Race to track down source of two new Sydney COVID-19 cases

Contact tracers in NSW are urgently working to track down the source of two new COVID-19 cases in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

A man aged in his 60s was diagnosed with the virus late Wednesday afternoon before NSW Health confirmed his household contact also returned a positive result overnight.

They are the state’s first cases of unlinked community transmission since May 6.

The man, from Bondi, works as a driver transporting international flight crew to hotel quarantine.

There’s reports he had not been vaccinated against the virus, but was receiving daily saliva swabs.

As a result of the mystery cases, new pop-up testing clinics have been opened in the eastern suburbs, while a number of other clinics have had their opening hours extended.

The pair visited a number of locations while potentially infectious, with authorities most concerned about those who attended the 1:45pm screening of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard at Events Cinema in Bondi Junction on Sunday.

Those who were at the film are being considered close contacts and must get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

The list of exposure sites continues to grow, with people being urged to keep up to date here, to ensure they haven’t been to any of the locations listed.

Coast LNP members slam “one of the worst budgets ever seen”

Gold Coast LNP leaders have reacted to the 2021 State Budget, with at least one fired-up member labelling it as one of the worst budgets ever seen.

Currumbin MP Laura Gerber took to social media overnight, accusing the State Government of failing to deliver for her electorate.

“This budget is probably one of the worst budgets for the Currumbin electorate I have ever seen” Ms Gerber said.

“YOUR hard-earned money is not being spent on infrastructure, it’s once again being spent to keep the lights on, mortgaging our kids future with nothing to show for it.

“This Government has had the last 6 years to create an infrastructure program to cater for Queensland’s growing population and they’ve failed to deliver.”

The State Government confirmed they will be injecting $100 million to build seven new satellite hospitals across the state, including one on the Southern Gold Coast, but mystery still surrounds exactly where it will be built.

“NO confirmation and clarity regarding the location of the Tugun Satellite Hospital,” Ms Gerber wrote.

“They’re very tight-lipped on that, so either they’re hiding something or they don’t know themselves”.

Further north, and Bonney MP Sam O’Connor labelled the budget as “underwhelming”.

He admitted the budget is good news for a number of local schools in his electorate and roads, but said the funding is “taking far longer than it should to be delivered”.

“Our biggest project is the Second M1/Coomera Connector and after over 6 years of planning it’s still another few years away,” he said.

Construction of the Coomera Connector will finally get underway this year, with the State Government committing $155 million to the project.

But Mr O’Connor say that’s nowhere near the total cost needed to get it up and running quickly.

“Basically 40 per cent of the money for that is out beyond 2024-25, so still no certainty of when we will be driving on that road, which is the biggest infrastructure project for our city,” he said.

RELATED: QLD Budget 2021: What’s in it for the Gold Coast

Coomera MP Micahel Crandon echoed similar sentiments about the funding for the second M1.

“Based on Transport and Main Roads QTRIP, the construction timelines of the Coomera to Nerang stretch is about 8 years,” Mr Crandon wrote.

“In 2021/22 only $115m, 2022/23 only $250m, then in the next TWO years 2023 to 2025 $507m, then we have the balance of $628m from 2026 onwards.

“It gets worse, for the stretch from Coomera north to Loganholme, only $11m between now and 2025 and nothing beyond that! Talk about stuck in the slow lane,” he said.

Meantime, Member for Mudgeeraba Ros Bates described the budget as “disappointing”, claiming it provided little for residents in her area.

“There are a lot of worthwhile upgrades for our community here that really need to be done,” she wrote.

“Locals deserve better roads, improved school safety, more resources for local police and increased environmental protection.

“We also need a new State High School West of the M1. Unfortunately, that still appears to be a distant priority for the Government.”

Despite this, Ms Bates confirmed her area will benefit from a number of upgrades including new classrooms at Numinbah Valley State School, a second CT scanner at Robina Hospital, funding for Nerang-Murwillumbah Road, and a new train station in Merrimac.

Tamil family to be reunited in Australia, Treasurer confirms

UPDATE @ 7.30 AM | The Federal Treasurer has confirmed the Tamil family, who has spent almost three years in detention on Christmas Island, will be reunited on the Australian mainland.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Today Show that the mother and father who arrived in Australia by boat, and their two daughters who were born here, will be back together very soon.

“The minister will be making a detailed statement but I can confirm the reports that the family will be reunited on Australian shores is correct,” he said.

“That will happen very soon and the minister will make a statement today.”

