Australia news live: SES warns ‘record-level flooding’ expected in Forbes as residents told to have emergency kits ready to go


NSW SES prepares for record-level flooding in Forbes shire

I have an update from the State Emergency Service about the flood situation in NSW. I will post in two parts. 1/2:

More than 1,000 people across the Forbes Shire are currently subject to evacuation warnings, as the NSW SES continues to prepare for what is expected to be record-level flooding over the next few days.

As water rises in the Lachlan River, the Forbes community may see flooding that exceeds the record June 1952 flood. An evacuation centre has been established at Forbes High School and will be open from 8am tomorrow (Friday 4 November), in preparation for the evacuation of more than 500 homes. It is likely Forbes will stay above major flood levels for at least a week.

At 2pm today (Thursday 3 November), the Forbes Iron Bridge River gauge was sitting at a moderate level of 10.53 metres, expecting to reach 10.8 metres by tomorrow.

NSW SES has doorknocked affected residents throughout Forbes, with sandbagging also continuing across the township.

In the last 24 hours, there have been 90 requests for assistance in the Forbes area, covering sandbag requests, transporting residents to medical appointments in Orange, fodder drops and supporting the community.

The NSW SES is also keeping a close eye on Wagga Wagga, with residents inside the North Wagga Wagga levee and Gumly Gumly advised to evacuate by 6pm today.

Parts of North Gunnedah have also been evacuated, with Moama experiencing ongoing major flooding across the Murray River.

Volunteers fill sandbags at Forbes, where flooding could exceed the record June 1952 flood. Photograph: NSW SES Forbes

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Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin

Former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says the Liberal party has “lost its way” on climate policy as it continues to rail against renewable energy, warning the party needs to win back the so-called “teal” seats if it ever wants to form government.

He has also accused the party’s new leader, Peter Dutton, of peddling “complete and utter nonsense” by suggesting nuclear power was needed to firm up renewables.
Speaking at the Australia Institute’s launch of the State of the Nation report on

Thursday, Turnbull said that there was “overwhelming public support” for action on climate change, pointing to the May election result as evidence.

“The teal phenomenon is probably the single most important thing that happened at the election,” Turnbull said.

“Change of government is obviously very consequential, too. But the idea that there are nine hitherto rock solid, safe Liberal seats held by small ‘l’ liberal independents who are socially progressive, want more rapid climate action is a signal that the centre right of politics and my party, the Liberal Party, had lost its way on climate and it lost credibility with the Australian public on climate.”

He also panned Dutton’s suggestion that nuclear power was needed to support renewables.

“This is complete and utter nonsense. Now, whether you believe nuclear power is good or appropriate or economically viable in Australia is another thing. I don’t have a sort of an ideological or even an environmental objection to it, but if you want to firm variable renewables, you need to have a flexible storage mechanism or storage firming capacity.”

Turnbull also criticised a “toxic combination” of vested interests from the fossil fuel sector and the right wing of politics and the media for creating “havoc” with climate policy, saying it had led to people misrepresenting what constituted the Liberal party base.

This then led to the Liberal party not responding to the need for climate action sufficiently, which had led to a backlash among Liberal voters.

“What it’s done is it’s neglected that base and eventually a part of it has walked away. And it is difficult to see how the Liberal Party can ever win a majority in the House of Representatives without recapturing those seats. And they’ve lost them because of their own failure to respond proactively and effectively on climate.”

I’ve got more information about the potential foreign takeover of Tasmanian salmon farmer Tassal from our very own Graham Readfearn here:

NSW SES responds to 345 calls for help, with 14 flood rescues in last 24 hours

2/2:

Over the last 24 hours, NSW SES has responded to 345 requests for assistance, with 14 flood rescues throughout southern and western parts of the state. NSW SES is continuing to provide additional support to communities through fodder drops, livestock relocation, resupply and sandbagging.

The Department of Primary Industries is working alongside NSW SES to respond to livestock requests for farmers across the state.

NSW SES Assistant Commissioner Nicole Hogan is encouraging people in flood affected areas to stay prepared and have a plan on where to go and how to leave.

