The road ahead: where AFLW clubs stand

Captain: Emma Zielke
Coach: Craig Starcevich

Their 2020 season began in a very promising manner, but their three consecutive wins soon turned to losses and they scraped into a semi-final, away, against Carlton. The Blues ran away with that match in the final term. They’ve kept the majority of their list and added young talent through the draft so should, as always, be thereabouts in 2021. The Lions grabbed Zimmorlei Farquahrson from the QAFLW, who is noted for her athletic movement which Lions Women chief executive Breeanna Brock described as “unparalleled” and “the last piece of the puzzle for us”.


Captain: Kerryn Harrington and Katie Loynes
Coach: Daniel Harford

Elise O’Dea is a super recruit for the Blues. Credit:Jason South

Daniel Harford has got the Blues rolling along nicely since he took over, with a grand final finish in 2019 and a similarly strong showing in 2020′s abbreviated campaign. That preliminary final against North Melbourne promised to be a cracker. Alas, they will attack 2021 with similarly lofty goals, with Elise O’Dea an extremely good addition to the Blues squad that makes up for the loss of Sarah Hosking to Richmond. They’ll open the season against Collingwood in round one, which the Pies will be absolutely hell bent on winning given their losses in the past. Their final round against Fremantle could also be a clash for one of the top spots.


Captain: Steph Chiocci and Brianna Davey
Coach: Steve Symonds

The Pies slowly improved throughout 2020, which culminated in a loss to the supreme North Melbourne in the semi-final. Symonds’ side became the sum of all its parts when at the top of its game – led by stars like Chloe Molloy, Brianna Davey and Jaimee Lambert but then ably supported by a bunch of role players and lesser knowns around the ground. Sharni Layton also blossomed in the ruck. In the off-season they completed the Brown trio, with Tarni joining brothers Cal and Tyler in the colours of their father Gavin. Finals again has to be the goal.


Captain: Kara Antonio
Coach: Trent Cooper

Fremantle would have won the flag if last season wasn’t cut short because of the pandemic. They went through the season undefeated – the first side to do so – and thumped Gold Coast in their semi-final. The skilful and attacking footy put on by the likes of Kiara Bowers, Ebony Antonio, Hayley Miller, Gemma Houghton and Ange Stannett set a new standard for the league, while Mim Strom was impressive in her first season of AFLW. Strom slotted into the ruck seamlessly in place of Aine Tighe who was injured. A grand final is the minimum, and you’d think motivation levels would be off the charts given how 2020 was cut short.

Nina Morrison has done her ACL twice but is raring to go for 2021.

Nina Morrison has done her ACL twice but is raring to go for 2021. Credit:Morgan Hancock


Captain: Meg McDonald
Coach: Paul Hood

The Cats season was poor but there is cause for optimism down the highway with Nina Morrison training again and seemingly on track to return to the AFLW, after she ruptured her ACL for the second time. She has the ability to be a transformational player for this Geelong side, and with the likes of fellow youngsters Millie Brown and Sophie Van De Heuvel around her, Geelong’s improvement will come from its youth. Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, taken in the same draft as Morrison, enter their third AFLW campaign too, with those at the club excited about what these players might bring given they’ve got two seasons under their belts.

Gold Coast

Captain: Sam Virgo and Hannah Dunn
Coach: David Lake

Like St Kilda the Suns out-performed expectations in their first season in the competition as expansion sides. They will have to rely on the young talent they picked up in their inaugural draft with only one selection at the top end – Annise Bradfield – coming in, although forward powerhouse Sarah Perkins has also moved north to Queensland. Talented midfielder Jacqui Yorston ruptured her ACL in the pre-season, which was a blow. The Suns were very defensively sound in 2020 and were tough to score against. More firepower going the other way might help them improve again.

Greater Western Sydney

Captain: Alicia Eva
Coach: Alan McConnell

The Giants have endured major hardships in recent months. Sydney’s COVID-19 situation forced them to relocate to Albury, and then Adelaide, where they played a practice match against the Crows in which Irishwoman Brid Stack suffered a serious back injury. All that pales into insignificance compared to the devastation of the sudden death of foundation player Jacinda Barclay. After a disappointing 2019 campaign, the Giants bounced back last year only to lose a thrilling semi-final to Melbourne. Despite their pre-season challenges, they should again be competitive, with young gun Alyce Parker a driving force.

