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Local News - Victoria

Queensland man charged over online harassment of Victorian MP Fiona Patten


The video was referred to Queensland Police, who in November charged a 60-year-old man from Redland Bay with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence relating to the video posted on September 22.

The man, John James Wilson, will next face court on February 11.

Ms Patten told The Age that the level of hate directed at MPs online was at an all-time high, particularly during the debate about the state of emergency extension in September last year.

“I have never seen anything like this. I have never seen the heightened fury and anger that was presented in the messages my office received,” she said.

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“For nearly six weeks we could not answer the phone in our office because it was just people ringing up saying ‘you bitch, we will find you’.”

“And you know we are resilient people, but it was really affecting the health of my electorate officers. It’s not just me affected by this.”

A man is currently before the courts in NSW accused of threatening to kill Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in a series of emails sent in November last year.

Marco Faccio, 53, was arrested in early December and charged with using a carriage service to threaten to kill, and two counts of use carriage service to menace, harass or offend.

According to court documents, Mr Faccio sent three emails to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews over a 10-minute period on the evening of November 11. The third email allegedly contained a death threat.

Ms Patten said it was concerning to witness a growing intensity in the nature of the abuse and threatening messages being directed towards politicians.

“It is frightening and certainly after [the alleged threat against] Premier Andrews, I know a number of my colleagues also received significant threats, it also frightens people to speak out,” she said.

“That actually makes it hard for some politicians, particularly politicians from small parties, to do what is right. I spoke to a couple of crossbenchers, I won’t say who they are, who were concerned about the ramifications of supporting government legislation. And that’s really dangerous.”

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She said she was glad Queensland Police had taken the threat against her seriously and that it showed that there are consequences for abusive online behaviour.

“We need to call it out,” she said.

“While I support free speech, I don’t support [the] inciting of crimes and vilification of people. Even now, I’m not on social media as much as I used to be, it did have a silencing effect.”

Ms Patten is pushing to widen the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act to include hate speech targeting people for their gender, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as addressing online trolling.

A parliamentary committee is reviewing Victoria’s anti-vilification laws, with hearings held last year.

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Three dead, six rescued in Victorian water tragedies at Bushrangers Bay, Venus Bay and Rye


Police said an off-duty lifeguard pulled the woman from the water and started CPR but could not revive her. Victoria Police said late on Wednesday they would probe the death and send findings to the coroner.

In the first drowning, police confirmed a man in his 80s was pulled from the water at Tootgarook about 4pm on Wednesday, but he was unable to be revived.

Several helicopters were deployed to a dramatic scene at Bushrangers Bay at Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula where two men had jumped into the water trying to rescue a group of four women and girls who were swept into the sea by a large wave.

Victoria Police confirmed a 45-year-old woman, a 47-year-old woman, a 19-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl were swept into the sea about 3.30pm. They were followed by two men, aged 28 and 47, who entered the water to assist the group of four in distress.

Multiple helicopters from Victoria Police, Life Saving Victoria and Air Ambulance scoured the water for the six people, alongside water police and local lifesavers.

All were pulled from the water, including the deceased 45-year-old woman.

The same spot where the group of four were washed away, according to an eyewitness.

The same spot where the group of four were washed away, according to an eyewitness.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, told The Age two men jumped in after the group to help.

“They climbed to the rock, then [a] big wave came, and swept them off into the water,” they said.

The witness said the waves crashing against the rocks were large at the time of the incident.

Life Saving Victoria’s General Manager of Lifesaving Services Liam Krige said crews arrived on scene about 4pm and began winching two of the people to a nearby headland, where they were met by paramedics.

Air Ambulance and other emergency services on scene on Wednesday.

Air Ambulance and other emergency services on scene on Wednesday.Credit:Nine News Melbourne

Only two people could be transported at a time due to the capacity of the helicopter, he said.

