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Australian News

Shoalhaven Tallowa dam bursts its banks after heavy rain


Dramatic footage has shown a NSW dam bursting its banks after heavy rainfall drenched the state over the weekend.

A video shared on Twitter by journalist Jared Constable showed water spilling over the edge of the dam. Mr Constable said the overflow was causing flooding in Nowra, where roads were inundated today.

Parts of the Shoalhaven area were affected by flooding over the weekend, including Shoalhaven Zoo. The zoo shared photos of their facility, reassuring followers the animals were safe and well looked after. The Shoalhaven River also peaked on Sunday evening, according to the SES, and video showed a shed floating down the river.

Local member for Kiama and Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the dam lost a year’s worth of water in just 24 hours.

“Please don’t drive through flood waters – if it’s flooded – forget it,” he warned.

RELATED: NSW weather in pictures: Flooding in Shoalhaven, snow in Orange and Sydney surf swells

RELATED: Weather warning: Powerful waves up to 5m to hit NSW coast

The Tallowa dam in Morton National Park in Tallong is the water supply for the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions. It’s also a backup water supply for the Sydney and Illawarra regions.

“After the weekends’ heavy rain, we have made the decision to close Nepean and Tallowa Dams to the public,” Water NSW said in a statement, adding both dams were at full capacity. “These closures are to ensure the safety of our employees as well as the general public.”

The SES warned the flooding in Nowra and Terara were similar to flooding that affected the area in 1991.

It said the significant rainfall had caused the Shoalhaven River to rise significantly.

“Rainfall has eased since Sunday afternoon,” the SES advised. “The Shoalhaven River at Hillview peaked at 9.10m Sunday evening. The Kangaroo River at Hampden Bridge recorded a 9.20m peak on Saturday afternoon.

“The main flood peak is now downstream of Terara.”

The SES expects a number of areas to continue to be affected and said residents should be prepared.



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Business

GPT confident on office workers’ return as coronavirus ravages sector


However, despite a rise in office vacancy rates across CBD locations, GPT’s office rent collections and occupancy remained high at 97 per cent and 94.4 per cent, respectively, because of its diverse government and private tenants.

Funds from operations dropped 23.3 per cent to $244.5 million due to introduction of the commercial tenancies code of conduct, which provides rent relief for the retail tenants. Store closures across its shopping malls resulted in rent collection falling to 36 per cent from all tenants. The group undertook independent valuations for the entire retail portfolio as at June 30, which resulted in a negative revaluation of 10.5 per cent.

“As a consequence of both the challenging environment and the code, rent collection from our retail tenants fell sharply in the second quarter,” Mr Johnston said.

“Although malls have been hard hit, we see brands that dominate their sectors will still want to have a physical presence and the higher-quality fortress shopping centres will continue to attract these leading labels.”

Mr Johnston said the group was negotiating with its tenants on a case-by-case basis and acknowledged the stage four lockdowns in Victoria had created additional uncertainty.

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On a brighter note, the group said the rise in online shopping had helped boost its logistics business. GPT will continue to reweight its portfolio towards industrial property through its $1 billion development pipeline.

Moody’s Investors Service vice president Saranga Ranasinghe said despite the decline in retail asset values the group “benefited from the diversification and quality of its asset portfolio, with the improved performance of the logistics segment amid robust demand for logistics assets partially offsetting the weakness in retail”.

Macquarie Equities analysts Stuart McLean said while retail continues to experience significant challenges, cash collection in the period was above expectations. “Coupled with a strong balance sheet, we expect GPT to continue to pay a material distribution per security going forward,” Mr McLean said.

The group has maintained a strong balance sheet and has liquidity of $1.2 billion.



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Australian News

NRL and Peter V’Landys issue final warning to players breaking coronavirus bubble laws with ‘competition at stake’


The NRL’s coronavirus biosecurity bubble has been burst nine times in just four days, forcing the code’s bosses to offer a stern and final warning to misbehaving players and coaches.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys said harsher punishments were on the way for those breaking the rules, while warning the league’s arrangement with the Queensland Government “could be withdrawn any day”.

