Teens arrested after boy stabbed in Sydney shopping centre at Bankstown


Two teenagers have been charged after a boy was stabbed at a shopping centre in Sydney’s south-west.

The brawl broke out at about 4pm yesterday at the Westpoint shopping centre in Blacktown.

Police arrived to find a boy with wounds to his chest and leg.

A teenage boy has been stabbed after an alleged brawl in Blacktown. (9News)

A group of teenagers was arrested on Alpha Street nearby.

Shoes and clothes were bagged as evidence and taken to the station.

Two teens were handed youth cautions, while a 13-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy were both charged with assault and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

9News understands the knives allegedly used were bought from a shop inside the centre.

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Growing number of Sydney dental practices offering fixed price dental


A trip to the dentist can often blow the family budget.

But a growing number of Sydney dental practices are offering a fixed-price service.

On average, a trip to the dentist costs about $215.

A trip to the dentist can often blow the family budget. But a growing number of Sydney dental practices are offering fixed-price service. (9News)

But Dental 99 is one of a growing number of practices capping the cost at $99.

Dental 99 CEO Dr Gamer Verdian said the price included a check-up and clean, X-rays and examinations.

“There’s no extra charges. A filling is $99 with us, regardless of size,” Dr Verdian said.

The franchise is able to offer the bargain price by keeping costs low.

“There’s no receptionist at any of our practices,” Dr Verdian said.

On average, a trip to the dentist costs about $215. (9News)

“All Dental 99 bookings happen through the app.”

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, almost 40 per cent of us have put off or avoided going to the dentist because of the cost. 

This is even more common among those of us not covered by private health insurance.

The number of adults waiting for public treatment in New South Wales has surpassed 100,000 for the first time.

Dentists say the best way to get value for money is with a practitioner you know and trust.

“If you can work with that dentist to achieve the best oral health you can, your cost will go down as as result,” the Australian Dental Association’s Dr Stephen Liew said.

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Weekend auction clearance rates at unprecedented levels as Sydney property market booms


It’s what all of Sydney is talking about: the city’s exploding property market.

Weekend auction clearance rates are at unprecedented levels, helping drive record-level home price growth.

Exclusive data for 9News by My Property Market shows a February clearance rate of 87.2 per cent – higher than last February’s 83.4 per cent despite similar auction numbers to a year ago.

Estate agent Connie Gerakis after a successful property auction in Earlwood last weekend.
Estate agent Connie Gerakis after a successful property auction in Earlwood last weekend. (James Alcock/NINE MEDIA)

The Northern Beaches was the top-performing region over February with a stunning weekend clearance rate of 93.5 per cent, with the Inner West and Lower North also reporting rates above 90 per cent.

The South West recorded Sydney’s lowest regional clearance rate but with a still strong boom-time result of 82.4 per cent.

Sydney recorded a median price for houses sold at weekend auctions of $1,539,000 which was an impressive 9.5 per cent higher than the median for February 2020.

Some suburbs recorded 100 per cent clearance rates including Kellyville and Earlwood.

Sydney Regions February Weekend Auction Results

RegionReportedClearance RateMedian House Price
Canterbury Bankstown7986.20%$1,076,000
Central Coast3788.50%$1,300,000
City and East14788.30%$2,285,000
Inner West19490.20%$1,850,000
Lower North8490.10%$2,220,000
North West4489.30%$1,440,000
Northern Beaches6393.50%$2,270,000
South12887.60%$1,460,000
South West6082.40%$879,500
Upper North Shore12789.80%$1,950,000
West7985.00%$1,010,000

Sydney Top February Auction Suburbs for Houses

SuburbReportedClearance RateMedian Price
Kellyville16100.00%$1,622,000
Earlwood16100.00%$1,690,000
Strathfield13100.00%$2,984,000
Bexley13100.00%$1,255,000
Rozelle12100.00%$2,080,000
Yagoona11100.00%$940,000
Carlingford11100.00%$1,720,000
Balmain9100.00%$2,265,000
West Ryde9100.00%$1,680,000
Condell Park9100.00%$967,500

“Sydney’s red hot February auction market is set to continue its blazing performance through March with the local market recording an unprecedented 90 per cent clearance rate to celebrate the last weekend of a remarkable February, as buyers continue to clamber to secure available properties,” Chief Economist My Housing Market Dr Andrew Wilson said.

The data comes on the back of the fastest price growth in 17 years with a national increase of 2.1 per cent over the past month.

