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Local News - Victoria

Lockdown warning on water risk after day of multiple tragedies


“We’ve had a really busy summer this year and seen incidents right across Victoria’s coastline … it highlights the need to remain vigilant around water – it’s really easy to become complacent.

“There was a lot of activity in a very short space of time. We are just the rescue element – we need to encourage people to keep themselves safe before they get to that point.”

The day’s first fatality occurred when a man in his 80s died after being pulled unconscious from the water at Rye front beach before a 45-year-old woman died and five others were rescued after a group was swept off rocks at Bushrangers Bay near Flinders.

Several helicopters were deployed to the 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 the 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.

Air Ambulance and other emergency services on scene on Wednesday.

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

All were pulled from the water, including the deceased woman. Paramedics transported the five survivors to hospital: four to Frankston Hospital and one to Rosebud Hospital.

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.

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.

The day’s third drowning happened on Wednesday night at Venus Bay in Gippsland where, 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 who went to help, a woman in her 20s, got into trouble herself.

Police said an off-duty lifeguard pulled the woman from the water and started CPR but could not revive her.

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 also 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

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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Australian News

Rainfall to cause poor water quality at 36 Victorian beaches


Victorians are being urged not to swim at 36 beaches across the state as heavy rainfall is expected to cause poor water quality over the next three days.

The state’s environment watchdog issued the warning on Tuesday as the state braces for two days of downpours.

Water at 36 beaches were rated as poor by the Environment Protection Authority on Tuesday afternoon, with the Port Phillip Bay beaches spread out from the Bellarine Peninsula, across greater Melbourne and along the Mornington Peninsula.

Popular tourist towns such as Queenscliffe, Geelong, Sorrento, Portsea and Mornington will be affected until at least Thursday.

The EPA warned heavy rain that battered the state overnight and into Tuesday morning could flood stormwater systems and then carry pollution built up in drains into waterways.

EPA advised against swimming at all waterways and beaches for up to 48 hours after heavy rain, with a higher risk of illness to swimmers from increased bacterial levels.

It is also advised people prevent their pets from entering the water.

Beachgoers should check the EPA website for latest water quality forecasts as the weather improves over coming days.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms remains in place for southern Victoria with the heaviest falls expected to hit Melbourne on Tuesday evening.

The weather bureau has warned heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding in parts of western and central Victoria with up to 70mm possible in some areas.

State Emergency Service volunteers have already responded to 91 requests for help across the state in the past 24 hours, including 51 in the central region, which includes Melbourne.



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Australian News

Evacuation order issued in norther NSW as Tweed River flood water rises


An official Evacuation Order has been issued for Tweed River at Condong, Tumbulgum and surrounding areas in northern NSW, with residents told to flee the “high danger area” via Tweed Valley Way.

The order to “evacuate now” was issued late Tuesday morning as flood waters began to close low-lying roads, and the Tweed Valley Way to the north of Tumbulgum.

Around 1000 properties are believed to be affected, including those on the Tweed Valley Way north of Murwillumbah, Condong and Tumbulgum and the low-lying areas of Tygalgah and surrounding areas.

RELATED: ‘Stay away’: Queensland island torn in two

“Once flood water begins inundating the area, road access, water, sewerage, power, phones, and internet may be lost,” the order reads.

“If you remain in the area you will be trapped, and it may be too dangerous for SES to rescue you.”

The order comes after BOM predicted severe flooding at the Tweed River at South Murwillumbah, the Tweed River at Tumbulgum and surrounding areas following heavy rainfall and storms in the area over the last few days.

Advice for those in the affected areas includes, seeking out higher ground or visiting the Evacuation Centre at Wollumbin High School and staying up to date with latest information through the Northern Rivers NSW SES Facebook page and your local Bureau of Meteorology.



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Australian News

ICAC slams NSW government over water management


A pair of corruption probes into NSW water management have found government officials too often have favoured the interests of the irrigation industry.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption wrapped up related two investigations, named Operation Avon and Mezzo, on Friday after three years of closed-door detective work relating to corruption allegations concerning the Murray-Darling Basin.

There were no charges recommended, but the ICAC made 15 suggestions to public water administrators to remedy what it saw as favouritism towards irrigators at the expense of other stakeholders such as environmental agencies.

