$250K reward as police probe ‘suspicious disappearance’ of Gold Coast woman

A $250,000 reward has been offered for information into the suspicious disappearance of Gold Coast woman Marion Barter.

The 51-year-old was last seen at a bus stop in Southport on June 22, 1997, the same day she left Australia for a working holiday to England.

An inquest into the former teacher’s disappearance on Monday heard that before leaving, Ms Barter had already changed her name to Florabella Natalia Marion Remakel without telling anyone.

The inquest was also told that Ms Barter had secretly returned to Australia about a month after leaving the country and that

Since her disappearance, NSW Police Force investigators have conducted “extensive inquiries” both in Australia and overseas in an effort to locate her.

Despite these efforts, she has never been found.

RELATED: Teacher not sighted, but marked ‘located’

In a bid to finally work out what happened, a $250,000 NSW Government reward will today be announced as part of a renewed appeal to the community to come forward with any information that may assist detectives with their inquiries.

The inquest into Ms Barter’s disappearance is expected to continue for two weeks.

Light Plane

Two men dead after light plane crashes in Qld

Two men have tragically died in a horror light plane crash in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

The men, aged 46 and 30, were killed when the plane came down at Peachester on Wednesday.

A multi-agency search was launched around 5.30pm after the two-seater aircraft failed to make it back to Maroochydore airport as planned.

The Westpac Lifesaver rescue helicopter was even called in from the Gold Coast to assist with the search, with the wreckage of the plane found around 9.45 pm last night.

“Preliminary inquiries indicate the plane crashed in bushland along Commissioners Flat Road and was discovered around 9.45pm,” Queensland police said.

It has not yet been confirmed where the men are from.

The Forensic Crash Unit is currently assisting other agencies, including the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The cause of the crash remains a mystery.

“We’re unsure why or how the crash occurred and we’ll be investigating the matter further,” Senior Sergeant Brett Young said.

Investigations are continuing.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate

Gold Coast’s ‘back to basics’ budget to be handed down today

The Mayor is promising it will be “back to basics” when the Gold Coast budget is handed down this morning.

The $1.83bn council budget will have a focus on “roads, rates and rubbish”, with frontline services also set to benefit.

A record $200 million has been put aside for upgrades to our roads and footpaths, however, there won’t be spending for any major projects at this stage.

It’s understood Council is waiting to find out if Queensland will host the 2032 Olympics before committing to anything.

Recycling and waste collection will also receive a boost, however, the city’s peak tourism body Destination Gold Coast appears to have missed out again.

There will be no extra funding going towards tourism and events, but the Mayor has indicated money could be found mid-year if the borders reopen.

Tom Tate has also promised rates will only increase equivalent to CPI after an effective freeze last year.

“Last year, we provided a rates freeze given the challenges of Covid. Apart from the freeze, we also provided a $64 rebate to around 138,000 ratepayers,” the Mayor said.

“This cost our bottom line around $9 million but I know it helped thousands of ratepayers.

“Overall, our support package last financial year totalled $26.9 million. Councillors are proud of that initiative and we now return to a more stable rates environment”.

The Mayor said the ability to achieve another low rate increase for 2021-22 is a testament to the effort of the whole council.

“Since 2012, we have set a low rates trend that has seen any rate increase at, or near, CPI,’” he said.

“This budget will be the 10th under my mayoralty and I’m confident the final rate increase will align with the trend we set in 2012.”

There are reports the rate increase will be around 2.5 per cent.

“What that gives households is that they can budget for this year and the next year that council rates should be around CPI and that’s a tremendous thing,” Mayor Tate said.

Council’s budget will be handed down this morning at City Council.

Barnaby Joyce sworn in as Nationals leader, Deputy PM

LATEST @ 8.30 AM | Barnaby Joyce is now officially the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the Nationals party.

The 54-year-old signed the oath of office at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Tuesday morning.

He was supported by his partner Vikki Campion and two young sons.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison watched on via video conference from The Lodge, where he remains in quarantine after recently returning from overseas.

Barnaby returns to the position three years after he resigned following harassment claims.

It comes after he toppled former Nationals leader Michael McCormack at a snap party room spill yesterday.

EARLIER @ 7.00 AM | Barnaby Joyce is just hours away from being sworn in as leader of the Nationals party and Deputy Prime Minister – for the second time.

It comes after the 54-year-old won a snap leadership spill against former Nationals leader Michael McCormack in Canberra yesterday.

Mr Joyce will take and sign the oath of office at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House this morning.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is still stuck in quarantine at The Lodge and will therefore attend via video conference.

The move comes three years after Barnaby Joyce resigned as Nationals leader and Deputy PM after sustained pressure over his relationship with a former staffer.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who moved the spill motion during yesterday’s party room meeting, said he believes Barnaby is the perfect person to lead the party.

“He may not look it, but he is still a young, spring chicken,” he told TODAY.

“This game takes a bit of a toll on you physically and what have you, but he hasn’t been in politics all that long in the scheme of things.

“I do think what this country needs is experienced leaders. You know, Barnaby was elected only in the mid-thousand, not — mid-2000s.

“He is is part of a great team in the National Party but we have a very loud voice leading us now and can only mean good things for the people we represent out in the bush, but all Australians who want to see this country put first, want to see our industries and jobs come back to Australia. Barnaby will be a voice for them.”

David Littleproud will remain on as deputy leader of the party.

Barnaby Joyce

Barnaby Joyce plays down talk of National Party leadership spill

Former leader Barnaby Joyce has played down speculation he will challenge Michael McCormack for leadership of the Nationals party.

It comes following growing speculation that there could be a National Party leadership spill as early as today.

But Mr Joyce shot down the rumours when questioned by Sunrise this morning, insisting he’s not gunning for his old job back.

“There’s no prospect of a spill at this point in time” he said.

“I think he [Michael McCormack] is doing the best job he can, he is a good bloke and has been working as hard as he can”.

However, Barnaby did admit that he believes the party “could do things differently”.

“There are times where I think we could do things differently no doubt, but that’s a decision for the party room,” he said.

“I’ve read articles this weekend which are so far ahead of the show, they’re entertaining, they’re just not correct.

“I’m not going to start delving into what is National party business, they can have that, they can make those discussions and decisions themselves.”

Barnaby unsuccessfully challenged Mr McCormack for the leadership in February 2020.