“In the interim, an LSV lifeguard paddled to two of the remaining swimmers, keeping them afloat on their rescue board while the helicopter crews continued the winching operation,” he said.

“At around 4.30pm, Air Ambulance also arrived on scene and commenced winching a further person from the water.

“Shortly after, Police Air Wing and Water Police arrived on scene by boat and collected the final two swimmers, the LSV lifeguard and a bystander who had entered the water to assist.”

Aerial footage from the scene on Wednesday.

Aerial footage from the scene on Wednesday.Credit:Nine News Melbourne

Paramedics transported the five survivors to hospital: four to Frankston Hospital and one to Rosebud Hospital.

Frankston hospital was treating the 47-year-old woman who was reported to be in a serious but stable condition on Wednesday night, along with the 19-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl.

Life Saving Victoria’s Mr Kriger said he and his staff’s thoughts were with those affected by the tragedy.

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“This incident is a stark reminder of the importance of always exercising caution around water and never taking your eyes off the surf,” he said. “Many people who are rescued never planned on entering the water.”

“Even when you don’t intend on swimming, you should never underestimate the power of the ocean.

“Bushrangers Bay is an unpatrolled beach located at a remote stretch of coastline, making it difficult for emergency services to access if you get into trouble.”

The beach is known for its dangerous conditions.

Bushrangers Bay is not patrolled by Life Saving Victoria, according to beachsafe.org.au.

The service describes the 300m beach as “moderately safe” for swimming when waves are low.

“However stay on the bar and clear of the rocks, and rips against the rocks,” the advice reads.

In January 2019, Melbourne musician Jjay De Melo drowned while swimming with a friend at Bushrangers Bay.

In 2017 seven people were swept off the rocks by a large wave, with one man airlifted to hospital in a critical condition.

On the back of a record number of drownings last year, the Victorian government launched a campaign targeting the two most at-risk groups – younger males from non-English speaking backgrounds with limited water skills and “complacent” middle-aged men.

Venus Bay drowning

At Venus Bay south-east of Melbourne, police said a teenage girl was seen struggling in the water about 7.30pm and a number of people entered the water to help her. One of those, a woman in her 20s, got into trouble herself.

The woman was pulled from the water by an off duty lifeguard and she was given CPR but couldn’t be revived.

All others involved in the incident came out of the water unharmed, including the teen who had initially been in distress.

Police will prepare reports for the coroner for all three deaths.

Meanwhile, police are investigating after a three-year-old girl was pulled unconscious from Lysterfield Lake about 5.50pm on Wednesday. Emergency Services worked on the girl and she was revived. She was transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital and remained in a critical condition on Thursday morning.

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Local News - Victoria

Victorian traveller visiting parents in Queensland tests positive to UK strain of coronavirus


She was re-tested in Queensland on Friday and found to still be positive.

However, Victorian Health Minister Matin Foley said the woman “wasn’t infectious” while she was on the Jetstar flight JQ 570 to Brisbane.

Queensland health authorities are still tracing any contacts on the fight.

“She is now being retested out of an abundance of caution,” Mr Foley said. “She was in the quarantine hotel for 10 days, was tested on day one, returned positive the next day, and through the processes of checking symptoms, was released … on the end of that, with at least three days of being asymptomatic from any symptoms.

“We want to make sure we take every step to make sure that we are as cautious as possible is the nature of this virus evolves.

The woman is now in isolation in Maleny, about 90 kilometres north of Brisbane.

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said Melbourne health authorities followed the previous health protocols where “exit testing” was not required. “If you remember a lot of people continue to excrete virus up to 120 days after their illness is complete,” she said.

“We removed the requirement for exit testing quite some time ago.”

Chief Health officer Jeannette Young speaks at a press conference in Brisbane.

Chief Health officer Jeannette Young speaks at a press conference in Brisbane.Credit:Jono Searle/Getty Images

Dr Young said the Victorian woman met the existing quarantine requirements of having no symptoms for three continual days during her 10-day isolation in Melbourne. “So she met those two criteria so she was allowed to isolation.”

