From 5m ago

Disaster recovery payment available to flood victims from tomorrow

The prime minister Anthony Albanese is speaking now on ABC TV. He says he’ll be visiting the flood-affected areas today and that they’ve made a determination on disaster payments:

I can say the Australian government has made a decision already that the disaster recovery payment will be available from tomorrow. That will be $1,000 for every eligible adult who has been impacted here. $400 for every child will be available across the 23 local government areas that have been impacted so far.

This is additional to the initial assistance flagged by the federal and New South Wales governments a couple of days ago.

Updated at 23.22 BST

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The prime minister Anthony Albanese is speaking now on ABC TV. He says he’ll be visiting the flood-affected areas today and that they’ve made a determination on disaster payments:

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I can say the Australian government has made a decision already that the disaster recovery payment will be available from tomorrow. That will be $1,000 for every eligible adult who has been impacted here. $400 for every child will be available across the 23 local government areas that have been impacted so far.

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This is additional to the initial assistance flagged by the federal and New South Wales governments a couple of days ago.

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The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of flooding across rivers north of Sydney, as the rain that hammered the city over the weekend moves through the state.

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The BoM issued warnings on Wednesday morning for the Bellinger River on the mid-north coast, and for Wollambi Brook and the Lower Hunter further south.

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⚠️ #Flood Warning issued for #BellingerRiver. Minor flooding likely at #Thora and possible at #Bellinger Wednesday morning. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/8kPpqY4p97

&mdash; Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) July 5, 2022

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It said the swollen Bellinger had already caused minor flooding at Bellingen and it expects Thora to be impacted later on Wednesday.

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The warning comes after the SES issued evacuation orders for a string of communities on the Hunter River late on Tuesday.

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It said those living in Glenridding, Dunolly, Combo, Whittingham and Scotts Flat should evacuate, as rising flood waters were expected to close roads in the region.

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We were also just listening to Andrew Hall, CEO of Insurance Council of Australia, on ABC radio, who was saying the floods will be a “catastrophe” in insurance terms.

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He’s asked whether insurers would continue to insure homes in flood-prone areas. He says they are insurable but “it comes at a price”.

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The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (Atagi) is due to meet today and will consider whether a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose should be expanded to more Australians.

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The meeting comes as Australia is experiencing its third wave of Omicron and Covid-19 hospitalisations are rising.

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The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said he believes expanding the fourth vaccine dose is “a question of when rather than whether it will happen”.

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Fourth doses are currently only available to people over 65 or those with certain health conditions.

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The health minister, Mark Butler, has also called for medical authorities to expand eligibility for Covid-19 antiviral drugs.

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to consider recommending fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine","contributors":[{"name":"Natasha May","imageUrl":"https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2021/09/07/Natasha_May.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=bef00e6cc039979168d26adb030c4d51"}],"primaryDateLine":"Tue 5 Jul 2022 23.24 BST","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Tue 5 Jul 2022 22.31 BST"},{"id":"62c4ac0e8f088c74bb93bd20","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and the New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, will visit flood-affected areas of southern and western Sydney today – some of which have been inundated four times over the past 18 months. The prime minister has just arrived back in the country after a week-long trip to Europe for the Nato summit and to Ukraine.

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There are fears the Hunter Valley and mid-north coast will be the next to be hit with flooding as the rain moves slowly north. Major flooding is still occurring in greater Sydney, with more rain expected early Wednesday morning. About 50,000 people have been given evacuation orders or warnings across NSW.

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We’ll be keeping an eye on the developments there throughout the day.

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New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s diplomatic visit to Australia continues in NSW today ahead of her meeting with Albanese later this week. After meeting with the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, yesterday, she’s heading to Sydney for some tourism and business events.

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And as of today, people arriving in Australia no longer have to declare their Covid vaccination status or obtain a travel exemption to enter the country. Travellers still need comply with Covid requirements of airlines and shipping operators, as well as those imposed by other countries, states and territories.