“We will increase financial penalties to act as a deterrent because these people are being selfish,” V’Landys said.

“It’s concerning because the whole competition is at stake.”

Acting NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the league would take “the strongest action possible” against any offending member of the bubble.

Those found to be breaking the rules are placed into lockdown for 14 days and could face fines.

The currently banished includes two Newcastle Knights players under investigation, Bronco Tevita Pangai Jr, who visited a barbershop, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold and three Broncos officials, including club great Alfie Langer.

Souths coach Wayne Bennett and Paul Vaughan were also issued $20,000 and $10,000 fines respectively for dining out at a restaurant.

Bennett is on the Project Apollo board, which created the biosecurity protocols.

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett walks through the red and yellow seats at Suncorp Stadium.
Wayne Bennett was fined $20,000 for his bubble breach.(AAP: Darren England)

“It’s not ideal to lose your coach for a couple of weeks but he [Bennett] knows now that what he did was wrong,” Souths player Campbell Graham said.

“Everyone is in the same boat and the rules are clear now, but it does get a bit confusing with the chopping and changing of rules.”

The rules were somewhat relaxed in June, but more strict restrictions were reinstated in July when cases rose in the eastern states.

Despite some alleged confusion, the NRL insists the majority are doing the right thing.

Queensland has been the life-raft for the NRL during the pandemic. The Queensland Government has hosted the Melbourne Storm for months, and has given players exemptions to travel interstate.

But this recent spate of errors threatens to derail that agreement.

“I’m satisfied that management is dealing with this very, very seriously — I am not satisfied that the players understand the seriousness,” Dr Jeanette Young, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, said on Monday.

Rugby League isn’t forgetting that goodwill is strictly conditional.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the breaches were “incredibly frustrating because Queenslanders are doing the right thing and this puts at risk all that great work”.

There are still seven rounds to go before finals in this irregular season.



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Local News - Victoria

Victorian man allegedly assaulted for not wearing a mask


“It is believed the victim was not wearing a mask because of a medical exemption,” a police spokesman said.

The attacker was pulled away by a female companion and the pair left the scene. Both were wearing masks and were not known to the victim.

The man suffered non-life threatening injuries. No arrests have been made and anyone with information about the incident is being urged to contact police.

Face coverings have been mandatory across all of Victoria since August 3, however there are several exceptions.

Infants and children under the age of 12, those who have a relevant medical condition including breathing problems and those who are deaf or hard of hearing are among those who have lawful excuses to not wear a face covering.



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Australian News

Man dies while surfing at Collaroy Beach


A man has died while surfing along the northern beaches of Sydney on Monday afternoon.

Witnesses pulled the unconscious 44-year-old from the water at Collaroy Beach about 12.45pm and performed CPR, but he later died at the Royal North Shore Hospital.

New South Wales Police confirmed a report will be prepared for Coroner.

The man is now the sixth person to have drowned on the NSW coastline since the beginning of July, and the 43rd during the 2019-20 season.



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Australian News

Brisbane AFLW squad surprise deaf teammate by learning their club song in sign language


The members of a Brisbane AFLW team have secretly learnt to sign the club song in Auslan as a way to surprise a deaf teammate after a recent win.

Yeronga South Brisbane Devils player Jamie Howell is profoundly deaf and plays in specially designed head gear and a cochlear implant.

“It’s a beautiful language and I thought, this is how we can really be that inclusive club,” team captain Mia Walsh told ABC Radio Brisbane.

Ms Walsh and Ms Howell both work at Deaf Services — Hear for Kids.

They bonded over a love of sport and before long Ms Howell joined Yeronga Devils.

“I know she was quite terrified about joining a team sport. This is her first major team sport,” Ms Walsh said.

“She’d only ever played one AFL game before, but I knew she’d be amazing at it.

“We brought her on down and we were right — she is fantastic.”

