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Aussies urged to claim their share of millions of unclaimed cash

<p>Aussies are being urged to claim their share of $577 million which is sitting unclaimed with Revenue NSW, with about $234 million of that designated as belonging to residents who have yet to claim it.</p> <p>During the last financial year, NSW Government returned more than $21.8 million in unclaimed funds to Aussies, setting a record in the process. </p> <p>The unclaimed funds are comprised of payments, refunds, unpresented cheques, dividends and other money that organisations cannot transfer to its rightful owners, sometimes due to something as simple as changed addresses or bank accounts.</p> <p>While $234 million is being held by the government for NSW residents who are known, the further $343 million is designated to those who live outside New South Wales or are currently unknown. </p> <p>For Sydney residents alone, approximately $85.4 million is currently waiting to be claimed by rightful owners. </p> <p>The average amount of unclaimed money owed on the register is $391, and more than $154 million has been claimed back from the government in the past decade.</p> <p>“Despite doing our best to give unclaimed money back to the people it’s owed to, we’re still seeing more money referred to us than people are claiming,” Chief Commissioner of State Revenue Scott Johnston said.</p> <p>“We want to make sure everyone knows about the unclaimed money register, so they can jump online, find out if any money is owed to them and undertake the process to get it back."</p> <p>“That way we can ensure more money is being returned to those it belongs to, rather than sitting with us for extended periods of time after enterprises and organisations pass it on.”</p> <p>You can find more information about the unclaimed funds, and search the register for your share on <a href="https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/unclaimed-money" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Revenue NSW’s website</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Money & Banking

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Cops charged after allegedly assaulting 92-year-old

<p>Two police officers have been charged after allegedly assaulting a 92-year-old man in Sydney’s southwest.</p> <p>The officers attended a home at Campbell Street, Picton, after 8:45pm on January 21, following reports of a domestic incident. </p> <p>"The 92-year-old man received injuries which were allegedly the result of an interaction with the officers," a NSW Police statement reads.</p> <p>"He was taken to hospital where he was admitted with a fracture to his right elbow, and significant bruising to his head and arms."</p> <p>Following an internal investigation - which began the day after police attended the home - a male senior constable and a male constable, both from the South West Metropolitan Region, were given court attendance notices yesterday for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.</p> <p>The constable is also facing a further charge of assault. </p> <p>NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said that police responded to over 140,000 domestic violence matters every year and they review all the responses the following day. </p> <p>She also said that it was "too hard to say" whether a domestic violence matter took place at the home, and it appeared that a resident at the home had dementia. </p> <p>"It's obviously a complex matter when you have someone elderly, someone who has mental decline through dementia, or through something else, that can actually articulate any concerns to police properly."</p> <p>However, no-one has been charged with domestic violence. </p> <p>One of the officers will appear at Campbelltown Local Court on July 30, and the other is due to appear at the same court on August 6. </p> <p>Both officers will be suspended with pay. </p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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Racist street name set to change

<p>The name of a street in northern NSW is set to be changed after an Uber driver stumbled across it and alerted locals to its racist background. </p> <p>Byron Shire Council announced that Hottentot Crescent in Mullumbimby, will soon be renamed Moonlight Close, after the council deemed Hottentot - a racist term for Indigenous South Africans - no longer appropriate for use. </p> <p>Jonny Simons, a local man who moved to Australia from South Africa in the 1980s, was the first person to petition for the name change back in November, after the Uber driver tipped him off. </p> <p>He garnered 383 signatures in the petition, but not all residents and community members supported the change. </p> <p>Last year, there were 12 submissions from past and present residents objecting to the council's name change proposal. </p> <p>One resident insisted on keeping the name saying: “My understanding is that our street name was chosen decades ago, after a tree, the Hottentot Bean Tree (Schotia Brachypetala). Never in my time as a resident here, have I heard another person ever relate the street name in regards to a racial slur." </p> <p>“While I appreciate the concerns raised, it is essential to acknowledge that names can change in meaning and connotation over the years.</p> <p>“Altering the street name would greatly impact residents and the council long term with endless administrative changes and potential financial costs.”</p> <p>However, five other submissions were in favour of the change, with one writing: “a racial slur is a racial slur even if a tree is named after it. As much as I loved the sound of the name, it has to go.” </p> <p>A few other names were put forward, including Drunken Parrot Place - named after a nearby tree full of lorikeets getting drunk in spring and summer - but the council ultimately decided on Moonlight Close. </p> <p>In November, following community consultation, the council’s director of infrastructure services Phillip Holloway, recommended the name change “on the basis that there is more lasting value in trying to minimise the type of hurt this particular name could cause some people over the long term", over avoiding costs to the residents in the short term.</p> <p>He added that many of the residents were unaware of the racist connotation of the name "beyond naming the relevant tree", and that "the tree name itself is racially loaded" because it is linked to the slur used towards the Khoisan people "who used the tree for food during South Africa’s colonisation.”</p> <p>Simons, who petitioned for the change, said he doesn't hold anything against the residents who were against the name change as "they didn't know what it meant". </p> <p>"They thought it was the name of a tree, but that tree was named as such because the Khoisan people of South Africa ate the fruit of that tree," he said. </p> <p><em>Image: Google Maps</em></p>

Legal

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Alleged killer cop files lawsuit against NSW Police

<p>The former police officer accused of murder has now filed a lawsuit against the NSW Police for bullying and harassment. </p> <p>Former NSW Police senior constable Beau Lamarre-Condon is accused of shooting Jesse Baird, 26, and his partner Luke Davies, 29, at Baird’s Paddington house in February and disposing of the bodies on a rural property near Goulburn.</p> <p>While still awaiting trial over the alleged murders, the suit against the police force has been filed, with <em>Sunrise</em> newsreader Edwina Bartholomew sharing the updates. </p> <p>“The defence lawyer for accused killer cop Beau Lamarre-Condon says his client is continuing with a lawsuit against the NSW Police Force for bullying and harassment while he was a constable,” Bartholomew said.</p> <p>Lamarre-Condon's lawyer John Walford confirmed the move to <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=DTWEB_WRE170_a_TCA&amp;dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailytelegraph.com.au%2Ftruecrimeaustralia%2Fpolice-courts-nsw%2Fchilling-unseen-photos-of-beau-lamarrecondon-cosying-up-with-exlover-he-allegedly-killed%2Fnews-story%2F4fdbac4f0dac6d7ea38b3094e808e3ab&amp;memtype=anonymous&amp;mode=premium&amp;v21=LOW-Segment-1-SCORE" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a>, saying, “Yes, action against police is continuing … it’s huge.”</p> <p>The former officer has been in protective custody at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater in Sydney's west for the past four months and sources close to the 28-year-old say his mental state is deteriorating.</p> <p>"He's not doing real well at the moment," a source told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13471215/Beau-Lamarre-Condon-Chilling-pictures-accused-killer-Jesse-Baird-Luke-Davies.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> in April. </p> <p>"Obviously it's set in now - what's happened and the allegations and where he is. I think the rot's set in mentally-wise. He's at a low point at the moment. He's very down. He's hit the lows."</p> <p>Lamarre-Condon is expected to front court again on June 18th. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News / Shutterstock </em></p>