“As a result, the policy-making process became vulnerable to improper favouritism, as environmental perspectives were sidelined from policy discussions,” ICAC officials wrote in a new report that covered both operations.

The ICAC found the state government’s water management practices over the past decade were “inconsistent with the object, principles and duties of the Water Management Act 2000 (WMA) and failed to give effect to legislated priorities for water sharing”.

The probes found there had been a “lengthy history” of sidelining the principles of the WMA and a lack of transparency in multiple areas, including external consultation processes and water account information.

The report recommended funds for independent scientific audits of the ecological health of rivers and giving those holding environmental roles greater influence.

Despite the criticism, the watchdog did not find any instances of corrupt behaviour that would have warranted “obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of any individual”.

The state government will have to respond within three months and inform the ICAC whether action will be taken in response to the recommendations.



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Australian News

Deb Frecklington in hot water over LNP fundraising


With just weeks to go until Queenslanders head to the polls, the state’s Opposition Leader has become the centre of a political crisis.

After the ABC reported Deb Frecklington had been referred to the Electoral Commission of Queensland by her own party, over alleged concerns about a series of fundraising events, which could have violated laws intended to stunt political influence of property developers, the LNP has insisted there was no such complaint.

The ABC said over a series of events, a number of attendees made donations totalling “almost $150,000”, which could have violated laws introduced in 2018 to curb the risk of corruption around government decisions on development projects.

The LNP said “the ABC’s allegation that the LNP has referred Deb Frecklington to the ECQ is false.”

“It has not,” an LNP spokesman said.

“The LNP regularly communicates with the ECQ to ensure that we comply with the Act.”

Ms Frecklington has spent the week in Queensland campaigning alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with the pair expected to host a LNP fundraiser at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Tuesday.

Extra security is expected to be present at the event, after Mr Morrison had to be escorted from a media opportunity at eth University of Queensland on Monday after protesters damaged his car.

The ABC said they initially approached Ms Frecklington, who declined an interview, instead issuing a short statement: “Anyone who donates to the party must complete a declaration that they are not a prohibited donor.”

“There is transparency about who has donated and who hasn’t donated.”

The ECQ have not confirmed, nor denied, whether it is investigating Ms Frecklington or other people named in the referral.

Ms Frecklington is expected to front the media later today.



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Local News - Victoria

Boiled water warning lifted for 26 suburbs after contamination scare


A quarter of the nearly 100 Melbourne suburbs cautioned to boil their water due to a contamination scare have been given the all clear.

Late on Saturday night Melbourne Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, lifted the Boiled Water Advisory Notice issued on Friday for the following suburbs:

Jacqui Agostinello and 4 year old Kobe from Boronia collecting clean drinking water from a water tanker set up by South East Water at Ferntree Gully on Saturday.

Jacqui Agostinello and 4 year old Kobe from Boronia collecting clean drinking water from a water tanker set up by South East Water at Ferntree Gully on Saturday.Credit:Scott McNaughton

  • Attwood
  • Blackburn South
  • Box Hill North
  • Broadmeadows
  • Burwood
  • Campbellfield
  • Coolaroo
  • Craigieburn
  • Dallas
  • Doreen
  • Greenvale
  • Kalorama
  • Meadow Heights
  • Melbourne Airport
  • Mernda
  • Monbulk
  • Mont Albert North
  • Mount Dandenong
  • Olinda
  • Research
  • Roxburgh Park
  • Somerton
  • South Morang
  • Westmeadows
  • Wollert
  • Yarrambat

Customers whose suburb is not listed will need to continue to boil their water for drinking and food preparation for now, a Yarra Valley spokeswoman said.

Customers who can’t access boiled or bottled water can call Yarra Valley Water’s emergency hotline on 13 27 62 and South East Water’s customer line on 13 28 12.



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No relief as water remains undrinkable in 99 suburbs


The tap water in almost 100 Melbourne suburbs remained undrinkable on Saturday morning, despite Yarra Valley Water indicating the problem would be solved on Friday.

A boil water notification was issued Friday morning to more than 250,000 Melbourne households after a freak storm caused power outages across the city.

The power outage caused untreated water to enter Silvan Reservoir and from there into the water supply.

