Southern Australia rocked by 6.0 magnitude earthquake

Large parts of southern Australia have been rocked by a massive 6.0 magnitude quake on Wednesday morning.

Geoscience Australia has said the tremor occurred in the Mansfield region in Victoria around 9.15am at a depth of 10km.

There are reports it was felt in Victoria as well as Tasmania, the ACT and New South Wales.

Some residents have reported feeling their homes shake for around 10 seconds.

There have already been reports of some building damage in Victoria in particular as a result of the quake.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the media in New York after learning of the quake and said the federal government was available to provide support if needed.

“At this stage we have had no reports of serious injuries or worse and that is very good news,” Mr Morrison said.

“It can be a very, very disturbing event for an earthquake of this nature.

“They are very rare events in Australia and as a result, I’m sure people would have been quite distressed and disturbed by that, particularly in the most immediate area affected.

“The agencies at a state government level are there responding and of course the federal government will provide the support that is necessary and will be in touch further with the Premier, I suspect, through the night.”

 

Police

Police officer suspended for allegedly escorting daughter into Qld from NSW

A Queensland Police officer is under investigation for allegedly escorting his daughter through a Gold Coast checkpoint, despite her not being eligible to cross.

Newscorp reports that the 56-year-old senior constable drove down from Brisbane to one of the Gold Coast checkpoints while on shift on September 15.

He met his 20-year-old daughter at the border, who had just driven from the ACT where she was believed to be working as a ski instructor.

He then allegedly escorted her over the border, sparking the suspicions of border police who raised the alarm.

Following internal investigations, the officer has been suspended and is now under investigation by the QPS Ethical Standards Command.

His daughter has been placed into hotel quarantine but has reportedly not been charged with a covid breach.

Queensland Police issued the following statement.

“A male senior constable has been suspended from official duties with the Queensland Police Service while Ethical Standards Command investigate allegations relating to on-duty border
enforcement.

“As the matter remains the subject of ongoing internal investigations, the QPS is unable to provide further information.

“A 20-year-old woman has been issued with a penalty infringement notice amounting to $4,135 after she allegedly entered Queensland in breach of the Chief Health Officer’s Border Direction on
September 15.

“The woman is currently in hotel quarantine,” the statement reads.

Premier hoses down reports of 90 per cent vaccination target

The Queensland Premier has dismissed reports that the state won’t reopen until it achieves a 90 per cent full COVID-19 vaccination rate.

Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed today the government would be following the National Cabinet plan to reopen at 80 per cent and that reports of a higher target were “misinformation”.

“National Cabinet is working on a national plan. We are waiting for further information to come from the Doherty Modelling to National Cabinet in a fortnight’s time,” she said.

“In the meantime, let me say very clearly to Queensland, it is important to get vaccinated.

“We are now at 60 per cent. We need to get as many people as possible vaccinated to protect our lifestyle, to protect our freedoms.

The Premier was also quizzed by reporters about what the state would look like when we reach the vaccination target.

“80 per cent means different things to different states,” she said.

“At the moment you can travel to Queensland from Tasmania, South Australia, West Australia and the Northern Territory.

“So a large part of Australia is already opened up.

“Have a look at what it means for New South Wales and Victoria, it’s completed different to Queensland because Queensland is already open.”

It follows concerns from tourism industry leaders that a 90 per cent vaccination target would destroy hopes of a busier Christmas period, with Queensland predicted to reach the 80 per cent target by December 7.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind said it was vital the state opened up sooner rather than later.

“We need to open up, we need to welcome visitors from interstate, it’s very important for us,” Mr Gschwind told Sunrise.

“It’s a $10 billion business interstate visitation. So we need to get back to that point.

“Many operators are hanging on by their fingernails.”

Mr Gschwind said a 90 per cent target simply isn’t realistic.

“We did hear the discussion yesterday from the Chief Health Officer here talking about the desirability of reaching 90 per cent,” he told Sunrise.

“And of course we all hoped it will be 90 per cent but I think the expectation of that happening is quite low.

“I think the more realistic target, the national consensus, seems to be 80 per cent is a reasonable level of protection.

“It’s a reasonable level of protection along with the other health measures which we support.

“We want to provide safe places to work, safe places to visit.

“But at some point we will have to reengage with the rest of the country and the rest of the world.”

Qld Premier urges region to “be ready” for possibility of northern NSW lockdown

The Queensland Premier has urged residents to prepare for the possibility of the border bubble bursting as NSW officials consider a snap lockdown for northern NSW.

NSW Health officials are considering restrictions for the region after a Sydney traveler, who did have an exemption, visited Ballina, Byron Bay and the Tweed areas between Saturday and Monday while infectious.

“There are some concerns about a case at the moment in Byron Bay,” Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters on Tuesday.

“We are going to wait to see what NSW does at 11.00 am and we’ll listen to the advice from New South Wales.

“We just need to be ready if New South Wales does anything in relation to that Byron Bay area.

“So please listen to updates from Queensland Health following the New South Wales press conference.

Ms Palaszczuk said she wouldn’t risk letting the virus spread into the Gold Coast.

“The concern is, of course, if there are cases in northern NSW that would present a real risk to the southern parts of the Gold Coast where I have thousands of families holidaying at the moment,” she said.

“So we are watching it very closely.

“It’s a wait and see at the moment.”

The Premier also confirmed there were no new local cases in Queensland in the last 24 hours.

One case was detected in hotel quarantine and acquired overseas.

NSW records 935 new local COVID-19 cases

NSW has reported 935 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, dipping back under 1000 daily infections, and four deaths.

Most of NSW is locked down and police are cracking down on compliance measures as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain.

Of the four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, two were men in their 60s and two people were in their 80s.

It takes the toll for the current NSW outbreak to 245, and the toll for the entirety of the pandemic to 301.

There are 1207 COVID-19 patients in hospital in NSW, with 236 in intensive care units and 123 on ventilators.

“Even if case numbers go down, we should expect unfortunately that the number of people in intensive care and the number of people who lose their lives to go up,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

“As we’ve said consistently, because we have had a number of cases in the last few weeks, people ordinarily get very sick in the second week of the illness.”

It comes as those in Sydney’s hardest hit suburbs enjoy their first taste of freedom in months, with recreation rules relaxing as vaccination rates continue to climb.

Fully vaccinated adults in the 12 western Sydney local government areas will from Monday be able to exercise outdoors with no time limits, and gather in groups of five for outdoor recreation within five kilometres from home.

Children under 12 are not included in the gathering limit.

Conditions for authorised workers and travel permit requirements will remain in place in the LGAs of concern, however.

Public pools can reopen in NSW from September 27.

Monday is also the deadline for authorised workers to have been inoculated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose to be permitted to leave their LGA for work, unless they have a medical exemption.

NSW reported 13 deaths on Sunday – an outbreak record.

© AAP 2021