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Australian News

NSW Police officer rescues baby wombat named Ted


NSW Police have a new recruit – an orphaned wombat named Ted.

The eight-month-old, bare-nosed wombat’s mother was tragically struck and killed by a car.

The furry new recruit has been patrolling the halls in Queanbeyan Police Station since June after one of its officers, Senior Constable Tori Murray, rescued the orphaned animal.

Ted has since been a regular fixture at the station and is often found napping in his portable bed under Snr Cst Murray’s desk.

NSW Police said Snr Cst Murray would continue to care for Ted for at least another 18 months until he was old enough to return to his natural habitat.

And it appears Snr Cst Murray’s colleagues are more than happy to have Ted around.

Monaro Police District’s Inspector Charles Hutchins said his favourite animal was a wombat.

RELATED: 90,000 animals rescued

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“I love them because they’re cute but they’re also strong. They burrow into holes to protect themselves or live and survive,” he said.

“They’re also cute and cuddly. Particularly Ted because he’s a baby wombat and how can you not love a baby wombat.”

Insp Hutchins said crashes involving animals occurred regularly on our roads and urged drivers to keep an eye out for our native animals.

“With school holidays and everyone travelling along the highway, we encourage people be aware of your surroundings, which may include our native wildlife,” he said.

“If you see an animal near the road, we encourage you to slow down if possible, exercise caution and drive to the conditions so that way we’ll show some kindness to the animals by the roads.”

Snr Cst Murray, who rescued Ted, has volunteered with Wildcare during the last five years where she helps rescue, care for and rehabilitate injured native animals across the Monaro region.



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Western Force’s return to Super Rugby spoiled by strong second half from NSW Waratahs



The Western Force have shown they aren’t in Super Rugby AU to make up the numbers after giving the NSW Waratahs a scare in their first outing at the SCG.

Following a first-round bye, the Force looked right at home on Saturday night in their first Super Rugby match since 2017 — when they were cut from the original competition — before falling 23-14.

They led until the 61st minute when NSW lock Tom Staniforth burrowed over the line, with the converted try opening up a six-point lead for the home side.

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The try came after Karmichael Hunt won his team a lineout with the first of his two 50-22 kicks, making an impression in his return off the bench from a hamstring injury.

The Force’s long-time skipper Ian Prior fittingly delivered his team’s first points with a penalty strike after 13 minutes.

Prior and fellow veteran Jono Lance, who joined from UK club Worcester, led a polished performance by the West Australian side, who had temporarily relocated to the NSW Hunter Valley.

Former Junior Wallabies winger Byron Ralston scored their opening try in the 28th minute when he barged past Waratahs number 10 Will Harrison, who was defending on the flank.

The Force led 14-7 at half-time with Waratahs prop Gus Bell securing some much-needed points with a 39th-minute try after a driving lineout.

NSW looked a different team after the break, playing with much more energy to keep the Force scoreless.

They still only managed the one try but it was enough to secure their first points after an opening-round loss to Queensland.

AAP



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Victorian A-League clubs land in Sydney for 14-day quarantine after receiving coronavirus exemptions from NSW Government


The A-League’s Victorian travel fiasco has come to an end, with players and staff from three clubs arriving in New South Wales from Melbourne on Saturday morning.

The approximately 120 players and staff from Melbourne Victory, Western United and Melbourne City will now head into a 14-day quarantine period before they are allowed to complete their remaining 2019-20 fixtures.

The three teams assembled at AAMI Park on Saturday before boarding a charter flight to Sydney as the border into NSW was shut down due to Victoria’s coronavirus outbreak.

The interstate trip comes after two aborted attempts to leave the state earlier this week, which drew heavy criticism from the players’ union and led to A-League boss Greg O’Rourke apologising and acknowledging his job may be under scrutiny.

After the botched attempts to depart coronavirus-hit Melbourne on Monday and Tuesday, the FFA received travel exemptions from the NSW Government late on Thursday.

The all-clear to fly out on Saturday was given after Western United’s most recent COVID-19 swabs were cleared on Friday, ensuring all those travelling had met the health protocols to head to NSW.

Victory chief executive Trent Jacobs said in a statement on Friday the failed attempts to exit the state on Monday and Tuesday had been tough for those involved.

