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Hundreds arrested in domestic violence crackdown

<p>More than 550 people in NSW have been arrested in a state-wide crackdown on domestic and family violence. </p> <p>Operation Amarok VI ran from last Wednesday to Saturday, and in that time police arrested 554 people and made a total of 1070 charges. </p> <p>Of those arrests, 226 were wanted by police for alleged serious domestic violence offences, according to a NSW police spokesman. </p> <p>"Anyone who commits this heinous crime can expect a knock at their door," Police Minister Yasmin Catley said.</p> <p>"Operation Amarok is just one part of the police response. Last year, almost 150,000 calls for assistance were made to the NSWPF for domestic violence-related matters.</p> <p>"This shows the severity of the situation, the huge amount of police time and resources that go into addressing this epidemic and how important it is for prevention, early intervention and crisis support services to work together."</p> <p>Some of most significant arrests include a a 53-year-old man who allegedly threatened a woman with an imitation gun in Kempsey. </p> <p>Officers searched the home and seized the weapon and some cannabis. </p> <p>A 23-year-old woman was also arrested in the state's west after allegedly stabbing a relative around 2:30 am on May 17. </p> <p>The older relative received multiple stab wounds to the abdomen, head, and back and was taken to a local hospital where police were called.</p> <p>She was later flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a critical condition.</p> <p>The 23-year-old was charged with wound person intend cause grievous bodily harm and was refused bail to appear in Dubbo Local Court on May 18.</p> <p>NSW Police Executive Sponsor for Domestic and Family Violence, Deputy Commissioner Peter Thurtell said that the operation allowed police to conduct a targeted blitz of those who have been flagged as the worst domestic violence offenders. </p> <p>“We demonstrated last week that we will target and arrest the offenders no matter where they are located. We saw significant arrest numbers in our regional communities, and we also saw arrests for offences that occurred allegedly while the offender was in jail," he said. </p> <p>"These Amarok VI results send a powerful message to offenders, and the community at large, that we do not tolerate domestic and family violence in any form, and our efforts will continue."</p> <p><em>Images: NSW Police</em></p>

Legal

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Heartbreaking twist after mum dies on her way to a wedding

<p>A mother has been killed in a horrific car crash while on her way to a wedding in regional NSW, just hours after announcing she was expecting her third child. </p> <p>Shellymaine Ah Foon, 32, her partner Troy, and their two young daughters, aged six and two, were on their way to a wedding in Mudgee, NSW when their SUV crashed at Aarons Pass, about 2pm on Friday. </p> <p>Foon was left with critical injuries and was taken to Mudgee hospital, but soon passed away. </p> <p>Her partner was seriously injured and airlifted to Westmead Hospital to undergo surgery after suffering several fractures to both limbs on his left side. </p> <p>Their two daughters were also taken to the same hospital. </p> <p>A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed the sad detail to 7News. </p> <p>“We spoke to Shelly on the Thursday night, and she told us she was pregnant,” she said. </p> <p>“She was meant to go for tests when she came back from Mudgee to see how far along she was.”</p> <p>Foon was remembered as a "social butterfly" who could “strike up a conversation with anyone.” </p> <p>“She was very family oriented, was always there for anyone who needed anything, she was very selfless with her time,” the family member said. </p> <p>“Her death has really impacted a whole community of people,” she added. </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-shellymaine-ah-foon" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page has since been organised to help cover funeral costs, support Troy following his surgery, and help Foon's family, who are largely based overseas. </p> <p>“Troy won’t be able to go to work while he recovers,” the woman said.</p> <p>“He still has to undergo rehab, and he will be on crutches for some time.”</p> <p>Their two daughters have since been discharged from the hospital, and are in the care of family while Troy recovers. </p> <p>The family friend added that Foon's love for her kids was exceptional saying: “she was the light of Troy and her girls’ lives.</p> <p>“Their world has changed forever and the love their Mum gave them will never be replicated ever again.”  </p> <p>Police said investigations are still underway into the circumstances leading up to the crash, with the other driver taken to Mudgee Hospital with minor injuries. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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Firefighter praised for sweet interaction with three-year-old

<p>A cooking mishap for one Aussie family ended with a heartwarming moment shared between a firefighter and a young girl meeting her hero for the first time. </p> <p>Firefighters were called to a home at Blue Haven on the NSW Central Coast on Saturday, after a fire broke out on a kitchen stove top and spread to the range hood. </p> <p>They were quick to put out the blaze and just as they were about to leave, three-year-old Mia was too excited to meet her heroes that she couldn't let them leave just yet. </p> <p>"Once we got there and ascertained that there was no fire spread to the roof and other areas... their daughter decided to take me away into the room to see the new books she got," Doyalson Fire and Rescue Station Manager Dirk Ziekenheiner told Yahoo News.  </p> <p>"Which I then obviously took the opportunity to read," he added.</p> <p>A picture of the sweet moment was shared on social media, with the firefighter sat on one of Mia's pink chairs and the three-year-old keenly listening to him read the story. </p> <p>Mia also impressed the firefighter with her own safety knowledge, as she shared her understanding of calling Triple-Zero in an emergency, how to escape a fire and the importance staying outside after evacuating. </p> <p>"Obviously her parents did really well and schools pass on the message, and you know that safety messages are key to surviving a house fire, especially these days," Ziekenheiner said.</p> <p>"If you don't know what to do, and you never plan for it, then you're probably behind the eight ball... this girl was amazing, she knew all those key messages which is really important."</p> <p>Aussies praised the firefighter in the comments of the post, with many of them commenting on how "cute" the moment was. </p> <p>Mia's father, James, also added that his daughter was very excited to meet her heroes despite the circumstances. </p> <p>"Mia watches a lot of children's TV shows which feature firefighters so she already knows they're heroes and they rescue people," James said.</p> <p>"Having now seen first-hand the great work they do, we'll continue to spread the word about fire safety and we encourage others to do the same.</p> <p>"Our family never thought we'd come this close to losing our home to fire, so the key is to not be complacent about the risks."</p> <p><em>Image: Fire and Rescue NSW / Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Leaker of gruesome shark attack photo revealed

