Residents tour Lavington Sports Ground facilities during community open day | The Border Mail

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After having a tour of Lavington Sports Ground, Albury youngster Tom Wheatley can’t wait to be able to test it out for himself. Tom and his dad, Justin, were among Border residents to take advantage of the community open day at the Sports Ground on Saturday, which showcased the new indoor facilities to the public for the first time. Change rooms, function rooms and the coaches box were some of the areas those on the tours could catch a glimpse of. “It’s pretty impressive,” Mr Wheatley said. “I think they’ve done a great job of updating the facilities.” Tom came prepared with his cricket gear in hand and hopes to be able to play football on the field soon. “I just started playing footy last year with full on tackles,” he said. Albury City leisure facility officer Jack Bradley said the community had responded positively to the $19.6 million redevelopments. “The feedback from the community coming in is pretty much just ‘wow,” Mr Bradley said. “With the ceiling to wall glass there’s been a bit of a wow factor there. IN OTHER NEWS: “I know it’s been a long process, but they can see what they’ve got now and everyone’s really positive. “We’re all really excited about it, so it’s great to show the rest of the community now.” AFLW side Greater Western Sydney have just tested out the new facilities for training during their two-week stay on the Border. “The feedback from them was phenomenal” Mr Bradley said. “They couldn’t fault anything.” The next test will now be hosting AFL clubs Richmond and Western Bulldogs for a pre-season clash on February 27. Mr Bradley said crowd capacity will be looked at, with tickets to go on sale two weeks prior to the game. “We have discussions with AFL next week to see what kind of COVID environment we’ll be working under for that game,” he said. “I’d certainly encourage Bulldogs and Richmond supporters not to wait because it certainly will sell out. “It’ll be the first elite match we’ve hosted, so we’re excited to show it off.” School carnivals and university competitions will also be a priority for the Lavington facility, which now has the flexibility of two grounds. Further work will start this week on concrete tiered seating for the second field. Another community open day is scheduled for Thursday, January 28.


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Bibra Lake residents urged to leave as fire spurs emergency warning

An emergency warning is in place for Bibra Lake residents between Progress Drive, North Lake Road and Bibra Drive as firefighters battle an out-of-control bushfire.

The fire was first reported about 12.44pm on Tuesday and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services warned there was a threat to lives and homes.

Firefighters are on the scene and motorists have been asked to avoid the area, reduce speed and drive carefully due to smoke.

North Lake Road has been closed between Discovery Drive and Phoenix Road and Bibra Drive is closed to Phoenix Road.

The fire is near the Adventure World theme park, and the park has moved people away from its south side due to smoke.


  • If the way is clear, leave now for a safer place.
  • Do not wait and see, leaving at the last minute is deadly.
  • Close all doors and windows and turn off evaporative air conditioners, but keep water running through the system if possible.
  • If you cannot leave, you need to get ready to shelter in your home.
  • Go to a room in your home away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.
  • Choose a room with two exits and water such as a kitchen or laundry.
  • If you are not at home, it’s too dangerous to return.

Visit, call 13 DFES (13 3337), follow DFES on Twitter:, Facebook:, listen to ABC Local Radio, 6PR, or news bulletins.

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Residents urged to stay inside after second industrial blaze in Laverton North in a week

An emergency Watch and Act message is in place for Laverton North, with a wind change between 9pm and 10pm expected to push smoke towards the north-east.


Residents of Dohertys Road, Fitzgerald Road, Federation Trail and Maria Street have been told to take shelter indoors, close all windows and doors and turn off cooling systems.

Emergency Management Victoria has also advised residents to bring their pets inside to protect them from the effects of the smoke.

It’s the second industrial blaze in the area in a week, after a blaze in a large pile of metal and debris in Fitzgerald Road in Laverton North last Monday.

About 80 firefighters fought the 35-square-metre fire which threatened nearby buildings on the site.

The steel recycler was the subject of two fines totaling $16,000 fine after a fire at its Dandenong South plant in 2019.

Investigators found the facility, on Redgum Drive, had been accepting plasma cutting dust.