Legal

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Hundreds arrested in domestic violence crackdown

<p>More than 550 people in NSW have been arrested in a state-wide crackdown on domestic and family violence. </p> <p>Operation Amarok VI ran from last Wednesday to Saturday, and in that time police arrested 554 people and made a total of 1070 charges. </p> <p>Of those arrests, 226 were wanted by police for alleged serious domestic violence offences, according to a NSW police spokesman. </p> <p>"Anyone who commits this heinous crime can expect a knock at their door," Police Minister Yasmin Catley said.</p> <p>"Operation Amarok is just one part of the police response. Last year, almost 150,000 calls for assistance were made to the NSWPF for domestic violence-related matters.</p> <p>"This shows the severity of the situation, the huge amount of police time and resources that go into addressing this epidemic and how important it is for prevention, early intervention and crisis support services to work together."</p> <p>Some of most significant arrests include a a 53-year-old man who allegedly threatened a woman with an imitation gun in Kempsey. </p> <p>Officers searched the home and seized the weapon and some cannabis. </p> <p>A 23-year-old woman was also arrested in the state's west after allegedly stabbing a relative around 2:30 am on May 17. </p> <p>The older relative received multiple stab wounds to the abdomen, head, and back and was taken to a local hospital where police were called.</p> <p>She was later flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a critical condition.</p> <p>The 23-year-old was charged with wound person intend cause grievous bodily harm and was refused bail to appear in Dubbo Local Court on May 18.</p> <p>NSW Police Executive Sponsor for Domestic and Family Violence, Deputy Commissioner Peter Thurtell said that the operation allowed police to conduct a targeted blitz of those who have been flagged as the worst domestic violence offenders. </p> <p>“We demonstrated last week that we will target and arrest the offenders no matter where they are located. We saw significant arrest numbers in our regional communities, and we also saw arrests for offences that occurred allegedly while the offender was in jail," he said. </p> <p>"These Amarok VI results send a powerful message to offenders, and the community at large, that we do not tolerate domestic and family violence in any form, and our efforts will continue."</p> <p><em>Images: NSW Police</em></p>

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Heartbreaking twist after mum dies on her way to a wedding

<p>A mother has been killed in a horrific car crash while on her way to a wedding in regional NSW, just hours after announcing she was expecting her third child. </p> <p>Shellymaine Ah Foon, 32, her partner Troy, and their two young daughters, aged six and two, were on their way to a wedding in Mudgee, NSW when their SUV crashed at Aarons Pass, about 2pm on Friday. </p> <p>Foon was left with critical injuries and was taken to Mudgee hospital, but soon passed away. </p> <p>Her partner was seriously injured and airlifted to Westmead Hospital to undergo surgery after suffering several fractures to both limbs on his left side. </p> <p>Their two daughters were also taken to the same hospital. </p> <p>A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed the sad detail to 7News. </p> <p>“We spoke to Shelly on the Thursday night, and she told us she was pregnant,” she said. </p> <p>“She was meant to go for tests when she came back from Mudgee to see how far along she was.”</p> <p>Foon was remembered as a "social butterfly" who could “strike up a conversation with anyone.” </p> <p>“She was very family oriented, was always there for anyone who needed anything, she was very selfless with her time,” the family member said. </p> <p>“Her death has really impacted a whole community of people,” she added. </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-shellymaine-ah-foon" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page has since been organised to help cover funeral costs, support Troy following his surgery, and help Foon's family, who are largely based overseas. </p> <p>“Troy won’t be able to go to work while he recovers,” the woman said.</p> <p>“He still has to undergo rehab, and he will be on crutches for some time.”</p> <p>Their two daughters have since been discharged from the hospital, and are in the care of family while Troy recovers. </p> <p>The family friend added that Foon's love for her kids was exceptional saying: “she was the light of Troy and her girls’ lives.</p> <p>“Their world has changed forever and the love their Mum gave them will never be replicated ever again.”  </p> <p>Police said investigations are still underway into the circumstances leading up to the crash, with the other driver taken to Mudgee Hospital with minor injuries. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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Firefighter praised for sweet interaction with three-year-old

<p>A cooking mishap for one Aussie family ended with a heartwarming moment shared between a firefighter and a young girl meeting her hero for the first time. </p> <p>Firefighters were called to a home at Blue Haven on the NSW Central Coast on Saturday, after a fire broke out on a kitchen stove top and spread to the range hood. </p> <p>They were quick to put out the blaze and just as they were about to leave, three-year-old Mia was too excited to meet her heroes that she couldn't let them leave just yet. </p> <p>"Once we got there and ascertained that there was no fire spread to the roof and other areas... their daughter decided to take me away into the room to see the new books she got," Doyalson Fire and Rescue Station Manager Dirk Ziekenheiner told Yahoo News.  </p> <p>"Which I then obviously took the opportunity to read," he added.</p> <p>A picture of the sweet moment was shared on social media, with the firefighter sat on one of Mia's pink chairs and the three-year-old keenly listening to him read the story. </p> <p>Mia also impressed the firefighter with her own safety knowledge, as she shared her understanding of calling Triple-Zero in an emergency, how to escape a fire and the importance staying outside after evacuating. </p> <p>"Obviously her parents did really well and schools pass on the message, and you know that safety messages are key to surviving a house fire, especially these days," Ziekenheiner said.</p> <p>"If you don't know what to do, and you never plan for it, then you're probably behind the eight ball... this girl was amazing, she knew all those key messages which is really important."</p> <p>Aussies praised the firefighter in the comments of the post, with many of them commenting on how "cute" the moment was. </p> <p>Mia's father, James, also added that his daughter was very excited to meet her heroes despite the circumstances. </p> <p>"Mia watches a lot of children's TV shows which feature firefighters so she already knows they're heroes and they rescue people," James said.</p> <p>"Having now seen first-hand the great work they do, we'll continue to spread the word about fire safety and we encourage others to do the same.</p> <p>"Our family never thought we'd come this close to losing our home to fire, so the key is to not be complacent about the risks."</p> <p><em>Image: Fire and Rescue NSW / Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Leaker of gruesome shark attack photo revealed