Five Melbourne Victory A-League players gather outside AAMI Park before flying to Sydney.
Players and staff from all three teams had to return negative COVID-19 swabs before flying out of Melbourne.(AAP: David Crosling)

“The events of Monday and Tuesday night have been incredibly frustrating, and compromised our players and staff,” Jacobs said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our players, coaches, staff and all their families for the exceptional way in which they’ve handled the challenges and unknowns of this extremely stressful week.

“While our club was disappointed with what transpired, we have remained focused on working together with FFA and the Victorian clubs to find a solution.”

During their quarantine period, the players will be allowed to train but cannot play any matches.

Thursday’s match between Victory and Western United will have to be rearranged due to the quarantine period now being in effect.

That will mean Friday’s match between leaders Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Jubilee Stadium will be the first fixture played since the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least two other early games face rescheduling — Western United’s clash with City on July 20 and Western Sydney’s game against Victory on July 22.

United sit sixth with six games remaining and face a jam-packed schedule, while 10th-placed Victory have five matches to go. Second-placed City have just three regular-season games left.

With a competition window that can be extended until August 30, O’Rourke said he was confident the remaining 27 regular-season fixtures and finals can still be accommodated despite the quarantine period.



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Sexual assault cases skyrocket in NSW: Australian Bureau of Statistics


The number of victims of sexual assault in New South Wales has skyrocketed to a 10-year high, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Data from 2019, released on Thursday, shows an 8 per cent increase, from 10,241 victims in 2018 to 11,009 in 2019 – the highest number of victims in the past 10 years.

Of those, one in five were male – the largest proportion of male victims in the country.

Half of the male victims were under the age of 15, while more than a quarter of female victims were between 15 and 19 years old.

More than three-quarters of people knew their attacker, and 60 per cent of assaults took place at a home.

Nearly a third were acts of family violence.

The ACT was the only other state to record an increase, with their assault rate spiking by 18 per cent to a total of 327 victims in 2019.

Similarly to NSW, most victims were female and knew their attacker. More than a third of assaults were acts of family violence, and two-thirds of all attacks took place at a residence.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly told NCA NewsWire while it was a positive step that more victims appeared to be reporting assaults committed against them, domestic and family violence and sexual assault cases were still “vastly underreported”.

“Increased awareness and greater public discussion which enhances the community’s understanding of what constitutes violence against women is definitely a positive development,” she said.

“It wasn’t that long ago that domestic violence was seen as a ‘private’ issue not to be discussed in public.

“Greater reporting and awareness also mean that survivors will not feel stigmatised or discouraged from reporting their experiences and thus will add weight to the momentum required to make important legal and cultural changes that will continue to keep women safe.”

Ms Kinnersly added that more action needed to be taken to address the underlying drivers of violence against women, with prevention strategies that reach everyone in the community, before numbers would drop.

As NSW and the ACT grapple with their rising crime figures, sexual assaults in South Australia hit a four-year low.

SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman attributed the drop, the first since 2016, to a new government focus on the issue.

“This government has been focused on implementing policies in the domestic and family violence space since being elected, and it’s pleasing to see some of these policies translating to lower rates of crime such as sexual assault,” she said.

Nationally, victims of robbery increased for the fourth consecutive year to 11,775 victims, and motor vehicle theft hit a seven-year high.



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Local News - Victoria

Long queues into NSW as border closure enforced


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But in border communities such as Albury-Wodonga many people live, work and have family on both sides of the border.

Regional Development Minister Jaclyn Symes said she was concerned that some people may face long waits to access key services such as health care.

“I’m concerned about the transition period and people being subjected to long queues in the early days,” she said.

Ms Symes said many people in northern Victoria needed to access cancer treatment in Albury.

But she was confident arrangements would be finalised by the end of the week so that residents in border communities would be able to travel over state lines when necessary.

“But it’s going to be a rocky start,” she said.

Ms Symes, who is also agriculture minister, said she was talking with her counterparts in NSW to ensure farmers could travel across the borders.

Albury teacher Amy Rooke said she had successfully applied for a border entry permit online. She teaches at a school in Wodonga.

“I got the permit online but I’m guessing I’ll get something from the Education Department to say I work in Wodonga,” she said.

A person wishing to cross the border on Wednesday morning presents documentation at Wodonga.

A person wishing to cross the border on Wednesday morning presents documentation at Wodonga.Credit:Justin McManus

By mid-morning on Wednesday the traffic appeared to have eased but motorists still faced long waits in their cars with the queue stretching hundreds of metres from Albury’s south back over the Murray River.