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And that’s just the headlines. There’ll be heaps more throughout the day so stay tuned. I’m Stephanie Convery and I’ll be with you until about lunchtime. As always, if you see anything you think needs to come to my attention, you can catch me at [email protected] or ping me on Twitter: @gingerandhoney.

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Grab a coffee and we’ll get stuck in.

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Key events:

Albanese is asked about the unusually complimentary rapport between his Labor government and the NSW Liberal government. He says he hopes this will be ongoing.

People have conflict fatigue. They don’t want to see governments arguing. They don’t want to see governments acting with the sort of childish comments we’ve seen, with some of new federal counterparts in the last day, criticising me for not making a phone call while I was in the Ukraine, on radio silence, without any radio equipment, where I travelled from Saturday.

Premier Perrottet has been extremely responsible with the way he has acted. I’m very pleased that my government through Richard Marles, the acting prime minister, and Murray Watt, the minister, have worked closely in partnership. That’s what people want. People want governments to work together in the interests of the population, not to engage in politics.

Albanese is already at the flood management headquarters at Homebush and says he’s about to receive a briefing from the NSW premier.

He says the support from the defence force has also been increased:

A third helicopter has been made available. That will be undertaking work this evening. That’s one that works at night-time. And we have the offer of 250 ADF personnel, 100 are already on the ground. 100 are ready to act at any time when it is needed. And 50 personnel have in addition been allocated to help with clean-up activities once they occur.

Disaster recovery payment available to flood victims from tomorrow

The prime minister Anthony Albanese is speaking now on ABC TV. He says he’ll be visiting the flood-affected areas today and that they’ve made a determination on disaster payments:

I can say the Australian government has made a decision already that the disaster recovery payment will be available from tomorrow. That will be $1,000 for every eligible adult who has been impacted here. $400 for every child will be available across the 23 local government areas that have been impacted so far.

This is additional to the initial assistance flagged by the federal and New South Wales governments a couple of days ago.

Updated at 23.22 BST

Banks urged to ‘do the right thing by your customers’ and pass on interest rate rises to savers

Jones is also asked about comments from the treasurer that he had encouraged the banks to pass on interest rate increases to people with savings accounts.

There’s a very strong expectation that these increases in rates will flow through to savers. We’ve got a lot of people on fixed incomes, a lot of retirees are relying on their fixed term savings to pay for their cost of living increases. There’s an expectation the banks will be passing these interest rates on. Advice to savers, if their bank isn’t passing those rate rises on in the form of increased returns on their deposits they should go to an institution that is. There is competition in the market for saving deposits.

But banks, do the right thing by your customers. We’ve got every expectation that they’ll do the right thing around hardship provisions for households dealing with the impact on mortgages, through rate rises. But we want to see banks do the right thing by their customers who are savers with them as well.

Updated at 23.23 BST

Government says it must ‘fight the inflation beast’

The federal assistant treasurer Stephen Jones is on News Breakfast now. He’s asked about the effect of the floods on inflationary pressures:

Look, there’s no doubt that the flood events – some of the areas where the water is going through, that’s food-growing areas, that will flow through to the price of groceries on our supermarket shelves. And a longer-term flow-on effect on insurance premiums.

The immediate task is focusing on the clean-up and the emergency situation. And talking through the economic challenges that we face with Australians. The Reserve Bank rise – rate rises – another one this morning, anticipate it won’t be the last. The important point to make is this isn’t happening without a reason.

We know that if we do not fight the inflation beast then the impact on cost of living, the impact on the economy, is going to be even greater. So we’ve got a short window in which we can deal with this, we’ve got a short window where we can stop that inflation spiral getting out of control, a short window where we’ve got inflation with a 7 or -5 to 7 in front of it, hopefully we can bring it down, and not see it spiral to the sort of levels we’re seeing in the US and Europe at the moment, where it doesn’t look like it’s coming down soon.

Assistant treasurer Stephen Jones.
Assistant treasurer Stephen Jones. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated at 23.19 BST

Bureau of Meteorology warns of flooding for NSW mid-north Coast and Hunter region

Nino Bucci

Nino Bucci

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of flooding across rivers north of Sydney, as the rain that hammered the city over the weekend moves through the state.