Dr Young said exit testing has now been returned for the more contagious UK COVID-19 strain.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said there was a very low risk associated with the woman who travelled from Victoria.

“But we will still be directly contacting those who sat immediately around this individual on January 5th,” Ms D’Ath said.

She said the circumstances that existed when the woman was allowed to leave and travel to Queensland had been changed since the UK-strain had been identified.

“The scenario which we have seen from this woman – leaving [isolation] on day 10, not having an exit test and importantly not having the genome sequencing known until after she was released – would not be occurring now,” Ms D’Ath said.

Ms D’Ath said every person who tests positive for COVID-19 will now have genome sequencing completed before they leave quarantine.

“And the results would be known before they are released to know whether they have the UK variant, or any other variant for that matter, including the South African variant,” she said.

“We would know that before they are released and we would be doing exit testing on this other variant.”

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Victorian passengers in dark with no information as Brisbane lockdown comes into effect


But Melbourne man Michael Daffy told The Age that he and partner Justina Bryant had been told “not a single thing,” before, during or after their flight on what to do when they arrived.

Victoria’s COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar told Melbourne radio on Friday afternoon that authorities would greet incoming passengers at Tullamarine to advise them of the situation. A government spokesperson said later that the government would be contacting passengers using contact information supplied by the airlines, to advise them of their obligations.

Official advice stipulates that any Victorians who have returned from Brisbane between January 2 and midnight on Friday should isolate and get tested for the virus.

Mr Weimar also warned Victorians not to travel to Brisbane and recommended that people cancel their plans to go anywhere else in Queensland due to the risk of border closures to come. But those arriving in Melbourne last night were told nothing.

“Flying into Brisbane there was cops there who checked our licences and everything to make sure we hadn’t been into Sydney or whatever but nothing here coming back,” Mr Daffy said.

“I got a message from Qantas saying ‘Stay up to date’, but there’s been no information anywhere as to what the up-to-date information actually is,” said Ms Bryant.

Lisa Millar at Tullamarine airport on Friday evening.

Lisa Millar at Tullamarine airport on Friday evening.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Another passenger, ABC journalist Lisa Millar, was also on the flight that arrived at about 5.30pm. She brought forward her return trip to Melbourne after the Queensland situation escalated. She said she “found it incredible” to have landed in Melbourne without being met by authorities.

“We weren’t told anything on board about what we should do, the only reason I know what to do is because I was connected to the wi-fi and I was reading about it on the way.” The difference between arriving in Melbourne and her arrival in Brisbane at the start of her trip was “startling,” she said.

Another Victorian family, made up of mother Jen, father Dan and daughters Pippa and Tilda – they did not want their surname used – said it was lucky that they happened to be on a flight home from Queensland on Friday night.

They had been holidaying in northern Queensland near Mackay and only passed through Brisbane airport to transfer to a flight to Melbourne. They were in the dark about whether they were required to be tested and isolate or not.

Qantas passengers Jen and Dan, with children Pippa and Tilda, arrive in Melbourne from Queensland on Friday.

Qantas passengers Jen and Dan, with children Pippa and Tilda, arrive in Melbourne from Queensland on Friday.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

The couple said they also were both “very surprised” not to have been met by health authorities at the airport.

“We were just told to check our restrictions and it was our responsibility [to stay up to date],” said Jen.

The Brisbane lockdown came as a family of four in Sydney tested positive to a new, more infectious South African strain of the virus, and an urgent meeting of national cabinet toughened the testing regime at the international borders.

The lockdown prompted supermarkets in Brisbane to reinstate buying limits on essential items as people rushed to the shelves to stock up, while a major highway out of Brisbane turned to gridlock as people tried to beat the lockdown.

Shoppers packed local shopping centres in Brisbane after the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a three day lock down.

