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Australia news live: NSW floods response focused on Forbes amid reports Eugowra flood waters ‘moving whole houses downstream’


Forbes the focus of SES floods response as Eugowra reports significant damage

The State Emergency Service in New South Wales is focussing its flood assistance and rescue efforts on the town of Forbes, as the Lachlan River continues to rise toward record levels.

The NSW SES chief superintendent, Dallas Burnes, said his organisation has “as many emergency services resources as possible in the Central West, including rescue helicopters” and that the Australian Defence Force and international personnel are arriving today.

Burnes said:

“After 120mm of rain fell in the area on Sunday night, our members have worked alongside emergency service partners to prepare the Forbes community, including sandbagging and public information.”

Eugowra – the community of about 700 which faced devastating flood levels on Monday which resulted in more than one in five residents needing to be rescued – has reported significant damage with power and telecommunication coverage still being restored.

“We have reports of floodwater moving whole houses downstream and bridges being moved off pylons. Police are continuing to work with welfare services to assist the Eugowra community.

Burnes said the SES is asking flood victims to use the Australian Red Cross Register. Find. Reunite (https://register.redcross.org.au/) channel to connect family, friends and loved ones.

The SES said planning is underway for more international resources to be deployed to assist with flood response and recovery, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting further storms in the state’s south next weekend.

In the 24 hours from 3pm on Monday, the SES in NSW has performed:

As of 3pm on Tuesday, the SES has 120 warnings in place, including 25 emergency warnings to either evacuate or shelter, 76 watch and act warnings and 19 alerts at advice level.

A flooded street with a almost submerged car
Flooding in Forbes on 6 November. Photograph: Lucy Cambourn/AAP

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Mostafa Rachwani

Mostafa Rachwani

Molong is in recovery mode today, as residents begin the long process of rebuilding after floodwaters swept through the town centre yesterday morning.

Windows are boarded up, businesses closed, and volunteers are still hosing down the mud this afternoon, with a sense of exhaustion hanging over the town.

Sharon Costa is volunteering her help at the hardware store, at the end of Bank street, which saw waters reach as high as the awnings at the pub across the road. She says that while there was stock to be saved at the hardware store, many other businesses are completely ruined.

“Their windows have been shattered, doorways and ceilings have collapsed, machinery or anything electrical is ruined. The local newsagency had to just throw everything out. It’s devastating.”

“I think some of these businesses won’t survive this.”

Costa described the scene as “surreal” as the sun shined on the town’s muddied roads. While much of the obvious debris and rubbish had been cleaned, she said the work had only begun.

“It looks okay on the outside now, but there is weeks and weeks of cleaning up to do, behind and beside the buildings, in places you don’t notice. There’s still so much to do, behind the broken windows, down the alleyways of mud and rubbish.”

Second Australian dies after Seoul crush

A second Australian has died following a Halloween crowd crush in the South Korean capital last month, reports AAP.

The woman succumbed to injuries sustained during the crush after two weeks.

More than 150 people were killed in the tragedy during festivities in Seoul’s Itaewon district.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing assistance to the woman’s family.

Sydney film production assistant Grace Rached was the first Australian to die in the days after the tragedy.

Keep up to date with the current Covid wave using our data tracker

Guardian Australia brings together all the figures on Covid-19 cases, as well as stats, charts and state-by-state data from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, SA, WA, Tasmania, the ACT and NT. Here you can also find the numbers on the vaccine rollout and fourth dose booster vaccination rates.

You can view Guardian Australia’s Covid-19 data tracker, put together by data journalists Josh Nicholas, Nick Evershed and Andy Ball, here:

Novak Djokovic to be granted visa to play in Australian Open

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be given a visa by the Australian government, allowing him to play the 2023 Australian Open.

Guardian Australia understands that immigration minister, Andrew Giles, will give Djokovic a visa, overturning a three-year ban that accompanied the decision by the previous government to cancel his visa on the eve of the 2022 open.

Novak Djokovic poses with the 2021 Australian Open trophy on centre court near the 'Melbourne' lettering
Novak Djokovic with the 2021 Australian Open trophy. Photograph: Kelly Defina/Reuters

Read more of the Guardian’s exclusive story here:

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

Wyangala dam spill forecast to ease but flood risks remain

Most of the inland dams in eastern Australia are either full or spilling, it seems, with Wyangala Dam in central NSW putting on quite a spectacle:

Torrents of water spill from Wyangala Dam in central west NSW, increasing flood risk – video

Of course, all that water entering the Lachlan River is not a good thing, swelling the river and raising the major flooding risks downstream in places such as Cowra.

At its peak flows, Wyangala was dumping water at the record rate of 230 gigalitres a day (or almost half a Sydney Harbour). Fortunately, the spill rate had dropped to 80GL/day by Tuesday morning, WaterNSW said earlier today.