“The most important thing you can do is to make a plan and ensure you have an emergency kit ready to go,” Assistant Commissioner Hogan said.

“Gathering items in your home such as medication, appropriate clothing, waterproof bags for your valuables and a torch can help you while you evacuate.

“We are also asking people to have a plan for any domestic pets, and ensure they are able to be restrained and contained as you move around.”

NSW SES prepares for record-level flooding in Forbes shire

I have an update from the State Emergency Service about the flood situation in NSW. I will post in two parts. 1/2:

More than 1,000 people across the Forbes Shire are currently subject to evacuation warnings, as the NSW SES continues to prepare for what is expected to be record-level flooding over the next few days.

As water rises in the Lachlan River, the Forbes community may see flooding that exceeds the record June 1952 flood. An evacuation centre has been established at Forbes High School and will be open from 8am tomorrow (Friday 4 November), in preparation for the evacuation of more than 500 homes. It is likely Forbes will stay above major flood levels for at least a week.

At 2pm today (Thursday 3 November), the Forbes Iron Bridge River gauge was sitting at a moderate level of 10.53 metres, expecting to reach 10.8 metres by tomorrow.

NSW SES has doorknocked affected residents throughout Forbes, with sandbagging also continuing across the township.

In the last 24 hours, there have been 90 requests for assistance in the Forbes area, covering sandbag requests, transporting residents to medical appointments in Orange, fodder drops and supporting the community.

The NSW SES is also keeping a close eye on Wagga Wagga, with residents inside the North Wagga Wagga levee and Gumly Gumly advised to evacuate by 6pm today.

Parts of North Gunnedah have also been evacuated, with Moama experiencing ongoing major flooding across the Murray River.

Volunteers fill sandbags at Forbes
Volunteers fill sandbags at Forbes, where flooding could exceed the record June 1952 flood. Photograph: NSW SES Forbes

Malcolm Turnbull backs calls for gas export controls

The former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has backed calls for export controls on gas as a way of curbing rising power prices, AAP has reported.

Turnbull told an Australia Institute event in Sydney the government is missing out on the opportunity to help to keep prices low in the wake of increasing cost of living”

The government should use its power to control gas exports to ensure that there is enough gas available in Australia to keep that price at or around the pre-crisis level.

The long-term solution is very clear – it is renewables plus storage – that is not even an arguable or debatable issue, it’s just a question of how quickly you can roll it out.

While the former Liberal leader said there had been issues with the Australian gas market previously, the issue with rising costs today were the high cost of international gas prices.

He also said the failure to put in place an east coast domestic gas reserve, similar to that in Western Australia, was a mistake.

It’s harder to resolve it now, but it really needs to be done. I mean, it is crazy that the largest or second-largest exporter of LNG is not able to control gas at affordable prices for its own population.

We have the ability to keep enough gas in Australia to protect our markets.

Volvo to stop selling petrol vehicles in Australia by 2026

Car giant Volvo has announced plans to stop selling petrol vehicles in Australia by 2026, with a top executive calling the older technology a “shrinking business”, AAP has reported.

Volvo’s Australian deadline will come four years before its worldwide target to transition to electric vehicles, and comes one week after it launched its first electric car in Australia.

Experts said the move showed Australia still had the potential to be “a world leader in the transition to electric vehicles” despite low take-up to date.

Volvo Car Australia’s managing director, Stephen Connor, made the surprise announcement on Thursday, revealing the carmaker would switch to all electric vehicles by 2026 to give it a “strategic advantage” in the Australian market:

There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine. So instead of investing in a shrinking business we choose to invest in the future, which is fully electric.

Globally, Volvo is firmly committed to becoming an electric-only car maker by 2030 but in Australia we will make the transition happen by 2026.

The earlier deadline will allow us to meet the expectations of our Australian customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change.

Advocates welcome Rishworth comments on engaging with men on domestic violence

Jesuit Social Services has welcomed comments in Amanda Rishworth’s National Press Club address about the need for an increased emphasis on engaging with boys and men.