<p>The New South Wales Ambulance Service is facing criticism and backlash after a staff member <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/leaked-photo-of-sydney-shark-victim-sparks-urgent-probe" target="_blank" rel="noopener">leaked a graphic image</a> of the wounded leg of Sydney shark attack victim Lauren O'Neill.</p> <p>The incident occurred after O'Neill fell victim to a bull shark attack in Sydney Harbour, just metres away from her residence. This breach of privacy has not only added to the distress of O'Neill and her loved ones but has raised serious concerns about the protection of patient confidentiality.</p> <p>The graphic image, taken inside the emergency room as medical professionals worked to stabilise O'Neill, was shared online by a member of the NSW Ambulance staff. This action not only violates the fundamental principle of patient privacy but also calls into question the ethical conduct expected from healthcare professionals in such sensitive situations.</p> <p>NSW Ambulance issued a public apology, acknowledging the breach of privacy and expressing sincere regret for the additional distress caused to O'Neill and her family.</p> <p>The statement also revealed that discussions with O'Neill's family led them to believe that a NSW Ambulance staff member was responsible for the privacy breach.</p> <p>“NSW Ambulance sincerely apologises to Ms O’Neill for the breach of her privacy and the additional distress it has caused her and her loved ones at this most difficult time,” a spokesperson said. “We spoke with Ms O’Neill’s family this afternoon and informed them that we believe a NSW Ambulance staff member was responsible for the breach of her privacy.</p> <p>“NSW Ambulance takes its patient privacy obligations very seriously and is continuing to investigate this breach to determine the full details of the incident.”</p> <p>St Vincent's Hospital, where Ms. O'Neill was taken for urgent medical attention, has launched its own investigation into the matter, along with the involvement of NSW Police. The gravity of the situation is underscored by the fact that O'Neill's right leg was in jeopardy, and the medical teams worked tirelessly to save it.</p> <p>O'Neill, a microbiologist, has expressed her gratitude to the heroic neighbours, to NSW Ambulance paramedics, Kings Cross Police and the surgical teams at St Vincent's Hospital for their swift and caring actions. However, the unfortunate leak of the graphic image has marred what should have been a focus on her recovery and gratitude towards those who aided her in the aftermath of the terrifying attack.</p> <p>As O'Neill transitions from the Intensive Care Unit to a recovery ward, it is crucial for the public to reflect on the importance of patient privacy and the trust placed in healthcare professionals during moments of vulnerability. The breach has sparked outrage among the public, with many demanding accountability and stricter measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Legal

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Twist for cop accused of killing Clare Nowland

<p>Senior Constable Kristian James Samuel White, 33, who was accused of killing 95-year-old Clare Nowland <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/family-horrified-by-police-statement-on-tasering-of-clare-nowland" target="_blank" rel="noopener">with a taser</a> at an aged care home in Cooma, regional NSW has been deemed a “flight risk”. </p> <p>White was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault over the alleged “excessive use of force”.</p> <p>It is alleged that Nowland was using a walker and holding a serrated steak knife at the time of the incident, when the 33-year-old said “stop, just … nah bugger it” before allegedly tasering her. </p> <p>The great-grandmother fell backwards and fractured her skull, causing an inoperable brain injury that unfortunately led to her death just days later. </p> <p>Just last week, White's charges were upgraded to include an additional charge of manslaughter on advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.</p> <p>White appeared in court on Wednesday, for the first time since his charges were upgraded, and received two new bail conditions. </p> <p>The Constable was required to surrender his passport and not leave the country due to the upgraded charges. </p> <p>However, prior to his bail conditions being approved, Magistrate Roger Clisdell criticised both Crown prosecutor Victoria Garrity, and White's defence lawyer Warwick Anderson for negotiating the new terms of bail without his input. </p> <p>“I make the decision,” he said.</p> <p>“I would have thought my last explosion would have caused you to be more sensitive to my position.”</p> <p>This comes after the prosecutors failed to tell the Magistrate that they had agreed to allow White to appear in court via video link in May, without the court's consent.</p> <p>The Crown prosecutor defended her actions by saying that she asked him to surrender his passport to mitigate the risk of flight. </p> <p>“With the more serious charge now being faced, there is a heightened risk that he would leave the jurisdiction and not face court,”  she explained. </p> <p>“Those two new conditions are now appropriate.”</p> <p>While the police officer's defence lawyer added that “He has no intention of fleeing the jurisdiction," and agreed to the additional bail conditions “to facilitate the speedy resolution”. </p> <p>White will return to court in February next year. </p> <p>Nowland's family members released a statement via their lawyer after the proceedings on Wednesday. </p> <p>“The family does not wish to comment further on the criminal process at this time given the extremely serious nature of the charge against Mr White, who continues to be a sworn NSW police officer,” the statement read. </p> <p>NSW Police confirmed that White remained suspended from duty with pay.</p> <p><em>Images: ABC News South East NSW: Floss Adams/ News.com.au</em></p>

Legal

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Major fuel savings for seniors