<p>The New South Wales Ambulance Service is facing criticism and backlash after a staff member <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/leaked-photo-of-sydney-shark-victim-sparks-urgent-probe" target="_blank" rel="noopener">leaked a graphic image</a> of the wounded leg of Sydney shark attack victim Lauren O'Neill.</p> <p>The incident occurred after O'Neill fell victim to a bull shark attack in Sydney Harbour, just metres away from her residence. This breach of privacy has not only added to the distress of O'Neill and her loved ones but has raised serious concerns about the protection of patient confidentiality.</p> <p>The graphic image, taken inside the emergency room as medical professionals worked to stabilise O'Neill, was shared online by a member of the NSW Ambulance staff. This action not only violates the fundamental principle of patient privacy but also calls into question the ethical conduct expected from healthcare professionals in such sensitive situations.</p> <p>NSW Ambulance issued a public apology, acknowledging the breach of privacy and expressing sincere regret for the additional distress caused to O'Neill and her family.</p> <p>The statement also revealed that discussions with O'Neill's family led them to believe that a NSW Ambulance staff member was responsible for the privacy breach.</p> <p>“NSW Ambulance sincerely apologises to Ms O’Neill for the breach of her privacy and the additional distress it has caused her and her loved ones at this most difficult time,” a spokesperson said. “We spoke with Ms O’Neill’s family this afternoon and informed them that we believe a NSW Ambulance staff member was responsible for the breach of her privacy.</p> <p>“NSW Ambulance takes its patient privacy obligations very seriously and is continuing to investigate this breach to determine the full details of the incident.”</p> <p>St Vincent's Hospital, where Ms. O'Neill was taken for urgent medical attention, has launched its own investigation into the matter, along with the involvement of NSW Police. The gravity of the situation is underscored by the fact that O'Neill's right leg was in jeopardy, and the medical teams worked tirelessly to save it.</p> <p>O'Neill, a microbiologist, has expressed her gratitude to the heroic neighbours, to NSW Ambulance paramedics, Kings Cross Police and the surgical teams at St Vincent's Hospital for their swift and caring actions. However, the unfortunate leak of the graphic image has marred what should have been a focus on her recovery and gratitude towards those who aided her in the aftermath of the terrifying attack.</p> <p>As O'Neill transitions from the Intensive Care Unit to a recovery ward, it is crucial for the public to reflect on the importance of patient privacy and the trust placed in healthcare professionals during moments of vulnerability. The breach has sparked outrage among the public, with many demanding accountability and stricter measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Legal

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Twist for cop accused of killing Clare Nowland

<p>Senior Constable Kristian James Samuel White, 33, who was accused of killing 95-year-old Clare Nowland <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/family-horrified-by-police-statement-on-tasering-of-clare-nowland" target="_blank" rel="noopener">with a taser</a> at an aged care home in Cooma, regional NSW has been deemed a “flight risk”. </p> <p>White was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault over the alleged “excessive use of force”.</p> <p>It is alleged that Nowland was using a walker and holding a serrated steak knife at the time of the incident, when the 33-year-old said “stop, just … nah bugger it” before allegedly tasering her. </p> <p>The great-grandmother fell backwards and fractured her skull, causing an inoperable brain injury that unfortunately led to her death just days later. </p> <p>Just last week, White's charges were upgraded to include an additional charge of manslaughter on advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.</p> <p>White appeared in court on Wednesday, for the first time since his charges were upgraded, and received two new bail conditions. </p> <p>The Constable was required to surrender his passport and not leave the country due to the upgraded charges. </p> <p>However, prior to his bail conditions being approved, Magistrate Roger Clisdell criticised both Crown prosecutor Victoria Garrity, and White's defence lawyer Warwick Anderson for negotiating the new terms of bail without his input. </p> <p>“I make the decision,” he said.</p> <p>“I would have thought my last explosion would have caused you to be more sensitive to my position.”</p> <p>This comes after the prosecutors failed to tell the Magistrate that they had agreed to allow White to appear in court via video link in May, without the court's consent.</p> <p>The Crown prosecutor defended her actions by saying that she asked him to surrender his passport to mitigate the risk of flight. </p> <p>“With the more serious charge now being faced, there is a heightened risk that he would leave the jurisdiction and not face court,”  she explained. </p> <p>“Those two new conditions are now appropriate.”</p> <p>While the police officer's defence lawyer added that “He has no intention of fleeing the jurisdiction," and agreed to the additional bail conditions “to facilitate the speedy resolution”. </p> <p>White will return to court in February next year. </p> <p>Nowland's family members released a statement via their lawyer after the proceedings on Wednesday. </p> <p>“The family does not wish to comment further on the criminal process at this time given the extremely serious nature of the charge against Mr White, who continues to be a sworn NSW police officer,” the statement read. </p> <p>NSW Police confirmed that White remained suspended from duty with pay.</p> <p><em>Images: ABC News South East NSW: Floss Adams/ News.com.au</em></p>

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3 ways to prepare for bushfire season if you have asthma or another lung condition

