families.
Brain tumours are the most common form of solid tumours among children. Malignant brain tumours kill more children in Australia than any other disease.
Associate Professor David Ziegler of the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick received a Translational Program Grant of $3.75 million to develop new treatments for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), presently an inoperable brain stem tumour in children.
Morrison to unveil $40m 'permanent shield' against veteran suicides
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil a $40 million plan on Wednesday which the government says will be a “permanent shield” against military and veteran suicides.
Mr Morrison said the new National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention would have “the full powers of a royal commission”, would be a permanent position and a report would be handed to parliament each year.
Since 2001, there have been 400 veteran suicides.
“Our veterans and all serving men and women protect our community and our freedoms. It is our duty to do the same for them,” Mr Morrison said.
“That’s why we’re establishing a national and permanent rolling commission into veteran suicide and its prevention with the full powers of a royal commission.
“This is about being forever vigilant for the care and well-being of our veterans. It’s our duty to protect our servicemen and women just as they’ve protected our community and our freedoms.
"We need to do more than a royal commission that looks at the past.”
NSW MP pays tribute to lost fellow firies
Sydney: A NSW MP for Prospect Hugh McDermott has recalled the last time he spoke with two volunteer firefighting colleagues hours before their deaths.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian used the first parliamentary sitting day of 2020 to move a condolence motion for those affected by the state's bushfire season and to pay tribute to the 25 people who have died.
Among those in the public gallery on Tuesday were members of the Horsley Park Rural Fire Service who lost volunteers Andrew O'Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton when their fire truck rolled on December 19.
Both men were fathers to children aged under two - Mr O'Dwyer to daughter Charlotte and Mr Keaton to son Harvey.
Prospect MP Hugh McDermott on Tuesday told parliament he had spoken to the men just an hour before their deaths.
"In the future when Harvey is old (enough) to read this ... I want him to know that the last words Geoff spoke to me were about him," Mr McDermott said.
NSW Premier: Fires have left huge scar on NSW
Sydney: Firefighters who lost colleagues, family who lost a loved one and an MP who fought to save his own home have joined the rest of the NSW parliament to mark the bushfires which have left a "huge scar" on the state.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian used the first parliamentary sitting day of the year on Tuesday to move a condolence motion for those affected by the fires and to pay tribute to the 25 people who lost their lives in NSW.
More than 2400 homes have been destroyed and five million hectares burnt.
"The scale of these bushfires is unprecedented and NSW is experiencing the most devastating natural disaster in living memory," Ms Berejiklian said.
"The bushfire season has left a huge scar on NSW."
Jodi Mckay MP NSW Labor Leader - Condolence Speech on Bushfires
Excerpt - Parliamentary Hansard
Sydney: Today NSW is grieving.
Huge portions of our state are blackened and charred.
Whole communities have been ravaged.
And so many will never forget what it was like to spend the end of 2019 convoying out of the South Coast.
The events of the past few months have forever changed us, leaving a toll that has shocked not just our state and our nation, but the entire world.
25 precious lives lost, right here in NSW, including six brave responders.
Almost 2,500 homes destroyed.
5.5 million hectares obliterated – exponentially more than the Californian wildfires and the Amazon blazes.
More than 1 billion wildlife destroyed.