February 27, 2024

Emergency fire warnings in Perth and south of Margaret River

There are two emergency warnings in place in parts of Perth and south of the Margaret River, with concerns homes may have been lost.

In Perth, the warning covers people bounded by Boyamyne Road and Fringeleaf Drive, Granite Road, Hedges Road and Flora Road in parts of Hovea, Parkerville and Stoneville in the shire of Mundaring.

You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes. It’s too late to leave, leaving now will put your life in danger. You need to shelter in your home in a room away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.

The fire started at about 9.30 this morning, and is now affecting three suburbs.

A second warning is in place for parts of Callcup, Crowea and Meerup in the shire of Manjimup.

A further seven fires are at “advice” level.

Key events

The ABC is reporting the fire in the eastern suburbs of Perth has burnt through around 90 hectares of land so far.

Damage assessments to properties are underway.

Over in the Northern Territory, the newly sworn in chief minister, Eva Lawler, has announced her cabinet team, with one new appointment.

Lawler will continue to serve as minister for territory development, and adds defence industries, industry and trade and major projects to her portfolio.

Fong Lim Mark Monaghan will be tasked as minister for education, mining, agribusiness and fisheries.

Brent Potter will take on the alcohol policy portfolio, and Selena Uibo picks up the health, mental health and suicide prevention portfolios.

Lawler said she would use her new role to “continue to diversify and grow our territory economy, creating jobs and a safe and prosperous territory for us all.

This cabinet is focussed on delivering for all territorians, whether that be in our urban centres or remote communities – my government works for all territorians.

WA downgrades bushfire threat level for some areas

The bushfire warning in place for parts of Callcup, Crowea and Meerup in the shire of Manjimup in Western Australia has been downgraded to a watch and act level, Emergency WA has advised.

The alert level for this fire has been downgraded due to favourable weather conditions, including light rain.

There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a uncontrolled bushfire is burning in the area and people still need to stay alert.

The fire started near the intersection of Tattenham Road in Meerup.

In Perth, the bushfire hitting semi-rural suburbs in the city’s east remains at an emergency warning level, as footage circulates showing homes alight in the blaze.

The bushfire is moving in a westerly direction.

It is out of control and unpredictable.

Back to the press conference in Queensland

Recovery efforts are continuing in state’s north, with a rainy forecast not expected to cause renewed flooding.

Up to 220 people have been relocated from the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal to Cooktown earlier today according to the premier, Steven Miles.

1,200 residents and businesses remain without power across the state.

Highways are slowly reopening, “although that will take some time”.

In terms of property damage, close to 1,100 buildings will require “significant repair” out of 2,600 assessed.

A small number of people are housed in evacuation centres, with others staying with friends and family.

Significant river level rises are occurring in several catchments across the Cape, with further rises expected over the coming two days as flood waters move downstream.

In good news, though, rainfall forecasts for the coming days are not likely to contribute to the flood conditions in north Queensland, while elsewhere some severe thunderstorms may set in through to the weekend into next week – including Christmas Day.

The premier of Western Australia, Roger Cook, spoke earlier

He said he held “grave concerns” for the people caught up in the fire affecting Perth suburbs.

Our hearts go out to all those people who are involved in that incident. This has an impact on residents, people in their homes and has an impact on the emergency services personnel who are responding to that incident.

It is a troubling situation as you see today, the weather is unkind. We will do everything we can as a government to support these communities and to support the emergency personnel who are on the ground.

Total fire bans are in place for southern parts of the state, including Perth.

Roger Cook
WA premier Roger Cook in June. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Emergency fire warnings in Perth and south of Margaret River

There are two emergency warnings in place in parts of Perth and south of the Margaret River, with concerns homes may have been lost.

In Perth, the warning covers people bounded by Boyamyne Road and Fringeleaf Drive, Granite Road, Hedges Road and Flora Road in parts of Hovea, Parkerville and Stoneville in the shire of Mundaring.

You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes. It’s too late to leave, leaving now will put your life in danger. You need to shelter in your home in a room away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.

The fire started at about 9.30 this morning, and is now affecting three suburbs.

A second warning is in place for parts of Callcup, Crowea and Meerup in the shire of Manjimup.

A further seven fires are at “advice” level.

Queensland authorities have an update on the floods

A number of small communities remain isolated, with concerns for possible renewed flooding from the weekend.

The isolated communities are “not large townships” and “could be a cluster of five homes or outback stations” which are believed to be fully resourced and stocked.

The road network north of the Daintree River has been “considerably damaged”, including the network of the Aboriginal community Wujal Wujal.

Meanwhile, an 85-year-old man who was reported missing yesterday in the flood is yet to be found.

Evacuation of 97 residents from Wujal Wujal to Cooktown via army Chinook helicopters.
Evacuation of 97 residents from Wujal Wujal to Cooktown via army Chinook helicopters. Photograph: QLD Police

Thank you to the lovely Rafqa Touma for keeping us company today. I’ll be with you for the rest of the afternoon.