Women wearing black and AFL uniforms stand on an AFL field. One woman stands in the foreground smiling.
Ms Howell is profoundly deaf and plays with a cochlear implant.(ABC News: Stephen Cavenagh)

Ms Walsh said other members of the team started thinking about how they could better include and support Ms Howell.

“I spoke to one of the other players in the leadership group and said, ‘I’d really love us to try and learn some Auslan’,” she said.

With the help of an interpreter to translate the club’s song, the team used a video to learn to sign.

“And the next time we won a game, we would just belt our club song out with Auslan as well and surprise her.”

That is exactly what the team did.

Clearly touched, Ms Howell signed “thank you, thank you” to her teammates.

Auslan ‘shouldn’t just be for disasters’

Last summer’s bushfires and the global pandemic have resulted in Auslan interpreters becoming a common sight on TV screens at daily news conferences.

Ms Walsh said she would like to see interpreters at celebrations and events as well.

“It shouldn’t just be for disasters … maybe it’s something that could become a bit more mainstream,” she said.

Some events already include Auslan interpreters, but they are not yet commonplace.

“It’s so expressive and so physical,” Ms Walsh said.

She said the Yeronga club now hoped to teach the men’s and junior teams to sign as well.

“I think the kids would really get around it.”



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Local News - Victoria

Death at Melbourne detention centre rocks fellow detainees


It is understood the man, from New Zealand, had been detained at Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) for about four years.

Under section 501 of the Migration Act, people face visa cancellation if they have been sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment.

A fellow detainee said the man had been held in a protection unit.

“He must have been a very sad, lonely person. All alone in the detention centre for months on end (no visits for months now – if he ever received any). Arbitrary detention with no end in sight.

“We are all terrified of coronavirus getting in here and that would have terrified him because of his weight. What a pitiful, tragic end for a human being. All alone in a detention centre. No one needs to get to that point. It is a refection on all of us.”

Another detainee said any death in a detention centre was a shock to an already vulnerable population.

The Age has sought comment from Australian Border Force.



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Australian News

‘Agonising day’ as national death toll passes 300


Australia’s chief medical officer has described Victoria’s situation as “agonising” despite the state’s welcome drop in new infections.

Professor Michael Kidd said Monday’s 19 deaths in Victoria was the single deadliest figure in one day across the state and the country, bringing the country’s death toll to 313.

“Only 10 days ago the number of people who died passed 200 and now its passed 300,” he said.

“This is an agonising day for the family members of those 19 people who have lost a loved one today.”

Prof Kidd said the recent decrease of coronavirus cases in Victoria was a positive sign, but warned it was “too early” to be certain about a further drop.

“We need to follow the numbers very closely over the coming week,” he said.

“While it’s heartening to see the declining number of cases being reported each day from Victoria, and we have seen that over the past five days, while we still have hundreds of cases being reported each day, we will continue to have people admitted to hospital and people becoming gravely unwell. And sadly some of those people will die,” he said.

In the past 24 hours, Victoria has recorded 322 new infections, while there were 14 cases in New South Wales and one in Queensland.

A total of 664 Australians are in hospital, an increase of five since yesterday, with 54 in intensive care and 39 hooked up to ventilators.

More than 4.9 million tests have been carried out across the country, with more than 12,000 having reportedly recovered from the deadly disease.

Prof Kidd warned health authorities were “very concerned” about the growing number of healthcare and aged-care workers becoming infected.

“It is important people have access to the personal protective equipment they need to do their job safely and it is important they also have the access to support from colleagues to ensure they are using the personal protective equipment appropriately,” he said.

The Victorian government will rollout an emotional advertising campaign to get residents to comply with the stage four lockdown.

The new ads unveiled on Monday tell the confronting stories of people who caught the virus, including a middle-aged mother who thought she would die.



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Australian News

Super Netball’s two-point shot is forcing Australian captain Caitlin Bassett to the bench. What does that mean for the Diamonds?


Australia’s tallest player, Caitlin Bassett, was the hero when she landed the winning goal of the 2011 World Cup from right under the post.