Shoppers packed local shopping centres in Brisbane after the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a three day lock down.
Credit:Tertius Pickard

A Jetstar flight arriving in the Northern Territory from Brisbane on Friday turned around and flew straight back as passengers were newly required to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine. South Australia and Tasmania imposed a 14-day quarantine and Western Australia imposed a hard border to Queensland from midnight.

Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, a specialist in global health security at the University of Sydney, said a three-day lockdown was unlikely to be enough to halt the virus circulating in Brisbane. He predicted it would be extended to at least 14 days – the length of time it takes for any infected people to show symptoms.

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Anxious travellers overwhelmed airline phone lines. Virgin Airlines said it was operating Queensland services as usual but planned to make changes after the hotspot declaration.

The airline asked passengers travelling within the next three days to avoid calling and to visit its website instead as border restrictions were an “evolving situation”.

Qantas and Jetstar also said they had experienced a large volume of passengers trying to change their bookings.

Mr Weimar said the Health Department would provide further advice on Monday on the situation in Queensland, but his “personal” advice was for people not to travel there.

“There’s no closure on other parts of Queensland, I think my advice would be to start making plans to come home unless you plan to be up there for a significant period of time,” Mr Weimar told 3AW Radio Melbourne on Friday.

“We just don’t know. And as we’ve seen with NSW, we don’t know how this cluster is going to pan out over the coming days and weeks, so if you have a pressing need to be thinking of coming back to Victoria in the coming weeks, my personal advice would be I’d start thinking about making a plan to come home.

“I would not be planning a trip to Queensland at this time.”

The Victorian border with NSW remains shut. Nearly 580 Victorians and their dependents have now been granted exemptions since the border was abruptly closed on New Year’s Day with the number of applications in the system remaining steady on Friday at about 4000.

Victoria recorded just one new case of coronavirus on Friday, with a returned traveller in her 30s testing positive in hotel quarantine, after processing 23,000 tests.

An IT problem with private pathology firm Dorevitch led to the delay in processing the results of another 10,000 tests, all of which returned negative results. The data is expected to be included in Saturday’s totals.

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Federal Gippsland MP Darren Chester calls on Victorian authorities to get residents in NSW home


Federal Gippsland MP Darren Chester has urged Victorian authorities to show compassion and get residents stuck in NSW home.

The Nationals minister on Monday told Sky News that the “chaotic” snap border closure between the two states on January 1 should not have occurred.

“If I had my way those border closures would not have happened, but I can’t make premiers do something they don’t want to do,” Mr Chester said.

“I’d be urging the Victorian health authorities to show some compassion here to work with these people who did nothing wrong.

“Don’t blame them for going on a holiday when they’ve been locked up for months … you find a way to get them home.”

Victorians who did not make it back across the border before it closed have been left in limbo after being told they were only able to return to the state with a “rare” exemption – granted for limited reasons – or if they were a permitted worker.

But Mr Chester said Victorians stranded in NSW should be able to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine in their own homes.

He also defended the federal government’s decision not to get involved in the latest border woes.

“It’s a bit unfair to be blaming the federal government for decisions made by the states which have a direct impact on people’s lives and their livelihoods,” Mr Chester said.

“The Prime Minister can’t stop the states from acting within their constitutional rights.”

Scott Morrison has rejected calls for an urgent national cabinet meeting to be held, saying the next one was scheduled for February.

But the tourism industry is the latest group to join Labor in demanding a national approach to border policies.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese accused Mr Morrison of lacking leadership.

“Scott Morrison has shown consistently that he’s a follower … he waits for others to make decisions and lead and then makes a decision over whether to support it or criticise it,” Mr Albanese said.

“It would be far preferable if we had some form of national co-ordination and national leadership of these issues.”