Matt Tyler, the executive director of The Men’s Project at Jesuit Social Services, says:

We know that men’s behaviour is at the heart of the problem of gendered violence – but men can be part of the solution by making the decision to challenge their own thinking and change their own behaviour.

As Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth outlined in her address at the National Press Club today, we must focus on addressing the drivers of violence before it occurs and intervene earlier when people are in trouble and causing trouble.

While of course all victims of violence and sexual violence need support, it is clear that there is a gendered element to the vast majority of violence across Australia.

Around 95 per cent of all victims of violence experience violence from a male perpetrator – it is clear that we need to work towards a culture and a society where everybody can lead healthy, safe lives and hold respectful relationships and that engaging with boys and men to prevent violence is a critical part of this.

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

Australia’s trade surplus swells, buoyed by gas exports

Trade figures out from the ABS earlier today showed Australia’s trade surplus rose about 42% in September to $12.4bn from August, with higher gas exports a key factor.

Economists had tipped a surplus of about $9bn. Exports were up 7% for the month and imports were flat.

LNG exports were up almost a fifth in value terms, and 8.5% in volume, a notable rise given gas has been in the news a bit.

Thermal coal exports were down by 21.5% in quantity, thanks in part to the massive floods that continue to bedevil eastern states. In value terms, that type of coal was up 6.7%.

In a sign that higher interest rates are beginning to bite, imports of passenger cars slumped almost 15% and other consumer goods about 13%, CBA noted.

The trade figures will also factor into GDP figures.

The September quarter trade surplus was higher by historical standards, at $30.2bn, but it was down almost a third from the record $43.7bn in the June quarter.

“This reflected a pull-back in commodity prices, on global recession fears, as well as a surge in import volumes,” Westpac said.

The price of goods we export versus the price of imports – the terms of trade – fell about 6% in the quarter.

A smaller surplus will be a drag on GDP growth for the quarter, lopping off about 0.75 of a percentage point (we won’t see the GDP figures until 7 December).

Another interesting element to the trade info, is that Australia’s net foreign liabilities – what we owe the rest of the world relative to what foreigners owe us – is now at about the lowest levels of GDP on record, ANZ noted.

Up to 2013, non-residents typically owed a larger stake in equities in Australia than Australians owned overseas.

With the superannuation industry expanding to hold assets of more than $3.5tn, and investing about one-sixth of that abroad, the ledger of holdings has shifted, hence those record low levels (vs GDP).

Plan to end family violence ‘big on words and small on dollars’, Larissa Waters says

Greens Senator and spokesperson on women Larissa Waters has responded to Amanda Rishworth’s National Press Club address.

Rishworth spoke about the Labor government’s national plan to end family violence, which includes an additional $100m in commonwealth funding to deliver up to 720 safe places for women and children fleeing violence.

But Waters says the plan falls short of what’s needed to protect women.

Like the Women’s Budget last week, the Minister’s National Press Club address was big on words and small on dollars and actions.

Additional funding for emergency housing is welcome, but when the waiting list for social housing is over 50,000 in Queensland alone, $100m for 720 houses is a drop in the ocean.

The housing crisis is felt even more acutely by women and children experiencing family and domestic violence. Women are forced to choose between abuse or homelessness, because there is nowhere to go.

Women on low wages or income support are especially vulnerable without the resources to escape violent situations. Yet this government persists with the cruelty of keeping income support payments like JobSeeker below the poverty line, and has the audacity to cry poor while dishing out hundreds of billions in tax cuts and investment property perks for the rich.

The women’s safety sector has repeatedly called for a $1B per year to ensure funding meets demand. Even with the budget’s re-badged Morrison government funding commitments, a small increase in frontline workers, and partial indexation, the amount still only adds up to $300m each year.

Australian scientists crack genome code for methane-busting seaweed

Australian scientists have made a major breakthrough on seaweed that can be fed to cattle and drastically reduce their methane emissions.

The researchers are confident they have cracked the genome code for Asparagopsis.

The species of seaweed produces a chemical compound called bromoform, which prevents the formation of methane during the digestion of food.

Feeding the red seaweed to livestock can slash methane emissions by more than 80 per cent.