<p>Major fuel savings are now on offer for over 1.6 million seniors over the age of 60 across New South Wales, as the government adds fuel discounts to the list of benefits for NSW Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card holders. </p> <p>Senior card holders will be eligible for the new United Discount Fuel Card, which offers savings of 4c per litre at participating service stations, which can be used once daily for single transactions up to 150 litres. </p> <p>Anyone over 60 can become cardholders of the Seniors Card and Senior Savers Card, which allows them to save on fuel, energy, insurance, cybersecurity, pet adoption and vet services, and groceries.</p> <p>United Petrol head of loyalty Judith Russell said that after they've signed up for the card, “members then need to show and scan this United fuel discount card at the time of purchase at participating United service stations to save the four cents per litre.”</p> <p>The Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison shared their excitement to launch this discount. </p> <p>"We’re excited to launch the program’s first fuel discount with United Petroleum, an Australian-owned business offering discounts to members at the bowser.”</p> <p>“This brand-new discount has been added to the wealth of Seniors Card savings to help keep more money in seniors’ pockets and ease price pressure at the pump.”</p> <p>For those who want to apply for the fuel card, they can <a href="https://www.unitedpetroleum.com.au/fuel-discount-cards/our-partners/nsw-seniors-card/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sign up here </a>for a digital or plastic card, and find out the participating service stations here. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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“I was wrong”: Dominic Perrottet admits Catholic faith played a role in gambling reform


<p>Dominic Perrottet has changed his tune. After reflecting on his decision to implement a new gambling policy, he admits his Catholic faith played a role.</p> <p>Last week ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis made a comment claiming the premier’s “conservative Catholic gut” was linked to his decision to implement cashless poker machines across all venues in NSW. As a result, the ClubsNSW board decided to fire Landis.<br />Perrottet responded to the comment and claimed his views were “not informed by the fact that I’m Catholic.”</p> <p>Since then, Perrottet has changed his mind. He admitted that the decision was influenced by his Catholic faith. “Certainly my upbringing and my faith has had an impact,” the premier said.<br />“I don’t think that is something I should be ashamed of.”</p> <p>When asked why this policy is such a priority for him, he reflected on his time as NSW treasurer, “We were receiving revenue and profit from people’s misery.”</p> <p>Perrottet has been the state’s premier since October 2021, dealing with the state opening up after COVID and the Omnicron wave. “I haven't got everything right in the time I've been in politics, but you learn from it,” he said.</p> <p>“Politics is not easy. It's difficult and there will always be the external events and mistakes get made.”</p> <p>If Perrottet is re-elected this year, the gambling law overhaul will begin early next year with the roll-out of cashless poker machines.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Legal

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Damning first draft of Clare Nowland statement found

<p dir="ltr">New documents have brought forth allegations that the NSW police force removed key elements in their initial statement regarding the death of 95-year-old Clare Nowland. </p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/clare-nowland-dies-officer-charged">The mother-of-eight passed away</a> in Cooma Hospital on May 24, one week after <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/furious-response-to-95-yr-old-woman-tasered-by-police">she was tasered by a police officer</a> at her Yallambee Lodge aged care facility. Nowland had reportedly been approaching law enforcement with her walking frame and a steak knife when she was tasered, before she fell backwards and fractured her skull. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of the incident, Police Commissioner Karen Webb reportedly approved a 71-word press release - one that made no mention of the knife, the taser, or even Nowland’s movements. </p> <p dir="ltr">“A critical incident investigation has been launched after an elderly woman sustained injuries during an interaction with police at an aged care facility in the state’s south today,” it read. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The 95-year-old woman was taken to Cooma District Hospital, where her condition is being monitored. A critical incident team will now investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. That investigation will be subject to independent review.</p> <p dir="ltr">“No further details are available at this time.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, ‘new’ documents - obtained by the Australian Associated Press under Freedom of Information laws - have revealed that there was another draft, 100 words longer than the released statement, that mentions those key aspects of the case. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to the<em> Sydney Morning Herald</em> - who obtained the internal emails regarding the statement - that draft had been sent to NSW Police Executive Director of Public Affairs Elizabeth Deegan for review, but had been cut by more than half mere hours later, leading the <em>SMH</em> to run with the headline "<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/top-nsw-cops-covered-up-tasering-of-clare-nowland-20230621-p5di67.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Top NSW cops covered up Tasering of Clare Nowland</a>".</p> <p dir="ltr">The original 171-word document made mention of the reports that a Yallambee Lodge resident had a knife, and noted that two officers had arrived to find a woman “still armed … in a small room”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Police and paramedics attempted to speak to the woman; however, all instructions were ignored,” it continued. “When she stood up and moved towards officers, a taser was deployed by a constable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It explained that the woman had received treatment from paramedics at the scene, leaving room for information on her condition. It even mentioned that the officer who had deployed the taser was under review.</p> <p dir="ltr">Commissioner Webb defended the decision to edit their original draft while speaking to 2GB’s Ben Fordham, denying that the police force had hidden anything when she told him that “early in the investigation it was necessary for us to make sure that the family were aware of what the circumstances were.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Mrs Nowland has a large family and we didn’t want that family to hear on the radio on TV what had happened to their mum, and so we had to be a bit sensitive to that, and when we were able to talk about it we did.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She added that it was “a very sensitive matter”, and that it was an “unusual” circumstance with everyone seeking answers, but that “it’s appropriate we think about and respect that family, and certainly they deserve that.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was important that the family were informed of the situation in a factual manner before we went public on it - I think that’s very necessary and I’m sure that family appreciates that now.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: 9News / Nine</em></p>

Legal

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Sweet reason for Ray Hadley's big property purchase