Sydney’s top 10 suburbs for reported auctions all with 100 per cent clearance rates were Kellyville and Earlwood followed by Strathfield, Bexley, Rozelle, Yagoona, Carlingford, Balmain, West Ryde and Condell Park.

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COVID-19 conspiracy theorists more likely to respond selfishly to pandemic, new study finds


COVID-19 conspiracy theorists are “more concerned” about themselves and “less concerned about the health of others”, a new report suggests.

The study – released today by the University of Queensland – states that coronavirus conspiracy theorists are more likely to respond selfishly to the pandemic, rather than as a society.

They are also more “likely to focus on ways of helping themselves” such as stockpiling, and less likely to respond to community-focused strategies like hand-washing and social distancing.

Police Officers watch as people queue for toilet paper in a Coles supermarket. (AAP Image/James Gourley) (AAP)

“Furthermore, people who believed conspiracies later reported more reluctance to take a COVID-19 vaccine, in part because of their relatively self-focused attitudes,” Prof. Jetten UQ School of Psychology said.

“COVID-19 conspiracy theories reported greater concerns about their own safety and lower concerns about the safety of close others, compared to people who didn’t endorse the conspiracy theories as strongly,” Prof. Jetten said.

Peter Collignon, professor of infectious diseases at the ANU Medical School said the report’s findings are not surprising.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but I think we have to be careful before labelling people self-centred, this group of people obviously are, but a lot are quite rightly concerned about their health,” he said.

“The overall issue with the conspiracy is that there’s no doubt COVID exists, no doubt that it spreads easily and no doubt it kills a lot people.

'QAnon Shaman' Jacob Chansley wants Donald Trump to pardon him for his crimes.
Well known conspiracy theorist ‘QAnon Shaman’ Jacob Chansley. (AP)

“For anyone to deny its existence, well I’m not sure what we can do about that because the evidence is overwhelming.”

Prof. Collignon added that those who deny the existence of COVID-19 are only harming themselves in the end.

“I think it’s a viewpoint that I think is not based on looking at all the information rationally,” he said.

“I do think we have to be careful not to be too derogatory to these people though, they’ve got views for whatever reasons.

“The only people that they’re hurting in the end are themselves.

“Some people will look at not only themselves but those around them and while others will look at only themselves.”

The research team surveyed 4245 people from eight nations.

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Red-bellied black snake spotted at Rouse Hill shopping centre


A red-bellied black snake has been spotted making a surprise appearance at a shopping centre in Sydney’s North West.

Shoppers found the snake at Rouse Hill Shopping centre, including 2GB newsreader Amie Meehan.

She reports NSW police are on scene to ensure the snake is undisturbed while a snake catcher was called.

Red-bellied black snakes are common to the east coast of Australia and can be found in both urban forest environments and bushlands.

The snakes are generally not aggressive and will withdraw when approached.

snake

Spot the snake hiding in these Australian homes and backyards

Between 2005 and 2015 red-bellied black snakes accounted for 16 per cent of identifiable snake bite victims, and none of whom were killed.

Symptoms of a red-bellied black snake bite include vomiting, headache, diarrhoea and excessive sweating.

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Thousands of Sydney ratepayers could get an unexpected cut, others will pay more


Thousands of ratepayers across Sydney could get an unexpected rate cut this year while others could be hit with a double whammy that’ll burn a serious hole in the family budget.

All merged councils had just a few months to harmonise their rates so people living in different suburbs within the same council area all contribute evenly.

That means residents in cheaper suburbs would see massive rate hikes on top of the 2 per cent rise mandated by the pricing regulator for all NSW ratepayers.

A file photo of houses in Gladesville, Sydney.
Thousands of Sydney ratepayers could get an unexpected cut, while others will see an increase. (Sam Mooy/The Sydney Morning Herald)
Coupled with the NSW valuer-general’s latest valuations on which council rates are based, thousands of households would be slugged hundreds of dollars extra.

The deadline for all of the 17 merged councils to harmonise rates is July 1 but the state government will introduce legislation this month to give councils an extra four years to harmonise rates and spread the pain over a longer period of time for those who will face increases.

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock told 9News it’s been a challenging time for councils, which also face elections this September.

“Some rates may go up some rates may go down,” she said.

The extra four years if the bill is passed will ensure any rate hikes are less sudden.

Ms Hancock said the legislation was timely and would be a breath of fresh air for councils and ratepayers.

Inner West Council, for example, is operating under three old rating systems: Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock.
Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock. (9News)

While councils won’t increase their overall income from rates – apart from the 2 per cent IPART increase – it will spread them out differently.