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kazi-mizanur-rahman-1057615">Kazi Mizanur Rahman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joe-duncan-1472949">Joe Duncan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jo-longman-1221029">Jo Longman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s bushfire season is officially <a href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/fire-season-commences">under way</a> during an <a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/what-the-return-of-el-nino-means/">El Niño</a>. And after three wet years, and the <a href="https://www.afac.com.au/auxiliary/publications/newsletter/article/seasonal-bushfire-outlook-spring-2023#:%7E:text=For%20spring%202023%2C%20increased%20risk,bushfire%20this%20season%20are%20widespread">plant growth</a> that comes with it, there’s fuel to burn.</p> <p>With the prospect of <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-official-australia-is-set-for-a-hot-dry-el-nino-heres-what-that-means-for-our-flammable-continent-209126">catastrophic bushfire</a> comes smoke. This not only affects people in bushfire regions, but those <a href="https://theconversation.com/bushfire-smoke-is-everywhere-in-our-cities-heres-exactly-what-you-are-inhaling-129772">in cities and towns</a> far away, as smoke travels.</p> <p>People with a <a href="https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/10.1164/rccm.202012-4471LE">lung condition</a> are among those especially affected.</p> <h2>What’s so dangerous about bushfire smoke?</h2> <p>Bushfire smoke <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/common-air-pollutants.aspx">pollutes the air</a> we breathe by increasing the concentration of particulate matter (or PM).</p> <p>Once inhaled, <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/particulate-matter.aspx">small particles</a> (especially with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less, known as PM2.5) can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream.</p> <p>Concentration of gases in the air – such as <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/ozone.aspx">ozone</a>, <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/nitrogen-dioxide.aspx">nitrogen dioxide</a> and <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/sulphur-dioxide.aspx">sulfur dioxide</a> – also increase, to pollute the air.</p> <p>All these cause the airway to <a href="https://www.alfredhealth.org.au/news/the-effects-of-bushfire-smoke-explained/">narrow and spasm</a>, making it hard to breathe.</p> <p>This can be even worse for people with existing asthma or other respiratory conditions whose airways are already inflamed.</p> <p>Emergency department visits and hospital admissions for asthma-related symptoms <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935119305742?dgcid=author">rise</a> <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33601224/">after exposure</a> to bushfire smoke.</p> <p>Smoke from the bushfires in summer 2019/20 <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/213_06/mja250545.pdf">resulted in</a> an estimated 400 deaths or more from any cause, more than 1,300 emergency department visits for asthma symptoms, and more than 2,000 hospital admissions for respiratory issues.</p> <p>Even if symptoms are not serious enough to warrant emergency medical attention, exposure to bushfire smoke <a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/health/staying-healthy/environmental/after-a-disaster/bushfires/bushfire-smoke-and-your-health#:%7E:text=Signs%20of%20smoke%20irritation%20include,throat%2C%20runny%20nose%20and%20coughing">can lead to</a> cough, nasal congestion, wheezing and asthma flares.</p> <p>If you have <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-causes-asthma-what-we-know-dont-know-and-suspect-96409">asthma</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-25539">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease</a>, <a href="https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/bronchiectasis#:%7E:text=Bronchiectasis%20is%20a%20condition%20that,These%20tubes%20are%20called%20airways.">bronchiectasis</a> or another lung condition, or you care for someone who has, here’s what you can do to prepare for the season ahead.</p> <h2>1. Avoid smoke</h2> <p>Monitor your local air quality by downloading one or both of these apps:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://asthma.org.au/what-we-do/current-projects/airsmart/">AirSmart</a> from Asthma Australia has live air-quality information to help you plan and act</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://airrater.org/">AirRater</a>, developed by Australian scientists, can be another useful app to monitor your environment, track your symptoms and help manage your health.</p> </li> </ul> <p>During times of poor air quality and smoke stay indoors and avoid smoke exposure. Close windows and doors, and if you have one, use an air conditioner to recirculate the air.</p> <p>Avoid unnecessary <a href="https://28bysamwood.com/blog/fitness/should-you-exercise-if-its-smoky-outside/">physical activity</a> which makes us breathe more to deliver more oxygen to the body, but also means we inhale more polluted air. Consider temporarily moving to a safer residence.</p> <p>Well-fitting N95/P2 masks can reduce your exposure to fine smoke particles if you must travel. However they can make it more difficult to breathe if you are unwell. In that case, you may find a mask with a valve <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-protect-yourself-against-bushfire-smoke-this-summer-154720">more comfortable</a>.</p> <h2>2. Have an action plan</h2> <p>Taking your regular preventer medication ensures your lung health is optimised before the danger period.</p> <p>Ensure you have a <a href="https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/health-professionals/asthma-action-plans">written action plan</a>. This provides you with clear instructions on how to take early actions to prevent symptoms deteriorating or to reduce the severity of flare-ups. Review this plan with your GP, share it with a family member, pin it to the fridge.</p> <p>Make sure you have emergency medication available, know when to call for help, and what medication to take while you wait. You may consider storing an emergency “reliever puffer” in your home or with a neighbour.</p> <h2>3. Have the right equipment</h2> <p>High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters <a href="https://www.phrp.com.au/issues/online-early/residential-indoor-air-quality-and-hepa-cleaner-use/">can reduce</a> smoke exposure inside the home during a fire event by 30-74%. These filters remove particulate matter from the air.</p> <p>A spacer, which is a small chamber to contain inhaled medication, can help you take emergency medication if you are breathing quickly. You may want to have one to hand.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kazi-mizanur-rahman-1057615">Kazi Mizanur Rahman</a>, Associate Professor of Healthcare Innovations, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joe-duncan-1472949">Joe Duncan</a>, Clinical Associate Lecturer, Northern Clinical School and Lecturer, Internal Medicine. Rural Clinical School (Northern Rivers), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jo-longman-1221029">Jo Longman</a>, Senior Research Fellow, The University Centre for Rural Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-ways-to-prepare-for-bushfire-season-if-you-have-asthma-or-another-lung-condition-214065">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Fast-moving bushfire threatens Australia Zoo

<p>Australia is no stranger to bushfires, and once again, the country finds itself in the throes of a dangerous blaze. Evacuation warnings have been issued as a bushfire inches dangerously close to the boundary of the beloved Australia Zoo, operated by the Irwin family.</p> <p>The zoo, famous for its conservation efforts and charismatic wildlife, spans an impressive 283 hectares and holds a special place in the hearts of many.</p> <p>The blaze, described as a "large, fast-moving fire", had triggered initial evacuations on Saturday night. However, by 10:30pm, locals were allowed to return home as firefighting efforts temporarily contained the blaze. But the respite was short-lived. The situation escalated, and on Sunday, evacuation orders were issued once more.</p> <p>Firefighters have been working tirelessly to control the blaze, but the threat remains. The fire, as of 5pm on Sunday, was at the "watch and act" level and was steadily advancing toward Hardwood Rd.</p> <p>Residents in the vicinity, specifically those between Steve Irwin Way, Graham Drive, Fraser Rd, and Hardwood Rd, have been urged to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) emphasised that residents should not expect firefighters to arrive at their doors, as resources are stretched thin.</p> <p>The bushfire near Australia Zoo is not an isolated incident; it is part of a larger crisis that has seen multiple fires raging across Queensland. More than 20,000 hectares of land and 41 homes have been lost near Tara on the Western Downs. Exhausted residents in Landsborough, on the Sunshine Coast, had to evacuate for the second time in as many days as conditions worsened. These repeated evacuations underscore the volatile and unpredictable nature of bushfires.</p> <p>Firefighters are racing against time as they brace for worsening conditions this week, with scorching temperatures forecast. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Inspector Ross Stacey has warned that Tuesday does not look promising, and they are aware that fires can start rapidly under certain conditions. The local crews have been working non-stop, with reinforcements arriving from interstate and across Queensland. The need for vigilance and preparedness is paramount.</p> <p>The fires have already taken a heavy toll, with more than 70 structures, including 41 homes and 25 sheds, lost over the past week. The tireless efforts of over 70 firefighters and two water bombing helicopters were needed to prevent the blaze from engulfing homes on the outskirts of Landsborough. The fire, which broke out in the forestry outside the town, threatened the iconic Australia Zoo, coming within less than a kilometre of the cherished institution. Authorities remain in close contact with the zoo's staff to keep them informed and ensure the safety of the animals.</p> <p>A fire ban is currently in place for several regions, underlining the heightened fire risk.</p> <p><em>Image: Australia Zoo / <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">QFES</span></em></p>

News

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AFL star’s wedding evacuated over emergency