The GWS Giants will be playing to honour the memory of the late Jacinda Barclay.

The GWS Giants will be playing to honour the memory of the late Jacinda Barclay.


Captain: Daisy Pearce
Coach: Mick Stinear

The Demons have been consistent finals contenders since the inception of AFLW, but had suffered several near misses. It was heartbreaking then that when they finally made it last year, and then knocked off the Giants in a semi-final thriller, they were denied a flag tilt because of the pandemic. It was also perhaps surprising then that Melbourne decided to trade out a host of experienced players, including former co-captain Elise O’Dea. The Dees’ rationale was that they wanted to invest heavily in the draft, and they managed to snare Alyssa Bannan at pick No. 5. Whether the strategy hurts in the short-term, especially given Daisy Pearce is getting on, remains to be seen.

North Melbourne

Captain: Emma Kearney
Coach: Darren Crocker

The Kangaroos survived a tough semi-final against Collingwood to be one of the four teams left standing when the season came to a crashing halt 10 months ago. Then, stunningly, they sacked coach Scott Gowans – a victim of coronavirus cuts – despite an 11-3 record across two seasons. Into the breach came North stalwart Darren Crocker. The Roo will hope this doesn’t destabilise a winning boat but there are no guarantees. On-field, North have retained the bulk of their already very strong squad, while also regaining All-Australian defender Jess Duffin after she missed the 2020 season because of pregnancy.


Captain: Katie Brennan
Coach: Ryan Ferguson

Their men’s team is the envy of the AFL after three premierships in four seasons but it was an extremely rude entry into AFLW for the Tigers, who went winless in their first season. They couldn’t even say that they were finding form by season’s end, held to just three behinds against fellow expansion team St Kilda in round six. Richmond’s poor performance cost coach Tom Hunter his job, replaced by former Melbourne player Ryan Ferguson. The only way is up for the Tigers, who have been bolstered by the addition of Sarah Hosking from Carlton after a relatively busy trade period. No. 1 draft pick Ellie McKenzie also has the makings of a superstar. But the inroads will need to be dramatic for Richmond to even get close to the finals.

St Kilda

Co-captains: Hannah Priest, Kate Shierlaw, Rhi Watt, Cat Phillips
Coach: Peta Searle

In contrast to their expansion sisters at Punt Road, the Saints were highly competitive in their first season, winning two games and running premiership fancies Fremantle very close. St Kilda’s list looked relatively even on paper and it remains the case but they found a fearsome spearhead in Cailin Greiser, who topped the competition’s goalkicking and memorably sunk Melbourne with a long bomb at Moorabbin. Young gun Georgia Patrikios showed her class and flair last year and should only improve. The loss of off-season recruit Bianca Jakobsson to a broken collarbone is however a setback.

West Coast

Captain: Emma Swanson
Coach: Daniel Pratt

The big brother of the West Australian AFL teams, the Eagles are very much the little sister when it comes to the women’s competition, arriving three years after Fremantle, who have evolved into one of the league’s standout outfits. This made for a challenging first season in which the Eagles copped some heavy defeats, with only a narrow win at home over the Western Bulldogs to show for their efforts. Coach Luke Dwyer has left, replaced by former Kangaroos player Daniel Pratt, who was already on the Eagles’ books. Irishwoman Aisling McCarthy was a handy off-season trade from the Dogs but West Coast’s growth should come from their emerging core of WA locals.

Western Bulldogs

Captain: Ellie Blackburn
Coach: Nathan Burke

Premiers in 2018, the Bulldogs lost a glut of key talent across both seasons of expansion. They entered last season with a very young core, understandably slipping well off the pace in their conference, indeed losing their last five games. But it’s far from doom and gloom at Whitten Oval. They took it up to the Dockers in the final round of the shortened season, and in Isabel Huntington have one of the league’s star talls. Eleanor Brown also emerged late in the campaign, while Gabby Newton and Nell Morris-Dalton also have another pre-season under their respective belts. Father-daughter player Issy Grant is also fit to make her AFLW debut after being thwarted by injury last season.