A Yarra Valley Water spokeswoman said on Saturday the utility was communicating with customers over text.

“We’ll let people know ASAP when it’s back to normal,” she said.

The majority of the affected homes are supplied by Yarra Valley Water, with some supplied by South East Water.

RELATED: Shelves empty as Melbourne residents panic buy bottled water

Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, said water should be brought to a “rolling boil” and then cooled before drinking or using in cooking.

“Whether you’re drinking it, using it for brushing teeth, making ice, just make sure that the water is boiled to a rolling boil before it is used and obviously let it cool down to make it safe for kids as well,” he said.

Yarra Valley Water managing director Pat McCafferty on Friday said anyone with “gastro-like” symptoms after drinking the water should contact a doctor.

“Showering and those sorts of things are fine, but for drinking water, and food preparation, please boil the water as a precaution,” he said.

TO ENSURE YOUR WATER IS SAFE:

If you live in the suburbs below, you are advised to bring water to a rolling boil before drinking, preparing beverages, washing and preparing food, preparing baby formula, brushing teeth and making ice until further notice.

  • Boil water in a kettle with an automatic cut-off or on the stove until it boils strongly, with a rapid stream of air-bubbles from the bottom of the kettle or pan
  • Once you have boiled the water, allow it to cool
  • You can store it in the fridge in clean, closed containers for drinking or food preparation – you do not need to boil it again
  • Take care not to injure or scald yourself when you handle boiling water, especially around children
  • Unboiled water can still be used for showering and bathing, flushing toilets, washing dishes and clothes and garden watering. Ensure you do not drink water when you are in the bath and take extra care when bathing infants
  • Unboiled water can still be used to wash your hands.

EMERGENCY DRINKING WATER IS AVAILABLE

Yarra Valley Water said it was supplying emergency drinking water to those who need it. If you have special needs and require assistance, please contact them on 132 762.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL UNWELL

Undisinfected water can cause gastro-like symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your GP and advise your GP about this notice.

AFFECTED SUBURBS:

  • Attwood
  • Bayswater
  • Bayswater North
  • Belgrave
  • Belgrave South
  • Belgrave Heights
  • Blackburn
  • Blackburn North
  • Blackburn South
  • Boronia
  • Box Hill North
  • Broadmeadows
  • Bulleen
  • Bundoora
  • Burwood
  • Burwood East
  • Campbellfield
  • Chirinside Park
  • Coburg North
  • Coldstream
  • Coolaroo
  • Craigieburn
  • Croyden
  • Croyden Hills
  • Croyden North
  • Croyden South
  • Dallas
  • Doncaster
  • Doncaster East
  • Donvale
  • Doreen
  • Eltham
  • Epping
  • Fawkner
  • Ferntree Gully
  • Forest Hill
  • Glen Waverley
  • Greensborough
  • Greenvale
  • Heathmont
  • Kalorama
  • Kangaroo Ground
  • Kilsyth
  • Kilsyth South
  • Kingsbury
  • Lalor
  • Lilydale
  • Lower Plenty
  • Lysterfield
  • Lysterfield South
  • Meadow Heights
  • Melbourne Airport
  • Mernda
  • Mill Park
  • Mitcham
  • Monbulk
  • Mont Albert North
  • Montmorency
  • Montrose
  • Mooroolbark
  • Mount Dandenong
  • Mount Evelyn
  • Mount Waverley
  • North Warrandyte
  • Nunawading
  • Olinda
  • Park Orchards
  • Plenty
  • Research
  • Reservoir
  • Ringwood
  • Ringwood East
  • Ringwood North
  • Roxburgh Park
  • Selby
  • Silvan
  • Somerton
  • South Morang
  • Tecoma
  • Templestowe
  • Templestowe Lower
  • The Basin
  • Thomastown
  • Tremont
  • Upper Ferntree Gully
  • Upwey
  • Vermont
  • Vermont South
  • Viewbank
  • Wantirna
  • Warrandyte
  • Warrandyte South
  • Warranwood
  • Westmeadows
  • Wollert
  • Wonga Park
  • Yallambie
  • Yarrambat



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Local News - Victoria

Water supply contaminated after night of wild weather


Water should be boiled as a precaution for drinking, brushing your teeth, food preparation, making baby formula, ice, or bathing infants in the 88 suburbs including Epping, Doncaster, Croydon, Coburg North, Craigieburn, Mernda and Ringwood.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are still without power on Friday, while residents in Belgrave woke up to crushed cars and fallen-in roofs.

