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What we know today, Friday May 13

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Two new fruit fly outbreaks have been declared in South Australia’s Riverland.

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Two Riverland fruit fly outbreaks detected

Two new Queensland Fruit Fly outbreaks have been declared in South Australia’s Riverland, the Primary Industries Department has announced.

The two outbreaks were detected in Loxton North – near an existing outbreak – and impact both Loxton and Loxton North.

Further, Queensland fruit fly maggots have been detected within backyard fruit in Waikerie, resulting in a north and westward expansion of the town’s red outbreak area.

PIRSA’s fruit fly response general manager Nick Secomb said fruit fly officers will now be checking fruit in the newly affected areas and applying organic bait to tackle the outbreak.

“Fruit fly is posing a real risk to locally grown fruit – both commercially and in your back yard. Riverland residents, please clean up your gardens urgently, and please follow the fruit movement restrictions in the affected fruit fly areas,” he said in a statement.

“Fruit fly thrive on ripe fruit – pick your fruit as soon as it’s ripe and collect any rotten or fallen fruit off the ground – do not compost or bury it.

“Please give fruit fly officers access to your property so they can do their work quickly and efficiently. Special waste arrangements are in place so check waste advice on the fruit fly website or call the Fruit Fly Hotline.”

The former Marshall Government earlier this year claimed victory in a more than two-year battle to eradicate fruit fly outbreaks in the Adelaide and Hills region.

Since 2019, around 350 staff were employed at the peak of the response to eradicate the pest, visiting nearly 200,000 properties and releasing nearly 700 million sterile flies.

Wide-ranging restrictions on the movement of fruit in the metropolitan region were also in place until February 2022.

The overall eradication campaign cost more than $70 million, although the State Government warned at the time that a Queensland fruit fly outbreak remained in the Riverland.

Evacuation orders issued as flooding hits Qld again

Queensland Battered With Torrential Rain

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Residents in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley are fleeing to higher ground ahead of major floods as severe storms bring intense rainfall, flash flooding and potential landslides to the state.

A massive low-pressure trough is dumping intense rainfall – up to 132mm in six hours – on Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Moreton Bay, the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay-Burnett, Bundaberg and Gladstone.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services swiftwater teams conducted seven rescues overnight and responded to more than 900 calls for help.

Evacuation sirens sounded at Grantham, west of Brisbane, on Friday morning with people in all low-lying areas of the Lockyer Valley urged to flee to higher ground as Lockyer Creek rapidly rises to a major flood level.

“Act now – do not wait for emergency services to knock on your door,” Lockyer Valley Regional Council said in an alert.

“The siren is intended to prevent any loss of life and relies on the community heeding the siren.”

About 120km southwest, Stanthorpe residents are also on alert as Quart Pot Creek continues to rise.

The Southern Downs Regional Council said the creek was already at a moderate flood level on Friday morning, with more intense rainfall forecast.

“If the situation worsens, warn neighbours, secure property and prepare to move to higher ground,” the council said in an alert.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned six-hour rainfall totals of up 160mm on Friday could lead to life-threatening flash floods, and potential landslides, between Gladstone, Coolangatta and the Darling Downs.

QFES Assistant Commissioner Andrew Short said residents should reconsider their need to travel, with hundreds of roads already cut by floodwaters.

Almost 70 schools have already been closed.

“Currently, we’ve got 18 emergency alerts out in a number of councils,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.

“So we’re looking for people just to listen and respond and act accordingly.”

Brisbane City Council has suspended ferry services and opened sandbagging stations, with residents in flood-prone areas being advised to move their cars to higher ground.

The lower Brisbane River is expected to reach a minor flood level on Friday morning, but Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said updated forecasts of intense rain could pose a risk of flash flooding into Saturday.

“Those falls could be up to 160mm over six hours, so creek catchments could rise very quickly, particularly given the creek catchments are so water-saturated at the moment,” he told ABC Radio.

“Anyone who is in a creek catchment or river area needs to be very well aware of their circumstances because the rain can become heavy to intense very quickly, and that means that there is a severe risk of flash flooding.”

The unseasonal deluge is Queensland’s sixth deadly flood since December, which scientists have put down to a second La Nina weather pattern in two years.

NT Labor elects new chief minister

The Labor caucus has elected left faction heavyweight Natasha Fyles as the NT’s new chief minister. Photo: Aaron Bunch/AAP

Former health minister Natasha Fyles will be the Northern Territory’s next chief minister following Michael Gunner’s surprise resignation earlier in the week.