Daniel Cherny ladder predictions:

  1. Fremantle
  2. Carlton
  3. Collingwood
  4. North Melbourne
  5. Adelaide
  6. Melbourne
  7. St Kilda
  8. Brisbane Lions
  9. Gold Coast
  10. Western Bulldogs
  11. Greater Western Sydney
  12. Geelong
  13. West Coast
  14. Richmond
    Premiers: Fremantle

Anthony Colangelo ladder predictions

1. Fremantle
2. North Melbourne
3. Carlton
4. Collingwood
5. Melbourne
6. St Kilda
7. Adelaide
8. Brisbane Lions
9. Geelong
10. Western Bulldogs
11. Greater Western Sydney
12. Richmond
13. Gold Coast
14. West Coast
Premiers: Fremantle

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AFL 2021 | On the road rather than hubs the AFL ideal

The AFL is keen to avoid 2020-style hubs where possible this year to safeguard the health and wellbeing of players and staff who were, in many instances, pushed to their limits when they were forced to relocate in order to complete last season.

With border restrictions in place as round one of the men’s competition on March 18 draws nearer many staff at clubs are nervous about the prospect of repeating the arrangements of last season and the AFL is aware of those concerns.

However the league is of the view that depending on state regulations they can avoid such restrictive environments although sources said there is a chance depending on the situation that clubs may spend an extended time on the road to play a series of matches in one state before returning home.

Nathan Buckley in mask mode last year.Credit:Getty Images

With Western Australia requiring Victoria to go 28 days without community transmission of COVID-19 before they consider opening their border to the state as prepare for a state election on March 13 and parts of NSW and Queensland still subject to restricted travel there is continuing uncertainty around how many official practice matches teams will play and whether the pre-season fixture will need to be redrawn.

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Would-be Canberra car salesman wins $46k after tribunal finds he was discriminated against over road rage offences

A Canberra man has successfully sued the ACT Government for more than $46,000 after he was refused a car sales licence because of two prior road rage convictions.

Last week the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) found the ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading had discriminated against the man when they rejected his application for a motor vehicles sales licence in 2018.

The would-be car salesman successfully argued two “irrelevant” criminal convictions were used as basis to reject his application, which he said led to financial and emotional distress.

Road rage incidents

ACAT heard the man had applied for the licence in 2018, but two separate criminal convictions for property damage and assault showed up during a police record check.

The tribunal heard first offence took place in 2016 when the man hurled a small sledgehammer through the front windscreen of another driver’s vehicle during a road rage incident.

The second conviction was from an incident two months later where the man spat in another driver’s face during a dispute, resulting in a good behaviour bond.

The man said he had been “blinded by ego” at the time of the road rage incidents.(Unsplash)

ACAT heard Access Canberra staff asked the man for a personal statement to explain the offending.

The man told government staff in an email that he suffered from a permanent back injury and had suffered a deterioration in his mental and physical health in the lead up to the incidents.

“As I reflect on the events and how I handled them, my only option at the time was to hang on to what I could as I embarked through this storm.”

‘Blinded by ego’

The man also claimed he had been “blinded by ego and pride” and had since addressed his behaviour.

“I am no longer the invincible young brave man I used to be,” he told Access Canberra staff.

“But the hardest battle for me has been to not allow the negative notions of the subsequent criminal records imposed on me to affect me mentally.

ACAT heard after discovering the man’s criminal record, the Commissioner for Fair Trading refused the man’s application due to the seriousness and “nature” of his previous offending.

Senior ACAT Member Heidi Robinson found that amounted to discrimination, and awarded the man $46,766 in damages.

“The intention of the amendments to the Discrimination Act are clear: a person’s criminal conviction should not ‘hound’ them for their whole life, keep them out of employment, or cause them to be subject to discrimination,” she wrote in her decision.

The government was also warned not to reject any of the man’s future applications based on his criminal convictions.