Photo of house damage at Apsley Rd in Belgrave.

Photo of house damage at Apsley Rd in Belgrave.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Power company AusNet, which services the east of the state, recorded more than 83,00 outages at 6.30pm. A total of 121,000 AusNet customers were impacted and around 50,000 people woke up without power on Friday morning.

The wild weather brought a tree down on the corner of Spencer and Hawke streets in Melbourne's north.

The wild weather brought a tree down on the corner of Spencer and Hawke streets in Melbourne’s north.

A spokeswoman said it could take days for some homes to get the power back on.

Meanwhile, United Energy, which provides electricity to Melbourne’s inner south-east and the Mornington Peninsula had more than 40,000 properties without power, more than 2000 of which were still without power early on Friday morning.

West of Melbourne, Powercor and CitiPower had more than 14,000 customers affected on Thursday night.

What Melbourne's east looked like on the VicEmergency app just before 10pm on Thursday night.

What Melbourne’s east looked like on the VicEmergency app just before 10pm on Thursday night.Credit:VicEmergency

The State Emergency Service received 1184 calls for help in the 12 hours to 6.30am, including 403 calls between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

More than 1010 of the calls overnight were for trees down, mostly in Belgrave, Lilydale and Emerald, south-east of Melbourne.

On Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the Department of Health and Human Services will urgently update its advice to allow for affected residents to seek help during the power outage and storm damage.

“This is not an ordinary storm event because of course, it occurs in the midst of very strict coronavirus rules,” he said.

He said DHHS advice had been updated. ”That is not an invitation for people to do things that don’t need to be done but we do recognise that with the volume of work and even though the SES do an amazing job, there will be other needs that will need to be met by perhaps a family member,” he said.

“We know and understand this is unique and we don’t want those coronavirus rules to make it any harder, but we just have to find that balance point and I am confident that we can.”

Mr Andrews urged residents to in the 88 suburbs impacted by the now-fixed Yarra Valley Water issue to boil their water to avoid getting sick.

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Richmond’s Tom Lynch could be in hot water after striking Gold Coast’s Sam Collins



Tom Lynch claims he hit Gold Coast’s Sam Collins with an “open hand to the chest” in an incident that could land the Richmond premiership star in hot water with the AFL’s match review officer.

It occurred during the final quarter of the Tigers’ 21-point victory at the Gabba on Monday night and was later described by former St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt as a “cheap shot”.

Collins was left momentarily keeled over as Lynch ran off on a lead and took an easy mark before kicking a goal to give Richmond a crucial 13-point advantage late in the match.

“It was just an open hand and pushed off,” Lynch told ABC Grandstand post-match.

“That was it … he [Collins] was a bit angry about that but it was just an open hand to the chest, which, as key forwards, is what you want to do.”

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Richmond went on to beat the Suns 8.5 (53) to 4.8 (32) and move within touching distance of the top four.

But Lynch faces a wait to find out if he is free to play in Saturday night’s ‘Dreamtime’ meeting with Essendon in Darwin.

Broadcast vision from behind Lynch and Collins showed a swinging right arm from the Tigers’ spearhead but did not offer a clear view on the contact.

Match review officer Michael Christian will have access to multiple camera angles when he assesses the incident on Tuesday.

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A furious Collins remonstrated with Lynch and was caught on camera punching a padded concrete pillar out of frustration in the Suns’ change room after the match.

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Earlier this month, Lynch was fined for misconduct after shoving Brisbane defender Alex Witherden’s head into the ground, drawing plenty of criticism.

Richmond teammate Jack Riewoldt said Lynch’s aggressive approach to the game was “by design”.

“I feel like he probably plays his best footy when he’s on the edge. He’s pretty scary actually,” he told Fox Footy.

“We think there’s a level for Lynchy to do that.

“We know that he plays his best footy when he’s aggressive in the contest and sometimes there’s got to be a little bit of this to get him up and going.

“I suppose it’s just understanding what makes you a player and I felt like he had a really big impact in that back half of the game.”

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