NSW floods LIVE updates: Warragamba Dam spills far earlier than expected (2022)

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That’s a wrap

That’s a wrap for Need to Know this Sunday, July 3.

Here are some of today’s key events:

Warragamba Dam spills far earlier than expected

NSW is facing danger on multiple fronts with rain set to worsen, threatening floods and erosion as conditions deteriorate earlier than expected.

State funeral offer for Vic MP Jane Garrett, who has died aged 49

The family of Victorian Labor MP Jane Garrett has been offered a state funeral to farewell the former emergency services minister who has died from breast cancer at the age of 49.

Auction clearance rates slump to two-year low before rate rise

Auction clearance rates fell to their lowest level in more than two years this weekend. That pointed to further steep house price falls as economists tipped a half a percentage point interest rate rise on Tuesday to pile more pressure on borrowers.

Labor doesn’t make us the leader on climate, says Pocock

Independent ACT Senator David Pocock says the globally-praised environmental stance taken by Anthony Albanese’s Labor government “does not make us the leader” on climate.

Warragamba Dam spills far earlier than expected

NSW is facing danger on multiple fronts with rain set to worsen, threatening floods and erosion as conditions deteriorate earlier than expected.

Areas stretching from Newcastle to the South Coast and as far inland as Oberon are in the danger zone, including western Sydney’s flood-prone Hawkesbury-Nepean area.

NSW floods LIVE updates: Warragamba Dam spills far earlier than expected (1)

Warragamba Dam in Sydney’s west began overflowing at 2am, which was “well ahead of predictions”, Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said on Sunday.

The Hawkesbury-Nepean Rivers also exceeded major flood levels on Saturday night.

A developing east coast low pressure system will drive even further rain in the coming days.

Residents in several areas have been warned or ordered to evacuate. But Ms Cooke said people did not need to wait to be told to leave.

“If you are feeling uncomfortable or unsure about your circumstances, and there is an opportunity for you to leave earlier, don’t necessarily wait for an evacuation order to be issued to your area,” Ms Cooke said.

“Take the opportunity if you can to leave early if you are worried about your personal circumstances.”

SES Commissioner Carlene York said the agency conducted 29 flood rescues in the past 24 hours.

Plans are also under way to evacuate youths isolated at a recreation camp near Bago, west of Port Macquarie, Ms York said.

The SES endeavours to issue evacuation warnings before orders. But the speed the situation unfolded overnight meant several areas were ordered to evacuate with no warning.

Ms York said locals should monitor the situation on the ground along with checking for SES warnings.

“Be prepared and be aware of your surroundings so that you can make a sensible and safe decision to get to a location of safety,” she said.

The SES will be joined by other agencies, including about 100 Australian Defence Force members on Sunday, assisting with sandbagging and other preparedness measures like doorknocking communities to warn of the flood threat.

“At this stage, we’ve asked them to really concentrate on the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley area which seems to be the big risk,” Ms York said.

Floods are nothing new for the catchment’s residents, who have faced severe flooding several times over the past few years, including in March and April.

The weather-front battering the state’s east coast is forecast to get worse before it gets better, with wild winds, rough seas and heavy rain expected to last until Tuesday.

Bureau of Meteorology hazards preparation and response manager Jane Golding said a coastal trough lingering since Friday has deepened further and an east coast low pressure system has formed off the Mid North Coast.

“That’s produced some extraordinary rainfall rates over the last 24 hours ... many locations have seen up to 200mm and some close to 300mm,” Ms Golding said.

State funeral offer for Vic MP Jane Garrett, who has died aged 49

The family of Victorian Labor MP Jane Garrett has been offered a state funeral to farewell the former emergency services minister who has died from breast cancer at the age of 49.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the service would be “a fitting way to mark her significant contribution” to the state.

NSW floods LIVE updates: Warragamba Dam spills far earlier than expected (2)

Ms Garrett – an MP since 2010 – was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and announced late last year she would not stand for re-election in the 2022 state poll.

The member for Brunswick and for Eastern Victoria quit cabinet in 2016 over a controversial firefighters’ union pay deal.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews spoke of Ms Garrett’s heartfelt advocacy for working people.

“Jane lived a life of service to the labour movement, to the Labor party, and to our state,” Mr Andrews said in a statement on Saturday.

“On behalf of the Victorian government and the Parliamentary Labor Party, I offer our deep condolences to Jane’s family, friends and colleagues, and all those who knew and loved her.