Caitlin Cassidy

Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

Moira Deeming informs David Southwick of her intention to sue him

The expelled Liberal MP has written to deputy party leader, David Southwick, warning that she plans to include him in her defamation case against John Pesutto.

The first-term MP was expelled from the parliamentary Liberal party after taking part in a rally in March that was gatecrashed by a group of men who performed Nazi salutes.

Deeming’s lawyers filed a statement of claim against Pesutto, the opposition leader, in the federal court earlier this month.

In a third defamation concerns notice, sent to Southwick on Wednesday and seen by Guardian Australia, the lawyers allege he was also a part of the “intense and relentless publicity campaign against her at that time in order to ensure her expulsion from the Victorian Parliamentary Liberal Party”.

The letter says they are “instructed to commence proceedings against [Southwick] as soon as possible”.

Southwick has been contacted for comment.

A first case management hearing for the Pesutto case has been set down for 2 February, before Justice Michael Wheelahan.

Moira Deeming speaking from a lectern
Moira Deeming at a lecture in the theatre of Parliament House. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Stephanie Convery

Stephanie Convery

Federal funding for low-income earner loans

The federal government has announced a $14m boost to the national no-interest loans scheme and a matched savings program for education expenses for low-income earners.

Social services minister Amanda Rishworth announced on Thursday that support for the no-interest loans (NILS) program and the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Saver Plus program will be extended until 30 June 2025, with an additional $14m invested into both schemes.

As we reported back in May, the NILS program was pioneered by Good Shepherd in 1981, and has been backed by the National Australia Bank since 2003. State and federal governments have been funding the background running costs, with community organisations helping to provide the loans.

The loans cannot be used for cash or debts and the money goes directly to the supplier of a product or service. For most items, including mattresses, white goods and dental and medical bills, the borrowing limit is $2,000. Bond loans can go up to $3,000; vehicles and motorised mobility aids up to $5,000. They’re available to individuals who earn less than $70,000 annually before tax as a single person or $100,000 as a couple or family.

More than 350,000 of these loans have been given to low-income Australians since 2003. Last financial year, 170 not-for-profits issued more than 36,000 loans worth nearly $60m.

Rishworth said in a statement:

We acknowledge many Australians are doing it tough, and the government wants to provide responsible cost of living relief while continuing to put downward pressure on inflation.

Dealing with financial issues can be stressful, particularly at Christmas. Thankfully – should the fridge break down or the kids’ computer crash – the NILS scheme is there to help vulnerable Australians get through tricky situations. I’d urge everyone who thinks they are eligible to look into both these schemes.

Amanda Rishworth
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Several homes have reportedly been lost in the suburb of Parkerville, Perth, as bushfires unfold in southern WA.

More to come.

BUSHFIRE EMERGENCY: Fire crews are desperately trying to save homes in Parkerville right now where a bushfire broke out only an hour ago. One resident has told @10NewsFirstPER he believes his daughter’s home has gone up in flames. We can hear loud bangs and residents are fleeing. pic.twitter.com/LUHFURN10K

— Anne-Maree Leonard (@a_m_leonard) December 21, 2023

Billionaire former musician bankrolls publisher purchase

Jonathan Barrett

Jonathan Barrett

Listed music company Vinyl Group is buying large youth publisher The Brag Media, owner of local masthead licences including Rolling Stone and Variety.

The transaction will be bankrolled via a $11m facility provided by billionaire businessman Richard White, a large shareholder in Vinyl and chief executive and founder of software company WiseTech Global, according to a stock exchange announcement.

Brag licences well-known international titles, including The Hollywood Reporter and movie and television review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. It uses those licences to run events and generate sponsored content and other revenue streams from local audiences.

“There’s no doubt that iconic brands like Rolling Stone and Variety make sense and add value to [Vinyl],” said White, who is a former musician.

Vinyl, formerly Jaxsta, owns music networking platforms and music credits databases.

Vinyl will pay $8m in cash to acquire Brag and its subsidiaries, with a further $2m payable in cash or stock based on financial performance.

Western Australia’s high fire danger conditions to continue

A department of fire and emergency services spokesperson has told press that parts of WA can expert fire conditions to continue into next week:

We are expecting difficult fire weather conditions to continue into early next week with a trough bringing hot, dry and windy conditions across large parts of the south-west land division, also with associated lightning. People need to be aware that they will continue to experience these hot and windy conditions in the coming days and they need to remain vigilant and be ready to activate your bush plan if you are impacted by fire.

We know that today is going to be a particularly difficult day, expecting obviously those strong easterly winds again, but also thunderstorm activity across large parts of the state. We go into a little bit of respite tomorrow and then a series of troughs are going to form over the next three to four days which are going to continue to present challenging fire weather conditions for our crews across the state.


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