<p>West Coast Eagles veteran Andrew Gaff's wedding celebrations took an unexpected turn on a sunny Sunday as an encroaching bushfire threatened the joyous occasion. The unexpected incident unfolded in the picturesque setting of Bold Park in City Beach, Perth, creating an alarming backdrop to what was meant to be a memorable day.</p> <p>According to 7Sport, the flames that ignited in Bold Park posed a severe threat to lives and homes in the surrounding area, prompting the swift intervention of emergency services. This meant that Gaff's wedding reception had to be evacuated promptly, disrupting the festivities and leaving guests in shock.</p> <p>Among the guests in attendance were Gaff's Eagles teammates, including Elliot Yeo and Jack Darling, as well as premiership-winning hero Scott Lycett. The abrupt evacuation was a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of Australian bushfires.</p> <p>"We were just at a wedding, and the police came and said we've got to leave; there is a fire over the hill," recounted one startled guest. Another guest added, "We were dancing... I was busting a move," before they were rushed out of the venue by police.</p> <p>The bushfire outbreak triggered a "watch and act" warning for parts of City Beach, Floreat and Mount Claremont, underlining the gravity of the situation. Amid the chaos, the father of Gaff's new bride, Emma Van Woerden, was seen carrying the wedding cake away from the Quarry Amphitheatre, a symbol of the disrupted celebration.</p> <p>The cause of the fire was attributed to squatters, and it took the efforts of as many as 50 firefighters to bring the blaze under control. Thankfully, there were no reported threats to lives or homes after the situation was contained.</p> <p>Gaff is not the only footy star who has chose to either get engaged or tie the knot during the post-season. Carlton hero <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/all-the-footy-stars-are-getting-married" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jack Silvagni, for example, wed Grace Phillips</a> in an intimate ceremony attended by family and friends. His teammates Patrick Cripps, Jack Martin and Sam Docherty were among the guests.</p> <p>In the world of rugby, NRL star Reuben Cotter married his new wife, Mackenzie Falco, the day after representing Australia against Samoa. Cotter's dedication to his country led him to cancel his own bachelor party, choosing to participate in the Pacific Championship instead. </p> <p><em>Images: Nine News / Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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Fire authorities are better prepared for this summer. The question now is – are you?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/graham-dwyer-908955">Graham Dwyer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Last year, campers had to evacuate <a href="https://www.thegreynomads.com.au/caves-2/">because of floods</a>. This year, they’re evacuating because of fire. Over Victoria’s long weekend, campers and residents in Gippsland had to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-01/gippsland-fires-burn-briagolong-loch-sport-erica/102922014">flee fast-moving fires</a>, driven by high winds.</p> <p>The megafires of the 2019–2020 Black Summer came off the back of an earlier El Niño climate cycle. Now, after three years of rain and floods, El Niño is arriving on Australian shores again. With it comes fire weather – hot, dry and windy.</p> <p>The question is – <a href="https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/comment/topic/2023/09/30/climate-change-and-the-fire-season-ahead#mtr">are we ready?</a></p> <p>Last week, emergency management minister Murray Watt moved to reassure an anxious country. “Australia is much better prepared for this season than we were heading into Black Summer,” he said, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-24/australia-better-prepared-for-bushfire-threat-than-black-summer/102895018">speaking after</a> a national summit on disaster preparedness.</p> <p>Yes, authorities are better prepared. But by and large, we as individuals are not. Far too often, Australians think it’s the job of the authorities to be ready, which breeds a false sense of security.</p> <h2>This fire season may pack a punch</h2> <p>The Black Summer bushfires of the 2019–20 summer were a stark reminder of how fire prone Australia is. But they were more than that – they <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-black-summer-of-fire-was-not-normal-and-we-can-prove-it-172506">were not normal</a>. Around 20% of all of our forests went up in flame.</p> <p>2019 was the <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/2019-2019-was-australias-hottest-and-driest-year-on-record/#:%7E:text=Last%20year%20was%20Australia's%20hottest,are%20the%20worst%20on%20record.">hottest and driest</a> year on record for Australia. But 2023 <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/sep/01/australia-records-warmest-winter-caused-by-global-heating-and-sunny-conditions">may break that record</a>, as climate records topple around the world and extreme weather events multiply. This year is likely to be the hottest on record globally, and next year the record <a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/what-the-return-of-el-nino-means/#:%7E:text=Looking%20ahead%20%E2%80%93%20with%20El%20Ni%C3%B1o,above%20the%20pre%2Dindustrial%20average">may well fall again</a>.</p> <p>Sustained rain from three successive La Niña years has driven widespread vegetation growth across Australia’s 125 million hectares of forest, bush and grasslands. Over the coming weeks, many areas could dry out quickly and become tinder for bushfires.</p> <h2>Climate cycles do give us time to prepare</h2> <p>Australia’s wet-dry climate cycles have one benefit – during wet years, fire authorities get a reprieve. That lets governments, emergency services and the community <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-22/bushfire-royal-commission-revisited-after-el-nino-weather/102880144">coordinate, plan and prepare</a> for bushfire seasons ahead.</p> <p>That’s why Minister Watt can accurately claim Australia is better prepared. The capacity and capability of our emergency services to predict the spread of fires and issue timely warnings to communities is better than it has ever been. In planning and preparedness for natural hazards such as bushfires and floods, we have seen <a href="https://nema.gov.au/about-us/media-centre/Preparedness-Summit-250923">better integration</a> between government, emergency services, civil and private sector organisations.</p> <p>Planned burning is still a challenge. It’s tough to find the right weather conditions to burn off fuel loads at low intensity, without risking the blaze spreading or threatening property.</p> <p>But these burns are done much more <a href="https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/ajem-october-2020-searching-for-objectivity-in-burning/">strategically these days</a>. Rather than simply aim to hit a target of hectares burned, authorities are now focused on burning fuel in areas where it could endanger lives and damage critical infrastructure during bushfire season.</p> <p>These advances give us good reason for confidence. But not for complacency.</p> <p>Every bushfire is unique. And our fires are, by and large, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-27225-4">getting worse</a>. It would be an error to think our investment in <a href="https://reporter.anu.edu.au/all-stories/fighting-fires-from-space-how-satellites-and-other-tech-could-prevent-catastrophic-bushfires">smoke-detecting algorithms and satellite monitoring</a> and the development of the new <a href="https://afdrs.com.au/">Australian Fire Danger Rating System</a> will spare Australia from the loss of life, property and environmental destruction observed during the Black Summer fires.</p> <p>Why? Decades of bushfires have shown even the best preparation can be found wanting on days of severe bushfire danger when firestorms can develop quickly and behave unpredictably.</p> <h2>For Australia to be ready, you need to be ready</h2> <p>While megafires happen – and draw the most headlines – most bushfires are local rather than national events.</p> <p>That means we must prepare at a local level.</p> <p>If you’re faced with a bushfire threat, you have only <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8500.12592">two options</a>.</p> <p>You can stay and defend your property – as long as you are physically and mentally prepared, have adequate firefighting resources, and your property is prepared and defensible.</p> <p>Or you can leave early, which means making a judgement call about the best time to go in a calm manner. That doesn’t mean panic – if there is time, it can be possible to do things like clear fuels from around the home and dampen the surrounds to give your house a better chance of surviving undefended.</p> <p>Which should you choose? It depends, in part, on where you live and your personal circumstances. Remember too that most Australians will never experience a bushfire firsthand.</p> <p>Every community has a different risk profile and people and communities vary considerably in their levels of preparedness and planning.</p> <p>If a fire does start and head towards your house, you could be taken entirely by surprise if you have no bushfire plan.</p> <p>To be clear, this is arguably the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-a-bushfire-and-when-to-leave-50962#:%7E:text=Under%20Catastrophic%20fire%20conditions%20all,of%20bushfires%20and%20their%20unpredictability.">largest gap</a> in Australia’s fire preparedness.</p> <h2>Planning is easy – if done ahead</h2> <p>The question of whether Australia is ready for the fire season should be reframed. The better question is: are Australians ready?</p> <p>The good news is, it’s easier than you think to make a fire plan. As a household, it might take just 10 minutes. Your state or territory government has a website showing you how:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/before-and-during-a-fire/your-bushfire-plan">Victoria</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/resources/bush-fire-survival-plan">New South Wales</a></li> <li><a href="https://bushfire-survival-plan.qfes.qld.gov.au/">Queensland</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/plan-prepare/before-a-fire-be-prepared/make-a-plan/5-minute-bushfire-plan/">South Australia</a></li> <li><a href="https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au/">Western Australia</a></li> <li><a href="https://esa.act.gov.au/cbr-be-emergency-ready/bushfires/bushfire-ready">Australian Capital Territory</a></li> <li><a href="https://securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/fires/bushfires/survival-plans">Northern Territory</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.fire.tas.gov.au/Show?pageId=colbushfirePrepareActSurvive&amp;fbclid=IwAR1mRkwm89K_SlAnUXUm0LYwAQ7Hc8moJ7c9AoNgkmdPVDxxIPx7WMLJzvk">Tasmania</a></li> </ul> <p>Why plan ahead? Because it is vastly better to have a clear plan at your fingertips rather than frantically trying to figure out where your loved ones are, whether it’s too late to leave and whether you could realistically fight the fire – when the fire is on your doorstep. Faced by the reality of fire, many of us can freeze.</p> <p>What firefighters <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-can-still-picture-the-faces-black-saturday-firefighters-want-you-to-listen-to-them-not-call-them-heroes-128632">want us to learn</a> is that the critical decisions and actions which save lives and property in a bushfire are taken by us and our communities, not by politicians or agencies.</p> <p><em>John Schauble contributed significantly to this article. He has worked extensively in bushfire policy and research at state level and has volunteered for over 40 years as a firefighter.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214577/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/graham-dwyer-908955"><em>Graham Dwyer</em></a><em>, Course Director, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/fire-authorities-are-better-prepared-for-this-summer-the-question-now-is-are-you-214577">original article</a>.</em></p>