But now the Diamonds captain is spending plenty of time on the bench because of Super Netball’s new two-point shot.

Yep, this is another column about the super shot. And to be honest, you’ll probably read plenty more about it this year.

Last week we predicted the debate around the new rule was likely to continue all season, with a huge focus on how it changes the game.

And there was so much conversation after the opening round that the queen of netball herself weighed in, writing an article for the Sydney Morning Herald.

It was there Liz Ellis urged netball fans to move with the times.

A netballer grimaces as she tries a two-point shot, while a defender stretches her arm out to block.
The long-distance super shot has completely changed the game.(AAP: Dan Peled)

She agreed the game probably shouldn’t be scored with two-point goals, but said it was the price we had to pay in order to get Australian netball back to using a moving goal circle.

“The long-bomb specialist … was always here, trapped in a game plan that demanded the ball end up under the post. With the super shot, she now has a chance to shine,” she wrote.

And shine they have.

Names like Steph Wood and Samantha Gooden have been lauded for their fabulous execution of the super shot so far, adding a bit of fun and a little pizazz to spruce up the television product.

But what does all of this mean for the tall timbers? The Caitlin Bassetts of the netball world?

A netball player takes a shot at goal from under the ring.
Caitlin Bassett played just half a game on Saturday.(Supplied: GIANTS Netball)

In Saturday’s match between the Giants and Thunderbirds, the Australian captain sat out a large chunk of the game.

In the opening round they ran with a clear tactic to use Bassett in regular play before taking her off for the five-minute super-shot period at the end of the first, third and fourth quarters.

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She attempted no two-point shots in that game and instead focused on what she is famous for: accuracy right under the post.

But the Giants went away from that in round two and Bassett only spent about 32 of a possible 60 minutes on court.

This is fantastic news for Keira Austin and young Sophie Dwyer, who are getting some extra time in the goal circle and deserve to be there with their long-bomb capabilities.

The only worry for Diamonds fans is just how much time Bassett will actually get on court over the course of the season. And are the Giants getting what they paid for her?

The two other tallest shooters in the league who play a similar holding game are Jamaicans Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler.

Romelda Aiken leaps for the ball near the hoop.
Standing at almost two metres, Romelda Aiken has always been a prolific scorer from close for the Firebirds.(AAP: Glenn Hunt)

Aiken, like Bassett, hasn’t sunk a super shot yet and has been substituted on and off in similar fashion.

Fowler, on the other hand, has had more success adapting. She made two out of three two-pointers in the first game and four out of seven in the second, and remained on court for the entirety of both games.

The West Coast Fever only really have Fowler as their true option at goal-shooter, so it’s not clear whether the choice to keep her on is based on roster restraints or has more to do with her newfound ability to sink long bombs.

But as the 2018 and 2019 Super Netball MVP, with the most goals in both those seasons (783 and 709 respectively), it is hard to comprehend that a shooter that’s been celebrated for such extreme dominance could be pushed out of the game.

Jhaniele Fowler and Ingrid Colyer of the Fever celebrate after a win agianst the Giants in August.
It is safe to say Jhaniele Fowler (left) is a target for passes over the top.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

And before Fowler graced our shores and Super Netball began, it was Aiken winning MVPs left, right and centre in the Trans-Tasman Championship.

Winning three of these awards in total, Aiken became the first player in the former league to reach a milestone of 400 goals.

So is the game done with these players now their main skillset has been deemed irrelevant for a third of the game? Will they be forced to the bench or even abroad seeking court time if the super shot remains next year? Or will they simply have to up their long game to stay relevant?

Right now, it seems the super shot brings with it a lot more questions than answers, casting an uncertain future over the tall holding shooters in the game.

How will the super shot affect the international game?

This leads us to the next question: What happens to our Australian captain if she continues to miss court time?

Our national side — ranked number one in the world — actually has a shortage of goal shooters to pick from right now.