Some drivers took the wait in good cheer, singing along to music and shrugging their shoulders at the media camped beside the checkpoint.

The other side of the causeway leading into Wodonga was quiet with barely any cars making the trip into Victoria. NSW police are only checking cars heading into Albury leaving motorists free to travel over the border into Victoria without being stopped.

The border crossing on Wednesday morning.

The border crossing on Wednesday morning.Credit:Justin McManus

West Wodonga resident Lauren Mitchell said it took her two hours to reach her job at a café in Albury – a drive that usually takes just 11 minutes.

“It was hell,” she said.

The bakery and café where she is manager is usually abuzz in the morning but on Wednesday it was quiet with few travellers leaving NSW.

By 11pm on Tuesday NSW police had already begun stopping motorists travelling into NSW. There was a slow stream of traffic in the final minutes leading up to the midnight border closure with police waving some cars through and stopping others before allowing them to pass into NSW.

The checkpoint was set up just a few hundred metres north of the Murray River on the NSW side. The first car to reach the checkpoint after the deadline arrived at 12.07am and was promptly stopped by police. It was later allowed to pass.

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Plan to reduce NSW Rugby Union workforce tipped to have ‘devastating’ effect on local game



Central North Rugby Union says the grassroots level of competition will be hardest hit by recently announced job cuts at New South Wales Rugby Union.

The state’s governing body last week confirmed an organisation-wide restructure by making 12 development officers redundant and letting go almost a quarter of its staff.

Seventy per cent of its workforce has been stood down since April.

Chief executive Paul Doorn said the cuts were required to protect the organisation’s future.

“NSW Rugby came into the COVID-19 pandemic in a solid financial position, but with Super Rugby suspended, a loss in broadcast, sponsorship, ticketing and other revenue sources has seen reduced funding available from Rugby Australia as well as NSW Waratahs revenue, along with a loss of revenue coming into the community game,” he said.

‘Lifeblood of rugby’

The ABC understands the cuts will affect positions of regional development officers, who have played a prominent role in building and maintaining junior competitions in areas such as the central north.

CNRU president Tony Byrnes said the decision could have a devastating impact on the next generation of players.

“It certainly won’t help the effort that’s already been made by our development officer in assisting to get the regional competition going in the 14s, 16s and 18s, which really are the lifeblood of rugby.”

Mr Byrnes said he hoped the decision would be reversed before September, when the staff would be let go as JobKeeper runs out.

“It takes a long time to become a development officer and have all that expertise and skill, so if we lose them and when times improve they might have moved on and we’ve lost all that experience, all that knowledge, all that skill …”

Mr Doorn said NSW Rugby was still committed to the game in regional areas.

“Our commitment to supporting rugby from the beach to the bush is our top priority,” he said.

“That is why we have retained experienced staff that can support our clubs and zones and get the community game back and up and running, as well as support our NSW Waratahs teams, members and fans.

“We have ensured that staff retained have the skills and experience to support community competitions, referee and coach development as well as the different zones.”



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Hot spot residents banned from NSW


NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard amended the COVID-19 interstate hot spot order on Monday to include residents from Greater Melbourne’s 36 local government areas.

The order is in force from 12.01am on Tuesday, July 7.

The health department said: “This means they will only be able to enter NSW for very limited reasons, such as obtaining medical care, or fulfilling a legal obligation.”

“Come midnight tonight, for the next 24 hours, the hot spots will extend to all of Melbourne so nobody from Melbourne will be able to cross the border in the next 24 hours,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday. 

“But come midnight tomorrow night, it will be all Victorians.”

The border between NSW and Victoria will shut from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 8. 

“The requirement for NSW residents returning from Melbourne hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days will then be extended to anyone returning from Victoria. Heavy penalties and fines apply,” the health minister’s office said. 

“Provisions will be in place for residents of border regions, such as Albury-Wodonga.”

Australia has recorded a total 8397 cases of COVID-19, with 3240 in New South Wales, 2660 in Victoria, 1067 in Queensland, 443 in South Australia, 621 in Western Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the Australian Capital Territory and 30 in the Northern Territory.

Australia’s coronavirus death toll is 106. 

