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Australia news live: northern rivers on flood alert as more NSW towns evacuated; Jim Chalmers confirms $33bn social security increase in budget | Australia weather

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Everyone has their coping mechanisms.

In Echuca, on the wrong side of the levee a man known only as “the Alpha boss” is hitting the decks. His house – which he shares with his wife (also a DJ) is surrounded by water. pic.twitter.com/73TU1okMAU

— Cait Kelly (@cait__kelly) October 22, 2022

Record flood event at Echuca

The Murray River has surpassed the 1993 flood level at Echuca on the Victoria-NSW border, as the premier urges remaining residents to consider evacuating.

The 1993 level of 94.77 metres above sea level was exceeded at the town on the Victoria-NSW border on Saturday night and was expected to peak around 95m overnight.

More rain is forecast for the flood-hit state as a low pressure system moves over northern Victoria on Sunday.

The state’s northeast and far northwest are tipped to cop the brunt of the falls and the Bureau of Meteorology predicts the system will bring wet weather to southern Victoria early in the week.

At Echuca, authorities warned anyone left in the area to leave after water spilled over a levee near the centre of town on Saturday.

Despite a makeshift dirt levee in the town holding, Premier Daniel Andrews said some residents were heeding the advice and pleaded with others to consider following suit.

“People give that very careful thought. We don’t issue those warnings lightly,” he told reporters on Sunday.

About 50 people from flood-hit communities across the state have taken refuge at the Mickleham quarantine centre, Mr Andrews said.

More than 65 flood warnings remain active in Victoria.

– From AAP

Victorian flood information summary

Here is the summary on the floods that the Victorian SES’s chief of operations, Tim Wiebusch, just gave:

  • The Loddon River at Kerang has reached its peak at 77.97 metres, below the 78-metre mark that had been forecast. The community remains isolated but is stocked and helicopters are on standby to help resupply if needed. Water levels have only slightly receded to 77.84 metres and will slowly drain over the coming days.

  • A levee has already been breached in the Kerang area, causing water to move into caravan parks in the south-west, an industrial area, a ranch and 20 homes. The rest of Kerang has remained safe and dry.

  • At Rochester, the Campaspe River peaked last weekend and is now back at minor flood levels. The community is, however, preparing for fresh rain. It is not expected water will rise more than in previously.

  • At Echuca the Campaspe River remains at moderate flood level and will remain at that level where it merges with the Murray River. as the waters are backed up by the Murray.

  • Access to Echuca is still possible but there are a number of road closures in the area.

  • The Murray River around Echuca is the key focus where the water is currently at 94.83 metres, with the peak forecast at around 95 metres overnight and into Monday.

  • At Echuca Village, 20 homes need to be doorknocked as there has been “some seepage” through the levy.

We can’t emphasise enough that those levees, while they are holding at this point in time … do continue to be a vulnerability for that particular community. And our advice is to evacuate rather than becoming isolated or compacted.

  • Flooding is expected downstream around Torrumbarry “all the way” through to Barmah. Major flood levels are expected by Wednesday and Thursday, higher than previous levels recorded in 1993 and 2016.

  • At Swan Hill, forecasts are that major levels are expected around the first week of November. It is expected the peak will be above the 1993 floods in the area and local residents are advised to get prepared.

  • In and around Shepparton and Mooroopna, levels have receded to minor flood levels but it is possible flood waters may rise again with renewed rainfall. This may rise to a moderate flood level around 11-11.1 metres.

  • On the Barwon River near Geelong, a moderate flood-water warning has been issued with some roads cut off. The event will be similar to what occurred a week ago.

  • In or around metropolitan Melbourne, the Werribee River has started to recede, as has the Yarra River where minor flooding has occurred in some parts. However, renewed rainfall overnight may see it grow again.

  • There have been more than 8,700 calls for help and 750 water rescues.

  • If you’re looking for information, it can be found at emergency.vic.gov.au or on 1800 222 6226.

SES: Low numbers of power outages in Victorian emergency at the moment

On power outages, Wiebusch says there are “very low numbers of power outages” in the current emergency.

The numbers are in the handfuls at the moment relating the flood itself.

Ahead of the long weekend Wiebusch is advising people to look at the VicEmergency app to see which areas are open, and which areas are closed or flood-prone.

SES Victoria advises Echuca residents under warnings to evacuate now

Wiebusch says there have been over 750 evacuations in the previous few days, mostly among those that chose to remain in their properties despite being warned to leave.