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Ebony Marinoff suspension | Case shows bumpy road ahead as players strive to adapt

McCartney said he appreciated how difficult the game was but it was imperative players adapted to the AFL’s commitment to protect players’ heads and necks.

“You still have to attack the ball but also educate players that if the player in front of you has got their head down, you can’t do anything about that. You just have to make every effort not to make contact,” McCartney said.

“We could be and should be teaching every young girl and boy simple little drills, see the area, still go for the ball and that will hope them build confidence [in their technique].”

The incident that saw Marinoff charged led to paramedics treating Giants defender Brid Stack, who was playing her first AFLW game, on the ground for a suspected spinal injury but she escaped with a fractured C7 vertebra and is in a neck brace.

Marinoff told the tribunal she felt she stopped before she made contact with Stack however the three-man panel Paul Williams, Jason Johnson and Stephen Jurica said she had a realistic alternative to contest the ball.

McCartney, who will coach North Ballarat in 2021, said he appreciated the difficulty avoiding contact presented for players with the unpredictable bounce of the ball forcing players into split second decisions as they switched from an offensive to defensive position and he empathised with both players.

Although there was no doubt Marinoff did not intend to hurt her opponent the AFL had to have a broad outlook when adjudicating incidents and developing rules with the potential to cause serious injury now a key consideration for the tribunal.

Ebony Marinoff.Credit:Getty Images

“Adapting to the game in this situation is based around protecting one another on the ground but still competing,” McCartney said.

“[The decision] will only increase the awareness. It could be one in 1000 times where there is nothing you can do to save it. That’s the difficulty of our game.”

Marinoff has never been to the tribunal in her AFLW career winning two premierships and earning All-Australian selection along the way and was very emotional when the verdict was reached.

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‘I hit rock bottom’: Surf hero’s inspiring road to recovery

His body was riddled with fractures, but Michael Bourne did not hesitate when he saved the lives of four people at North Wall Beach on January 24, 2019.

A horrific fall three months earlier had left him with multiple injuries – but it was just he and a sole bodyboarder on the unpatrolled beach that evening.

They noticed the four Korean visitors in trouble, and miraculously, they brought everyone back to shore alive and unharmed.

Two years later 50-year-old Mr Bourne is still swimming to save lives – he has achieved his dream of becoming a surf lifesaver and has undertaken several charity fundraisers such as the Starlight Super Swim.

This year marks the second in a row that he’s been nominated for an Australia Day Award.

And while the rescue was a heroic feat, Mr Bourne admits it had left him damaged not just physically, but also mentally – the catalyst which led him on his path to helping others.


Michael Bourne swimming laps at Coffs Aquatic Centre.


He likened his situation to the ‘iceberg’ analogy, saying not many saw the reality of his situation in the aftermath.

“After the rescue I went downhill – I hit rock bottom about three months after,” Mr Bourne said.

“I used to wake up in the middle of the night with a choking sensation. I used to get the shakes and a dry mouth if a private number came up on my phone, or even if I went to the supermarket. I developed quite a lot of anxiety.”


Michael Bourne helped rescue four Korean visitors at North Wall Beach.

Michael Bourne helped rescue four Korean visitors at North Wall Beach.


To begin his recovery, Mr Bourne started mindfulness mentoring and combined that with physical exercise, knocking out 10,000 laps of the pool in one year.

“At the beginning I could only walk back and forth in the pool everyday. But I had a lot of people encouraging me, including my wife. People on Facebook would help me and offer me lifts to the pool.”

Mr Bourne became strong after a year, losing four belt sizes and noticing his anxiety was dissipating.

He then signed up to the 2020 Starlight Super Swim and smashed out 48km in one month.

“I started fundraising and service to others as part of my healing, and just to become a better person,” Mr Bourne said.

“The Starlight Foundation opened my eyes to other ways of fundraising other than raffle tickets.”



Lap for Life, swimmer Michael Bourne at Coffs Aquatic centre.19 MAR 2020

Lap for Life, swimmer Michael Bourne at Coffs Aquatic centre.19 MAR 2020


From there, Mr Bourne and his daughter signed up for a Reach Out fundraiser, raising money for teen mental health.