“[Plasma cutting dust] is a category C contaminated waste under EPA’s industrial waste regulations,” EPA investigator Steven Pugh said in January 2020, when the fines were issued.

“Category C waste must only be stored, transported and treated under strict controls by an EPA-licensed facility, and Norstar Recycling’s Dandenong South plant is not licensed to receive that type of waste,” he said.

One of the fines was also due to a failure to fix issues with the site’s stormwater management facilities.

“Stormwater management at any industrial site plays an important part in ensuring contaminants are not discharged to neighbouring properties or nearby waterways,” he said.

The Norstar Steel Recyclers group also owns plants in Reservoir and Bayswater North.

Those who have been exposed to smoke should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024. Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call Triple Zero.

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COVID border restrictions cause chaos for holidaymakers and residents in Victoria and NSW

Selvi Lyle’s three young children were on a holiday with their dad in Broken Hill when the Victorian Government announced the state would close its border to NSW.

“At 7:30 pm they packed up and left and they managed to get across the border just before midnight,” Ms Lyle said.

But they soon found out it was a gruelling trip they did not have to make.

The family lives in Shepparton that has since been included in a list of ‘border bubble towns’ allowing residents free movement across the Victoria–NSW border.

But it was not until Thursday that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) updated its website to include these rules, causing widespread confusion right across the Murray River in the days prior.

The Victorian border bubble includes Mildura, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Campaspe, Moira, Wangaratta, Indigo, Yarriambiack, Buloke, Loddon, Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton, Alpine, Benalla, Wodonga, Towong, and East Gippsland.

In NSW the Local Government areas included are Albury City, Balranald, Bega Valley, Berrigan, Broken Hill, Edward River, Federation, Greater Hume, Hay, Lockhart, Murray River, Murrumbidgee, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys, Wagga Wagga, and Wentworth.

Didn’t have to leave

Victoria’s Cross Border Commissioner Luke Wilson, under the direction of the DHHS, confirmed that residents of these border towns could travel freely between the blue and green zones using a licence or other form of identification without needing to isolate.

“The important point is that they have not been north of the listed Local Government Areas in the past 14 days,” Mr Wilson said.

Selvi Lyle’s family made the dash back to Victoria and were told to isolate on their return despite being in the ‘border bubble’.(Supplied: Selvi Lyle)

Broken Hill, where Ms Lyle’s family were holidaying, and Shepparton where they reside are both listed as border towns.

She said her family had not been north of the blue zone, which meant there was no need to rush home across the border and cut their holiday short.

“There’s just no direct communication,” she said.

“The kids were disappointed … they could have stayed there.

“It’s too far. They won’t go back these holidays and what’s to say the rules won’t change again?”

Wrong advice given at checkpoints

Ms Lyle’s family was told by local health authorities they needed to get a test and isolate until they received a negative result.

The results took three days to be returned.

map of NSW-Vic border with towns highlighted in blue and green
The Local Government Areas highlighted in blue and green are part of the ‘border zone’.(The map can be found here)

“It wasn’t necessary. People travelling back knowing it was the bubble didn’t have to do the same thing my kids had to do,” she said.

The ABC is aware of several other Victorian border residents who were given similar advice after they returned home from a blue zone.

Some residents were even been told to isolate for 14 days regardless of a negative result even though they had not been north of the blue zone.

Despite this, DHHS deputy secretary Jeroen Weimar said the border rules were “very clear”.

“I think the border arrangements are very clear and I think they’re well understood by the majority of our border communities,” he said.

Mr Wilson said occasionally wrong advice was given.

“If anyone believes they’ve been given incorrect advice or instruction. … the advice is to call the coronavirus hotline so that it’s able to be cleared up,” he said.

Long wait for exemptions

Samantha Rushworth and her family are currently stranded at Lake Hume on the New South Wales side of the border.

She arrived at Discovery Parks on December 27 with her husband, two children, parents, and in-laws.

Man with sunglasses and hat on boat with two children holding fish
Samantha Rushworth’s husband Mark and their two children enjoying their holiday at Lake Hume before borders closed.(Supplied: Samantha Rushworth)

“On New Year’s Eve we took [Dad’s] car into town and it broke down,” she said.