An international research team has spent three years studying the genetics of the warm water seaweed, which is native to Australia.

The team has figured out how to grow high quality crops quickly and in big volumes.

“So we’ve got the genome blueprint for us to be able to fast track the development of the seaweed,” marine scientist Prof Nick Paul said.

Paul, from the University of the Sunshine Coast, said the research began after it was discovered that different seaweed produced different levels of bromoform, depending on how it was farmed and processed.

Prof Nick Paul and research assistant Nicole Dare return to shore after harvesting seaweed at Moffat Beach in Caloundra.
Prof Nick Paul and research assistant Nicole Dare return to shore after harvesting seaweed at Moffat Beach in Caloundra. Photograph: Russell Freeman/AAP

The researchers from Australia, New Zealand and Japan also found some female seaweed performed better than male seaweed in helping to remove methane from the atmosphere.

“The active ingredient that reduces methane in the rumen of the cattle is about 20 per cent higher in females than it is in males” Paul said.

“If we can make all females then that gives us a 20 per cent boost.”

The team has been gathering specimens in an “underwater wonderland” off a rocky shoreline at Moffat Beach near Caloundra in Queensland.

The 12-person team then cultured the seaweed in a laboratory as well as large outdoor tanks.

The research was focused on ways to grow enough Asparagopsis to have a meaningful impact on global greenhouse gas emissions.

– via AAP

Nick Paul with a beaker of Asparagopsis, a seaweed that can reduce methane when used in cattle feed.
Nick Paul with a beaker of Asparagopsis, a seaweed that can reduce methane when used in cattle feed. Photograph: Russell Freeman/AAP

Queensland rejects tourist levy but considers national park fee changes

A tourism levy managed by Queensland councils has been rejected by the state government but changes to national park fees are being considered.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has released a 10-year plan to develop the tourism sector ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.

Two new fundraising measures were floated in a report by the government’s Tourism Industry Reference Panel in June.

A proposal to allow local governments to impose a levy on tourists to pay for infrastructure and attractions has been rejected by the state government.

Tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe says councils have other ways to raise money for tourism in their regions.

“Our commitment to there being no new taxes means that we won’t see a tourism levy supported by the Queensland government,” he told reporters on Thursday.

The government is still actively considering the expert panel’s suggestion it revises fees for national parks and protected areas.

The revenue would be used to pay running costs and reinvest in natural attractions.

– via AAP

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has released a 10-year plan to develop the state’s tourism sector. Photograph: Jono Searle/AAP

Tassal salmon shareholders back $1.1bn foreign takeover

Australia’s largest salmon producer Tassal is heading for foreign ownership after shareholders voted in favour of a $1.1bn takeover by Canadian company Cooke Aquaculture.

The takeover has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board, but requires final court approval at a hearing in early November.

But conservationists including the Bob Brown Foundation have raised concerns about Cooke’s environmental track record and potential expansion in Tasmania.

In a legal settlement with the Washington Department of Ecology in 2019, the company paid a $US332,000 ($A518,000) penalty after the collapse of a pen released 250,000 non-native fish.

In 2019 it was also fined by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection over multiple violations at farming sites in the US state, including having too many fish in pens.

Bob Brown Foundation campaigner Alistair Allan said:

Despite a growing global movement of salmon farming being banned or phased out, Tasmania is opening the door to this environmental vandal.

– via AAP

Activists protested outside a Tassal meeting which confirmed shareholder support for a takeover bid.
Activists protested outside a Tassal meeting which confirmed shareholder support for a takeover bid. Photograph: Con Chronis/AAP

NSW floods update two: flooding to continue over coming days as SES receives more than 400 calls for assistance

Steph Cooke said significant flooding would continue across numerous inland catchments in the coming days.

“We are continuing to see peaks roll through the system even though there isn’t water falling from the sky at the moment,” she said.

The SES’s Ben Pickup said significant flooding is impacting all major river systems across New South Wales.

Major flooding on the Lachlan River on Thursday is causing inundations in the town of Nanami.

Further downstream, major flooding is also occurring on the Lachlan River at Condobolin, with the river not expected to fall for weeks.