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Local News - Victoria

Wait times several hours at some Victorian testing sites


By mid-Monday morning, the sites with the longest waits were Golfers Drive Chadstone (four hours and 40 minutes), Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Albert Park (four hours), Darebin Arts Centre (over three overs), Sandringham Hospital (three hours), Banyule Community Health in Greensborough (three hours) and the Wantirna Trash and Treasure Market (three hours).

Testing had been suspended at the Albert Park drive through testing centre when it reached capacity, but it has since reopened.

However, other sites were recording very quick turnarounds.
Some Melburnians reported on Twitter that there were short or no lines at testing sites at places like the Melbourne showgrounds and Knox Private Hospital in Wantirna.

According to the department website shortly before noon, there was a 20-minute wait at Hume City Council in Broadmeadows, a 15-minute wait time at Roxburgh Park Youth and Recreation Centre, and a 10-minute wait at Monash Health in Dandenong, Mickleham Road in Tullamarine and Victoria University at St Albans.

There was a five-minute wait at Wyndham City Council Civic Centre in Werribee.

The locations of the testing sites and wait times can be found here.

Victoria’s Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said health officials were prioritising close contacts of known cases.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan says the government expects testing sites will accommodate the increased demand.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan says the government expects testing sites will accommodate the increased demand. Credit:Jason South

“We’d like to thank Victorians for their efforts in getting tested yesterday. People did experience testing delays [on Sunday], but we also saw by the afternoon, wait times did significantly reduce.

“Whilst we know it will be another busy day at our testing sites … with the extra capacity that’s been added today … the extended hours and additional sites, we are expecting sites to be able to accommodate the demand.”

Callers to radio station 3AW on Monday morning reported that a drive-through testing centre in Werribee had only one car in line.

The department said it was just a 30-minute wait for the drive through IPC Health-run sites at Wyndham Vale and at Wootten Road Reserve.

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Lucy, a caller to 3AW Mornings, said she was being warned of a “three to four-hour wait” at Springers Leisure Centre at Keysborough.

“There was a sign that said it was temporarily suspended, but I’ve been able to get through. I’m just in for the long haul,” she said.

Victoria’s testing chief, Jeroen Weimar, said he expected most of the 60,000 people who have returned from NSW over the last couple of weeks would get tested by Wednesday.

He said the state should expect a 10 to 15 per cent increase in testing capacity on Monday compared to Sunday, after the state doubled its testing numbers over the past weekend in comparison to previous weekends.

More than 200 sites will be open for testing across Monday.

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Victorian Liberal Party faces election rout as seats scrapped


“Barring some major shift in voting patterns, the path back for the Liberals governing in Victoria looks long and difficult,” the ABC analyst said.

Because Labor won eastern suburbs seats that were historically Liberal-held at the landslide 2018 poll, one of the abolished seats could be a Labor-held one, including Mount Waverley, which has almost 20 per cent fewer voters than the average seat. Even if a Labor seat were to be wiped out, it would probably be a marginal seat the Liberals would need to win back from Labor to form government.

“Essentially there will be two or three more seats that will be notionally Labor, and the Liberals will need that many more to win,” Mr Green said.

Labor holds all but three of the 13 seats that have populations of 10 per cent more than the state average of about 48,500, and the 15 fastest growing suburban areas are located in Labor seats. Almost 40 of the 45 electorates with the greatest number of children, many of whom will soon be of voting age, are Labor-held.

In the western Melbourne district – which has 571,700 voters, 7 per cent more than the state average – the Liberals have not held a seat since losing Tullamarine in 1999. In the northern suburbs, where there are 80,000 more voters than in the Liberal-leaning eastern suburbs, the Liberals also hold zero seats.

Groups of electorates with 10 per cent more than the average population are centred on Cranbourne-Pakenham (including the seats of Bass and Cranbourne, which have 40 per cent more), the western suburbs – including the divisions of Tarneit (24.2 per cent) and Melton (18.5 per cent) – and the outer north near Craigieburn and South Morang, including Yuroke (38.5 per cent). State laws stipulate electorates should not contain 10 per cent more or fewer voters than the state average.