“We rang around for a mechanic and we couldn’t actually get one until January 4.”

Then the dreaded announcement of border closures came.

She said her dad was on a disability pension and they could not leave her parents behind.

“We had to wait until my dad’s car was fixed to make sure that they were safe and so that we could follow them back to Victoria,” Ms Rushworth said.

After calling the COVID hotline numerous times they were only able to get through recently.

“Every time we’ve called, we’d get that recorded announcement saying our phone lines are overwhelmed at the moment and to please try again later,” she said.

“We’ve got legitimate reasons to get back … and legitimate reasons why we’re stuck there.”

Ms Rushworth said it was overwhelming and the information they had been given was conflicting.

“We’re getting mixed messages even through talking to the authority on the border,” she said.

“It’s just very inconsistent and it’s making it really hard to know what the outcome will be for us.”

A situation made even more frustrating given New South Wales border residents can travel anywhere in the state of Victoria freely.

Mr Weimar said almost 300 exemptions had been processed so far with close to 3,500 applications still in the queue waiting.

He said urgent requests would be processed first but there was no time frame on getting a response.

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Canberra car thefts on the rise as ACT police urge residents to lock vehicles even for a few minutes

In just a matter of minutes, while she went inside the house to get her phone, Catherine’s car — containing the ashes of her parents and grandparents — was stolen.

Catherine was on her way out for lunch, and had tossed her handbag in the car parked at the rear of the house in Canberra’s inner south, before realising she had forgotten her phone.

While she was inside — for only a few minutes — her car was stolen.

In addition to her handbag, the car contained other priceless items, including the ashes of her parents and grandparents.

While the car was eventually found torched in Canberra’s north, Catherine is still hoping someone might realise the ashes’ sentimental value and send them back to her.

Catherine’s car after it was torched by thieves.(Supplied)

“You think to yourself, well how silly can a person be, leaving valuables in the car,” she said.

“But we’re talking less than three minutes.

“I’m that person that my friends make fun of, saying ‘oh you lock everything’. I’m a lockaholic.”

But Catherine is just one victim among many, according to ACT police, who report an increase in car thefts across the national capital.

‘It’s a multi-layered loss’

Neil Gaughan
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commisioner Neil Gaughan said there had been a rise in car thefts.(AAP: Mal Fairclough)

ACT Policing have issued a warning to Canberrans, urging them to secure their cars and park them in locked garages to discourage car theft.

They said offenders typically targeted cars that had valuables visible inside them.

Many cars, including Catherine’s, are later found burnt out, in what police said was an effort to destroy evidence.

Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan hosed down concerns that insurance fraud was an issue in Canberra, but confirmed that thefts were on the rise.

“We’re not a small country town anymore, there’s a small number of repeat recidivist offenders who my teams can name, who we know are responsible for these matters and we are actively trying to locate them,” he told ABC Radio Canberra.

Transport Canberra and City Services’ Sean Sloane said there were 1,461 reports of abandoned motor vehicles made to the ACT Government in 2020.

But thanks to legislation passed in 2019, authorities are now able to deal with these cars as litter, leading to fewer discarded on Canberra’s roads.

For some, the main cost incurred is in replacing the stolen vehicle. For others, the price is much higher.

In addition to the ashes, Catherine’s handbag also contained her passport and driver’s licence, and her childhood book of autographs that had value to her as a collector’s item.

The thieves also used her credit card to open a mobile phone account, and she is now dealing with identity theft as well as the loss of the car, which was found burnt out on Christmas morning.

The car is blackened and burnt inside, but some is not damaged, including the steering wheel.
Catherine had the valuables in her car while waiting to move to a more permanent residence.(Supplied)

Staying in Canberra temporarily while here for research purposes, she had put all of the items in the car for safe-keeping, not wanting them to remain in her empty house back home.

Then, due to complications around border closures due to COVID-19, she stayed longer than she expected.

While she waited to move into a more long-term home, the valuables stayed in the car.

“It’s a multi-layered loss,” she said.