Treasurer Frydenberg admitted it’s been an incredibly difficult situation.

“This has been a very difficult case. It’s been protracted through the courts many times, but you also have to understand that Australia put in place a border protection policy because tragically more than 1200 lives were lost at sea between 2008 and 2013 and obviously the policies we put in place were designed to save lives and bring order to our borders.”

Mr Frydenberg stopped short of confirming whether or not the family would be allowed to stay in Australia permanently.

“Again, the details will be released by the minister. I’ll leave that statement to him. He has been working through it. I have spoken to him, he’s spoken to the Prime Minister as well as a number of our colleagues,” he said.

A final decision is expected to be announced by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke at a press conference today.

The Murugappan family set up home in the Central Queensland town of Biloela after arriving down under by boat.

They were moved to Christmas Island in 2019 after their visa expired, where they have been in immigration detention ever since.

The case is again back in the spotlight after the family’s youngest daughter Tharnicaa was airlifted to Perth Children’s hospital from Christmas Island last week.

EARLIER @ 6.45 AM | The Federal Government could decide as early as today whether a mother and father who arrived in Australia by boat, and their two daughters who were born here, can stay in Australia.

The Murugappan family, from Tamil, set up home in the Central Queensland town of Biloela after arriving down under by boat.

They were moved to Christmas Island in 2019 after their visa expired, where they have been in immigration detention ever since.

The case is again back in the spotlight after the family’s youngest daughter Tharnicaa was airlifted to Perth Children’s hospital from Christmas Island last week accompanied by her mother.

She is currently being treated for a blood infection, while her sister and father reportedly remain on the island.

Pressure has been growing on the Government to make a call on whether or not the family can be resettled in Australia, with the Prime Minister confirming the Government is considering its options.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is expected to hold a press conference today.

Man charged after Tweed raid uncovers drugs, guns and cash

A man has been charged with a string of offences after police raided a property in Tweed Heads, uncovering drugs, firearms and almost $10,000 cash.

Officers executed a Firearms Prohibition Order search at the premises on Minjungbal Drive shortly after midnight on Sunday.

During the raid, police located a .22 calibre home-made pistol, electronic stun device, extendable baton, knife, and a number of prohibited drugs including alprazolam, cocaine, methylamphetamine, cannabis and gamma-butyrolactone.

More than $9,000 in cash was also seized, which police allege is the proceeds of crime.

A 47-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken to Tweed Heads Police Station where he was charged with 15 offences including acquire pistol-subject to firearms prohibition order, Possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit, possess and supply prohibited drug and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

He was refused bail and appeared at Lismore Bail Court today, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Tweed Heads Local Court tomorrow.

Police say inquiries are continuing.

Groves furore as she quits Olympics

Australian swimmer Maddie Groves has withdrawn from the Olympic trials while taking a swipe at “misogynistic perverts in the sport”.

The target of Groves’ comments in social media posts was not immediately clear.

Groves, a dual silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won’t compete at the trials for the looming Tokyo Games starting Saturday in Adelaide.

Groves announced her withdrawal on Instagram on Wednesday night, then went further on Twitter on Thursday.

“Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers,” she wrote.

“You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus.

“Time’s UP.”

The 26-year-old who has endometriosis and adenomyosis reposted her Tweet to Instagram, adding: “Putting this on the feed for emphasis. Make them pervs quake in fear from the number of people supporting a statement that threatens their existence.”

Groves won silver medals in the 200m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay at the Rio Games. She has also won four Commonwealth Games gold medals.

In her Instagram announcement on Wednesday night, Groves indicated she was not quitting swimming.

“I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision” she wrote.

“I feel very relieved and I’m looking forward to racing at some other competitions later in the year (yeah sorry/not sorry, you haven’t got rid of me just yet!)

“I’m so excited to watch everyone at trials … whatever happens I genuinely think this will be one of the fastest Australian Swim Teams ever and I encourage everyone to get on the bandwagon early.”

Last November, Groves detailed on Twitter that she had complained about a “person that works at swimming making me feel uncomfortable the way they stare at me in my togs”.

Groves alleged the perpetrator had been promoted.

She followed up her tweet on December 1 saying; “Woah guys this may have worked. Next time you have a weirdo stare at your tits and your complaints fall on deaf ears, try tweeting about it.

“I didn’t even say where they worked so good on that workplace for immediately knowing it’s their shitness. Did they recognise my complaint because they already had it on file”.

Swimming Australia has been contacted for comment.

© AAP 2021