With inflows mercifully dropping from 265GL/day at their peak to about a third of that, the dam outflows were forecast to drop to 60/GL a day too. Dam capacity remained slightly above 100%.

All that flooding will likely raise questions about whether the dam wall should be raised 10 metres, as proposed by the fomer Berejiklian government.

The price tag, though, had tripled to $2.1bn as of a couple of years ago, prompting unkind comments that it was a “brain fart”.

More to the point, though, a higher dam wall would only increase the capacity by half to 1867GL. At the rate of the recent increases, would a couple of days of delayed outflows be worth spending so much money on?

No doubt this issue will be debated – not least because the Albanese government is unlikely to stump up half the cash as originally agreed between the then Coalition-led federal and NSW governments.

Health authorities in New South Wales are urging residents to check any poppy seeds in their kitchen are not affected by a nationwide recall of poppy seeds linked to poisoning.

Investigations into the non-food grade poppy seeds sold as part of food grade products have indicated the presence of unusually high levels of the naturally occurring chemical thebaine that is causing toxicity.

While warnings have previously been issued in relation to the poppyseed recall, new information discovered as part of the investigation has found the poppyseeds should not be consumed in any amount.

A NSW Health statement said:

Reports of unusual and severe symptoms following poppy seed consumption have now seen at least 12 people requiring medical attention in NSW after developing poisoning soon after ingestion, with additional cases nationally.”

Medical director of the NSW Poisons Information Centre, associate professor Darren Roberts, said the product was not considered safe to eat or to drink as the chemical detected in the poppy seed product can be dangerous.

Roberts urged anyone experiencing any unusual and severe symptoms to seek immediate medical attention. Reported symptoms have so far included severe muscle cramping, muscle spasms and abnormal movements, seizures and cardiac arrest.

Products affected are listed on the FSANZ website and will be updated as needed. The NSW Poisons Information Centre can be contacted 24/7 on 13 11 26 and can provide more information about poisons and what to do in suspected cases of poppy seed poisoning.

Snow falls in Tasmania

Parts of Tasmania have been dusted with spring snow, with a weather system dumping more rain on the already drenched state.

Snowfall reached as low as 400 metres on Tuesday morning and settled on areas including Hobart’s kunanyi/Mt Wellington, south of the capital and the Central Highlands.

Garden furniture covered in snow
Snow in Sandfly, Tasmania. Photograph: Liz Everard

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Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

Sun Cable inks deal with Indonesia to “unlock” renewable riches

Sun Cable, a firm backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, has inked a deal on the sides of the G20 meeting in Bali to boost “inter-island connectivity”, among other things.

As we noted earlier, Cannon-Brookes has had a busy day with changes at AGL (outside his day job of being co-boss of Atlassian).

Anyway, Sun Cable is planning a $30bn giant solar farm in Australia that could supply electricity to Darwin but also to Singapore via an undersea cable. Since that cable will run through Indonesia, it’s been a live question (so to speak) whether Indonesia might also tap into the power.

Well, according to an MoU signed today between Sun Cable and Indonesia’s minister for energy and mineral resources, Arifin Tasrif, a formal collaboration will emerge “to advance opportunities for renewable energy generation and transmission within Indonesia”.

Numbers can be a bit inflated around these things, but the two could help spur a “green industry” bonanza which would add as much as $US115bn to Indonesia’s GDP by 2035, the partners say. (In $A, that’s about $171bn, but in rupee, it’s 1.6 quadrillion – or a pretty big number).

From what we can make of it, Indonesia has identified five key industries from mining and metals processing that could do with some “green hydrogen” (ie not made with fossil fuels), to transport and even “green fertilisers”.

Sun Cable’s “expertise in solar energy generation and long distance transmission” could play a role. Given Indonesia is reportedly also talking about linking up Australia’s large lithium reserves with its plans to expand its battery production, we might expect more such ventures.

Mike Cannon-Brookes
Mike Cannon-Brookes, joint CEO of Atlassian. Photograph: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Major anger among minor parties over preferences sting

The state leader of Derryn Hinch’s Justice party, Stuart Grimley, has come out swinging against the Animal Justice party after it gained the support of parties working with “preference whisperer”, Glen Druery, but directed its own preferences to others at the last minute.

The state election manager and lead southern metropolitan candidate for the Animal Justice party, Ben Schultz, gained Druery’s trust over several months and was allocated preferences from his voting bloc of minor parties.

Schultz was meant to reciprocate but instead directed preferences to a bloc of progressive parties, including Fiona Patten’s Reason party, Legalise Cannabis, the Victorian Socialists, as well as Labor and the Greens.

Druery’s preferences flowing to AJP candidate Georgie Purcell makes it much harder for Grimley’s Justice party colleague, Tania Maxwell to retain her seat in the northern Victoria region.