“I cannot imagine the grief her family, particularly her three children, must be feeling at this incredibly difficult time – my thoughts are with them.”

Her death on Saturday evening was announced in a statement from her family, who praised her “contagious love of life and people”.

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Auction clearance rates slump to two-year low before rate rise

Larry Schlesinger

Auction clearance rates fell to their lowest level in more than two years this weekend. That pointed to further steep house price falls as economists tipped a half a percentage point interest rate rise on Tuesday to pile more pressure on borrowers.

Over the weekend, CoreLogic recorded a 55 per cent preliminary clearance rate across the capital cities – the weakest result since April 2020. The number of homes taken to auction fell by a fifth to 1864.

NSW floods LIVE updates: Warragamba Dam spills far earlier than expected (3)

Sydney, which recorded a 1.6 per cent slump in house prices in June, the sharpest of all the capital cities, recorded a 52.5 per cent preliminary clearance rate. This figure is expected to be revised down to below 50 per cent once results for all 766 auctions are tallied. Total auction numbers in Sydney were down 14 per cent on the previous week.

Melbourne, which hosted 628 auctions this week – down from 1000 over the previous week and 1073 this time last year – recorded a 56.8 per cent preliminary clearance rate. That was its lowest since September last year,

Over the same week last year, 73.1 per cent of Melbourne auctions were successful. More than 300 homes nationally were withdrawn from auction by nervous vendors.

Read the full story.

Musk meets pope, uses Twitter to announce the audience

AP

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose $US44 billion ($65 billion) bid to buy Twitter remains in limbo, used the social media platform to announce he had met with Pope Francis.

“Honored to meet @Pontifex yesterday,” Mr Musk tweeted of the Friday afternoon audience, alongside a photo showing Mr Musk, Francis and four of Mr Musk’s teenage children.

The Vatican did not announce the audience or provide any information about what was discussed. Mr Musk’s tweet followed one of a street scene in Venice, suggesting he might have had other stops on his tour.

Francis frequently meets with high-profile figures in strictly private audiences that are held in a reception room of the Vatican hotel where he lives. A common talking point he uses when meeting with corporate CEOs is to appeal for them to use wealth and technology to help the poorest while caring for God’s creation.

On June 21, Twitter’s board recommended shareholders approve Mr Musk’s proposed purchase, though shares of Twitter remain far below his offering price, signalling considerable doubt that the sale will actually happen.

Labor doesn’t make us the leader on climate, says Pocock

Independent ACT Senator David Pocock says the globally-praised environmental stance taken by Anthony Albanese’s Labor government “does not make us the leader” on climate.

“The work that not just the Prime Minister, but also senators Penny Wong and [Tanya] Plibersek have been doing on the international stage, resetting relationships and announcing that we are back at the table when it comes to climate and environment, is really important,” he told the ABC’s Insiders programme on Sunday morning.

“This doesn’t make us the leader by any stretch. We’ve got a long way to go, particularly in the Pacific where climate change is the number one priority for Pacific Island nations. We have to be playing our part in the region and in the international community. This is clearly a huge opportunity for us as a country.”

Mr Pocock has been arrested for chaining himself to mining equipment to
protest against a NSW coal mine. He sees Labor’s ambitious 43 per cent reduction targets and the legislation which is ahead as a floor rather than a ceiling. Host Patricia Karvelas asked: “Will you wave it through?“

”In terms of the 43 per cent, I have been very open saying that I’d like to see a higher target,” he replied.

“But my sense is that what Australians really want is a target to be legislated. We have to actually bank some of these gains and I want to see a target with integrity. There’s some real concerns about the way that we’re actually getting to whatever target we set and that will be my focus.

“The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] was very clear in their latest report that to keep warming well below 2 degrees, we can’t approve and open up new fossil fuel projects. We have to actually be getting targets in place and then having the policy to have an orderly transition to renewables. We all know it’s the future. It’s not only a massive opportunity for our economy, but it’s an opportunity for households to be saving money.”

Yacht seized from oligarch offers bargain for the brave

Dmitry Pumpyansky’s superyacht once hosted luxury extravaganzas across the Mediterranean for the likes of supermodels and sports stars.

In 2015, Kendall Jenner celebrated her 19th birthday on the 240-ft, six-deck vessel, named Axioma, with Hailey Bieber (then Baldwin), Gigi Hadid and her sister Bella. They were joined by Lewis Hamilton after he finished third in the Monaco Grand Prix.

