News live: two Australians missing after Taiwan quake; over 800 calls to SES amid severe NSW weather | Australian politics

News live two Australians missing after Taiwan quake over 800 calls to SES amid severe NSW weather | Australian politics
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Two Australians missing following earthquake in Taiwan

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that two Australians are reported missing after the earthquake in Taiwan.

A spokesperson said the Australian Office in Taipei is making “urgent enquiries with local authorities to confirm their welfare”.

Owing to our privacy obligations we are unable to provide further comment.

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A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Wednesday, the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years. It has killed at least nine people and injured hundreds, causing building collapses, power outages and landslides.

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18 people remain missing in total.

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Key events

Train, bus delays as extreme weather continues along east coast

Transport for NSW says its rail network is experiencing “widespread delays” as extreme weather continues to hit the east coast.

A spokesperson said delays are impacting the following lines at various locations: T1 North Shore & Western, T2 Inner West & Leppington and T3 Bankstown, T8 Airport & South and T9 Northern.

As of 1pm teams were also on site at Redfern station where a signal infrastructure issue was being fixed.

Sydney Trains is out working in extreme conditions to rectify weather issues as they arise. If access to your station or station carpark is affected by floodwaters, please do not attempt to enter the station.

Meanwhile, buses are replacing ferry services between Rydalmere and Parramatta due to the Parramatta weir overflowing.

The Transport for NSW spokesperson said there are currently no significant delays for Sydney’s bus network, but passengers were reminded to take care on the roads.

Commuters board a train at Bondi Junction train station in Sydney. Photograph: Flavio Brancaleone/EPA

Three men dead after trucks collide head on

Rescue crews continue to clean up the carnage of a truck collision on a remote highway in South Australia that killed both drivers and a passenger, AAP reports.

The two semi-trailers collided head on just before 7am yesterday, 27km west of Yalata on the Eyre Highway in the state’s west.

The driver of one road train, a 77-year-old man from Adelaide’s north, died at the scene, along with a 25-year-old NSW man and a 45-year-old Victorian man in a second truck.

The Eyre Highway, which is the main road route connecting SA to Western Australia, was closed for most of Thursday while major crash investigators examined the scene but was reopened just after 8pm with a speed restriction in place.

Police have advised motorists further delays are expected throughout today, with possible closures of the highway as the remnants of the prime movers and their trailers are recovered from the scene.

The deaths are the 24th, 25th and 26th lives lost on South Australian roads this year.

Firefighters union calling for inquiry after truck failed during rescue

Victorian firefighters were forced to enter a building without water to rescue occupants last night after a firetruck with a history of faults failed, the United Firefighters Union says.

The union is now calling for a public inquiry into the state of Victoria’s firefighting resources.

Firefighters received the call last night and were told “kids are inside” but on arrival, the water pump failed. The union said firefighters entered the building rather than waiting for a back-up truck. One man was rescued and the building fire was controlled, but the union said firefighters are “furious”.

Secretary Peter Marshall said it was “appalling” that firefighters were being forced to risk their lives simply because the state government refuses to invest to replace old, failed trucks and equipment:

The union has previously said this fire season will be a late and severe one with almost 50 homes lost this fire season. Fire Rescue Victoria has for over two years raised the need for replacement appliances, but the minister has ignored the problem.

The union said it has previously identified 60 fire trucks in metropolitan Melbourne that are more than 15 years old and have cracked doors, old engines, and rusted roofs.

A fire truck driving through south Melbourne. Photograph: Morgan Hancock/AAP
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Benita Kolovos

War of words between Victorian energy minister and federal counterpart

A war of words has erupted between Victoria’s energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, and her federal counterpart, the resources minister Madeleine King, with the former accusing the latter of “sounding like a Coalition minister” when it comes to the issue of gas supply.

D’Ambrosio took to X/Twitter to hit back at comments King made on ABC Radio this morning about Queensland “doing the heavy lifting in terms of gas supply for the whole of the east coast”. King had said:

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I’m not interested in criticising decisions of state governments. They make their choices. What I would say is that Queensland is doing the heavy lifting. But any gas you transport from long distances, like from far north Queensland in Gladstone, all the way down to Melbourne or the industrial estates of Victoria, it costs more money to get hold of that gas because you’ve got to move it through a pipeline. Or if the import terminals end up eventuating, you’ve got to freeze the gas and defrost the gas and transport the gas

King said she expected those costs to be passed on to consumers, and said her government had made reforms to shore up gas supply.

The Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

D’Ambrosio wasn’t having it. She wrote on X:

So [King] is more like a Coalition Minister on radio this morning. How about talking the facts: 1. [Queensland] gas is not doing ‘the heavy lifting’ as it remains a nett importer of Vic gas 2. There is no ban on Vic onshore con. gas exploration. And Vic fixed Iona – not you

So @MadeleineMHKing is more like a Coalition Minister on radio this morning. How about talking the facts: 1. Qld gas is not doing ‘the heavy lifting’ as it remains a nett importer of Vic gas 2. There is no ban on Vic onshore con. gas exploration. And Vic fixed Iona – not you

— Lily D’Ambrosio MP (@LilyDAmbrosioMP) April 4, 2024

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SES responds to 823 calls for assistance

The deputy commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service, Deborah Platz, just provided an update on the severe east coast weather to ABC News.

The SES had responded to more than 500 calls for assistance overnight, and that number has now grown to 823:

Predominantly those calls for assistance have been for falling trees, leaking roofs and sandbagging many houses and some aged care and childcare facilities.

Platz said the SES is preparing for more intense rainfall over the next 12-24 hours, particularly around the metropolitan area. With winds up to 90km/h the SES expects trees to be uprooted and potentially some structural damage to buildings.

The SES’s main areas of concern are the Hunter, the Sydney-Illawarra and Central Tablelands. She urged people to stay indoors and avoid driving where possible, particularly in flooded areas.

For us, our state is [divided] into seven zones. Five of those zones currently have active 24/7 incident management command teams operating and we have had over the past 24 hours, 836 volunteers who have been actively out and about helping people in our community.

NSW weather: authorities warn of heavy rain, floods and damaging winds across state – video

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The Bureau of Meteorology’s Angus Hines has shared this update on the severe east coast weather:

Earlier, Benita Kolovos reported that asbestos had been found at a second park in Melbourne. She now has the full story with all the details here:

Two Australians missing following earthquake in Taiwan

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that two Australians are reported missing after the earthquake in Taiwan.

A spokesperson said the Australian Office in Taipei is making “urgent enquiries with local authorities to confirm their welfare”.

Owing to our privacy obligations we are unable to provide further comment.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Wednesday, the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan in 25 years. It has killed at least nine people and injured hundreds, causing building collapses, power outages and landslides.

18 people remain missing in total.

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Aston Brown

Aston Brown

‘Megadroughts’ of more than 20 years will worsen due to global heating, research finds

Australia should prepare for “megadroughts” that last more than 20 years and will worsen due to human-induced global heating, new research has found.

Megadroughts are exceptionally severe periods of below average rainfall that last decades. Climate modelling by the Australian National University, published in the journal of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences last week, found droughts spanning more than two decades have occurred in Australia over the past millennia and recur every 150 to 1,000 years, depending on the modelling used.

The study concluded that megadroughts of 20 years or more were “a natural feature of the Australian hydroclimate”, supporting previous research drawn from ice cores that found a 39-year drought hit eastern Australia about 800 years ago.

But Dr Georgy Falster, who led the research, said that a megadrought has not yet been officially recorded because Australia’s observational rainfall records have only been kept for a relatively short period of about 120 years.

Read the full story here:

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Two injured and two reported missing after boat accident

Two people have been found injured and two others are believed to be missing after a boating accident on the Gold Coast, AAP reports.

A member of the public called emergency services at 5am today after a boat was spotted unmanned at Runaway Bay, a suburb on the Gold Coast.

One man was found by paramedics on the shore while another man was rescued by water police. The pair in their 30s were assessed for arm and leg injuries before they were taken to Gold Coast university hospital.

Police are still searching the water after receiving unconfirmed reports that two people remain unaccounted for.

The investigation is continuing.

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Measles warning after second case in SA in two weeks

A second case of measles has been reported in quick succession with South Australian health authorities warning at-risk individuals to be on alert amid a potential wider outbreak, AAP reports.

A 17-year-old boy from Adelaide is in a stable condition in hospital after being exposed to an infected infant who became ill after returning from overseas.

Measles is “a serious and highly contagious infectious disease,” SA Health said, spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease.

Symptoms include fever, sore eyes and a cough followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy rash which typically spreads from the head and neck to the rest of the body.

It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear after exposure.

Locations visited by the latest infected case include a medical centre in Norwood on 2 April and the Women’s and Children’s hospital emergency department on 3 April. A full list of public exposure sites, stretching back to 15 March, are available on the SA Health website.

It is the third reported case of measles in South Australia so far this year after a one-year-old child tested positive in February.

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Here is another look at the New South Wales weather forecast, showing a huge swathe of the state expected to experience severe storms today:

⛈️ Thunderstorm Forecast for today (Friday): Severe storms possible for central and northern NSW, with risk of isolated heavy falls and potential flash flooding. Heavy falls may lead to river rises. Latest warning details at: https://t.co/Ss766eSCrL pic.twitter.com/cN9qCxwvrs

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) April 5, 2024

Severe weather warnings for Sydney, Illawarra, Hunter and Blue Mountains

The Bureau of Meteorology has updated its severe weather warning for the east coast of New South Wales.