The BoM issued warnings on Wednesday morning for the Bellinger River on the mid-north coast, and for Wollambi Brook and the Lower Hunter further south.

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⚠️ #Flood Warning issued for #BellingerRiver. Minor flooding likely at #Thora and possible at #Bellinger Wednesday morning. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/8kPpqY4p97

&mdash; Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) July 5, 2022

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It said the swollen Bellinger had already caused minor flooding at Bellingen and it expects Thora to be impacted later on Wednesday.

The warning comes after the SES issued evacuation orders for a string of communities on the Hunter River late on Tuesday.

It said those living in Glenridding, Dunolly, Combo, Whittingham and Scotts Flat should evacuate, as rising flood waters were expected to close roads in the region.

Updated at 23.14 BST

Here’s the all-important rainfall forecast for NSW today. Please make sure you check the warnings and updates for your local area.

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Today's rainfall forecast. Chance of locally heavy or intense rainfall today about the #MidNorthCoast due to a developing low off the coast, #SevereWeatherWarning current. Driving conditions may become dangerous with #FlashFlooding possible. See warnings: https://t.co/Ss766eSCrL pic.twitter.com/XFoVl8Q5xd

&mdash; Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) July 5, 2022

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Josh Butler

Josh Butler

Sussan Ley criticises Labor over flood response

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley is upping the Coalition’s attacks on the Labor government over the floods, asking why they haven’t activated disaster recovery payments for affected residents.

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Serious questions for @AlboMP to answer today re NSW floods. Why hasn’t he activated Disaster Recovery Payments &amp; Allowances? $1000 for adults, $400 for kids &amp; $350 a week if you can’t work. This is a decision his government can make with the stroke of a pen. What’s the hold-up?

&mdash; Sussan Ley (@sussanley) July 5, 2022

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Serious questions for @AlboMP to answer today re NSW floods. Why hasn’t he activated Disaster Recovery Payments & Allowances? $1000 for adults, $400 for kids & $350 a week if you can’t work. This is a decision his government can make with the stroke of a pen. What’s the hold-up?

— Sussan Ley (@sussanley) July 5, 2022

“This is a decision his government can make with the stroke of a pen. What’s the hold-up?” she asked.

The federal emergency management minister, Murray Watt, was asked this same question in a press conference yesterday. He said the government was “giving consideration to” that payment, saying he was waiting on advice from his department.

We have already announced a wide range of support for people but I think it’s fair to assume that there will be more coming.

I can’t commit to anything specific like that but what I can tell you is that from the weekend, I began talking with our authorities about what we could do to make sure that any disaster support we approved got out the door quickly.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese is due to speak on breakfast TV shortly, ahead of a press conference of his own in Sydney later in the morning.

Updated at 23.06 BST

Floods an insurance ‘catastrophe’, says Insurance Council of Australia boss

We were also just listening to Andrew Hall, CEO of Insurance Council of Australia, on ABC radio, who was saying the floods will be a “catastrophe” in insurance terms.

He’s asked whether insurers would continue to insure homes in flood-prone areas. He says they are insurable but “it comes at a price”.

Updated at 23.12 BST

Atagi to consider recommending fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Natasha May

Natasha May

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (Atagi) is due to meet today and will consider whether a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose should be expanded to more Australians.

The meeting comes as Australia is experiencing its third wave of Omicron and Covid-19 hospitalisations are rising.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has said he believes expanding the fourth vaccine dose is “a question of when rather than whether it will happen”.

Fourth doses are currently only available to people over 65 or those with certain health conditions.

The health minister, Mark Butler, has also called for medical authorities to expand eligibility for Covid-19 antiviral drugs.

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccination,
The Moderna Covid-19 vaccination, Photograph: Jono Searle/AAP

Updated at 23.07 BST

Anthony Albanese to speak soon

We’re expecting to hear from the prime minister this morning within the next half an hour. Stick around!

Updated at 22.55 BST

Government won’t reconsider decision not to extend fuel excise cut

Chalmers is also asked, on cost-of-living issues, whether they would consider “revisiting the decision not to extend the temporary cut to the fuel excise”.