<p dir="ltr">2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley has purchased a stunning Central Coast property with his wife, Sophie. </p> <p dir="ltr">The seaside retreat is situated on the Bouddi Peninsula in New South Wales, right on the water’s edge of Pretty Beach, and boasts impressive views across Brisbane Water - views that a balcony accessed by the living, kitchen, and dining space makes the most of.</p> <p dir="ltr">The property has five bedrooms, allowing plenty of space for Hadley and Sophie to host their visiting family members  - and most importantly, their grandkids. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hadley, who currently resides in the northwest of Sydney, has four children with five grandchildren from them. And, in happy news for the family, another on the way. </p> <p dir="ltr">He regularly provides his radio listeners with updates on the growing brood, with a focus on the youngest generation - all of them five and under - who mean the entire world to him. </p> <p dir="ltr">As he told <em>9Honey</em>, “​​before I had grandkids five years ago, mates would say, 'you won't believe the difference it makes' ... it's basically changed my life.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Five years ago I had none, now I've got five and another one on the way. They basically are my life.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I just adore them, every one of them, and they've all got different personalities, they're all different people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He went on to share that the youngest is learning to walk and talk, while the others are prepping for school, with his eldest granddaughter even going so far as to ask him not to work, and to instead come along for her first ever school drop-off. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Just the fact that she asked me to do it made me feel 10-foot tall,” he shared.</p> <p dir="ltr">And the new property will give him the chance to spend more time with them, serving as a midway point for sleepovers, after years of the radio host travelling up the M1 from Sydney to be with them.</p> <p dir="ltr">It isn’t the first time Hadley has dipped his toes into the real estate market, either, with the 68 year old having downsized from his acreage after he turned 66, moving for the first time since the mid-1990s.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home isn’t even his first coastal retreat, with Hadley having snapped up a property on the Gold Coast in 2016, and planning to make an upgrade once again at Main Beach.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though for the time being, he may be a little busy settling into his new home, and maybe even treating himself and Sophie to a night out at their friend John Singleton’s nearby eatery.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: realestate.com.au, Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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Can you lend a paw this tax time to help cats in need?

<p>With a proud reputation of caring for cats for more than 60 years, the Cat Protection Society of NSW runs Sydney’s only no-kill shelter just for cats, as well as providing feline welfare programs to help cats and the people who love them. </p> <p>Cat Protection began in 1958 as a small group of people dedicated to reducing the number of street cats and while our organisation has grown over the years, our vision remains the same; that every cat deserves a loving and responsible home.</p> <p>Over the years, Cat Protection has helped literally hundreds of thousands of cats, kittens, and people. We’ve led the way in setting the standards for best-practice feline sheltering, and our health and welfare services extend far beyond our adoption centre. And while technology means we can offer a great range of free cat care resources online, we’ve never lost our human touch and we still help thousands of people every year with advice and tips on cat care by phone or in-person, at no cost. </p> <p>Our subsidised desexing, vaccination and microchipping programs promote cat health and welfare in the community and our newest program, Adopt-a-Stray, offers a complete and affordable package for those who wish to fully welcome a street cat into their heart and home. </p> <p>What sets us apart from many other animal shelters is our holistic approach to each individual cat or human client. Cats are not given a time limit, although most are adopted within days or weeks. Every cat is individually assessed and provided with a care plan to meet their unique needs. If they need complex surgery, allergy trials or behavioural interventions our highly qualified team will work with veterinarians and specialists to ensure the cat gets everything they need to set them on the path to living their best life.</p> <p>A kind person found Snake, a four-week-old sickly orphaned kitten. In addition to cat flu, our vets identified corneal scarring in his right eye, a blocked tear duct, and an adhesion on his eyelid restricting the normal movement of his third eyelid. Treatment resolved the flu and improved his eye, but Snake will live with limited vision in that eye. This has not dampened his playfulness or zest for life.</p> <p>As well as poor physical health, orphaned kittens miss out on the important lessons of being a cat from their mum and siblings, and this can lead to behavioural issues. Where we can, we will make sure such kittens get to join a stepfamily, but in cases such as Snake’s, illness means that isn’t always possible. It is then up to our human team to work with these little ones to help them learn to navigate the world with good manners!</p> <p>In contrast, Banjo had all the behavioural benefits of his brother but alas at seven weeks of age Banjo weighed only 560 grams while his brother Clancy weighed 900 grams!  </p> <p>Banjo was diagnosed with a rare form of congenital hypothyroidism. Because his condition was diagnosed early, his prognosis is very good. He was started on a medication called Thyroxine and went back into foster care so that we could monitor his progress and adjust the dose of his medication as necessary with follow-up blood tests. After six weeks in foster care, Banjo graduated to the adoption centre. He will need to be on Thyroxine for the rest of his life, but that didn’t daunt his new family who’ve told us Banjo is now thriving in his loving forever home.</p> <p>From individualised TLC and veterinary care for every cat and kitten, to helping human clients resolve cat challenges (from furniture scratching to strata bans) and strategic research and advocacy on behalf of people and cats, Cat Protection’s impact is so much greater than our budget. </p> <p>As an independent registered charity for cats, we’re dependent on donations and bequests to do our work. We are compliant, open and transparent; on our website you can see our audited annual reports for details of what we do and what it costs.</p> <p>We have a strict “no harassment” fundraising policy which means under no circumstances will your information be sold on, and we do not employ pressure-tactics or door-to-door solicitations. </p> <p>We don’t spend money paying fundraising companies to ring you at dinner time asking for money or send you five-page long letters insisting you give more. And we never will. </p> <p>Donations are invested in helping our feline friends and nurturing the unique bond between cats and people. Your generosity will mean that we can continue to help thousands of cats and people each year.</p> <p>If you can lend a paw, please <a href="https://www.givenow.com.au/catprotectionsocietynsw" target="_blank" rel="noopener">make your tax-deductible donation here</a>! </p> <p>For general advice on cat care and everything feline, call the Cat Protection Society of NSW on 02 9557 4818 or visit <a href="https://catprotection.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">catprotection.org.au</a>  </p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with the <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Cat Protection Society of NSW.</span></em></p>