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New bushfire map reveals areas of greater risk to homes

<p>Australia is rapidly transitioning to drier conditions after a three-year spell of wet weather. And with this shift comes a significantly heightened risk of spring bushfires, potentially leading to an earlier onset of the fire danger period across the eastern coast of the country.</p> <p>The offical <a href="https://www.afac.com.au/auxiliary/publications/newsletter/article/seasonal-bushfire-outlook-spring-2023" target="_blank" rel="noopener">bushfire outlook for spring 2023</a>, released by the country's fire chiefs, underscores the increased vulnerability of substantial areas in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, and to a lesser extent, Victoria and South Australia.</p> <p>The prevailing concern revolves around the emergence of fast-spreading grassfires, fuelled by the remarkable growth spurred by three years of relatively moist La Niña conditions. Another alarming aspect is the potential threat to bushland that remained untouched by the devastating Black Summer fires in 2019 and 2020.</p> <p>Rob Rogers, Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, has conceded that the approaching fire season will be a challenging one. He anticipates an above-average fire threat for the spring season from the Queensland border down to areas south of Sydney, including the Blue Mountains. Some regions within the state are covered in dense, one-metre-tall grass that is ripe for ignition.</p> <p>Rogers also emphasised in a press conference that “There’s also a strip along the coast both in the north and in the far south coast in Bega — areas that didn’t burn in 2019-2020. All of those areas we’re quite concerned about... <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">While it’s correct that we’re not as dry as we were in 2019-2020, some areas in the north and the south, on the coastal areas, are already staring to experience drought conditions.”</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></p> <p>These same conditions are echoed in Queensland, where the fire risk extends from the NSW border northwards towards Cairns and across the western regions. The Northern Territory and southern areas of Darwin have also not been spared from the elevated threat due to the vigorous growth of invasive gamba grass, fuelled by years of abundant rainfall.</p> <p>Greg Leach, Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, cautions that the state is grappling with high fuel loads amplified by below-average rainfall over the past six months. He stresses the importance of developing a comprehensive bushfire plan.</p> <p>In the Northern Territory, authorities express confidence in the protective buffer created by early-season controlled burns in regions south of Darwin and north of Katherine. However, Deputy Chief Commissioner Stephen Sewell bluntly advises against relying solely on rural or remote assistance, emphasising the need for every individual in the territory to have a survival strategy.</p> <p>Victorians are bracing for a warmer and drier spring than usual, heightening the risk of fires and possibly prompting an earlier commencement of the danger period. Gippsland and the Mallee region face particular concern due to their rapid desiccation.</p> <p>The Bureau of Meteorology predicts drier and warmer conditions nationwide in spring, with a possibility of unusual warmth in most areas and exceptionally dry conditions in parts of southern and eastern Australia. Naomi Benger from the bureau warns that these conditions could rapidly parch vegetation, potentially escalating fire dangers in a short span.</p> <p>Despite the country not being as parched as it was prior to the devastating Black Summer fires, authorities stress that we don't need those exact conditions for a genuine and imminent danger to exist. The resounding call to all of Australia is to get ready.</p> <p>“We need the community to do their part and make sure they plan for their survival, knowing whether they are going to stay and defend, or whether they are going to leave. And if they are going to leave, where are they going to go? Make sure all members of your family understand that,” Rogers concluded.</p> <p><em>Image: AFAC</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Major fuel savings for seniors

<p>Major fuel savings are now on offer for over 1.6 million seniors over the age of 60 across New South Wales, as the government adds fuel discounts to the list of benefits for NSW Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card holders. </p> <p>Senior card holders will be eligible for the new United Discount Fuel Card, which offers savings of 4c per litre at participating service stations, which can be used once daily for single transactions up to 150 litres. </p> <p>Anyone over 60 can become cardholders of the Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card, which allows them to save on fuel, energy, insurance, cybersecurity, pet adoption and vet services, and groceries.</p> <p>United Petrol head of loyalty Judith Russell said that after they've signed up for the card, “members then need to show and scan this United fuel discount card at the time of purchase at participating United service stations to save the four cents per litre.”</p> <p>The Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison shared their excitement to launch this discount. </p> <p>"We’re excited to launch the program’s first fuel discount with United Petroleum, an Australian-owned business offering discounts to members at the bowser.”</p> <p>“This brand-new discount has been added to the wealth of Seniors Card savings to help keep more money in seniors’ pockets and ease price pressure at the pump.”</p> <p>For those who want to apply for the fuel card, they can <a href="https://www.unitedpetroleum.com.au/fuel-discount-cards/our-partners/nsw-seniors-card/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sign up here </a>for a digital or plastic card, and find out the participating service stations here. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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“I was wrong”: Dominic Perrottet admits Catholic faith played a role in gambling reform