“I had things in the car that I would not have in the car normally. It seemed that the safest thing to do was to bring them with me.”

Thieves ‘taunting’ police on crime sprees in stolen vehicles

The book is red and a little battered.
A book of autographs, treasured by Catherine, was in the car when it was stolen.(Supplied)

Catherine said she had suffered from insomnia since the theft, and was easily startled.

“I realised later that I had actually seen the thieves, parked at the bottom of the driveway, watching,” she said.

“But I just thought it was someone visiting the neighbours.

“It leaves you with psychological issues that you weren’t expecting. Every time I go to the carport I get flashbacks.”

After alerting people online to the theft, she discovered her car was used in other incidents.

The car was seen being used to commit more crimes in multiple suburbs around the ACT before it was torched.

Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said this behaviour was typical.

“The car is dumped or burnt out and then they steal another car and we go again.”

He said the actions of thieves had far-reaching consequences.

“They cross the border and go into New South Wales and commit crime there for a period of time and then come back,” he said.

“They do put Canberrans and our officers at serious harm in relation to the way they drive the cars. We’re not going to pursue someone driving the wrong way down Northbourne Avenue.”

She said while the car itself would be covered by insurance, she still held out hope the other things might be found and returned.

“Although the thieves were known to have been at Hughes, Deakin, Curtin, Spence, Casey and Gungahlin, they threw my belongings out all over the place and these things might be anywhere,” she said.

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Saved Properties Despite ‘Significant Risk’ Of Bushfires In Perth

Perth residents saw a silver lining as their properties have been save overnight from an out-of-control bushfire. Yet, an emergency warning is still in place for a number of communities.

Bushfires that surfaced in the shires of Gingin and Dandaragan managed to burn through 9,100 hectares of land since it began on Saturday.

It still persists in jeopardizing lives and homes in the shires of Dandaragan and Gingin, with concern centered on the Ocean Farms Estate and Seaview Park areas, more than 100 kilometers from Perth.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said there was a “strong possibility” the fire could impact Ocean Farms Estate while residents there have been told to enact their bushfire survival plans right away.

That said, DFES said there had been no major property damage so far other than a pine plantation, olive groves and small farm sheds.

According to the DFES Deputy Commissioner Craig Waters, “We had significant runs overnight, crews have managed to pull them up just short of the properties, and however there is still significant risk under gustily north-easterly winds this morning.”

In the battle against the blaze, about 200 firefighters worked extensively. Deputy Commissioner Waters said the significant hot temperatures and gusty winds forecast for the next few days were bad conditions for firefighters heading into the weekend.

Updates reveal that a number of fires emerged overnight and the threat of hop-overs out of the significant fires are still prevalent as the high-temperature weekend is forecasted.

The emergency warning covers Ocean Farms Estate, Seaview Park and surrounding areas in parts of Regans Ford, Cowalla, Moore River National Park, Nilgen, Mimegarra, Wedge Island, Karakin, Orange Springs and Lancelin.

Meanwhile, people have been forced to leave the area and have been told to travel in a southerly direction along Indian Ocean Drive, should they find it safe to do so.

Moreover, DFES said people in the area should remain watchful and keep on track for bushfire updates.

As of now, an evacuation center has been set up at the Guilderton Country Club on Wedge Street in Guilderton for affected residents.

(Image source: ABC News)

Ocean Farms residents wait for a miracle as tough fire conditions bring flames to their doorstep


Mr Burke said changing winds, virgin bushland, and paddocks with a high fuel load surrounding Ocean Farms made fighting the flames extremely difficult for crews.

The lack of road access to parts of the area was also a challenge, he said, forcing firefighters to take vehicles off-road through dirt tracks and bushland.

“The country at the back is shocking, it’s soft black sand and it’s hard for four-wheel-drives to get anywhere,” he said.

The bushfire, which started near the intersection of Mogumber Road an Brand Highway in Red Gully, has been burning since Saturday across the greater Shire of Gingin.

Up to 200 firefighters and 13 aircraft were called on Tuesday to battle the flames, which razed through 9000 hectares of land and forced nearly 300 residents to evacuate their homes.