Family & Pets

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5 of the best things to do in Port Stephens

<p>From magnificent coastline to whale watching and sunsets that will take your breath away, these are five of the best things to do in Port Stephens. Be warned: After reading this you’ll want to hop in the car immediately.</p> <p><strong>1. Camp in luxury safari tent (pictured above)</strong></p> <p>If you’re looking for that up-close-and-personal-with-nature feel that goes hand in hand with camping, but don’t want to go with out the luxuries of a resort, the safari tents at <a href="http://www.twsr.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Thou Walla Sunset Retreat</span></strong></a> are for you. Labelled as “Glamping Safari Tents,” the experience is just that – camping with all of the glamourous trimmings. From the king-size bed to the large flat-screen TV, you can expect all the features that you get from a luxury hotel room, including an electric fireplace, fridge and a big bathroom with a shower and toilet – they are, however, eco friendly with a few different bells and whistles. The tents themselves are located a stone’s throw from the marina and the calm waters of Soliders Point, which runs alongside one length of the site. Located around 15 minutes from Nelson Bay, the award-winning retreat is home to villas as well as the safari tents. If you are adverse to noises in the night, you may want to pack you earplugs to drown out the noisy birds – but apparently they don’t make a ruckus all year round and in any case, the piece des resistance that is the amazing sunset, enjoyed from your tent’s deck with a tipple in hand, by far makes up for the noise. It is absolute bliss.</p> <p><strong>2. Hike up to Tomaree Head</strong></p> <p>Tomaree Head sits 161 metres above Port Stephens and offers the most incredible views of the region. The track to the summit is just over two kilometres and will take around an hour, but you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views over Zenith, Wreck and Box beaches, the lighthouse and WWII gun placements, Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands, and potentially even whales or dolphins. There’s a picnic table at the top, so bring your lunch for a meal with a view.</p> <p><strong>3. Go whale watching</strong></p> <p>Every year, thousands of humpback and southern right whales make their way past Port Stephens during their annual migration. At this time of year, the southern migration has begun and you’ll see many mothers with newborn calves returning from the breeding grounds. There are plenty of spots to watch the whales from shore, but for the real experience you need to be out on the water. <a href="http://www.imaginecruises.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Imagine Cruises</span></strong></a> runs whale-watching tours every day from May to November. You’ll be sailing on a 16-metre catamaran as the whales swim right alongside or breach from the water in a stunning display of aquatic acrobatics.</p> <p><strong>4. Spend the day at the beach</strong></p> <p>Port Stephens is surrounded by more than 20 golden sandy beaches so enjoy a classic stop on the shore. There’s a beach for just about every kind of water activity you could ask for, from swimming and surfing to snorkelling, parasailing, fishing and jetskiing. Divers can explore the sea caves and shipwrecks of Fly Point Marine Park. Or you can just spread out your towel, pick up a good book and soak up some sun.</p> <p><strong>5. Have dinner by the water</strong></p> <p>The Port Stephens region is famous for its food and wine, and one of the best spots to taste it is the <a href="http://littlebeachboathouse.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Little Beach Boathouse</span></strong></a>. The restaurant sits right on the water at Nelson Bay – but set away from the main shops on the marina. Styled like a cool, breezy beach house, the menu features fresh local produce like rock oysters, fish and prawns, accompanied by wines from the nearby Hunter Valley and Murray Brewery Beers brewed in Port Stephens. Arrive early for dinner to watch the sunset with a glass of bubbles.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links</strong></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/09/10-of-the-most-incredible-landmarks-in-australia/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>10 of the most incredible landmarks in Australia</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/08/10-images-showcase-the-beauty-of-tasmanian-wilderness/"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>10 images showcase the beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness</strong></span></em></a></p> <p><a href="../travel/international/2016/08/12-aerial-photos-showcasing-south-australias-beauty/"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">12 aerial photos showcasing South Australia’s beauty</span></em></strong></a></p>

Domestic Travel

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Archibald prize finalists unveiled

<p dir="ltr"> The 2023 Archibald prize’s 57 finalists have been revealed by the Art Gallery of NSW. </p> <p dir="ltr">With portraits by an entire host of exceptionally talented artists, the award - as well as its $100,000 prize - will be presented to the best portrait of a person who is “distinguished in art, letters, science or politics” that has been painted by a resident of Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 2023 competition also made history with its batch of finalists, as for the first time ever, more works by women were selected than works by men - 30 to 27. In total, the competition drew in an impressive 949 submissions. </p> <p dir="ltr">All three competitions - Archibald, Wynne, and Sulman - also saw a record number of entries and finalists by Aboriginal artists, at 101 entries and 38 finalist pieces. </p> <p dir="ltr">And while the overall winners won’t be announced until May 5, the Archibald Packing Room Prize 2023 winner has been revealed: a portrait of comedian Cal Wilson by Andrea Huelin.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can’t tell you how happy I am to receive this,” the artist confessed after learning of her win. “It means such a lot to me as an artist from a regional centre to win.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Packing Room Prize was selected by a team of three expert packers with 19 years of experience between them, and for the first time included two women - Monica Rudhar and Alexis Wildman - alongside Timothy Dale. </p> <p dir="ltr">The prize, which began in 1991 and is worth $3000, is referred to as ‘the kiss of death’ by artists when it comes to selecting the overall Archibald winner. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Andrea’s work jumped out at us as soon as it arrived,” they said of their selection. “Cal’s been such a mainstay on Australian television for two decades.”</p> <p dir="ltr">As Michael Brand - director of the Art Gallery of NSW - explained, the decision had been reached “equally” by the trio. </p> <p dir="ltr">Many other well-known faces were captured across the 57 finalists, with portraits of everyone from Cold Chisel’s Don Walker to Aboriginal activist Archie Roach, Silverchair’s Daniel Jones, NRL’s Latrell Mitchell, politicians Yvonne Weldon and Alex Greenwich, and actor Sam Neill. </p> <p dir="ltr">And for anyone who would like to admire the paintings in person, the finalists of all three competitions will be on display at the gallery from May 6 to September 3.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, all 57 portraits are available to <a href="https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/archibald/2023/">view on the Art Gallery of NSW’s website</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Art Gallery of NSW </em></p>