Under the Inner West’s planned changes, a resident in the old Ashfield council area with an average land value of $500,000 will have their rates slashed by 30.2 per cent or $367 a year.

Those with an average land value of $931,000 in the former Leichhardt council area will get an 8.4 per cent rate cut ($104) but those with a lower land value of $345,455 will be slugged an extra 24 per cent ($164).

Those in the former Marrickville council area will all see rate hikes of almost 20 per cent or between $140 and $206 on average.

An image from 1907 of what is now Martin Place in Sydney. Then known as Moore Street, the buildings in the distance were later demolished for the extension of Martin Place to Macquarie Street.

What our Aussie cities used to look like

“It really is a case of the government acting at the eleventh hour, we’ve been telling them for months there would have to be a phase-in period for their rate increase,” Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne told 9News.

Georges River – a merger of Hurstville and Kogarah Councils – currently has an application before the regulator for a special rate increase. Council has warned it will have to reduce or cut services if its application is rejected.

But either way, it too needs to harmonise its rates. That means residents in the former Hurstville council area will be left worse off and facing a hefty rate hike.

Canterbury-Bankstown also has an application for a special rate increase pending which would see a 36.34 per cent increase to Council’s general rate revenue by the end of five years.

Residents in the former Bankstown local area would be hit hardest with cumulative increases of 63.34 per cent over five years including rate pegs, harmonisation and special rate variations.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne. (9News)

Those in the former Canterbury council area are looking at a rate hike of 45.69 per cent on residential minimums over the same period.

Over in Bayside, former Botany Council residents pay a minimum of $552.62 while former Rockdale residents pay a minimum of $768.52.

A new minimum across Bayside is expected to be applied from July 1 leaving Botany residents paying the same as Rockdale, a new minimum of $768.52 or an increase of $215.90 a year on the minimum rate.

Cumberland is proposing a new minimum rate of $650 across the board. Currently, the minimum in the former Auburn area is $594.62 so they’ll be slugged more; former Holroyd area is $507 so they’ll be hardest hit, while in the former Parramatta area it’s $708.08 so they’ll see a rate cut.

Over in the Northern Beaches, council says 76 per cent of its residents will have their rates cut. Good news for residents in the former Warringah area but bad news for those in Manly.

The higher land values issues last month by the NSW valuer-General will also drive up rates.

But the legislation due to go before the parliament in the week beginning March 15 will spread the changes out over four years.

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Pet pomeranian killed during robbery near Liverpool in Sydney’s south west.


The man is believed to have broken into a family home in Middleton Grange, near Liverpool between 10.30pm on Saturday January 30 and 1pm on Sunday January 31.

The home owners returned to find their 11-year-old Pomeranian dead and a number of personal belongings missing, including jewellery, electronics and designer clothing.

Officers from Liverpool City Police Area Command arrested a 19-year-old man at a home in Mount Pritchard yesterday morning.

He was taken to Liverpool Police Station where he was charged with break and enter, aggravated cruelty on an animal and stealing value worth less than $60,000.

He was refused bail and will appear in court today.

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Rebels bikie shot, taxi driver injured in daylight shooting


A cab driver has been caught up in the crossfire when a high-ranking Rebels bikie was shot in an apparent targeted attack.

Christopher Rhymer was shot four times, twice in the stomach, while in a taxi in Riverstone in Sydney’s north west about 9.30 this morning.

The car was travelling down Junction Road, followed by a dark ute, before shots rang out.

Christopher Rhymer was shot four times, twice in the stomach, in an apparent targeted attack.
Christopher Rhymer was shot four times, twice in the stomach. (9News)
Witness Jadjid Singh said the alleged gunman shot "four or five rounds".
Witness Jadjid Singh said the alleged gunman shot “four or five rounds”. (9News)

Witness Jadjid Singh said the alleged gunman shot “four or five rounds” before getting back in the ute.

Police allege Rymer had been picked up from an address in the city’s west before stopping at a home.

The dark ute was seen speeding away.

The taxi driver drove himself and the passenger to Hawkesbury Hospital.

Police later found the burnt-out ute at nearby Beaumont Hills.

The taxi driver drove himself and his injured passenger to hospital.
The taxi driver drove himself and his injured passenger to hospital (seen here in the background). (9News)
Police later found the burnt out ute at nearby Beaumont Hills
Police later found the burnt out ute at nearby Beaumont Hills (9News)

Rymer has undergone emergency surgery but his injuries are still potentially life-threatening.

“You fire enough shots at someone you want to kill and you hit someone innocent and it is really unacceptable,” Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow from NSW Police said today.