Kos Samaras, a former assistant secretary of the state Labor Party who specialises in political demography, said there were two major factors related to Melbourne’s population boom over the past two decades that have affected voting trends.

Former Labor official Kosmos Samaras.

Former Labor official Kosmos Samaras.Credit:Wayne Taylor

The inner-city and middle-ring suburbs in Melbourne’s east have experienced an influx of tertiary-educated voters – many of whom work in the health, IT and entertainment sectors – aged about 40 and under. Mr Samaras said these voters, who tend to be culturally progressive and cosmopolitan, vote for Labor and the Greens in greater numbers than for the Liberals and have caused Labor’s vote to soar in places such as Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Hawthorn and Kew.

Simultaneously, a house price boom has pushed many lower and middle-income migrants to the suburban fringes, where there are cheaper housing estates. While the state government’s progressive agenda on issues such as euthanasia might appeal more to inner-city voters, these outer-suburban voters lean towards Labor because of the government’s focus on transport projects and service delivery, Mr Samaras, who now runs consultancy RedBridge, said.

“Both groups are more inclined to vote Labor, so demographically the Liberals are losing both ends of the coin,” he said.

“They are pushing against demography. The world has changed.”

Monash University senior politics lecturer Nick Economou said the Liberals needed to understand the aspirations and instincts of outer-suburban migrant communities.

“These groups can be quite socially conservative and they are very entrepreneurial, so the Liberal Party ought to be able to appeal to that sort of group, but it doesn’t seem to be,” he said.

He urged Liberal leader Michael O’Brien to focus on bread-and-butter issues, such as education, that affected the daily lives of families.

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He said the party could win some support among religious suburban voters by opposing the state government’s social policies, such as the ban on gay conversion therapy that some religious groups claim will hinder their ability to practise their faith.

“But that can be a very tricky balancing act because it can alienate inner-city voters,” he said.

A senior Liberal source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal party affairs, said the recent purge of members in a branch-stacking audit, prompted by reporting in The Age, had harmed the party’s relationship with the Indian community.

A substantial portion of Liberal members recruited before the 2018 election were of Indian heritage. The source said the members would be crucial to campaigning in the suburbs where Indian voters lived.

But three of the five party operatives facing potential disciplinary action are of South Asian descent. The party source said the branch-stacking investigation, which found about 170 improper membership payments, had disillusioned the party’s Indian members.

“The people who traditionally owned the Liberal Party – who live in Hawthorn, Toorak and Brighton – were furious with all these new people joining,” the source said.

“The Liberals’ future is not in South Yarra and Portsea.”

Former opposition leader Matthew Guy is assisting the Liberal Party with its representations to the redistribution process and Labor’s is being run by a group of current and former MPs and officials.

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Victorian scientists listening out for turtles that go ‘ping’ in the Barmah-Millewa forest region


An eastern long-necked turtle fitted with a GPS data-logger.

An eastern long-necked turtle fitted with a GPS data-logger.

The devices record turtles’ location co-ordinates every three hours and save the information to a memory card.

When it’s time for researchers to download data from the devices, they must find each creature.

Researchers are combing the Barmah-Millewa forest region, 250 kilometres north of Melbourne, with antennas and a receiver, listening for the devices which emit VHF radio signals.

But Ms Howard said it had been “quite tricky” because flooding had dispersed the turtles. This week, the scientists are hoping to go up in a plane to continue the search.

Ms Howard said once a signal was pinpointed, they would go to the location on foot.

“The best way to trap the turtle is to surround them with a stop net – a solid net hanging in the water,” she said.

“However, once you surround it, you have to get in the area and chase it around and catch it by hand. Eventually, the turtle will bump in to somebody and you grab them.”

In mid-December, the scientists spent a week catching the second species, Murray River turtles, with underwater nets, using beef liver as bait.