Art

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The truth about ‘illegal’ car snacks revealed

<p>Be it a long haul trip between towns, a coastal getaway, or an early morning Saturday sports run to the local oval, drivers all across Australia have found themselves steering to the drive-through or reaching in the Esky for a much-needed snack. </p> <p>And while rumours have swirled for years that such an act could put hungry drivers behind bars, they don’t have to fear any longer. Road rules may differ from state to state, but at the end of the drive, the answer remains the same: it isn’t illegal to eat while driving in Australia. </p> <p>There are, of course, various conditions that come along with the ruling, and most circle back to whether or not a driver is in complete control over their vehicle at the time of snacking. </p> <p>For example, in New South Wales, if you are found to have lost control of your vehicle due to eating, police officers have the power to impose a fine of $481 and three demerit points. </p> <p>In Victoria, there is no specific rule that prevents drivers from digging in on their drive. However, they can still receive a careless driving charge if eating is found to have a negative impact on either their concentration or their control over their vehicle. This charge comes with a penalty of $444 and - like New South Wales - three demerit points, as well as a maximum of 12 court penalty units if the driver is found guilty by a magistrate. </p> <p>The state of Queensland follows suit - it isn’t illegal there either, though “distracted driving” remains a real threat, with research even determining that eating can be just as dangerous as texting while behind the wheel. And drivers found to be travelling without control over their vehicles can face a fine of up to $575. While this is larger than either New South Wales or Victoria’s financial penalty, the demerit point cost remains the same at three. </p> <p>As a spokesperson for Queensland Transport and Main Roads told <em>Drive</em>, “a driver must always have proper control of their vehicle and drive with care and attention for the safety of other road users.</p> <p>"While there are no specific laws prohibiting a driver from eating while driving, it is up to the driver to ensure they remain in proper control of their vehicle and sufficiently alert to the road environment."</p> <p>And for drivers in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia, <em>Drive</em> have reported that the message essentially remains the same. While there are no rules that specifically prohibit behind-the-wheel snacking, a driver can - and will - face penalties if they are found to be demonstrating poor control of their vehicle.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Only days left for one Aussie state's residents to make $1000 claim

<p dir="ltr">New South Wales residents who faced the brunt of July 2022’s floods have only one week remaining to claim their $1000 lump sum payment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the Disaster Recovery Payment [DRA] - of $1000 per adult and $400 per child - as he set off to tour some of the hardest hit regions in July 2022. The news gave some hope to those who had lost everything in the disaster that swept through their homes, and the chance to secure the likes of clothing, food, and temporary shelter.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the peak of the devastation, over 100 evacuation orders - amounting to roughly 85,000 people - had been issued across the state, with thousands of properties inundated, with SES crews responding to over 370 flood rescues, and a frightening 7600 help requests. </p> <p dir="ltr">People living in the local government areas [LGAs] that were directly impacted by the floods are eligible, although certain criteria must be met. Service Australia outlines that you (or a dependent child to whom you’re the principal carer) must be an Australian citizen or hold an eligible visa, be in an eligible LGA, and must be claiming the payment for the first time. </p> <p dir="ltr">Those whose homes suffered major damage due to the floods and required either repair or replacement in certain areas, as well as those whose “major assets” - the likes of caravans, vehicles, water tanks, and sheds - were also in need of repair or replacement are eligible for the payment as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">And residents who were seriously injured, or had an immediate family member (who is/was an Australian citizen) die or go missing in the floods, are also eligible. </p> <p dir="ltr">Furthermore, individuals who lost income as a direct result of the floods may be able to get the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment [AGDRP]. If this is the case, they are then also able to claim the DRA.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for which LGAs the payment covers, residents from the following who felt the floods’ impact should look into it: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Cumberland, Dungog, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kempsey, Kiama, Lake Macquarie, Lithgow, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Nambucca Valley, Narromine, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Oberon, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, Randwick, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Strathfield, Sutherland, The Hills, Upper Lachlan, Warren, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly, and Wollongong. </p> <p dir="ltr">New South Wales residents who are eligible only have until April 5 to make their claim. To check your eligibility status, <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/who-can-get-new-south-wales-floods-july-2022-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment?context=62849">head to Service Australia</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Go Floyd! Huge support for 9-year-old heading to World Dwarf Games