Mr Bourne had also approached the Surf Club and successfully completed his Bronze Medallion.

“When I was only five years old I help a child out of Coffs Creek and said I wanted to be a lifesaver.

“It was a thought that lingered however the decision really came after the rescue, when I had time to reflect upon the incident and how things could have worked out very differently.”

He recently completed another fundraiser for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter which involved him swimming around the jetty before sunrise every morning for one month. Next, he will tackle the 2021 Starlight Super Swim, beginning from Australia Day.

Mr Bourne is one of seven Australia Day nominees who are being recognised for their achievements and commitment to the local community.


Clockwise from top left Coffs Harbour 2021 Australia Day award nominees Beth Rogers, Michael Bourne, John Lardner, Rosie Smart, John Higgins and Julie Ferguson.

Clockwise from top left Coffs Harbour 2021 Australia Day award nominees Beth Rogers, Michael Bourne, John Lardner, Rosie Smart, John Higgins and Julie Ferguson.


Mr Bourne, who was also nominated last year, said it was a surreal feeling to be up for an award once again and said it came down to mindfulness, the support of his family, and the support he received from local mens group Coffee 4 Blokes.

“For almost two years I have put my heart and soul into self care without guilt, overcoming anxiety and becoming the best version of myself for me, for my family and for the community.”

The winners of the 2021 Australia Day Awards will be announced at a ceremony at the North Coast Botanic Garden on January 26.

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Road to Palestinian vote full of obstacles

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that the first presidential and parliamentary elections since 2006 will be held later this year. But the road to the vote — key to advancing Palestinian statehood and mending a rift between Abbas’ Fatah party and the Islamic militant group Hamas — is littered with obstacles.

Parliamentary elections are to be held on May 22, followed by a presidential vote on July 31. The rival factions will meet in Egypt later this month, hoping to work out logistics and settle their differences before election campaigns kick off.

With the aging Abbas at the helm in the West Bank, and Hamas’ rule entrenched in the Gaza Strip, there are many outstanding questions. Here’s a look at the complications surrounding a Palestinian election:


The Palestinians endured four tough years under President Donald Trump, who largely sided with Israel, prompting the Palestinians to cut off ties with the administration. Trump also brokered deals to establish ties between Israel and four Arab countries, shattering a longstanding wall of Arab opposition to normalization with Israel until it made major concessions to the Palestinians. The Trump administration cut funding to the Palestinians, further weakening their position.

While President-elect Joe Biden is likely to take a more balanced approach, he is expected to direct his attention first to more urgent foreign policy issues, such as the Iran nuclear deal. Abbas apparently hopes to start the relationship with the Biden administration on good terms by meeting the West’s long-standing demand that he hold overdue elections. Abbas may also have felt pressure from the European Union, one of the most important backers of his self-rule government, the Palestinian Authority. Similar pressure appears to have been exerted by Turkey and Qatar on Hamas.



Hamas and Fatah have spent years trying to reconcile after a split more than a decade ago. Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and Western countries, won the last parliamentary elections in 2006, but the international community largely refused to deal with any government that included Hamas figures.

After fierce street battles, Hamas routed Fatah forces and seized power in Gaza in 2007. It retained control of the territory despite an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Numerous attempts to bring the factions together have failed, with terms for holding elections a major sticking point. Both sides have been unwilling to cede power and compromise — and it’s not clear whether attitudes have changed. In Gaza, Hamas has created its own government bureaucracy, along with an armed wing and a stockpile of rockets aimed at Israel. Abbas, who oversees autonomous zones in the West Bank, opposes violence as a means of ending more than half a century of Israeli occupation.

An additional roadblock is the uncertainty about holding the vote in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, sought by Palestinians as a future capital. Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to about 300,000 Palestinians, in the 1967 Mideast war, along with Gaza and the West Bank. Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its capital. While Israel permitted voting there under a less hard-line government in 2006, it could now view a vote as undermining its control and block it. Palestinian Central Election Commission chief Hanna Nasser said Saturday that officials have asked Israel about allowing voting in east Jerusalem. Abbas has said it is essential for such voting to take place.