It said a trough is expected to deepen today and Saturday, bringing heavy rain and gusty showers. This will gradually shift south overnight, easing through Saturday as it moves towards the Tasman Sea, the Bureau said.

Heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding is forecast for southern parts of the Hunter to metropolitan Sydney, the Illawarra and Central Tablelands today.

Six-hourly rainfall totals between 50mm to 90mm are likely, reaching up to 130mm over the Illawarra escarpment. 24 hour totals of 70mm to 120mm are also likely.

24-hour rainfall totals of up to 300mm may occur over the Illawarra region, the Bureau said.

Wind gusts around 90km/h are possible from this evening along the coastal strip, including metro Sydney.

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Approximately 92 flights cancelled at Sydney airport due to bad weather

Sticking with the interruptions at Sydney airport, and it is understood about 92 flights have been cancelled.

This has mostly been across the domestic network.

The Sydney airport website lists 50 domestic departure flights that have been cancelled today.

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Delays at Sydney airport amid severe weather

A number of flights have been cancelled or delayed at Sydney airport as severe weather lashes the east coast.

It is understood all runways remain open but there have been a number of cancellations and delays, mostly impacting the domestic terminal.

A spokesperson for Sydney airport said:

Due to storm activity, there have been some flight delays and cancellations. We encourage passengers to check with their airline regarding the status of their flight.

Sydney airport, pictured on a sunnier day. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters
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Former mayor puts up hand to lead Tasmanian Labor

A record-breaking mayor and once-rejected election candidate could become the next leader of the only Labor opposition in Australia, AAP reports.

Dean Winter, from Tasmanian Labor’s right faction, has confirmed he would nominate for the party’s leadership position.

Tasmanian Labor failed to make inroads at the recent state poll which delivered a hung parliament. The Labor leader, Rebecca White, subsequently stepped down from the role.

Tasmanian Labor, which has been in opposition since 2014, failed to make inroads at the 23 March state poll which delivered a hung parliament. Photograph: Rob Blakers/AAP

The nomination has the support of the current party deputy, Anita Dow. Winter said in a statement that Labor needed to again earn the trust of Tasmanians.

As bad as this Liberal government has been, Tasmanians were not prepared to elect enough Labor members for us to govern. Too many times over the past 12 months, I’ve been asked “what does Labor stand for?”.

Winter was first elected in the southern electorate of Franklin in 2021, after his preselection was initially denied by state Labor – a decision overturned by the party’s national executive. The 38-year-old grew up in Kingston, south of Hobart, and in 2018 became the youngest-ever mayor of the Kingborough Council.

The party’s caucus will meet next week once final election results are known, with a ballot to be held if more than one person nominates for leader.

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Asbestos located at second Melbourne park

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Asbestos has been located at a second park in Melbourne.

Guardian Australia understands asbestos was found at Hosken Reserve in Coburg North, which is run by the Merri-bek Council.

It is believed to be unrelated to the discovery of two pieces of asbestos at Donald McLean Reserve in Spotswood earlier this week.

The council has been approached for comment.

More to come.

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Warragamba dam likely to spill as deadly rain band moves across NSW

AAP is reporting that Warragamba dam, which serves as Sydney’s main reservoir, is likely to spill on Monday.

Water NSW’s chief executive, Andrew George, said today:

We require about 90mm of rain to fill Warragamba Dam … we’re expecting 100mm to 150mm.

The spill will occur likely when the rainfall event has moved on, so it is very important that the community remain vigilant.

The dam, on the city’s south-western fringe, was 96.3% full on Friday morning.

A photo from 2022 showing the swollen Nepean River in Penrith after flooding from the Warragamba dam. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian
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Physicians call for health lens to tackle youth justice issues

Australian physicians say the key to addressing youth justice is to take a healthcare approach, rather than treating children as criminals.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has made a submission to the Queensland parliament’s youth justice reform select committee, and is calling on the state government to not criminalise children under 14 but use a health lens to address the issue.

Dr Jacqueline Small, a paediatrician and RACP president, said access to support services for those under 18 with complex health and social needs is crucial “so there can be meaningful intervention and to reduce the chances of them winding up in the justice system.”

Children who interact with the criminal justice system face greater disadvantage than their peers who do not – and these gaps in health, development and well-being widen as they grow older, resulting in poorer health and well-being outcomes as adults.

We have been calling on state and territory governments to step up and protect our young people and their futures. The time to act is now, as reform to our criminal justice system is long overdue.

In its submission, the RACP recommends the age of criminal responsibility be raised to at least 14 “with no exceptions”. It also recommends no children of any age be incarcerated in adult facilities, health assessments for all children entering custodial settings, and the prioritisation of Indigenous leadership.

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