<p>One multi-talented nine-year-old boy from Northern New South Wales is hard at work preparing to represent Australia at the World Dwarf Games. </p> <p>Floyd Morley was born with a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia - a condition considered to be one of the most common types of short-limbed dwarfism, said to affect approximately one in every 25,000 people. </p> <p>His parents - mother Jade and father Ross - were initially concerned about the challenges their son may face in life, considering everything from potential health conditions to bullying.</p> <p>“At the beginning, we were really worried about all his health concerns,” Jade explained to <em>A Current Affair</em>’s Leila McKinnon, “we were worried that he was going to get picked on, we worried that he was going to get bullied.” </p> <p>However, all the pair truly wanted was for everyone to “celebrate him. He’s the best. He is the best kid.”</p> <p>After too much time spent unable to catch anyone playing tag, or finishing behind his peers in school races, Floyd was left feeling “very frustrated” and “very lonely.” </p> <p>“I didn’t really realise how much it affected him,” Jade admitted. </p> <p>“I didn’t really feel that confident,” Floyd explained, “of playing soccer. I only just took to surfing and handball.” </p> <p>And now, everyone will have the chance to see that Floyd is the best at what he does, with the nine-year-old’s sights set on competing in Germany alongside his friends and teammates. </p> <p>It was a convention for short-statured people that changed things, giving Floyd the opportunity he needed and deserved to find his confidence and joy in what he was doing.</p> <p>"He comes running up to me and he has had this beam of light and he was like, 'Mum, I caught them in tag'," Jade said of that pivotal moment. </p> <p>"No one was slowing down for him to catch them … then he participated in soccer and basketball and he was like, 'oh my God, I'm good at this'."</p> <p>As Floyd’s pride for himself and what he could accomplish grew, and his connection to those who were like him, so did Jade’s - as she had said, “I just want him to be proud and to have that real soul about him that’s like ‘I am proud of who I am’” - with his mother also confessing that it had been a “beautiful experience.” </p> <p>When asked what the upcoming World Dwarf Games meant to him, Floyd wasted no time in declaring that he “felt really proud of myself, I felt really great, I couldn’t wait to meet all these people that were just like me.”</p> <p>The games - which take place every four years in Germany - are run by volunteers, and the Australian team rely on fundraising and donations for their financial assistance. Funds go towards training costs for the athletes, as well as travel to and from the games, and are vital for budding talents such as young Floyd.</p> <p>Short Statured People of Australia set up a fundraiser for the 2023 competition, and their page has seen a flood of love and support for Floyd and his team, after Jade admitted that “we're looking for multiple sponsors or one really big sponsor. We've got shirts, we want to put sponsors' names on them."</p> <p>“You deserve the world Floyd,” wrote one donor. “Keep shining your magic!” </p> <p>“Go Floyd! And all the amazing guys and girls participating in the games,” said another. “What an inspiration you all are. I will be following these games all the way.” </p> <p>“Go Team Australia! Can’t wait for My Sophia to join you in the future!!” said one proud supporter.</p> <p>And as another put it, “way to go Floyd. You’re a true inspiration of your parents.” </p> <p><em>Images: A Current Affair / Nine</em></p>

Caring

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Australia’s top towns revealed

<p dir="ltr">A study has compared 752 small Australian towns and crowned the 36 at the top of the pack. </p> <p dir="ltr">The study was <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/australias-best-towns-kiama-margaret-river-shoalhaven-among-the-top-places-to-live/news-story/695405e2e1787d67e64a93495a6cb8e6">published by <em>The Australian</em></a>, and saw demographer Bernard Salt consider criteria such as unemployment, diversity, median income, technical skill, and education across the 752 towns in his mission to declare the best of the best in each Australian state and territory. </p> <p dir="ltr">More specifically, Salt looked at towns that: </p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Earn more than $1,282 per a week household median income</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Less than 5.1 per cent unemployment</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 15 per cent attained university education</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 36 per cent with technical (trade) skill</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 12 per cent workforce owner/manager</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">No less than 14 per cent born overseas</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">At least 17 per cent volunteer</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">At least 14 per cent provide unpaid care e.g., for example to a relative</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 59 per cent have no long-term health condition</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">More than 6.5 hours per a week in unpaid domestic housework</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Salt’s findings revealed a town in each state and territory that was “drawn from a list of 36 finalists that survive most of the filters”, and ultimately declared to be a step above the rest. </p> <p dir="ltr">For Queensland, Tamborine Mountain came out on top. </p> <p dir="ltr">For the Northern Territory, it was Nhulunbuy. </p> <p dir="ltr">For South Australia, Mount Barker. </p> <p dir="ltr">Western Australia, Dunsborough. </p> <p dir="ltr">Victoria, Bright. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tasmania, Legana. </p> <p dir="ltr">And last but not least, Kiama took the trophy for New South Wales, as well as bragging rights as “the standout overall.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“In the modern era, say the 2020s and beyond, I think that small-town Australia, as well as big-city Australia, needs skills, training, entrepreneurial energy and a measure of diversity to deliver opportunity to residents,” said the founder of The Demographics Group.</p> <p dir="ltr">“What this exercise shows is that across the continent Australians want more or less the same thing when it comes to living in a small town,” Salt went on, “proximity to a capital or major regional city; a tree-change or a sea-change environment; or, better still, all three criteria jammed within a single location offering views and amenity.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Australian people have spoken through their collective responses to the census,” he concluded. “Sea-change, tree-change, big-city access and a place of their own within which they can potter about and steadily make improvements, while also volunteering, caring, and making a contribution to the local community. That is the essence of small-town Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And of course if you disagree with the metrics and the logic of how the top towns were selected, then you are free to <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/top-towns">jump on to the website</a>, access the model, switch around the metrics and come up with your own version of Australia’s top towns. Hours of fun for the demographically inclined.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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"This is about looking after the vulnerable": Major gambling reform unveiled