He advises those in Echuca to leave now rather than “either being isolated and needing support, or needing to be rescued in the worst-case scenario”.

When we see these forecasts at major heights, that does put inundation around communities, our strong advice when those evacuation directions are up is to leave.

As we say, bag it, block it, lift it but the last part of that message, is to leave.

Levees at Echuca not breached but evacuation orders still in place

Wiebusch says the levees at Echuca have not been breached and “remain structurally sound” for the moment but evacuation orders remain in place for the community as in any emergency there are always risks.

On Kerang, Wiebusch says the community remains isolated by flood waters but local shops have stocked up in preparation for seven days of isolation and helicopters are on standby “should we need to continue resupply into those locations”.

Peak of Murray River expected tonight or tomorrow

SES Victoria’s chief officer of operations, Tim Wiesbusch, is giving an update on the flooding now – the information is coming quickly. Because I don’t want to give misinformation in an emergency, I will summarise after the press conference.

Wiesbusch is asked about the challenge on the high water level at Echuca and the moving timeline.

“At Echuca the Murray River is one of the most challenging hydrological areas to model because of the inflows,” he says.

He says he’d expect the peak to come tonight or tomorrow.

Update on Victorian flooding

Authorities in Victoria are giving an update on the floods with Michael Efron, a senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, saying 18mm of rain fell in 20 minutes overnight and 10 to 20mm in parts of Victoria’s northwest in the last half hour.

Overnight Sunday and into Monday, the Bureau is expecting rains to extend further south and become more extensive into Monday.

NSW transport minister to retire from politics to head off factional stoush

Tamsin Rose

The New South Wales transport minister, David Elliott, will leave state politics at the March election to avoid a factional preselection battle.

Following months of speculation about his future, Elliott announced he would quit on social media on Saturday night. His seat of Baulkham Hills will be abolished at the 2023 election and Elliott did not have the support to win a preselection fight in the Castle Hill electorate.

In a statement, Elliott said:

With the abolition of my Baulkham Hills electorate and advice that I cannot be accommodated in the new seat of Castle Hill on factional grounds, I have today advised my community that I will not be recontesting the 2023 state election.

Having spent nearly two decades serving my country in both the military and the NSW parliament, I leave public service content that I’ve done the best job I could.

Elliott will address the media at a press conference later today. More below:

Government must be active on social security payments: campaigners

The federal government’s announcement that social security payments will rise by $33bn has not washed with anti-poverty campaigners, who say Labor is expecting credit for minimum effort.

Pas Forgione, a campaigns coordinator with the Anti-Poverty Network SA, says allowing indexation to do the heavy lifting on jobseeker is not enough.

Low-income people are facing huge and unsustainable rises in rents, power bills, food, and other basics. We hear stories of job seekers copping $30-50 a week rises to their rent, which blows their budget to pieces.

It’s heartbreaking and inexcusable that a permanent raise to jobseeker and other income support payments appears to have been ruled out of Tuesday’s federal budget.

We’ve never come across more people who are a couple of bad weeks away from falling into crisis.

Union welcomes community service funding increase

The Australian Services Union has welcomed the Albanese government’s pledge of $550m over four years for community service organisations.

The ASU’s assistant national secretary, Emeline Gaske, said:

This gives the sector room to breathe after three years of providing services under the constraints of the pandemic with chronic underinvestment by the previous federal government also taking a toll.

Wage and super increases were a great outcome and will help to attract and retain more people needed in community services, but clearly had to be matched with more funding.

Most people in the community recognise that community services workers are over worked and underpaid and support government investment here.

The past few months shows what is possible when the community’s concerns are matched with a government that actually cares about workers and out most vulnerable.

This is the first time in over a decade that community workers feel listened to by their federal government.

It is a huge win for community services workers who have worked through their unions towards this outcome for a long time.

That’s a lot of water – and a sense of what’s been moving through river systems overnight.

South Australian man killed in lightning strike in Eba

A man has died after being struck by lightning on a rural property in South Australia.

The 29-year-old was struck by lightning at Eba, about 160 kilometres northeast of Adelaide, on Saturday afternoon and died at the scene, police say.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

A 39-year-old man was struck and killed by lightning at Cornerstone College at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills in 2016.

Five to 10 people are estimated to die from lightning strikes in Australia each year, and more than 100 are injured.