<p>Dominic Perrottet has changed his tune. After reflecting on his decision to implement a new gambling policy, he admits his Catholic faith played a role.</p> <p>Last week ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis made a comment claiming the premier’s “conservative Catholic gut” was linked to his decision to implement cashless poker machines across all venues in NSW. As a result, the ClubsNSW board decided to fire Landis.<br />Perrottet responded to the comment and claimed his views were “not informed by the fact that I’m Catholic.”</p> <p>Since then, Perrottet has changed his mind. He admitted that the decision was influenced by his Catholic faith. “Certainly my upbringing and my faith has had an impact,” the premier said.<br />“I don’t think that is something I should be ashamed of.”</p> <p>When asked why this policy is such a priority for him, he reflected on his time as NSW treasurer, “We were receiving revenue and profit from people’s misery.”</p> <p>Perrottet has been the state’s premier since October 2021, dealing with the state opening up after COVID and the Omnicron wave. “I haven't got everything right in the time I've been in politics, but you learn from it,” he said.</p> <p>“Politics is not easy. It's difficult and there will always be the external events and mistakes get made.”</p> <p>If Perrottet is re-elected this year, the gambling law overhaul will begin early next year with the roll-out of cashless poker machines.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Legal

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Damning first draft of Clare Nowland statement found

<p dir="ltr">New documents have brought forth allegations that the NSW police force removed key elements in their initial statement regarding the death of 95-year-old Clare Nowland. </p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/clare-nowland-dies-officer-charged">The mother-of-eight passed away</a> in Cooma Hospital on May 24, one week after <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/furious-response-to-95-yr-old-woman-tasered-by-police">she was tasered by a police officer</a> at her Yallambee Lodge aged care facility. Nowland had reportedly been approaching law enforcement with her walking frame and a steak knife when she was tasered, before she fell backwards and fractured her skull. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of the incident, Police Commissioner Karen Webb reportedly approved a 71-word press release - one that made no mention of the knife, the taser, or even Nowland’s movements. </p> <p dir="ltr">“A critical incident investigation has been launched after an elderly woman sustained injuries during an interaction with police at an aged care facility in the state’s south today,” it read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The 95-year-old woman was taken to Cooma District Hospital, where her condition is being monitored. A critical incident team will now investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. That investigation will be subject to independent review.</p> <p dir="ltr">“No further details are available at this time.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, ‘new’ documents - obtained by the Australian Associated Press under Freedom of Information laws - have revealed that there was another draft, 100 words longer than the released statement, that mentions those key aspects of the case. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to the<em> Sydney Morning Herald</em> - who obtained the internal emails regarding the statement - that draft had been sent to NSW Police Executive Director of Public Affairs Elizabeth Deegan for review, but had been cut by more than half mere hours later, leading the <em>SMH</em> to run with the headline "<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/top-nsw-cops-covered-up-tasering-of-clare-nowland-20230621-p5di67.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Top NSW cops covered up Tasering of Clare Nowland</a>".</p> <p dir="ltr">The original 171-word document made mention of the reports that a Yallambee Lodge resident had a knife, and noted that two officers had arrived to find a woman “still armed … in a small room”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Police and paramedics attempted to speak to the woman; however, all instructions were ignored,” it continued. “When she stood up and moved towards officers, a taser was deployed by a constable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It explained that the woman had received treatment from paramedics at the scene, leaving room for information on her condition. It even mentioned that the officer who had deployed the taser was under review.</p> <p dir="ltr">Commissioner Webb defended the decision to edit their original draft while speaking to 2GB’s Ben Fordham, denying that the police force had hidden anything when she told him that “early in the investigation it was necessary for us to make sure that the family were aware of what the circumstances were.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Mrs Nowland has a large family and we didn’t want that family to hear on the radio on TV what had happened to their mum, and so we had to be a bit sensitive to that, and when we were able to talk about it we did.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She added that it was “a very sensitive matter”, and that it was an “unusual” circumstance with everyone seeking answers, but that “it’s appropriate we think about and respect that family, and certainly they deserve that.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was important that the family were informed of the situation in a factual manner before we went public on it - I think that’s very necessary and I’m sure that family appreciates that now.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: 9News / Nine</em></p>

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Sweet reason for Ray Hadley's big property purchase

<p dir="ltr">2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley has purchased a stunning Central Coast property with his wife, Sophie. </p> <p dir="ltr">The seaside retreat is situated on the Bouddi Peninsula in New South Wales, right on the water’s edge of Pretty Beach, and boasts impressive views across Brisbane Water - views that a balcony accessed by the living, kitchen, and dining space makes the most of.</p> <p dir="ltr">The property has five bedrooms, allowing plenty of space for Hadley and Sophie to host their visiting family members  - and most importantly, their grandkids. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hadley, who currently resides in the northwest of Sydney, has four children with five grandchildren from them. And, in happy news for the family, another on the way. </p> <p dir="ltr">He regularly provides his radio listeners with updates on the growing brood, with a focus on the youngest generation - all of them five and under - who mean the entire world to him. </p> <p dir="ltr">As he told <em>9Honey</em>, “​​before I had grandkids five years ago, mates would say, 'you won't believe the difference it makes' ... it's basically changed my life.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Five years ago I had none, now I've got five and another one on the way. They basically are my life.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I just adore them, every one of them, and they've all got different personalities, they're all different people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He went on to share that the youngest is learning to walk and talk, while the others are prepping for school, with his eldest granddaughter even going so far as to ask him not to work, and to instead come along for her first ever school drop-off. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Just the fact that she asked me to do it made me feel 10-foot tall,” he shared.</p> <p dir="ltr">And the new property will give him the chance to spend more time with them, serving as a midway point for sleepovers, after years of the radio host travelling up the M1 from Sydney to be with them.</p> <p dir="ltr">It isn’t the first time Hadley has dipped his toes into the real estate market, either, with the 68 year old having downsized from his acreage after he turned 66, moving for the first time since the mid-1990s.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home isn’t even his first coastal retreat, with Hadley having snapped up a property on the Gold Coast in 2016, and planning to make an upgrade once again at Main Beach.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though for the time being, he may be a little busy settling into his new home, and maybe even treating himself and Sophie to a night out at their friend John Singleton’s nearby eatery.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: realestate.com.au, Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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Can you lend a paw this tax time to help cats in need?