Abbas, 85, has led the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization since the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004. While he has repeatedly said he would not seek another term as president, he has not groomed a successor. It’s possible that he will run again. Several senior Fatah members in their 60s and 70s consider themselves as potential candidates, but no clear favorite has emerged. Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the second Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, has done well in opinion polls, but is serving multiple life terms in an Israeli prison, complicating any candidacy.

A challenger from Hamas is also up in the air. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who led the group’s electoral list in the 2006 vote, left Gaza in 2019 for what was billed a regional tour, never to return.

Haniyeh, who now leads the movement’s decision-making body, was for years the group’s self-styled prime minister, running Gaza during the blockade and three wars with Israel. As a candidate and later head of the territory’s government, Haniyeh portrayed himself as an average person still living in the crowded al-Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, but that image did not last long. People in Gaza, many poor and jobless because of the blockade that was imposed in response to Hamas’ policies, whispered about Haniyeh’s rumored wealth. Since he left Gaza, images of his often luxurious stays in hotel suites in Qatar have leaked online, a jarring contrast to the grim reality of Gaza’s 2 million people.

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Severe weather and flash flood warning for the Herbert and Lower Burdekin, the Central Coast and Whitsundays issued by BOM

In the first week of 2021, heavy rains are already at prevalent as parts of north and far north Queensland has been struck by massive rainfall in the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen. Heavy showers caused flooding in the Ingham area after 122 millimetres fell within an hour.

Most rainfalls were concentrated between Cairns and Townsville with north of Tully receiving 264mm, Halifax 252mm and Innisfail 196mm. As a result, there are several road closures in place along the Ingham Halifax Road, Woodstock Giru Road and the Bruce Highway north of Ingham.

Mayor Ramon Jayo of Hinchinbrook revealed that the Herbert River reached 10.9 meters at the Ingham Pump Station. “We’ve got major flooding still occurring in the Lower Herbert area, the river at Lower Herbert at Halifax is at 5.3 meters, we don’t expect that it is going to increase too much. The road to Lucinda is cut; the road back to Ingham is cut at both the Halifax Washaway and also at the Ana Branch Bridge and Taylors Beach is also inaccessible.”

With that, the mayor has encouraged residents to remain patient as road closures are still taking place. He said, “I would just ask the public to be patient if they’re at a river or bridge crossing — they may not see anything happening on the bridge but a lot is happening in the background because of the testing requirements that have to be done.”

Meanwhile, Peter Markworth from the Bureau of Meteorology forecaster cited the bulk of the rain would persist across the Herbert and Lower Burdekin to Bowen. “We expect some of that to reach down to Mackay as well and they will be covered by a severe thunderstorm warning if that does happen. We can expect to see lightning and heavy falls in those regions.”

Even earlier today, the BOM flagged extreme thunderstorms were expected to produce powerful rain showers that could lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash floods. Heavy rain has drenched the region over the past few days and more is underway.

Moreover, a major flood warning is also issued for the Herbert River which circles 400mm falling in the catchment since early Sunday. Clump Point at Mission Beach had almost 150mm in the six hours to 2:00 am today.

As per BOM, there could be more intense falls within the day, and possible flash flooding, across the coast and ranges between Ingham and Ayr.

(Image source: ABC News)

NSW acting Premier John Barilaro requests ‘common sense’ on travel as man’s 900km road trip puts regions on alert; Victoria records one new local case

“At this stage there is no need to restrict travel to the bush. My message has been if you can avoid travelling into Sydney or out of Sydney, please do,” he said on Today this morning.

“We know some people have bookings but we need to find the balance. At this stage, the restrictions stay as they are.”

He said another “one or two” cases connected to the Berala outbreak would be reported later today.

“But, again, numbers look OK. Contact tracing is in place,” he said.

“Nothing in front of me today says I should panic,” he later said on 2GB.

The fact that new case numbers associated with the Berala cluster were slowly increasing, rather than spiking like the Avalon cluster, meant western Sydney suburbs did not need to be placed in lockdown.

“What we were seeing during that Christmas holiday period brought great risk. Mobility, people moving during the Christmas period, we know would have been significant,” Mr Barilaro said.