The $US75 million ($110 million) superyacht boasts room for up to 12 guests, with an infinity pool, fitness centre, massage room, cinema and personal chefs.

But star-studded parties in the French Riviera are now on hold.

Within weeks, the Russian oligarch’s prized asset will become the first yacht offered up at auction since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It comes after Mr Pumpyansky was hit with sanctions by both the European Union and Britain in March, as part of an effort to crack down on those with close ties to Mr Putin.

The yachting industry has been speculating for months about how the first auction triggered by the conflict will play out, and the sale of the Axioma will be a key test of how many buyers will pay for an asset once owned by a Russian oligarch.

Pumpyansky, who is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion ($3.2 billion), started his career as a metals trader before setting up global steel pipe manufacturer TMK and investment company Sinara Group. The billionaire stepped back from both companies this year.

In March, his superyacht was detained by the Gibraltar authorities after JPMorgan filed an admiralty claim in the territory’s Supreme Court. The investment giant called in a loan on the yacht reportedly worth £18 million, on the grounds that sanctions against the oligarch left him in breach of the loan agreement.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, hailed the news, tweeting: “Welcome Gibraltar’s seizure of Dmitry Pumpyansky’s superyacht following UK sanctions.”

An auction is now expected within weeks after Gibraltar’s Supreme Court ordered a sale to meet the claims of creditors. Experts predict it to go for a discount of up to 30 per cent.

Aside from what the Axioma offers for luxurious personal use, it also promises its new owner a weekly charter income of about €450,000 ($687,650).

Sydney river levels are exceeding those seen in March this year

Residents in Sydney’s south-west are under evacuation orders as NSW’s southern and central coast areas continue to battle relentless driving rain.

Flood warnings were issued for areas south and west of Sydney while residents and businesses in low-lying parts of suburbs including Camden, Wallacia, Liverpool, Georges Hall, Chipping Norton, Lansvale and Moorebank were told to get out before they got cut off by rising waters.

By Sunday morning, there was major flooding at Menangle in Macarthur, south-west of Sydney, with river levels exceeding those seen in March this year.

Riverine flooding was expected along the Hawkesbury and Colo Rivers from Sunday, with major flooding at North Richmond possible from the afternoon.

Authorities are confident they are ready to help NSW residents caught out by the wild weather, and avoid a repeat of their heavily criticised flood response this year.

Defence force helicopters and troops remain on standby, while emergency services personnel are working around the clock.

The weather-front battering the state’s east coast is forecast to get worse before it gets better, with wild winds, rough seas and heavy rain expected to last until Monday.

With three flood rescues carried out on Friday and Saturday, people were urged to avoid non-essential trips as the deluge put a dampener on the opening weekend of the NSW school holidays.

Flooding is also possible for the Hunter, Central Coast, the Greater Sydney region and the South Coast, with flood watches in place for catchments between Newcastle and Batemans Bay, including Sydney and the Illawarra.

Areas at risk include Newcastle, the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, and the Upper Coxs, Colo, Macdonald, Woronora, Patterson, Williams and Lower Hunter rivers.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall was in place on Sunday for Sydney’s metropolitan areas, the Illawarra, and parts of the Hunter, Central Tablelands, and Southern Tablelands forecast districts.

The Upper and Lower Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers are also causing concern as already-soaked catchments come in for another lengthy drenching.

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Welcome

Welcome to Need to Know this Sunday, July 3. Here are some of this morning’s headlines:

Kyrgios beats Tsitsipas at Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios’ Wimbledon prospects have soared after the enigmatic talent overcame an injury scare and battle with officialdom to upend Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The worst stock selloff in half a century might not be done yet: After just about everyone on Wall Street got their 2022 predictions wrong, investors are now focused on a toxic mix that spells stagflation.

Tesla sales slow as pandemic hobbles production: Elon Musk’s company faces “ongoing supply chain challenges and factory shutdowns beyond our control”.

If this looks like an inflation panic, it is: The cat’s out of the bag. A worst-case scenario has unfolded, and central bankers are scrambling for policy reversals that will forever taint their credibility.

Ten of the week’s best opinion reads from the Financial Review: How fast are property prices falling; the demise of another neobank; how we passed from the war on terror to a terrifying war; plus how to be more likeable at work; a new VW SUV; and flying Perth to Rome direct. Here’s 10 of the best opinion reads from this week.

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