<p>NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet plans to spend $340 million to overhaul the NSW gambling industry in what he describes as the largest social, community and law enforcement reforms in the state’s history.</p> <p>In order to stop problem gambling and eliminate money laundering in pubs and clubs, NSW is set to roll out cashless poker machines.</p> <p>There will be an introduction of mandatory cashless gambling across all venues in NSW. Any new machines purchased are required to be cashless and the roll out of the digital machines will begin early next year.</p> <p>The plan is for poker machines in NSW to be entirely cashless by 2028. It is an enormous transition. “I’ll work to ensure no-one is left behind, that no jobs are lost,” Perrottet said.</p> <p>The plan will provide no-interest loans for small and medium venues to assist them with the roll out of the cashless technology. It also provides a one-off $50,000 “diversification” grant for venues to invest in new income.</p> <p>Gamblers will also be able to set a daily limit for themselves, which will be locked for seven days in order to stop spending more than planned, and they will only be able to use money from their personal bank account; credit cards will no longer be accepted.</p> <p>“Today, we fix money laundering, we fix problem gambling and we support pubs and clubs across New South Wales,” Perrottet said.</p> <p>The reform is the result of a report released by the NSW Police Commission which had recommended many of the changes in attempt to stop money laundering.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty </em></p>

Legal

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“It was a terrible mistake”: NSW premier admits to wearing Nazi costume

<p>NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has admitted in a televised press conference that he dressed up in a Nazi uniform at his 21st “fancy dress” themed birthday party.</p> <p>During the press conference, Mr Perrottet said he chose to make the public admission after being called by a colleague two days ago who said they knew about the costume.</p> <p>“When it was raised to me two days ago, I realised I needed to tell the truth and not someone else,” he told reporters.</p> <p>Mr Perrottet also revealed that no-one else at the party wore Nazi garb, and that his mother and father – who also attended the party – told him the next day that his choice of costume was “in poor taste”.</p> <p>In an interview with 2GB’s Chris O’Keefe on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Perrottet clarified he did not dress up as Adolf Hitler and did not wear a fake moustache.</p> <p>Mr Perrottet said that he was unaware whether any images existed of him wearing the costume, but that he wanted to address the “massive mistake”.</p> <p>He said he was “deeply ashamed” of the decision and apologised for the hurt it would cause the wider community: “I wish I could go back in time and do that day again.”</p> <p>The premier admitted he studied World War II history in school and had Jewish friends at 21 but says he was “naive” and did not realise the gravity of his actions.</p> <p>“It was a terrible mistake at that age in my life, I just did not understand the gravity and the hurt of what that uniform means to people not just in our state but around the country and around the world,” he continued.</p> <p>Mr Perrottet said he had considered addressing the incident several times in the past and was aware that it was important the revelation came from him to apologise for “the hurt and the pain this is going to cause”.</p> <p>“When it was raised with me I didn’t want this difficult truth of a grave and terrible mistake that I made at my 21st birthday party to be told by someone else,” he said.</p> <p>“I have grappled with this. It has been something that’s personally anguished me.”</p> <p>In response, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies posted a statement on their Facebook page and said they hoped the incident would “serve as a lesson” and reminder of the “abhorrent nature of the Nazi regime”. They also said Nazi symbolism should “not to be taken lightly and dressing as a Nazi is not a joke”.</p> <p>“We appreciate that the Premier personally reached out to the Jewish community this afternoon to express his deep and sincere regret about his poor choice of costume as a young man,” the post reads.</p> <p>“The Premier has been a staunch supporter and friend of the NSW Jewish community throughout his time in public life. In particular, as Treasurer, he ensured the Sydney Jewish Museum received funding to ensure that it could continue educating the community about the Holocaust and the horrors of the Nazi era.</p> <p>“The Premier has acknowledged this, recognising that wearing the costume was offensive and will distress many in our community.”</p> <p>The premier has also said he has spoken with Jewish leaders and would continue to apologise to the community.</p> <p>“I’ve become a very passionate supporter of the Jewish community,” he said.</p> <p>The revelation comes just months after Mr Perrottet spoke out strongly against a group of soccer fans who were spotted throwing Nazi salutes at the Australia Cup final, saying there should be lifetime bans for the act.</p> <p>“What we saw the other day was terrible. It was absolutely horrendous,” he said in October.</p> <p>“It has no place, not just at sporting games, but anywhere in our state.”</p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

News

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NSW Police officer who drowned is remembered

<p>A NSW Police officer, who died on New Year's Day while heroically saving his 14-year-old son from a rip at Bogola Beach, near Narooma, has been remembered.</p> <p>Sergeant Peter Stone had been a member of NSW Police for 22 years. Most recently, he has worked on specialist rescue operations in Sydney's Blue Mountains.</p> <p>"Sergeant Stone was well-liked by all those who knew him, and we are not surprised by his selfless actions," NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said in a statement.</p> <p>"His death is a tragic loss to the NSW Police Force and my thoughts are with Peter's wife, family, friends and colleagues during this terribly sad time."</p> <p>Blue Mountains Police Area Commander Superintendent Don Faulds described Stone as an "exceptional man, a brilliant operator".</p> <p>"Peter had dedicated his professional life to helping the community and had a real passion for rescue operations, particularly here in the rugged mountain terrain," Faulds said.</p> <p>"He was always quick – if not first – to offer his help or assistance around the command and his colleagues considered him a mate.</p> <p>"As we mourn our mate, we acknowledge the loss of a husband, father and hero.”</p> <p>Lifesavers rushed to the beach in an inflatable rescue boat at 1:30 pm but despite giving CPR, Stone couldn't be saved.</p> <p>He'd been on extended leave from the force and was on holiday with his family when he rushed to the rescue of his son, who was caught in a "substantial" rip.</p> <p>"He was able to push his son out of the rip, he was then taken further out to sea in the rip," Acting Inspector Paul Hoyer said.</p> <p>On Tuesday, NSW Police launched an appeal in the sergeant's honour to raise money for his family.</p> <p><em>Image: NSW Police</em></p>

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