SA fire prompts emergency warning; Victoria to reopen to regional NSW – as it happened | Australia news

8.09am GMT 08:09 What happened this Monday 11 January With that, we’ll be closing the blog for today. Here is everyth...











What happened this Monday 11 January

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The blaze started just after 6pm, with flames and a thick cloud of black smoke blanketing the corner of Broadway and Glebe Point Road.

Nearby Victoria Park pool was evacuated as a series of loud bangs came from the burning bus.

Jeffrey Rae was standing in Victoria Park when he saw the fire and ran over. He said:


First I thought it was a shop on fire then I thought, ‘Oh shit, it’s a bus.’

I thought, ‘Oh my God there could be heaps of people in that’ … There was black smoke everywhere, you couldn’t see anything.

If it wasn’t for Covid, imagine, if it was normal times and that was full of people.

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Passengers safely evacuated from Sydney bus fire

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Bus catches fire in Sydney

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Partner of Brisbane hotel cleaner tests positive

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Here’s a little more on the NSW government response to that inquiry into the state’s koala populations.

The inquiry had recommended several changes to try to halt the decline of koalas in NSW, including improved monitoring, prioritising koala corridors for conservation in urban development areas and increasing funding to the state’s Environmental Protection Authority for enforcement of habitat protection on land used for private native forestry.

The government supported the recommendation to prioritise conservation of koala habitat corridors, but recommendations to finalise a new koala state environmental planning policy (Sepp) as soon as possible and establish a great koala national park were among those that were “noted”.

Jacqui Mumford, the acting chief executive of the Nature Conservation of NSW, said the government’s response was “alarmingly relaxed about the looming extinction of an iconic native species” and delivered nothing new.

She said:


Basically the government response says, ‘Relax, we’ve got it covered – no need to do more.’

But koalas are more at risk now than they were late last year because the National party has torn down the koala Sepp and the obliteration of koala habitat continues.

In its response to the committee, the government said it agreed “targeted action is needed to ensure that NSW koala populations increase over the next 30 years and beyond”.

The government told the committee a new 2021-to-2026 koala strategy due this year would focus conservation and investment in areas “where they will deliver the most effective outcomes”.

The strategy is separate to the koala Sepp and will set out actions intended to stabilise and ultimately increase koala populations in the state.

The NSW environment minister, Matt Kean, has set a goal of doubling the number of koalas in NSW by 2050.




Koala with baby in a gum tree

Nature Conservation of NSW says the state government’s response to the koala inquiry is ‘alarmingly relaxed about the looming extinction of an iconic native species’. Photograph: Image Broker/Alamy

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The NSW Greens and environment groups have described the Berejiklian government’s response to an inquiry into the state’s koala population as weak.

The inquiry found last year that koalas would go extinct in NSW unless the government acted urgently to protect koala habitat.

The government said on Monday it would support 11 of the parliamentary inquiry’s 42 recommendations and gave in principle support to an additional 17.

The remaining 14 were noted, which the Greens MLC and inquiry chair Cate Faehrmann was another way of saying “rejected”. She said:


This is an extremely disappointing response from the NSW government and shows they have no commitment to save koalas from extinction, let alone doubling their numbers by 2050.

Recommendations such as the government urgently investigating the ‘utilisation of core koala habitat on private land and in state forests to replenish koala habitat lost in the bushfires’ appear to be rejected out of hand.

The Coalition almost split last year over koala policy and in December reverted to a 25-year-old state environmental planning policy (Sepp) after failing to reach agreement on koala protections in a new Sepp and pass legislation through the upper house.

Berejiklian said the government would look to draft a new koala policy this year.

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Newsrust: SA fire prompts emergency warning; Victoria to reopen to regional NSW – as it happened | Australia news
SA fire prompts emergency warning; Victoria to reopen to regional NSW – as it happened | Australia news
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