Live Updates


Sarah McPhee

The Tuesday morning order from the NSW government affects residents in any of these 36 Local Government Areas in Greater Melbourne:

  • Banyule City
  • Bayside City
  • Boroondara City
  • Brimbank City
  • Cardinia Shire
  • Casey City
  • Darebin City
  • Frankston City
  • Glen Eira City
  • Greater Dandenong City
  • Greater Geelong City
  • Hobsons Bay City
  • Hume City
  • Kingston City
  • Knox City
  • Macedon Ranges Shire
  • Manningham City
  • Maribyrnong City
  • Maroondah City
  • Melbourne City
  • Melton City
  • Mitchell Shire
  • Monash City
  • Moonee Valley City
  • Moorabool Shire
  • Moreland City
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire
  • Murrindindi Shire
  • Nillumbik Shire
  • Port Phillip City
  • Stonnington City
  • Whitehorse City
  • Whittlesea City
  • Wyndham City
  • Yarra City
  • Yarra Ranges Shire

Source: NSW Government


Sarah McPhee

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard amended the COVID-19 interstate hot spot order on Monday to include residents from Greater Melbourne’s 36 local government areas.

The order is in force from 12.01am on Tuesday, July 7.

The health department said: “This means they will only be able to enter NSW for very limited reasons, such as obtaining medical care, or fulfilling a legal obligation.”

“Come midnight tonight, for the next 24 hours, the hot spots will extend to all of Melbourne so nobody from Melbourne will be able to cross the border in the next 24 hours,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday. 

“But come midnight tomorrow night, it will be all Victorians.”

The border between NSW and Victoria will shut from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 8. 

“The requirement for NSW residents returning from Melbourne hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days will then be extended to anyone returning from Victoria. Heavy penalties and fines apply,” the health minister’s office said. 

“Provisions will be in place for residents of border regions, such as Albury-Wodonga.”

There have been 2660 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Victoria included 127 new cases announced on Monday.





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NSW voters head to polls


Results from the Eden-Monaro by-election, triggered by the resignation of long-serving Labor MP Mike Kelly, will be finalised tonight as voters flock to the polls.

The by-election — the first federal ballot since the COVID-19 pandemic — is also Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s first test as senior Coalition figures believe the government is closing the gap on the ALP.

Mr Kelly resigned in April due to health reasons. He was first elected in 2007, and held the seat for 10 of the past 13 years.

It is set to be a tight contest, but Labor candidate Kristy McBain is expected to maintain the ALP’s reign over the large NSW-Victorian border seat, according to Coalition figures who spoke to The Australian.

SENDING A ‘CHAMPION’ TO CANBERRA

Today’s by-election is an opportunity to send a critical message of support to rural communities, which felt “left behind” during the bushfires and the pandemic, Anthony Albanese told the Today show this morning.

He said Ms McBain was the “best candidate” for representing the seat, which was ravaged by the summer bushfires.

“She has been incredibly well-received wherever she has gone throughout the electorate, whether it is Yass, Batlow or Snowy or here on the Coast around Merimbula, Bega, Tathra,” Mr Albanese said.

“These communities that are still doing it really tough. We visited a home yesterday or a former home just outside of Cobago where people have lost absolutely everything.

“The fact that people are still waiting for debris to be removed from their land six months later really is not good enough.”

CLOSER THAN LAST YEAR

Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs said she expected the by-election result to be tighter than last year’s federal election, when she lost to popular former Labor MP Mike Kelly by 1685 votes.

“I hope I’m able to increase the vote (from last year) but it is going to be really close. Every vote is going to count and it might come down to just one or two votes, I don’t know,” she told The Australian.

The small-business woman and cattle farmer also spent eight years in the Army Reserve and more than a decade volunteering as a Lifeline counsellor.

“It took about 10 days before we got a result last time. This time I’m expecting it’ll be that long, if not longer,” she said.

WHO ARE THE OTHER CANDIDATES?

Fourteen people are running for the seat, with the Greens, Nationals and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers fielding candidates alongside Labor and Liberal.

The other candidates are:

  • Joy Angel, Sustainable Australia
  • Michael Balderstone, HEMP Party
  • Riccardo Bosi, independent
  • Cathy Griff, Greens
  • Trevor Hicks, Nationals
  • James Holgate, independent
  • James Jansson, Science Party
  • Dean McCrae, Liberal Democrats
  • Karen Porter, independent
  • Jason Potter, Australian Federation Party
  • Matthew Stadtmiller, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
  • Narelle Storey, Christian Democrats.

