Australia Severe thunderstorms, floods in Queensland, NSW as Sydney dam to burst
Illicit tobacco trade in Queensland 'exploding' with authorities powerless to stop it, industry groups say
The multi-million-dollar illicit trade is a nationwide problem driven by demand from smokers wanting cheap, tax-free tobacco which black-market traders sell for around a third or half of the retail price. Police sources and stakeholders say any Queensland-based enforcement is heavily reliant on Commonwealth agencies and the national Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF), which was established in 2018.Retailers say they have reported black-market traders but are shuffled between various state and federal health and law-enforcement bodies with no agency taking responsibility.
Millions of Australians are on alert for severe thunderstorms and flash flooding on Friday night as torrential rains continue to cause havoc across the east coast.
One man died in rising floodwaters at Hibernia, near Rockhampton in centralon Friday morning.
Thousands of residents living in low-lying areas along the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system in North Richmond, north-west of Sydney are meanwhile on a knife-edge with the city's Warragamba Dam due to break its banks overnight.
Dozens of severe thunderstorm and flood warnings were issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for northern and southeast Queensland andon Friday evening.
Millions of Australians brace for days of endless rain through week
A giant rotating rain bomb was pictured saturating a regional Queensland town on Monday as Australia's eastern states brace for a month's worth of rain in a week.A stunning weather phenomenon was pictured in Balberra, a small town south of Mackay in Queensland's north coast, on Monday as the huge heavy pressure system made its way inland.
The BoM warned damaging slow-moving thunderstorms were detected west of Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast.
The storms were concentrated near Laidley, Gatton, Crows Nest, Border Ranges National Park, Moogerah and Hampton.
The weather service's warning was directed at hundreds of thousands of people in Ipswich, the Scenic Rim, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley council areas.
The alert warned of 'heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.'
Forest Hill, between Toowoomba and Brisbane, recorded 79mm of rain in just three hours on Friday afternoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the continued downpour has led to one of the wettest Novembers on record with widespread flooding across the eastern states.
Dominic Perrottet and Greg Hunt blast Annastacia Palaszczuk
The health minister has sent off a strongly worded letter to Queensland to reconsider and look at rapid antigen testing as an alternative to its border arrangements.The Sunshine state will reopen for tourists once 80 per cent of its vaccine-eligible residents are double-jabbed - which could be as early as December 6.
The NSW State Emergency Services said it responded to more than 3,000 calls on Friday, following flooding near Orange and Newcastle.
Orange had its highest monthly rainfall since records began in 1870 with a total of 243.2mm recorded by Tuesday.
On Friday evening multiple flood warnings were also issued across regional NSW, which had already been been hit hard with raging floodwaters at Scone, Inverell and Gunnedah.
The new warnings on Friday evening included the Macquarie River at Bathurst; the Belubula River at Canowindra; the Peel River at Tamworth; the Namoi river system at Gunnedah, Narrabri and Wee Waa; the Castlereagh River at Gilgandra and the Queanbeyan river near Canberra.
Video: Wild weather continues to hit Australia's east coast (Sky News Australia)
Now Palaszczuk won't let Queenslanders go to SYDNEY
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said going to Sydney for a day or two would be 'out of the question' until the state reached 90 per cent of its population fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The claim was in response to a question about whether people who travel from Queensland to Sydney for a day or two 'for work' will still require a PCR test in order to return home.'We're looking at that, you do need to have a PCR test,' she responded. 'At the moment, going to Sydney for a day or two would be out of the question until we get to that 90 per cent double dose.
The BoM reported dozens of east coast towns and cities copping over 100 milimetres of rain in just two days.
Canberra has already had its wettest ever November with 148mm and Bundaberg was hammered with 192mm.
Conditions are not expected to ease until the weekend with coastal NSW to cop the worst of the storms.
The rain bomb drenching Sydney filled the city's largest dam to capacity, reaching 100 per cent full by 7pm.
Warragamba Dam, which supplies the majority of Sydney's water, was predicted to spill over by midnight Friday.
Residents living downstream in suburbs such as Richmond and Windsor are being urged to remain vigilant in case water spilling from the dam causes the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system to break its banks.
There could be 'downstream impacts' from release of excess water, said WaterNSW, the body responsible for the dam.
The spill could peak at 100 gigalitres on Saturday.
Alerts were also posted early on Friday evening for 'severe thunderstorms' and 'heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding' for the NSW northern tablelands.
Copeton Dam in northern New South Wales fills for first time since 2012
A large inland dam three times the size of Sydney Harbour is full for the first time in a decadeThe dam is said to be almost three times the size of Sydney Harbour and is spilling for the first time in almost a decade.
The tiny town of Wiangaree, about an hour south west of Tweed Heads could be near the epicentre of the dangerous storms, the weather office said.
The NSW weather office issued updates of a 'volatile' situation unfolding due to flooding at Molong, in the NSW central west.
NSW Bureau of Meteorology reported fast-rising flood waters with reports of rescues underway at Molong.
Queensland's far north was also warned of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain inland from the north tropical coast.
Locations which may be affected include Boonah, Rathdowney, Crows Nest, Esk, Gatton, Laidley and Lowood in the south, and Chillagoe and Mount Garnet in the north.
'Unfortunately, this wet weather will continue for the rest of Friday and into the weekend,' BoM senior meteorologist Jonathan How said.
'We'll see plenty of showers, storms, through eastern Victoria, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane and the Gold Coast as well.'
Heavy rain battered Sydney on Friday as a low pressure system moved in from the southern and western regions of the state.
The wild weather has already led to widespread flooding with drivers warned to keep off the roads and stay home.
'Flooded roads and reduced visibility in heavy rain will make driving conditions dangerous during Friday in all suburbs,' a Bureau of Meteorology alert stated.
Racing NSW under investigation over handling of workers compensation claims and surveillance of injured workers .
One of the nation's largest racing bodies is under investigation for what injured workers say is its aggressive and unfair handling of workers compensation claims. For almost a decade, Joanne Howard has been followed and filmed.Through the bushes at her home near Yass in southern New South Wales.In the supermarket.On a trip to the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2016.Even at her grandson's first birthday party in October last year."They have been following me around for years and it normally doesn't get to me," Ms Howard says."But what they did to me last year, that really rattled me."That was terrifying.