Grimley says the Animal Justice party “had a deliberate strategy, from the outset, to deceive other minor parties in preference negotiations. They sought to scam parties, and they did”.

“The Animal Justice Party will tell you they’re a party of integrity but take one look at their voting record and you’ll realise they’re just a lacky for the Government. Nothing more. If the AJP are happy to lie and deceive their way into the Parliament, what do you think will happen if they hold the balance of power? If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than the last 4 years, think again.

Electoral analyst Ben Raue had an interesting take on the matter:

Here’s our story on the saga – described by Druey as the “most elaborate sting in minor party history”:

Forbes the focus of SES floods response as Eugowra reports significant damage

The State Emergency Service in New South Wales is focussing its flood assistance and rescue efforts on the town of Forbes, as the Lachlan River continues to rise toward record levels.

The NSW SES chief superintendent, Dallas Burnes, said his organisation has “as many emergency services resources as possible in the Central West, including rescue helicopters” and that the Australian Defence Force and international personnel are arriving today.

Burnes said:

“After 120mm of rain fell in the area on Sunday night, our members have worked alongside emergency service partners to prepare the Forbes community, including sandbagging and public information.”

Eugowra – the community of about 700 which faced devastating flood levels on Monday which resulted in more than one in five residents needing to be rescued – has reported significant damage with power and telecommunication coverage still being restored.

“We have reports of floodwater moving whole houses downstream and bridges being moved off pylons. Police are continuing to work with welfare services to assist the Eugowra community.

Burnes said the SES is asking flood victims to use the Australian Red Cross Register. Find. Reunite (https://register.redcross.org.au/) channel to connect family, friends and loved ones.

The SES said planning is underway for more international resources to be deployed to assist with flood response and recovery, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting further storms in the state’s south next weekend.

In the 24 hours from 3pm on Monday, the SES in NSW has performed:

As of 3pm on Tuesday, the SES has 120 warnings in place, including 25 emergency warnings to either evacuate or shelter, 76 watch and act warnings and 19 alerts at advice level.

A flooded street with a almost submerged car
Flooding in Forbes on 6 November. Photograph: Lucy Cambourn/AAP

Amy Remeikis

Amy Remeikis

Ask us anything

It’s time for another ask us anything with the Canberra political team. Have a burning question on what’s been going on in parliament or Australian politics in general? Let us do our best to answer it for you.

Email us at Australia.podcasts@theguardian.com by 10am on Thursday.

Australian Open organisers hopeful Djokovic can play

Tennis Australia head, Craig Tiley, is optimistic about Novak Djokovic returning for next year’s Australian Open but has ruled out seeking any favours from government officials who will determine the Serb’s eligibility to enter the country, reports AAP.

Djokovic is serving an automatic three-year ban from Australia after being dramatically deported on the eve of this year’s Open for trying to enter the country while not vaccinated against Covid-19. While the vaccine mandate is no longer an obstacle for the former world No.1, Djokovic’s lawyers are still trying to have his visa ban overturned.

“Nothing official yet. We are waiting. They are communicating with the government of Australia. That’s all I can tell you for now,” Djokovic told reporters after winning his opening match at the ATP finals in Turin on Monday night.

With Wednesday marking two months before the 2023 Open gets underway in Melbourne, the stalemate is hardly ideal, but Tiley is hopeful tennis fans – and Djokovic – will not have to endure a re-run of this year’s soap opera.

Tiley said Djokovic would have to go through the normal visa application process and that he doesn’t think the former world No.1, nor any other players, should receive “preferential treatment”. Tiley told AAP:

I fully expect to have an answer for everyone by the time that they need to book their flights and come in, including Novak.

That’s entirely up to the Australian government. I know Novak wants to come and play and to get back to competing.

He loves Australia and it’s where he’s had the best success but the timing (on any announcement) is up to somebody else and we’ll just play that one by ear.

But I don’t know that. That’s really between he and the feds. But the conditions have changed significantly from where they were a year ago and I’d like to have Novak here.”

Novak Djokovic holding the Australian Open trophy in the air
Novak Djokovic celebrates victory in the 2021 Australian Open. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

Ben Smee

Ben Smee

Queensland police commissioner ‘hoping to survive’ in role amid force’s racism and sexism scandals

The Queensland police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, says she is “hoping” to keep her job amid increasing pressure on the Queensland police service’s leadership over revelations about racism, sexism and misogyny in the ranks.

On Tuesday Carroll and the police minister, Mark Ryan, spent almost an hour answering questions from the media after the release of audio recordings – published by Guardian Australia – that contained officers using racist and violent language.

“The stuff that we heard in the watch house is truly abhorrent,” Carroll said.

Katarina Carroll in uniform
Queensland police commissioner Katarina Carroll. Photograph: Darren England/AAP

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