The scientists have caught 29 Murray River turtles so far and aim to catch another six in the next few weeks. They affixed acoustic transmitters – which can last up to 10 years – to the turtles’ shells.

The transmitters on the turtles emit pings that are detected by underwater receivers when they go past – similar to a CityLink toll gantry. There are about 35 receivers in the Barmah-Millewa forest region.

The projects are supported by the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Victorian and New South Wales parks and environment departments.

Ms Howard said both species’ numbers were declining because of factors such as foxes raiding nests.

The Murray River’s flow is controlled by humans, and the turtle studies can help determine how to time environmental water flows in a way that would benefit the animals.

“The movement of turtles in 2020 is particularly interesting, with higher rainfall predicted as climate conditions shift from El Nino (dry) to La Nina (wet),” Ms Howard said.

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“We hope to learn how increased rainfall might influence turtle behaviour.”

She said turtles played important roles in ecosystems and maintaining the health of the river.

“And as they’re declining [in number], it’s important to know how we can reverse those declines,” Ms Howard said.

“Research is the best way of understanding how human activities impact them and how we can minimise that.”

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Which Victorian postcodes have active COVID-19 cases?


And there is one active coronavirus case in:

  • 3194 – Mentone and Mentone East
  • 3953 – Berrys Creek, Boorool, Hallston, Koorooman, Leongatha, Leongatha North, Leongatha South, Mardan, Mount Eccles, Mount Eccles South, Nerrena, Ruby, Trida, Wild Dog Valley and Wooreen

The two missing locally acquired cases on the map are the two COVID-19 cases announced by Health Minister Martin Foley on Friday afternoon, for whom the postcode of residence has not yet been confirmed by the Health Department. These two people are also connected with the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant cluster.

Finally, there is an active case in postcode 3040, a teenage girl who tested positive for the virus last Monday shortly after returning home from Sydney’s northern beaches.

The new case in the Leongatha area, in the South Gippsland shire in the state’s east, is the first time there has been an active coronavirus infection among residents of regional Victoria since October 28 last year.

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The map only includes cases acquired within Australia and does not include nine active cases statewide among returned travellers from overseas who are currently in hotel quarantine.

The Health Department has also identified (at the time this article was published), 13 public exposure sites in Victoria that were visited in recent days by people who later tested positive for the virus.

Here is a map and list of the known at-risk locations, which is being updated whenever new information comes to hand:



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NBL sends South East Melbourne Phoenix and New Zealand Breakers to Hobart due to Victorian COVID-19 outbreak



NBL clubs South East Melbourne Phoenix and New Zealand Breakers will temporarily move to Hobart following a fresh COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

The Breakers had moved to Victoria in preparation for the season, but they will now shift to Hobart to ensure they do not get stranded in the event of another lockdown in the state.

Melbourne United is in Cairns ahead of two pre-season games against the Taipans.

Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks recently moved to the NSW border city of Albury, but they too will be moved due to the worsening situation.

The NBL is yet to announce where those two teams will be shifted.

The Kings are due to play the Perth Wildcats in a grand final rematch in Perth on January 15.

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But with WA shutting its borders to both NSW and Victoria, that game is almost certain to be rescheduled, along with a host of others.

“Given the current situation in Melbourne we have decided it’s prudent for both clubs [Phoenix and Breakers] to relocate to Hobart and they will be accommodated and train there under strict COVID protocols,” NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said:

“This will give us time to assess and work through the next steps required as we prepare for the forthcoming NBL season.

“We hope the current restrictions and resulting border closures will be eased as quickly as possible but we will need to stay flexible in our approach and we will continue to be guided by the advice of the relevant state health authorities.”

The NBL had planned to host a hub in Melbourne from February 20 for a month-long blitz of 36 games but that is now in jeopardy.

The season is scheduled to begin with the Taipans hosting the Adelaide 36ers in Cairns on January 9.

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