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New South Wales News

Suncorp Insurance reveals New South Wales’ top ten storm-battered suburbs

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Suncorp Insurance reveals New South Wales’ top ten storm-battered suburbs

With New South in the depths of a third consecutive La Nina, and the Bureau of Meteorology predicting severe storms and an increased risk of widespread flooding for the state this summer, Suncorp Insurance has revealed Boambee East and Toormina in Mid North Coast, and Armidale in the Northern Tablelands were the state’s worst storm–affected suburbs over the past financial year.

Suncorp Insurance analysed more than 32,000 weather-related home insurance claims across New South Wales from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, to reveal the hardest hit suburbs.

Suncorp Insurance EGM Home Claims, Alli Smith said the figures are a stark reminder of the difficult year NSW residents have had weather-wise and should be viewed as a reminder that the warmer weather can bring sudden storms, cyclones and heavy rains that can lead to floods.

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Top 10 storm hotspots in New South Wales (1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022)

“NSW has been battered by numerous significant weather events over the past financial year – including February’s East Coast Floods and a number of damaging hailstorms,” Ms Smith said.

“And our data shows that no one region is more prone to significant weather events – with our top ten storm-battered suburbs coming from four different regions – once again highlighting that severe storms can strike anywhere.”

More recently, NSW has been impacted by ongoing flooding in the Central West of the state, impacting towns including Forbes, Eugowra, Cowra and Nanami as a result of heavy rain and storms (which is not included in this Hotspots data set).

Ms Smith said Suncorp Insurance has released this information to act as a reminder that storm season is upon us, and now is the time to get you and your home storm-ready.

“We’ve released this list of storm-battered suburbs to remind residents across NSW that the impact of storms and significant weather events on property can be severe, and highlight the importance of ensuring you have done everything you can to strengthen your home’s resilience against the effects of Mother Nature.”

New research by Suncorp Insurance found that while 90 per cent of NSW residents admit to knowing at least one activity that should be completed prior to storm season, more than a quarter (26 per cent) admit to doing nothing to prepare.

“New South Wales residents know the messages around preparing for storm season,” Ms Smith said.

“But unfortunately knowing the messages and actually doing something to better prepare and protect your home are two separate things, and many people in NSW are failing to actually complete the often quick-and-easy tasks.”

Suncorp Insurance has been on a mission to help educate NSW residents on what they can do to better protect their homes in preparation for the next extreme weather event, because it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ it will happen, but when.

“We’re a state battered by extreme weather, and it is unfortunately becoming more frequent and severe,” Ms Smith said.

“We want NSW residents to not only be ready for storm season, but to be resilient.”

To address the need for greater resilience, in 2021 Suncorp partnered with CSIRO, James Cook University and Room 11 Architects to design, prototype and test what could be Australia’s most resilient home – One House, a modern and functional home, with features included to help it withstand natural disasters.

This year, Suncorp took the learnings from One House and applied them to Resilience Road – a project to upgrade four homes on a street in Rockhampton.

“Our One House and Resilience Road projects highlight how easy and cost-effective it can be to strengthen the resilience of your home, and better protect them from significant weather events,” Ms Smith said.

“With summer on our doorstep, a third La Nina in full swing and wet conditions forecast for the coming months, now is the time for all NSW residents to get ready and take some practical steps to protect what matters most.”

Suncorp Insurance has developed a list of some low cost and high impact things NSW residents can do to strengthen the resilience of their home, including:

  • Cleaning/ installing gutters or downpipes
  • Have the roof inspected for damaged or loose tiles
  • Repair any broken sealant around windowsills to make them watertight
  • Inspecting retaining walls
  • Fix any corrosion, loose fittings, and rotting or termite infected timber
  • Installing fixed, operable high performance mesh screens on doors and windows

“These solutions would dramatically reduce the financial, emotional and social costs associated with recovering from natural disasters,” Ms Smith said.

“And we encourage all NSW residents to do what they can to prevent their home from becoming a statistic this summer.”

For more tips on how to make your home more resilient visit Build Resilience – Suncorp

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Strengthening the justice system to better protect domestic and family violence victim survivors

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Strengthening the justice system to better protect domestic and family violence victim survivors

 

The NSW Government is implementing significant legal reforms aimed at bolstering the protection of domestic and family violence victim survivors. These reforms, spearheaded by Premier Chris Minns and Attorney General Michael Daley, reflect a commitment to prioritising the safety of individuals impacted by domestic violence.

Key reforms include:

  1. Reversing the presumption of bail: For serious domestic violence offences, such as sexual assault, strangulation, and kidnapping, alleged offenders will now be required to demonstrate why they should be granted bail. This shift places the burden on the accused to justify their release, enhancing the scrutiny applied to bail decisions.
  2. Electronic monitoring: Individuals charged with serious domestic violence offences and granted bail will be subject to electronic monitoring, ensuring closer supervision and accountability while awaiting trial.
  3. Expanded grounds for bail decisions to be ‘stayed’: Prosecutors will have the ability to challenge bail decisions in the Supreme Court, thereby preventing the release of potentially dangerous domestic violence offenders.
  4. Consideration of domestic abuse risk factors: Bail decision-makers will be required to take into account various indicators of domestic abuse, including physical violence, stalking, and intimidation, when assessing bail applications for domestic violence-related offences.
  5. Victim perspectives: The views of victims and their families will be considered in bail decisions, providing an additional layer of protection and acknowledging the importance of victim input in ensuring safety.
  6. Prosecution of perpetrators using tracking devices: Measures will be introduced to facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators who employ tracking and surveillance devices to exert control over their victims.