– from AAP

Bureau of Meteorology ‘cowering in the corner’ on the climate crisis, former staff claim

Graham Readfearn

Graham Readfearn

The Bureau of Meteorology has been accused of “cowering in the corner” on the climate crisis, with current and former staff describing a conservative culture that left the Australian public poorly informed.

Talking proactively on climate change was seen as a risk for the bureau, staff said, and scientists within the bureau were frustrated at the agency’s position.

The bureau this week backtracked on a request it no longer be referred to as the “BoM” after a rebuke from the environment minister, Tanya Plibersek.

Employees said the furore over the rebranding had made an allegedly toxic work culture worse, with Guardian Australia revealing staff and their union had contacted federal government ministers documenting complaints.

For more on how the Bureau of Meteorology was banned from talking about climate change, read the full story from the Guardian’s environment report Graham Readfearn.

Heavy rain forecast across east coast

The BoM is warning heavy rain is expected along south-east Queensland.

Heavy rainfall has developed around #SEQ, with a well-defined low located off the Sunshine Coast. A Severe Weather Warning and Flood Watch remain in effect. Heavy rain is expected to slowly contract south this afternoon and evening. Warnings: https://t.co/FBmpsIoqYW pic.twitter.com/D5wreZDUTn

— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) October 22, 2022

Over 100 flood warnings have been issued across New South Wales on Saturday as Lismore braces for what could be its third major flood of the year.

Authorities have also received 395 calls for help and carried out 31 flood rescues.

The Bureau is also predicting rainfall from New South Wales through Victoria and down into Tasmania.

There are also thunderstorm and flood warnings across parts of regional South Australia along the border with Victoria.

A Severe Weather Warning for heavy rainfall has been issued for the Mid North, Riverland, Murraylands and adjacent parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges and North East Pastoral districts. Keep up to date with latest warnings at https://t.co/KTdr2G2ZbK pic.twitter.com/9LMG7IhvHD

— Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia (@BOM_SA) October 22, 2022

Angus Taylor supports more women getting into politics but not gender quotas

Taylor is asked about whether the former UK prime finister Liz Truss was punished for her sweeping tax cuts.


I think there’s a combination of factors here, no doubt about that.

On Sussan Ley’s calls for a 50% quota within the Coalition to ensure half of those pre-selected are women, Taylor said he supports more women getting into politics but is against quotas:

I don’t support quotas, and I know she hasn’t suggested that. I think we should support getting more women in, and 50% is absolutely right. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to require really careful work being done by senior people. I see, as we approach the New South Wales election, very good work being done in this area. But it needs to continue.

Coalition calls for investment in renewables to be matched with investment in gas

Taylor is now asked about the profits being reaped by fossil fuel companies during this period of high prices. Speers points out that Woodside’s profits have quadrupled in September to $5.6b and that Santos’ profits were up $3.4b.

Q: Do you know how much tax they are paying and is it enough?

Taylor: We will see how much tax they are paying obviously when they put in their tax returns, but at the end of the day we do know that as commodity prices go up, company tax goes up – there is no question about that. But what we want to see is supply. That’s the important thing.

Taylor is sticking to message, refusing to budge on hammering the point about supply.

He also repeats the line that the “best way to get through this transition” is for investment in renewables to be matched with investment in gas resources.

Coalition to support Labor changes to parental paid leave

Taylor confirms the Coalition will support Labor’s proposed change to the paid parental leave scheme saying “they were announced in our last budget and they were budgeted for.”

Speers now asks about gas prices and whether the Coalition supports a default gas price similar to the electricity price.

The best way to get lower gas prices, or the best way to cap the price of gas is to have more gas flowing into the domestic network. We’ve seen that work here in Australia. It did work here in Australia.

We’ve seen it work in other countries – we’ve seen it work in the United States – where you can separate the domestic gas price from the international gas price by having more supply.

Speers tries to focus Taylor on a price cap.

“It’s not clear that that will result in more gas going into the domestic network,” Taylor says, adding that there’s been no proposal on a price cap.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2022/oct/23/australia-news-live-nsw-northern-rivers-flood-victoria-lismore-echuca-budget-chalmers-albanese-family-murray-river-rain-economy-inflation Australia news live: northern rivers on flood alert as more NSW towns evacuated; Jim Chalmers confirms $33bn social security increase in budget | Australia weather

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