A netball player stretches for the ball while a defender runs up behind her.
Bassett rarely strays far from the hoop.(Supplied: GIANTS Netball)

Australia’s two strongest players that specialise in that GS bib are currently Bassett and Caitlin Thwaites.

Thwaites has not long retired from international commitments and the rest of the starting goal shooters in Super Netball (with their level of experience) are all internationals.

There are some young guns coming up the ranks that play that role, like Cara Koenen from the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Sophie Garbin from the NSW Swifts, but they’re still finding their feet.

And there are plenty of goal attacks that can shift into that role but are not quite GS specialists, with far less height.

So when it comes time for Constellation Cup selection, what will the new Aussie Diamonds coach do?

Surely the national side will stick with C-Bass as captain for ongoing stability and experience. But will the court time she has missed in Super Netball affect her work in a green and gold dress?

A group of netball teammates grimace as they watch time run out in a loss.
After so many years of dominance, the Diamonds have high standards for success.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

And if Lisa Alexander’s sacking as Diamonds head coach after the team were runners up in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 World Cup by a single goal is anything to go by, it is clear Netball Australia expects success measured purely in the form of gold medals.

This creates a conflict between trying to create the best league in the world and the effect it has on the national team.

After the Commonwealth Games loss to England, Alexander made this fair assessment: “I can’t say it any other way. I’m the national coach and [having English players in Super Netball] has clearly assisted them to win this gold medal.”

“That’s our high-performance system working for another country.”

Will Super Netball’s quest to be the very best league in the world hurt its national team again?

Jhaniele Fowler stretches her arm high to catch a pass during a match against the Giants.
Jhaniele Fowler’s strength and size can be hard to compete with in close.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

There is of course another option, one that Super Netball organisers might even be hoping for.

As the world’s best league, the competition sets a precedent for the standard of play required to challenge the top dogs and an example of how you build strong pathways to feed into your national side.

And there are at least 23 internationals benefiting from that by participating in Super Netball this season. Each of those players will take the skills and tactics they learn here back to their national teams when the league wraps up.

Other teams around the world have sought out Australian coaches in recent times in an effort to gain an insight into the way we play and to try to take out the longstanding number one team (Norma Plummer in South Africa, Jane Woodlands-Thompson for New Zealand and Tania Obst coaching England).

So now that the Australian style of play is being forced to change, adopting a moving circle with long-bomb, turn and shoot tactics, will the international game follow suit?



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Business

ASIC drops investigation into former AMP chairman Catherine Brenner


It also comes after the sudden resignation of AMP chief executive of Australia, Alex Wade, over an unidentified “internal matter”. Mr Wade’s departure came after AMP had found itself in the headlines again, this time over its decision to promote Boe Pahari to chief executive of subsidiary AMP Capital despite him losing a quarter of his bonus in 2018 following allegations of inappropriate conduct by a staffer.

In a short email to The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday morning, Ms Brenner said she was delighted with the outcome.

“I am delighted to let you know that I have today received a letter from ASIC advising that there are no further issues to follow up in relation to AMP, enabling me to resume my corporate career knowing that no wrongdoing was found regarding my time at AMP.”

“I acted in good faith and carried out my duties as a chair and director appropriately and with diligence.”

“I look forward to the future, bringing my experience to assist across a number of roles.”

Ms Brenner has been contacted for further comment. ASIC has also been contacted for comment.

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Ms Brenner stood down from the AMP board in April 2018, after a then senior AMP executive, Jack Regan, told the royal commission that AMP had misled ASIC on 20 separate occasions about a report by Clayton Utz into its fees for no service issues.

AMP had presented that report as independent to ASIC, however, the royal commission heard it had been significantly altered before being handed over to the regulator.

The Clayton Utz report scandal led to AMP general counsel Brian Salter leaving his job.

The Sydney-based company said its board, including Ms Brenner, “were unaware of and disappointed about the number of drafts and the extent of the group general counsel’s interaction with Clayton Utz during the preparation of the report”.

Ms Brenner is currently a director of The George Institute of Global Health and Australian Schools Plus.

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