The fire started on Saturday. Credit:Evan Collins.

As of 5pm on Tuesday, the flames were moving at about 3 kilometres per hour in the direction of Ocean Farms, fanned by gusts of easterly and north-easterly winds, putting homes at risk.

Footage captured by locals east of Lancelin showed dark plumes of smoke rising thick into the afternoon air behind the sand dunes as the fire inched closer to Ocean Farms.

Rachael Hains-Wesson and her family were among 270 residents evacuated from Ocean Farms.

The Sydneysider had travelled to WA from New South Wales for the beachside trip of a lifetime with her family, but she is now facing the prospect of losing her dream holiday home instead.

Dr Hains-Wesson and her husband bought a home in Oceans Farms at the height of the pandemic and were visiting the property for the time when the fire struck.

“We looked in the horizon and I said to my husband, that smoke has gotten a lot darker and is looking a lot closer to where we are,” Dr Hains-Wesson said.

“My husband started to say ‘this is serious, you need to pack your stuff, I’m getting the car and you need to come’. All of a sudden we got a text saying you need to leave now your life is at risk.”

Rachael Hains-Wesson had come to WA to visit her new holiday home when the fire struck.

Rachael Hains-Wesson had come to WA to visit her new holiday home when the fire struck. Credit:Nine News Perth

It was after scrambling to find the family cat and jump in the car on the way to Guilderton that the family realised the extent of the emergency.

“As we were driving about 10 kilometres outside of Lancelin my son in the back goes ‘Mum, I can see the fire from here and it’s huge’,” she said.

“We stopped the car, looked out and no joke, we could see across the horizon just huge flames, heaps of smoke and I thought how are we going to contain something like this? It’s massive.”

Away from the path of the fire, Matthew Penrose felt optimistic firefighters would get the blaze under control but packed his four-wheel-drive with essentials just in case.

“We’ve got the pool ready for the helicopters and stuff to go. The truck’s packed so if we need to we’ll get out of here. We’ll just keep an eye on it,” he said.

“We’ve had sprinklers going and the tanks going, we’ve flooded everything, all our veggies, our mango trees.”

Air crews battle the flames in the Shire of Gingin.

Air crews battle the flames in the Shire of Gingin. Credit:Nine News Perth

Mr Penrose said he planned to head straight out to the beach in his car if the flames got too close.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting extremely hot and dry conditions for the week, which are expected to fuel the unpredictability of a fire threat in the area.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Craig Waters said climate change had caused fires to burn with the same intensity into the evenings, whereas before firefighters would get a lull or reprieve with cooling conditions.

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NSW records four new local cases, Berala man with virus travelled to regions; some western Sydney residents banned from SCG Test; Victoria records three new local cases


NSW Health has released a list of venues which the 18-year-old man attended in western NSW while possibly infectious.

Anyone who attended the Gourmet Cribtin at Broken Hill on Saturday between 10.40am and 11.20am or Birdie Noshery and Drinking Establishment at Orange on Sunday between 12.30pm and 2pm must get tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

The man camped at Nyngan Riverside Tourist Park, at the intersection of the Barrier Highway and the Mitchell Highway, on Saturday and Sunday.

Anyone who was at the park should get tested and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

NSW Health has also asked people who attended Broken Hill Shell on Saturday between 10.52am and 10.55am and Nyngan BP on Sunday between 9.10am and 9.13am to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop.

Additional staff have been placed at the drive-through testing site at Orange Showground from 12.30pm and at Orange Hospital from 12pm.

A testing site will open at the Big Bogan statue at Nyngan from 2pm and again on Wednesday from 9am.

The drive-through testing site at Broken Hill Community Centre reopened today and will be open until 4pm and again this week from 8am.


A second COVID-19 exposure on Melbourne’s Pakenham rail line on New Year’s Eve has been revealed by Victoria’s Health Department. An infected person travelled Pakenham-bound from Flinders Street Station to Westall station in the early hours of New Year’s Day, triggering a warning to all other passengers to get tested immediately and isolate until they received a negative result.

