Govt must buy water back for the environment: Greens

The Greens are urging the Liberal National Government to lift the freeze on water buy backs to restore much-needed flows to the Murray Darling Basin.

“Today, I’m writing to the Water Minister David Littleproud  asking him  to lift the ban on water buy backs immediately so water can be secured for the river to avoid further environmental collapse. Buying back water is the most economically efficient and environmentally effective way to restore the river and help stem the damage done to the environment,” Australian Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“We know millions more fish could die within the next few months. This ecosystem is in collapse because there is not enough water going to the environment. The Minister should fix this, or he should go.

“This is a man-made problem caused by the mismanagement and incompetence of Barnaby Joyce and the Liberal National Party. Barnaby Joyce crowed about stopping water buybacks, ensuring water meant for the environment went to big corporate irrigators.

“While the environment goes without, the cotton industry continues to profit. We need a Royal Commission into the mismanagement and over extraction of water in the Murray Darling Basin.

“Putting fish back in the river is not going to work when there is not enough water. The Murray Darling Basin is a living ecosystem crying out for urgent relief – which means putting the environment, and our river communities ahead of the cotton industry.

“The Liberal National Government has failed the river while there is plenty of water in the storage dams of big cotton irrigators upstream.”

Seismic testing go-ahead bad for SA

Seismic testing is the first step to drilling in the Great Australian Bight and will have devastating outcomes for SA, the Greens say.

“This is a bad decision – bad for our marine life, bad for Kangaroo Island, and bad for SA. Seismic testing is the first step to drilling in the Bight, and an oil well 90km off Kangaroo Island is a disaster for South Australia,” Greens environment spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“It seems as though after endless chances for the Norwegian company to finesse their plan, the regulator has buckled, doing the bidding of the oil and gas industry.

“PGS now has the green light to send seismic blasts into waters 90km from Kangaroo Island. This is an area sperm whales migrate through and where blue whales feed, sending constant blasts into the water for three months straight will devastate our marine life.

“The last time we had seismic blasting in the Great Australian Bight, whales beached themselves at Ardrossan and died. There is never a safe time for seismic blasting, and our environment will suffer for the regulator’s decision today.

“NOPSEMA has ignored the community, the fishing industry and Traditional Owners who want our Bight protected. 74% of South Australians want to see the Bight protected, and thousands of people have joined The Greens’ campaign to nominate the Bight for World Heritage Protection

“The Greens are fighting tooth and nail alongside the South Australian community to stop big oil and gas drilling off the coast of Kangaroo Island and in the Bight. The impact on our tourism industry and the marine life off our coast would be devastating.”

Govt under pressure to release secret documents over Menindee Lakes

The Liberal National Government are hiding critical information about draining the Menindee Lakes twice in three years, the Greens say.

“The Government’s refusal to release this information, by order of the Senate, stinks of a cover-up and puts them in contempt of the Senate,” Greens water and environment spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“For over six weeks we’ve been waiting for answers from the Minister about why water was released from Menindee Lakes twice in three years. We still don’t know how or why those decisions were made. I was concerned about it back in November, and now after the death of a million fish it’s even more concerning.

“The Liberal National Government cannot be trusted to deal with this environmental disaster, and they can’t be trusted to be open with River communities. The cover-ups must end if we are to see this river, and the faith of the people who rely on it, restored.

“Water Minister David Littleproud is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Barnaby Joyce, standing up for corporate cotton interests rather than the communities that rely on this vital river system for survival.

“Australians want a healthy river system and a government that stands up for the environment. It’s clear this government is concerned about keeping big cotton happy at the expense of the river we love.”

Police search for missing man – Morisset

Police have appealed for information from the community to locate a man who disappeared from a medical facility at Morisset last week.

Jackson Melrose is 25-years-old and requires medication regularly for his condition.

Police have been told that Mr Melrose was last seen at Morisset Railway Station about 5pm on Wednesday 9 January 2019.

Jackson is described as being of Caucasian appearance with a fair complexion and short dark hair.

He is about 170cm to 175cm tall with a goatee beard and brown eyes.

When last seen he was wearing, shorts, t-shirt and thongs.

It is believed that Jackson will not have access to money or a mobile phone.

He is known to frequent the Wakefield and Edgeworth areas.

Police from Lake Macquarie Police District are urging anyone who sights Mr Melrose not to approach him, but to contact officers immediately on Triple Zero (000).

Fatal house fire – East Maitland

A report will be prepared for the Coroner after a fatal house fire at East Maitland.

Emergency Services were called to the unit on Thompson Street about 2am today (Saturday 12 January 2019).

The premises was extinguished and the body of a 53-year-old man was located inside.

Inquiries into the fire continue, however it does not appear to be suspicious.


Man charged with 15 offences including assault police – Cessnock

A man has been charged with 15 offences including assault police and resist arrest in the state’s Hunter Region.

About 6.05am today (Friday 11 January 2019), police attempted to stop an unregistered motorcycle travelling along Cessnock Road, Aberdare.

Police will allege the rider of the motorcycle failed to stop and sped off, before crashing into the front of a police vehicle and fleeing the scene on foot.

The man was arrested after a foot pursuit, where he allegedly assaulted two police officers.