FIRES DOMINATE ISSUES

Climate change will be one of the main issues in the Eden-Monaro seat after the government’s response to the summer’s bushfires.

It was one of the hardest-hit regions in the country, with many communities on the south coast still rebuilding.

Cobargo, made famous after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s unfriendly welcome during the fires, sits within the seat.

Voters will also be keen to vote for candidates with a firm stance on creating jobs for the region and strengthening the healthcare system after the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Results in the poll will start to flow in from 6pm AEST.



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NSW, QLD reports zero coronavirus cases while Victoria continues to spike


While one Australian state is struggling through a second spike in coronavirus cases, other states have found themselves in wildly different positions at the end of this week.

Today Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced there were 66 new cases of coronavirus in the state. This comes after announcing 77 new cases of the virus in the state yesterday.

Meanwhile, both Queensland and NSW today reported they have recorded zero new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

NSW announced the good news after midday, saying no new cases had been reported in the community or within the returned travellers being held in hotel quarantine.

Queensland also reported no new cases today — the state will ease some of its restrictions today.

This includes being allowed up to 100 people at their home for a party, being allowed 100 guests at a wedding, and being allowed to go to casinos and food courts in Queensland.

Meanwhile in Victoria, the number of cases has now risen to a total of 2368.

There are 442 active cases in Victoria and 23 of those are being treated in hospital. Testing has also been greatly expanded in the state over the past week and 24,000 people were tested in Victoria yesterday.

“Seventeen of those (new cases) are connected to contained outbreaks, a single case connected to hotel quarantine, 20 are the result of routine testing and 28 of those 66 cases are under investigation,” Mr Andrews said today.

Mr Andrews said it was too early in the piece to discuss trends but said the situation was better than cases “doubling and doubling again”.

The state’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said 10,000 people had refused virus tests. She told reporters she was concerned “some people believe that coronavirus is a conspiracy or that it won’t impact on them, so what I want to stress here is that coronavirus is a very contagious virus”.

She said during her briefing the postcodes reporting the highest number of cases were 3064, 3031, 3047 and 3060 — this includes suburbs Donnybrook, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park, Flemington, Broadmeadows and Fawkner.



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Community sport finally returns in NSW after being sidelined by COVID-19


After being sidelined for several months community sport is returning, but there are already winners and losers before a whistle is even blown.

The easing of restrictions in New South Wales from July 1 has allowed children and adults to return to competitive sport.

Renee Bell from the Kahibah Football Club said it was relief after so much uncertainty.

“We certainly had plenty of doubts,” she said.

“So we’re all pretty excited about this weekend.”

Players from the Kahibah girls Under-13s team returned to training this week.

Neve Scully said she was happy to be back.

“I mostly like reconnecting with my friends that I haven’t seen for a while and also just playing on the field,” she said.

For Willow Waddingham it is her first year playing soccer.

Players from the Kahibah Football Club Girls Under 13s team training.
The Kahibah FC Under-13s girls team train ahead of their first game since COVID-19 restrictions eased.(ABC News: Anthony Scully)

Tough decision to cancel season

Coronavirus protocols still remain in place with players, officials and spectators needing to adhere to the public health guidelines.

Sporting club toilets, change rooms and hard surfaces will need to be cleaned more regularly, along with sporting equipment like balls, flags and goal posts.

For New Lambton Football Club, the largest club in NSW north of Sydney, meeting the guidelines was too big a task for volunteers, according to the club’s co-chair, Clayton Harrison.

“For example; the requirement for a person every 4 square metres, the requirement to have a register for capturing attendees at parks and facilities and also the hygiene and cleaning protocols that are required at parks,” he said.

Two men (Clayton Harrison and Steve Manning) standing side by side at a sporting field.
Clayton Harrison and Steve Manning say it was not an easy decision to cancel the season for about 1,200 of its members.(ABC News: Anthony Scully)

He said the decision to cancel the season for about 1,200 of its members was not made lightly.

“It’s been sleepless nights, no doubt,” he said.

“It was a massive decision for the club, and it will go down in history one that we won’t look back on fondly.

“There’s a lot of people doing a lot of work in this club to get kids on the park every year and that’s what we exist for. We’re not here for any other purpose.”



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