“People in Sydney should be able to go about their lives without some fool trying to shoot another fool”.

One line of investigation is whether Rymer was shot by rival gang the Lone Wolves as police believe there have been disagreements between the groups.

The cab driver will make a full recovery.

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Human remains found on Mollymook beach confirmed as missing man


Human remains found on a beach on the NSW South Coast have been confirmed as belonging to a man who went missing from Sydney last month.

Initial investigations raised questions about whether the remains were linked to Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick.

However, NSW Police today said they have been determined to belong to a 37-year-old from Ingleburn, last seen in Kiama.

Human remains discovered washed up on Mollymook Beach in Shoalhaven have been linked to a missing Sydney man. (9News)

Kenneth Klees was reported missing on February 1 and his death is not being treated as suspicious.

The DNA profile of the was compared against the missing persons database, which contains the hereditary and genetic mapping of missing people in NSW, NSW Police said today.

“Earlier today the remains were confirmed to be that of a man reported missing from Ingleburn last month.

Kenneth Klees was last seen in February and his death is not being treated as supicious.
Kenneth Klees was last seen in February and his death is not being treated as supicious. (Supplied)

“The 37-year-old man was last seen at an ATM in Kiama about 1.30pm on Monday 1 February 2021, after he caught a train from Ingleburn to Kiama.

“Officers from Campbelltown City Police Area Command commenced inquiries to locate the man and will continue to lead investigations into the man’s final movements.

Melissa Caddick vanished without a trace in November, owing millions to her investors.
Melissa Caddick vanished without a trace in November, owing millions to her investors. (60 Minutes)

The death is not being treated as suspicious, and a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

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Attorney-General Christian Porter identifies himself as the Cabinet minister at centre of historical rape allegation, denies claims


Attorney-General Christian Porter has identified himself as the Cabinet minister at the centre of an historical rape allegation and strongly denied the claims.

Mr Porter said he will not be standing down as attorney-general in the wake of the allegation. 

He will instead be taking a short period of leave to improve his mental health. 

Attorney-General Christian Porter identified himself as the Cabinet minister accused of an historical rape.
Attorney-General Christian Porter identified himself as the Cabinet minister accused of an historical rape. (Getty)

“I can say what has been put forward in allegations simply did not happen,” Mr Porter said at a media conference in Perth this afternoon.

Mr Porter said standing down would set a precedent for anyone in Australia who has accusations presented to them. 

“If I stand down from my position as attorney-general because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print,” Mr Porter said.

“If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation.  

“Every child we raise can have their lives destroyed by online reporting of accusations alone.” 

Michaelia Cash will take over Mr Porter’s duties as attorney-general and industrial relations minister.

Christian Porter strongly denied the allegations and said he would not be standing down from Cabinet, but would take leave.
Christian Porter strongly denied the allegations and said he would not be standing down from Cabinet, but would take leave. (Getty)

The allegation dates back to 1988 when the woman was 16 and before Mr Porter entered politics.

A document outlining the woman’s claims was circulated to several politicians, including the office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Police said in a statement it had sought legal advice about the case which determined there was “insufficient admissible evidence to proceed”.

The woman who made the allegation first went to police in Adelaide in November 2019 and the matter was referred to NSW Police in February last year.

The woman took her own life in June.

Mr Porter said he had not had contact with the complainant involved in the allegations since they last spoke in 1988. 

He said he had never seen the statement from the complainant which detailed the allegations nor had any formal or substantive detail presented to him.

Mr Porter was emotional during the press conference and said he would seek treatment for his mental health. (Getty)

The attorney-general said he first heard of rumours around November last year, but nothing formal was presented to him. 

He said no journalist had presented the allegation to him in a way that allowed for a response. 

“None of the senior politicians or ex-politicians that have known about these allegations and rumours put them to me,” Mr Porter said.  

“No journalist has put the detail of the allegations to me in a way that would allow seeking a response, not ever.

“All I know about the allegations is what I have read in the media.” 

Attorney-General Christian Porter in parliament last week.
Attorney-General Christian Porter in parliament last week. (Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald)

Mr Porter opened his media conference by addressing the parents of the woman who made the allegation.

“You did not deserve the frenzied circumstances of this past week,” Mr Porter said. 

“I hope you can understand that.” 

Earlier today, the woman’s family released a statement requesting privacy.

“The family of the deceased do not wish to make any comment in relation to this matter as they continue to experience considerable grief arising from this loss,” a statement released through lawyer Shona Hoskins read.

“They request that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

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