The Murrumbidgee River has also burst its banks, with major floods peaking at Gundagai on Wednesday night, and major peaks possible at Wagga Wagga on Thursday night.

Cooke expressed her sympathies for the Gunnedah community, which has been hit by seven floods in recent weeks, and Wagga Wagga, which faces its fourth inundation since August.

Renewed, moderate flooding is also occurring at Albury and Corowa on the Murray River after widespread falls.

Ongoing significant flooding is continuing in the border town of Moama, where water levels are likely to remain high through to next week.

Clean-up efforts are continuing in the Riverina town of Cootamundra after thunderstorms and flash flooding on Monday.

Rapid damage assessments by the SES and Fire and Rescue NSW found 23 properties were destroyed and 37 damaged.

The SES has received 431 calls for assistance and conducted 15 flood rescues in the past 24 hours.

NSW floods update: hundreds under evacuation orders as rivers peak

I have a big update on the New South Wales floods from AAP. I am going to post it in two parts.

Hundreds of residents across inland NSW are under evacuation orders as rolling peaks continue to hit swollen rivers, inundating towns across southern and central-western NSW.

In the wheat belt town of Forbes in the state’s central-west, about 600 people have been told to evacuate their homes by 4pm Thursday as rising waters threaten to cut off homes and strand residents.

“I appreciate that communities right across the central and southern NSW are exhausted,” the emergency services minister, Steph Cooke, said on Thursday.

Everyone is flood weary but we need to keep working through this. We need to keep working together.

Whilst we are starting to see blue skies emerge … the flooding risk is very, very high at the moment.

The NSW SES zone commander, Ben Pickup, said record flooding was expected at Forbes on Friday night as the Lachlan River peaked at levels not seen since 1952.

He said peaks would continue through to Saturday morning.

“I really encourage the community of Forbes – please listen to the warning information,” he said.

“Please, please follow that messaging.”

People in yellow and orange hi-vis prepare sandbags in a muddy area
Volunteers fill sandbags at Forbes as flood levels are predicted to peak later today. Photograph: NSW SES Forbes

Hello everyone, this is Cait. A big thanks to blog queen Natasha for taking us through the morning.

First up, I have this from AAP on electric vehicles:

Two in three Australians support changes to speed up the switch to electric vehicles, including discounts to lower their prices and a fuel efficiency standard to see more models arrive in the country, a new study has found.

More than 60% of Australians also support a ban on new petrol car sales by 2035.

The findings, from the Australia Institute’s climate of the nation report, showed wide support for more electric vehicle charging stations in Australia as well electric buses and the introduction of high-speed rail.

But the report showed backing for electric transport dropped when it came to removing tax breaks for large, fuel-hungry four wheel drives and utes.

Report author and Australia Institute transport lead, Audrey Quicke, said the survey of more than 2,600 people clearly showed Australians wanted “to reap the benefits of the transition to clean transport”.

An electric car is seen recharging at an ActewAGL charging station in Canberra
Two thirds of Australians think electric vehicles should be discounted further. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

I am signing off for this afternoon and handing you over to the fabulous Cait Kelly.

See you tomorrow morning!

Commemorations marking 80 years since end of Kokoda campaign under way

The minister for defence industry, Pat Conroy, is in attendance for the commemorations to mark 80 years since the end of the Kokoda campaign in second world war.

Incredible welcome today at the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea.

I’m honoured to be here for commemorations to mark 80 years since the end of the Kokoda Campaign in WW2. pic.twitter.com/CTCJNhQtLa

— Pat Conroy MP (@PatConroy1) November 3, 2022

Amanda Rishworth has avoided giving my colleague Amy Remeikis a firm answer on whether she believes the jobseeker rate needs to be increased.

Remeikis:

Given your portfolio crossover, do you believe the rate needs to increase?

Rishworth:

I will be working across the board with my state…

Remeikis:

A simple yes or no.

Rishworth:

I will be working with the whole of government about what women’s economic security will look like. We will keep working on that. Throughout my whole portfolio, working about how we can prevent poverty as well as how we lift people out of poverty. That is something I am very aware of and continue to work across government.





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