Fyles was selected by Labor’s 14-member caucus on Friday following days of behind-the-scenes wrangling between the party’s left and right factions.

“This morning the caucus has selected me as the unanimous choice for leader of the Territory Labor Party,” Fyles said in a statement.

She will be sworn in as chief minister by the territory’s administrator later on Friday.

Fyles, from the left faction, is the second woman to be appointed chief minister and the third to lead Territory Labor.

She is also the second of the NT’s 12 chief ministers to be born in the territory since the Legislative Assembly’s first election in 1974.

A mother of two boys and a former schoolteacher, Fyles entered parliament in 2012.

No one publicly nominated for the top job but it was expected to go Gunner’s right-aligned deputy, Nicole Manison.

Former health minister Ms Fyles, 43, was viewed as her likely deputy.

Former union boss and AFL player Joel Bowden was also understood to have expressed an interest in the top job from the backbench but his left-faction challenge faded on Thursday.

Gunner, 46, stood down on Tuesday moments after handing down the NT budget, saying his head and heart were no longer in the job.

Labor pledges Great Barrier Reef funding

Anthony Albanese will turn his election campaign attention to one of the seven wonders of the natural world today with a further funding package to save the Great Barrier Reef. 

The Labor leader will visit Cairns today to announce the extra funding to help save the Great Barrier Reef while pledging to work with the Queensland Government, First Nations communities, businesses and landowners.

“Parents and grandparents are worried their children will not be able to see this incredible natural wonder for themselves,” Albanese said.

“That’s why it’s so important we act on climate change and species protection – to protect the reef and the tens of thousands of jobs that rely on it.”

Labor previously promised $163 million in funding for a reef protection program in January. The additional pledge brings the total commitment to $194.5 million over forward estimates.

As part of Labor’s plan, Indigenous ranger organisations will be allocated $100 million by the end of the decade for reef protection and restoration programs.

Labor will work with the state government to scale up gully and wetland restoration as well as expand the crown-of-thorns starfish culling program.

The plan also includes funding to research thermal tolerant corals to help the species adapt to climate change.

Albanese said seeing the Great Barrier Reef in person was a highlight for many Australians and international tourists.

He’s expected to make the announcement alongside Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Scott Morrison visited Cairns in January to commit $1 billion over the next nine years to help manage the reef after the Commonwealth successfully lobbied UNESCO to delay a decision listing the site as “in danger”.

More than one million ballots have been cast in the first few days of pre-polling.

On the campaign trail yesterday, Morrison was confronted by former Australian high commissioner to the Solomon Islands Trevor Sofield at an event in Tasmania yesterday, who accused him of mishandling diplomatic relations in the Pacific.

Today, the prime minister will promise to secure modern manufacturing and supply chains in Australia.

A $324 million pledge will attempt to safeguard Australia’s supply chains seen as key to prosperity, resilience and national security.

Morrison said COVID-19, international conflict and national disasters demonstrated the importance of a strong supply chain for the success of the economy.

“Our supply chains are the backbone of our manufacturing industry and that’s why my government will always invest in strengthening them.”

Driver escapes as car hit by Hills freight train

A man is lucky to be alive after his car was hit by a freight train at Nairne last night.

Police say the driver was attempting to do a u-turn at the train crossing on Jeffrey Street about 9pm when his vehicle became stuck.

He abandoned the car just before an oncoming freight train collided with it. Police say the train dragged the vehicle more than 100 metres.

The train line was closed in both directions for several hours but has since reopened.

Meanwhile, a man has been arrested after allegedly leaving his mobile phone near the scene of a theft in Edwardstown.

A woman reported someone had entered her Fuller Street house and stolen her handbag, containing car and house keys, a mobile phone, ID and bank cards at about 8pm last night.

Police say the man stole the handbag while the woman was in the process of moving house and was spotted riding off on a bike.

The woman found two mobile phones, not belonging to her, on the footpath near her house.

Police used the phone to track the suspect to a nearby Edwardstown address, where a 30-year-old man was arrested. He was charged with serious criminal trespass and theft.

The woman’s handbag and its contents were recovered.

He did not apply for bail and will appear in court today.

Housing ‘crisis’ impacting most South Australians: survey

Most South Australians feel personally affected by the current housing “crisis”, a survey of more than 200 InDaily readers shows.

The survey, conducted by the University of South Australia and community housing provider Believe Housing Australia, found 95 per cent of readers knew someone struggling in the housing market.