Even the six months of the temporary cut “costs about $3bn”, Chalmers replies.

And so to extend that for another six months, for example, would be another $3bn, and extending indefinitely would cost the budget a lot of money and we have to weigh all these things up responsibly.

Updated at 22.54 BST

Chalmers sticks by pre-election policy commitments

RN Breakfast host, Hamish Macdonald, says:

Clearly the situation that you face now in government is challenging as far as the economy is concerned. Why not reconsider some of the stuff to actually genuinely tackle inflation?

Chalmers:

Well, first of all the facts [you refer to are a] couple of years away. So changing anything on that front would not materially impact the inflation challenge that we have right now. That’s the first point.

The second point is our commitments that we went to the election with are more important now than ever. Some of those things that I ran through, we anticipated some of these challenges, whether it’s inflation, whether it’s falling real wages, some of these issues have been around even rising interest rates. They started to go up before the election.

So some of these issues have been around for a little while now. We geared our economic plan towards them and so they are whether it’s skills, childcare, energy, investment in industry, these are more pressing more urgent needs at the moment, even before the election when we committed to some of those policies. So it’s more important that we implement that.

Updated at 22.53 BST

Government will outline budget pressures when parliament is back – Chalmers

Chalmers says the beginning of this will happen in the October budget:

I didn’t want to wait till May, which would have been the usual timeframe for a budget. I would have thought this task is more urgent than that. But you can’t just do it in a couple of weeks. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing it methodically and responsibly. And so decided in October will be a good opportunity.

But before that, at the end of this month in the first week of the new parliament, I will also update the Australian people on our expectations for the economy – some of the pressures in the budget, including unnecessary spending on luxury construction in flood-affected areas in New South Wales.

Updated at 22.48 BST

Jim Chalmers says the budget should have a ‘more productive purpose’

The federal treasurer, Jim Chalmers, is on ABC RN this morning. I missed the top of it but he’s now talking about fixing the budget – he says they haven’t had a chance in the mere six weeks they’ve been in government to fix the problems left to them by the previous one. (That’s a rough tonal paraphrase.)

He says they want to eliminate spending on things like “slush funds”:

… and redirect it to a more productive purpose because that is the best chance of making sure as we emerge [out of what] will be an incredibly difficult period with high and rising inflation and rising interest rates. When we get to the other side, we want to have dealt with or began to deal with some of the other pressures in the economy which have been building so much longer than Covid.

Updated at 22.46 BST

It’s raining in NSW, and it’s frosty and below freezing in Victoria.

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Chilly morning in Bendigo!! Minus 3.5 at 4.30am! pic.twitter.com/iUeHLmecTq

&mdash; Kellie Lazzaro (@kellazzaro) July 5, 2022

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Good morning

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and the New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, will visit flood-affected areas of southern and western Sydney today – some of which have been inundated four times over the past 18 months. The prime minister has just arrived back in the country after a week-long trip to Europe for the Nato summit and to Ukraine.

There are fears the Hunter Valley and mid-north coast will be the next to be hit with flooding as the rain moves slowly north. Major flooding is still occurring in greater Sydney, with more rain expected early Wednesday morning. About 50,000 people have been given evacuation orders or warnings across NSW.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the developments there throughout the day.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s diplomatic visit to Australia continues in NSW today ahead of her meeting with Albanese later this week. After meeting with the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, yesterday, she’s heading to Sydney for some tourism and business events.

And as of today, people arriving in Australia no longer have to declare their Covid vaccination status or obtain a travel exemption to enter the country. Travellers still need comply with Covid requirements of airlines and shipping operators, as well as those imposed by other countries, states and territories.

And that’s just the headlines. There’ll be heaps more throughout the day so stay tuned. I’m Stephanie Convery and I’ll be with you until about lunchtime. As always, if you see anything you think needs to come to my attention, you can catch me at [email protected] or ping me on Twitter: @gingerandhoney.

Grab a coffee and we’ll get stuck in.

Updated at 22.35 BST

Source: The Guardian