Furthermore, the NSW Government has allocated $230 million to enhance the response to domestic and family violence, encompassing primary prevention, early intervention, and crisis response initiatives. Additionally, NSW has secured a share of $1 billion in federal funding for emergency accommodation for domestic violence survivors.

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Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison, underscores the collaborative approach taken in developing these reforms, which involved extensive consultation with legal experts and stakeholders. Together, these measures represent a concerted effort to strengthen the justice system’s response to domestic and family violence, safeguarding the well-being of women and children across NSW.

 

For more New South Whales news, click here.

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Child Protection Workers Strike in New England Over Safety Concerns

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Child Protection Workers Strike in New England Over Safety Concerns

 

May 8th,  child protection caseworkers staged a walkout and gather for a protest outside the Community Services Centre in Tamworth, highlighting a severe staffing crisis and its impact on child safety in New England.

The workers, supported by the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA), are voicing urgent concerns over the handling of child protection cases in the region. According to internal data, last year saw 18,582 children reported as at risk of serious harm (ROSH) across New England, Mid North Coast, and Northern NSW, yet only 15% received visits from caseworkers—marking the lowest response rate in the state.

Chronic understaffing is a critical issue, with more than 20% of child protection positions currently unfilled in these districts, occasionally reaching 25%. This dire shortage contributes to high turnover rates, with 50% of caseworkers leaving within their first two years of service.

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Stewart Little, General Secretary of PSA, expressed deep concerns about the ongoing crisis: “Our most vulnerable children are being put at greater risk due to the lack of sufficient staff and the overwhelming exhaustion faced by the current workforce,” he said. Little highlighted that the strike is part of a broader strategy to press the government for significant reforms, including the recruitment of 500 new caseworkers, substantial pay raises for current staff, and a move to de-privatise foster care services.

The PSA warns that today’s protest is just the beginning, with plans for an escalating series of rallies across the state if the demands are not met. They assure the public that urgent child protection responses will not be affected during the protest, with skeleton staffing maintained throughout.

Child protection workers urge Premier Chris Minns and Minister Kate Washington to take immediate action to resolve the staffing crisis and improve the system, emphasising that while the current NSW government did not create the problem, it is their responsibility to solve it.

 

For more New South Whales news, click here.

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Marine Rescue NSW Wraps Up Second Busiest Season with Over 3,200 Missions

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Marine Rescue NSW Wraps Up Second Busiest Season with Over 3,200 Missions

 

Marine Rescue NSW has recently concluded its second busiest boating season to date, undertaking 3,242 search and rescue missions, including 921 emergencies from October 1, 2023, to ANZAC Day 2024. This year’s operations nearly matched the record-setting 3,251 missions of the 2022/23 season, according to Commissioner Alex Barrell.

The organisations 3,400 volunteers played a crucial role in ensuring the safety of 7,535 boaters across the state’s waters, returning them safely to shore. Commissioner Barrell highlighted a significant challenge this season: “Over 40% of our emergency responses were due to mechanical failures, particularly engine issues. We strongly encourage boaters to thoroughly check their equipment before setting out to prevent such avoidable situations.”

Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie reported the highest activity with 441 missions. Remarkably, the regions of Mid North Coast, Illawarra, and Monaro also experienced their busiest seasons on record. The Monaro region’s eight units saw a 16% increase in operations, Mid North Coast responses rose by 11%, and Illawarra units handled a 7% uptick in demand.

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Throughout the season, the service managed 144,806 radio communications, with many being coordinated through the Marine Rescue Sydney State Communications Centre at Belrose. Among these, there were 69 MAYDAY calls signalling imminent danger and 42 PAN PAN calls from boaters facing urgent but non-life-threatening issues.

Commissioner Barrell expressed his gratitude towards the volunteers: “I want to commend all our volunteers for their relentless dedication to maintaining safety on our waterways.” He also reminded boaters to stay vigilant year-round, emphasizing the importance of proper preparation and safety measures, especially during the colder months. “Ensure you log on with your local Marine Rescue NSW base and always wear appropriate safety gear, including lifejackets and warm clothing during winter outings,” he advised.

This season also saw a steady number of boaters using the free Marine Rescue app or VHF channel 16 to log their voyages, aiding in efficient monitoring and quicker response times in emergencies. With 44% of the season’s missions involving boating or fishing activities, and 125 incidents of capsized vessels, the importance of staying with the vessel and wearing lifejackets was particularly underscored by the Commissioner.

 

For more New South Whales news, click here.

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