The initial time period was listed as 3am to 4am, but has since changed to 4.30am to 5am.

Late on Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services also added a city-bound service to the same warning, as the case travelled from Westall to Flinders Street between 9pm and 9.30pm on December 31.

The same advice has been issued for the evening trip: all passengers who travelled on the line at that time should test and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Good Guys Nunawading was also added to the DHHS exposure site list on Monday night, with a COVID-positive person having shopped there on December 29 between 9.30am and 10am. Those who also shopped at the store at the same time are advised to test and isolate until a negative result.

The Springvale Shopping Centre in Buckingham Avenue was also added as an exposure site late on Monday night, after a known case shopped there between 11am and 12.30pm on December 29. People who were at the venue at the same time should test and isolate until a negative result.

Infected cases also visited the Bodriggy Brewing Company in Abbotsford between 2.50pm and 5.30pm on December 28, and the Merrymen Cafe in Hampton between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on the same day.

A number of timeframes, locations and advice levels also changed for:

  • Tao Dumplings in Camberwell
  • Nando’s in Elizabeth Street
  • Melbourne Central Lion Hotel
  • Puffing Billy/ Lakeside Paddle Boats at Emerald Lake Park
  • Advice for people who visited known exposure sites Stomping Ground Brewing Company, Two Bob Snob, Melbourne Boat Hire, Bodriggy Brewing Company, Merryman Cafe, and IKEA Springvale’s Cafe were also upgraded, with people now asked to isolate for 14 days.
  • In the case of IKEA Springvale, advice became more detailed: anyone who had been at the store between 4pm and 6.30pm on December 30 should monitor for symptoms, but anyone who had been at the store’s cafe needed to go into isolation immediately.
  • Advice for people who visited the Sikh Temple in Perry Road, Keysborough, between 3pm and 5pm on January 1 has also strengthened to 14-day quarantine.

Interactive: Venue exposure sites mapped

Sydneysiders and Melburnians looking to find out whether they have been to a venue recently visited by someone later diagnosed with coronavirus can now do so more easily thanks to a new service that overlays alert locations onto a map.

The website was built by a Sydney data expert and uses information provided by the NSW government’s COVID-19 data program and Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services Victoria to visualise a long list of venue alerts put out sometimes multiple times per day.

The map, embedded below, doesn’t include public transport routes in NSW. They can be found on the NSW government’s official list of locations.

Interact with the NSW venue alert map:

Interact with the Victoria venue alert map:

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Coronavirus Australia live updates January 5, 2021: Four new cases in NSW as Berala and some Western Sydney residents banned from Sydney test cricket match; Worries about Berala teen who went to regional NSW; PM’s push to get Victorians home; Three new local cases in Victoria as temple added to exposure sites; Fresh UK lockdown ordered by Boris Johnson

NSW Health has released a new list of venues in the state’s west that were visited by a teenager who has since tested positive to coronavirus.

An 18-year-old who went to the Berala BWS – the centre of a current outbreak – on Christmas Eve then went to Broken Hill, Orange, and Nyngan.

Anyone who attended the following venues is a close contact who must get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result:

  • Broken Hill: Gourmet Cribtin, 305 Argent St, Saturday, 2 January, 10.40am – 11.20am
  • Orange: Birdie Noshery and Drinking est. 120-122 Summer Street, Sunday, 3 January, 12.30pm – 2pm

Anyone who has attended the following venue at the following times is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received, and continue to monitor for symptoms and test again if any symptoms develop:

  • Nyngan: Nyngan Riverside Tourist Park, Barrier Hwy and Mitchell Hwy, Saturday, 2 January to Sunday, 3 January

Anyone who attended the following service stations must monitor for symptoms and if they appear, immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received:

  • Broken Hill: Broken Hill Shell, 164 Williams St, Saturday, 2 January, 10.52am – 10.55am
  • Nyngan: Nyngan BP, 180 Mitchell Hwy Nyngan on Sunday, 3 January, 9.10am – 9.13am

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Residents advised to ‘leave immediately’ as fires burn out of control in WA

An emergency warning has been issued for three fires which are burning out of control in Western Australia.

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