OC Spray was used during the arrest.

Two male senior constables received minor injuries to their upper bodies and were treated by NSW Ambulance Paramedics.

He was taken to Maitland Hospital for treatment to pre-existing injuries before being taken to Cessnock Police Station.

The 38-year-old man was charged with use unregistered registrable class A motor vehicle on road, drive uninsured vehicle, unlicensed for class, drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, enter inclosed land not prescribed premises without lawful excuse, resist or hinder police officer in the execution of duty (x3), use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention (x2), assault police officer in execution of duty cause actual bodily harm (x2), deal with proceed of crime, take and drive conveyance without consent of owner and not stop vehicle when directed to do so.

He appeared before court today and was refused bail to reappear in Cessnock Local Court Wednesday 16 January 2019.

Officer charged with sexual assault

A serving police officer has been charged in relation to an alleged sexual assault.

The charges follow an alleged incident at a private residence in Sydney’s inner-west, on Monday 24 September 2018 whilst off duty.

The matter was referred to the NSW Police Force Professional Standards Command for investigation in November last year.

The Inspector, who is attached to a specialist command, attended Burwood Police Station yesterday (Thursday 10 January 2019), where he was arrested and charged with sexual assault.

A provisional AVO was also served upon the officer.

The man was granted conditional bail to attend Burwood Local Court on Thursday 24 January 2019.

The officer’s employment status is under review.

Man charged over allegedly lighting bushfire near Lake Macquarie

A man will face court today charged over allegedly deliberately lighting a bushfire in the Lake Macquarie region.

Just after 5.30pm on Thursday 3 January 2019, emergency services were called to a suspicious fire in bushland near Fassifern Railway Station.

The fire was extinguished, and no one was injured.

The Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit commenced an investigation under Strike Force Wollybutt.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives, with assistance of officers from Police Transport Command, arrested a 25-year-old man near Victoria Street Railway Station in East Maitland about 9.30am yesterday (Thursday 10 January 2019).

He was taken to Maitland Police Station, where he was charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless as to its spread, receive/dispose stolen property, and goods suspected stolen.

Police will allege in court that the man deliberately lit fire, with 22 points of ignition identified across four areas of the fire ground.

Police will also allege in court that the man was in possession of and disposed of stolen bankcards in a bin at Fassifern Railway Station.

The man was refused bail and is due to appear at Maitland Local Court today (Friday 11 January 2019).

Police are also reminding people that they could face penalties if found responsible for the lighting of bushfires – accidental or otherwise.

Penalties relating to bushfires under the NSW Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act, and Rural Fires Regulation include:

– Damaging property with the intention of endangering life – up to 25 years imprisonment;

– Manslaughter – up to 25 years imprisonment;

– Starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread – up to 21 years imprisonment.


Western Sydney drivers will soon see shovels in the ground on more than $300 million worth of road upgrades to ease congestion and improve safety along major arterial roads in Prospect and Kellyville.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government today announced it will duplicate both the Prospect Highway between Reservoir Road at Prospect and St Martins Crescent at Blacktown and Memorial Avenue between Old Windsor Road and Windsor Road at Kellyville.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said work on the two major upgrades is now underway with the Government to start procurement on both projects immediately and construction to begin this year.

“Around 35,000 vehicles currently use the Prospect Highway each day, including around 5000 heavy vehicles, so it is great to see work will soon start on this important project,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Once complete the upgraded three kilometre section of the Prospect Highway will be widened to a four-lane divided road improving safety and travel times. The work will include upgrades to bridges across the M4 and Great Western Highway, and the on and off ramps to the M4.”

Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is also building for future generations by upgrading Memorial Avenue in Kellyville.

“On Memorial Avenue work will be carried out to upgrade the existing 2.2 kilometre road to a four-lane divided road, with shared pedestrian and cyclist paths to be built on both sides of the road,” Mr Ayres said.

“This investment in Prospect Highway and Memorial Avenue will allow people to spend less time in traffic and more time at home and it is only being delivered because of the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals.”

Member for Seven Hills Mark Taylor and Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott have both welcomed the significant investment in roads in their electorates.

“The duplication of the Prospect Highway will make a huge difference to the lives of drivers who travel along this major road corridor each day,” Mr Taylor said.

“The upgrade of Memorial Avenue is a crucial project for the future of Kellyville and I can’t wait to see construction underway,” Mr Elliott said.

Police appeal for assistance to locate missing girl – Lake Macquarie

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a girl reported missing from a home in Lake Macquarie.

Carly Gibson, aged 11, was last seen at a house in Gradwells Road, Dora Creek, just before 6.30pm on Monday (7 January 2019).

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were notified when she failed to return home and commenced an investigation.

Police hold concerns for her welfare due to her age and believe she may be in the Lake Macquarie, Newcastle or Edgeworth areas.

Carly is described as being of Caucasian appearance, between 145cm-150cm tall, of a medium build and with blonde hair and blue-grey eyes.

She was last seen wearing a yellow midriff top, grey cardigan, denim skirt, black hat, blue and pink tie-dye socks and black boots.

Anyone who sees Carly or has any information on her whereabouts are urged to come forward.