<p>With a proud reputation of caring for cats for more than 60 years, the Cat Protection Society of NSW runs Sydney’s only no-kill shelter just for cats, as well as providing feline welfare programs to help cats and the people who love them. </p> <p>Cat Protection began in 1958 as a small group of people dedicated to reducing the number of street cats and while our organisation has grown over the years, our vision remains the same; that every cat deserves a loving and responsible home.</p> <p>Over the years, Cat Protection has helped literally hundreds of thousands of cats, kittens, and people. We’ve led the way in setting the standards for best-practice feline sheltering, and our health and welfare services extend far beyond our adoption centre. And while technology means we can offer a great range of free cat care resources online, we’ve never lost our human touch and we still help thousands of people every year with advice and tips on cat care by phone or in-person, at no cost. </p> <p>Our subsidised desexing, vaccination and microchipping programs promote cat health and welfare in the community and our newest program, Adopt-a-Stray, offers a complete and affordable package for those who wish to fully welcome a street cat into their heart and home. </p> <p>What sets us apart from many other animal shelters is our holistic approach to each individual cat or human client. Cats are not given a time limit, although most are adopted within days or weeks. Every cat is individually assessed and provided with a care plan to meet their unique needs. If they need complex surgery, allergy trials or behavioural interventions our highly qualified team will work with veterinarians and specialists to ensure the cat gets everything they need to set them on the path to living their best life.</p> <p>A kind person found Snake, a four-week-old sickly orphaned kitten. In addition to cat flu, our vets identified corneal scarring in his right eye, a blocked tear duct, and an adhesion on his eyelid restricting the normal movement of his third eyelid. Treatment resolved the flu and improved his eye, but Snake will live with limited vision in that eye. This has not dampened his playfulness or zest for life.</p> <p>As well as poor physical health, orphaned kittens miss out on the important lessons of being a cat from their mum and siblings, and this can lead to behavioural issues. Where we can, we will make sure such kittens get to join a stepfamily, but in cases such as Snake’s, illness means that isn’t always possible. It is then up to our human team to work with these little ones to help them learn to navigate the world with good manners!</p> <p>In contrast, Banjo had all the behavioural benefits of his brother but alas at seven weeks of age Banjo weighed only 560 grams while his brother Clancy weighed 900 grams!  </p> <p>Banjo was diagnosed with a rare form of congenital hypothyroidism. Because his condition was diagnosed early, his prognosis is very good. He was started on a medication called Thyroxine and went back into foster care so that we could monitor his progress and adjust the dose of his medication as necessary with follow-up blood tests. After six weeks in foster care, Banjo graduated to the adoption centre. He will need to be on Thyroxine for the rest of his life, but that didn’t daunt his new family who’ve told us Banjo is now thriving in his loving forever home.</p> <p>From individualised TLC and veterinary care for every cat and kitten, to helping human clients resolve cat challenges (from furniture scratching to strata bans) and strategic research and advocacy on behalf of people and cats, Cat Protection’s impact is so much greater than our budget. </p> <p>As an independent registered charity for cats, we’re dependent on donations and bequests to do our work. We are compliant, open and transparent; on our website you can see our audited annual reports for details of what we do and what it costs.</p> <p>We have a strict “no harassment” fundraising policy which means under no circumstances will your information be sold on, and we do not employ pressure-tactics or door-to-door solicitations. </p> <p>We don’t spend money paying fundraising companies to ring you at dinner time asking for money or send you five-page long letters insisting you give more. And we never will. </p> <p>Donations are invested in helping our feline friends and nurturing the unique bond between cats and people. Your generosity will mean that we can continue to help thousands of cats and people each year.</p> <p>If you can lend a paw, please <a href="https://www.givenow.com.au/catprotectionsocietynsw" target="_blank" rel="noopener">make your tax-deductible donation here</a>! </p> <p>For general advice on cat care and everything feline, call the Cat Protection Society of NSW on 02 9557 4818 or visit <a href="https://catprotection.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">catprotection.org.au</a>  </p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with the <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Cat Protection Society of NSW.</span></em></p>

Family & Pets

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5 of the best things to do in Port Stephens

<p>From magnificent coastline to whale watching and sunsets that will take your breath away, these are five of the best things to do in Port Stephens. Be warned: After reading this you’ll want to hop in the car immediately.</p> <p><strong>1. Camp in luxury safari tent (pictured above)</strong></p> <p>If you’re looking for that up-close-and-personal-with-nature feel that goes hand in hand with camping, but don’t want to go with out the luxuries of a resort, the safari tents at <a href="http://www.twsr.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Thou Walla Sunset Retreat</span></strong></a> are for you. Labelled as “Glamping Safari Tents,” the experience is just that – camping with all of the glamourous trimmings. From the king-size bed to the large flat-screen TV, you can expect all the features that you get from a luxury hotel room, including an electric fireplace, fridge and a big bathroom with a shower and toilet – they are, however, eco friendly with a few different bells and whistles. The tents themselves are located a stone’s throw from the marina and the calm waters of Soliders Point, which runs alongside one length of the site. Located around 15 minutes from Nelson Bay, the award-winning retreat is home to villas as well as the safari tents. If you are adverse to noises in the night, you may want to pack you earplugs to drown out the noisy birds – but apparently they don’t make a ruckus all year round and in any case, the piece des resistance that is the amazing sunset, enjoyed from your tent’s deck with a tipple in hand, by far makes up for the noise. It is absolute bliss.</p> <p><strong>2. Hike up to Tomaree Head</strong></p> <p>Tomaree Head sits 161 metres above Port Stephens and offers the most incredible views of the region. The track to the summit is just over two kilometres and will take around an hour, but you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views over Zenith, Wreck and Box beaches, the lighthouse and WWII gun placements, Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands, and potentially even whales or dolphins. There’s a picnic table at the top, so bring your lunch for a meal with a view.</p> <p><strong>3. Go whale watching</strong></p> <p>Every year, thousands of humpback and southern right whales make their way past Port Stephens during their annual migration. At this time of year, the southern migration has begun and you’ll see many mothers with newborn calves returning from the breeding grounds. There are plenty of spots to watch the whales from shore, but for the real experience you need to be out on the water. <a href="http://www.imaginecruises.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Imagine Cruises</span></strong></a> runs whale-watching tours every day from May to November. You’ll be sailing on a 16-metre catamaran as the whales swim right alongside or breach from the water in a stunning display of aquatic acrobatics.</p> <p><strong>4. Spend the day at the beach</strong></p> <p>Port Stephens is surrounded by more than 20 golden sandy beaches so enjoy a classic stop on the shore. There’s a beach for just about every kind of water activity you could ask for, from swimming and surfing to snorkelling, parasailing, fishing and jetskiing. Divers can explore the sea caves and shipwrecks of Fly Point Marine Park. Or you can just spread out your towel, pick up a good book and soak up some sun.</p> <p><strong>5. Have dinner by the water</strong></p> <p>The Port Stephens region is famous for its food and wine, and one of the best spots to taste it is the <a href="http://littlebeachboathouse.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Little Beach Boathouse</span></strong></a>. The restaurant sits right on the water at Nelson Bay – but set away from the main shops on the marina. Styled like a cool, breezy beach house, the menu features fresh local produce like rock oysters, fish and prawns, accompanied by wines from the nearby Hunter Valley and Murray Brewery Beers brewed in Port Stephens. Arrive early for dinner to watch the sunset with a glass of bubbles.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links</strong></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/09/10-of-the-most-incredible-landmarks-in-australia/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>10 of the most incredible landmarks in Australia</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/08/10-images-showcase-the-beauty-of-tasmanian-wilderness/"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>10 images showcase the beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness</strong></span></em></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/08/12-aerial-photos-showcasing-south-australias-beauty/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">12 aerial photos showcasing South Australia’s beauty</span></em></strong></a></p>

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