It found 84 per cent of readers were worried about housing availability impacting their community, while 92 per cent said they were worried about homelessness in Adelaide and other parts of SA.

Results from the 10-question survey, conducted in March, have been published in a new report looking at how South Australia should respond to shrinking rental availability and a skyrocketing property market. 

The “Beyond the Housing Crisis – A Home for All” report, released this week, found rental availability is at its worst in SA, with vacancy rates hitting 0.2 per cent in March.

Researchers have called for a “coordinated, focussed response across government and multiple sectors” to put an end to what they describe as a housing “crisis”.

“It is evident, both through election polls and outcomes, and the results of the InDaily survey, that there is a strong community appetite for change,” Believe Housing Australia executive general manager Michelle Gegenhuber said.

“Everyone is already working as hard as they can, but the impacts will always fall short while we work within a failing system.

“We know that when people are securely housed, savings through increased social participation and reduced service use far outweigh the cost of investment.”

According to the report, more than 6000 South Australians experience homelessness each night and more than 30,000 people are on the state’s social housing waiting list.

–By Steph Richards

Sharkie takes legal action over ‘unauthorised’ photo

Rebekha Sharkie says the ACL has used her image without permission in an election flyer.

Federal MP Rebekha Sharkie says she is taking legal action against the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) for breach of copyright.

The Member for Mayo claims an unauthorised use of her likeness was used by ACL to “denigrate teachers and students of faith as well as those fleeing domestic violence, are separated from their partner, seeking IVF treatment or who are part of the LGBTIQ+ community”.

Sharkie has accused the ACL of using a photo of her, which she says is also owned by her, without her permission.

The Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula MP says she yesterday sent a letter to ACL, demanding it to discontinue infringing her copyright and send a written apology to all households that received a leaflet while reserving her right to demand royalties for the previous infringements.

She says she will donate proceeds of any damages to homeless and emergency relief services across Mayo including the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Uniting Church Mt Barker, and Junction Housing on the South Coast and Kangaroo Island.

“As a Christian, I support protections against discrimination on the grounds of religion but I will not idly allow this extremist organisation to use my likeness to denigrate the LGBTIQ+ community, people fleeing domestic violence, going through divorce or seeking IVF treatment,” Sharkie says.

The Australian Christian Lobby is campaigning against Sharkie and some Liberal MPs who crossed the floor on the government’s religious discrimination bill.

These MPs voted to amend key sections of the legislation to stop schools from discriminating against students or teachers based on their sexuality or gender identity.

First elected in 2016 as part of Nick Xenophon’s team, Sharkie will again run under the Centre Alliance banner at the May 21 Federal Election after winning as a CA candidate in 2018 and 2019. She is among nine candidates running in Mayo.

Marion ice rink bid announced

A multi-million dollar recreational facility boasting an ice rink and rock climbing walls could be coming to Adelaide’s southern suburbs under a proposal lodged by a private investor.

Marion ice rink bid announced
Friday, May 13

10 News First Adelaide – Disclaimer

Channel Ten

Russia threatens retaliation over Finland’s NATO bid

Finnish soldiers take part in an Army exercise. Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa/AP)

Finland says it will apply to join NATO “without delay,” with Sweden expected to follow, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looks set to bring about the expansion of the military alliance that Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent.

The decision by the two Nordic countries to abandon the neutrality they maintained throughout the Cold War would be one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades. 

Russia called Finland’s announcement a direct threat to the country and threatened retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical” measures.

It came as Russia’s war in Ukraine was suffering another big setback, with Ukrainian forces driving Russian troops out of the region around the second largest city Kharkiv, the fastest Ukrainian advance since forcing Russia to withdraw from the capital and northeast more than a month ago.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the Finns would be “warmly welcomed” and promised a “smooth and swift” accession process. 

French President Emmanuel Macron said he fully supported Finland’s choice to join the alliance.

Finland’s 1300km border will more than double the length of the frontier between the US-led alliance and Russia, putting NATO guards a few hours’ drive from the northern outskirts of St Petersburg.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement, hoping steps to take the decision would “be taken rapidly within the next few days”.

Asked whether Finland’s accession posed a direct threat to Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Definitely. NATO expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure.

“This cannot fail to arouse our regret, and is a reason for corresponding symmetrical responses on our side,” Peskov added.

The foreign ministry said Russia would be forced to take “retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature,” giving no further details.

– With AAP and Reuters

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