“That is why we did the lockdown for the peninsula… At this stage, there is no need or advice from [NSW] Health that we have to go to a lockdown approach for the Berala or western Sydney.”

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Motorists speeding into 2021 but road toll down | Goulburn Post


Road toll levels are at 100 year low. Read also: Be inspired by Tayla Harris and the other go-getters in the running to be named 2021 Young Australian of the Year While police are relieved to see NSW record it’s lowest road toll in almost 100 years, they are disappointed in the number of motorists caught exceeding the speed limit during the 2020-2021 Christmas and New Year period. The state-wide Christmas and New Year road safety operation commenced at 12.01am on Thursday 24 December 24, 2020 and concluded at 11.59pm Sunday January 3, 2021 with double demerit points in force across the festive season. Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, praised motorists across the state who obeyed road rules but urged the community not to become complacent. “The priority every day – not just during the festive season – is to reduce fatalities on the road and for the road safety message to get through to all motorists,” he said. “Compared to this time last year, we saw four fewer fatalities on our roads and only 691 motor vehicle collisions, down 205 from 896 last year. Read also: Highlands beef producer named Woolworths protein supplier of the year “We should be proud of the reduction in these numbers but with summer travel continuing, I urge motorists to do all they can to take care behind the wheel and keep our roads safe.” Police issued a total of 9407 Traffic Infringement Notices for speeding during this year’s Operation – up 650 – compared to the same time last year. This includes 268 fines for P-Plate drivers caught exceeding the limit. Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Hegarty, said police will not stop targeting the Four Ds – drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving. “I know the majority of people were excited to see the back of 2020 and it appears as though we travelled at speed into 2021, which is a concern given that speed is a leading contributor to fatal crashes,” he said. “As a frontline worker, one of the hardest things to do is deliver the news of a loved one’s death – especially as a result of a road crash which could have been avoided by making better choices behind the wheel. “We asked road users to take care over the holiday season and we praise those who did the right thing, but let’s continue to make good choices and ensure we all get home safely.” Read also: Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Southern Tablelands and Southern Highlands During the 2020/2021 operation, which had police out in force each day targeting speeding, drink and drug-driving, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences, police conducted 199,493 breath tests, charged 569 people with drink driving and issued over 8700 infringements for restraint, mobile and other offences. Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said reduced fatalities over the holiday period are a good sign, however the number of people putting lives at risk is too high with speed-related deaths up from 119 in 2019 to 134 in 2020. “In 2020 the road toll was the lowest it has been in almost 100 years with 297 people killed, 56 less than in 2019,” he said. “However, the lower number is no excuse for complacency. Almost half of all fatal crashes last year involved someone who was speeding or driving too fast for the conditions. “Any death on our roads is one death too many. I am asking everyone to take responsibility for road safety in 2021 by giving yourself plenty of time to travel, don’t speed, drive to the conditions, wear your seatbelt, avoid distractions, make sure you’re well rested and if you’ve been drinking or have taken drugs, don’t drive.” Southern Region Figures: Restraint Infringements – 56 Mobile phone infringements – 61 Speed infringements – 2248 Breath Tests – 48,804 PCA charges – 106 Fatal Crashes – 00 Lives Lost – 0 Reported major crashes – 103 People injured – 60 Read also: New disaster dashboards help manage disaster risk


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Landslide on the Benambra-Corryong Road requires State Emergency Service assistance | The Border Mail

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ANOTHER major landslide has taken place in the Upper Murray. Corryong State Emergency Service Unit members attended the latest landslide on the Benambra-Corryong Road at the weekend. It took place about 75km from Corryong in an area which suffered damage in last summer’s bushfires. IN OTHER NEWS “The landslide caused water to run down the road and subsequently eroded the culvert away,” the Corryong SES Unit Facebook page said. “We made (the area) safe and handed over to VicRoads contractors when they arrived. Albury and Tallangatta recorded 20 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday. Late yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning including the possibility of large hailstones and heavy rainfall for the North East and East Gippsland forecast districts. It includes the Upper Murray along with Wodonga, Wangaratta, Orbost, Buchan and Mallacoota.


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