Domestic Travel

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Discover the delights of rural Queensland

<p>WYZA<sup>®</sup><span> </span>reader Phil Hawkes shares his experience of exploring outback Queensland - from Quilpie to Eromanga.</p> <p><strong>"There’s nothing to do in Quilpie!"</strong></p> <p>That’s what several friends who have been outback all the way to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.queensland.com/en-us/destination%20information/birdsville" target="_blank"><span>Birdsville</span></a><span> </span>and beyond, said when I told them my plans for a road trip from Brisbane. “It’s a boring highway getting to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.queensland.com/en-us/destination%20information/quilpie" target="_blank"><span>Quilpie</span></a><span> </span>and there’s nothing exciting happening except for the counter teas at the old Imperial Hotel,” they added.</p> <p>That seemed to be the sum of their own experience, not too promising. Nevertheless we decided to give it a go and the result was anything but dull. If you throw nearby Eromanga and then Windorah into the mix, there’s so much to see and do in that area that we’d willingly go back again.</p> <p>First, Quilpie, which locals describes as “Simply Unique”. That may be a stretch but this small town in the Channel Country has a definite friendly vibe and all the essential services for the traveller. There’s even a couple of coffee shops with good coffee, which is a pleasant surprise if you’ve been drinking only Nescafe in your caravan!</p> <p>Quilpie is famous for its boulder opal mining industry and there’s a beautiful altar at St. Finbarr’s Church made from a collage of boulder opals. You can also go fossicking and maybe get lucky. It’s a fun thing to do and a good reason to stay around for a few days.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341363/opal-alta-at-st-finbarrs-quilpie_500x333.jpg" alt="Opal -Alta -at -St -Finbarrs -Quilpie" width="500" height="333" /><br />The altar at St Finbarrs is covered with stunning opals</em></p> <p>The Heritage Hotel in the main street is being painstakingly restored by owner Troy Minnett who also runs the nearby caravan park. The hotel rooms are comfortable with aircon, flat TV and a decent shower, and there’s a convivial bar as well as a wide verandah overlooking the street. Troy can also book you on an Eromanga Tour to see the dinosaur fossils, or on one of two mail runs to see the “real outback”. Highly recommended.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341319/phil-hawkes-blady-top-wyza-com-au_500x333.jpg" alt="Phil -hawkes -blady -top -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="333" /><br /><em>Phil Hawkes hit the road to explore something different from the typical Queensland landscape<br /></em></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="http://flyingarts.org.au/gallery-location/quilpie-museum-gallery-visitor-information-centre/" target="_blank"><span>The Quilpie Visitor Information Centre, Gallery and Museum</span></a><span> </span>has daily town tours which take you to Baldy Top lookout and Lake Houdraman with its abundant bird life. Upcoming events include the Polocrosse Carnival 25-26 June; the Quilpie Fringe Festival 1-2 July; and the Quilpie Show and Rodeo on 10 September. Troy says that visitors often stop in Quilpie for a night or two and then stay for a week. There is plenty to do!</p> <p>Next,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.australianexplorer.com/eromanga.htm" target="_blank"><span>Eromanga</span></a>. It’s just 108 kms from Quilpie and has suddenly become famous because of an extraordinary find. . . dinosaur fossils from 95-98 million years ago. These include the bones of the biggest dinosaur yet discovered in Australia, a Titanosaur named Cooper after his final resting place in the Cooper Basin.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341320/phil-hawkes-royal-hotel-wyza-com-au_500x333.jpg" alt="Phil -hawkes -royal -hotel -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="333" /><br /><em>The Royal Hotel in Eromanga holds a rustic charm<br /></em></p> <p>To add to the prehistoric mystery, at nearby Eulo there have been discoveries of megasaurs, large creatures such as Kenny the Diprotodon. These are all displayed in a brand new building, the Eromanga Natural History Museum which is an absolute must if you’re out that way. Robyn Mackenzie, whose son made the first dinosaur discovery, is extremely knowledgeable and together with her passionate staff will enthral you with a guided tour.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In Eromanga there’s also the fascinating Natural History Centre and also the Royal Hotel for a counter lunch with the chance to meet colourful locals such as “Giggles” who is an opal miner and a great storyteller. Eromanga is a real outback gem.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="https://cdn.wyza.com.au/media/341321/phil-hawkes-giggles-wyza-com-au_500x333.jpg" alt="Phil -hawkes -giggles -wyza -com -au" width="500" height="333" /><br /><em> 'Giggles' is an opal miner and one of the friendly locals in Eromanga</em></p> <p>Last stop on the mostly unsealed road to Birdsville is<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.queensland.com/en-us/destination%20information/windorah" target="_blank"><span>Windorah</span></a><span> </span>another friendly, meet-the-locals kind of place. The Western Star Hotel is the social hub of the district and you’re welcome to introduce yourself to locals such as station owners and workers, a teacher, the local cop, an Indigenous elder and various blow-ins over lunch or if you’re lucky, an evening BBQ with excellent food.</p> <p>The Western Star has comfortable motel-style rooms and a camping area, and has won the “Best Outback Hotel” award for the last two years. Managers Marilyn and Ian Simpson exemplify true outback hospitality.</p> <p>Maureen and Helen at the Visitor Information Centre can arrange for local tours around Cooper’s Creek and the red sandhills, or get Jeff to take you out yabbying.</p> <p>And the Outback Store opposite the pub sells the best home-made relishes and preserves you’ll find anywhere. We tried Kim’s tomato relish and it’s almost worth a trip back to Windorah to get some more.<em><br /></em></p> <p>Seeing this beautiful part of the country has given us a taste of the real outback and we’re already thinking about the next trip, and the characters we’ll meet - including Cooper and Kenny.</p> <p><em>Written by Phil Hawkes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/discover-the-delights-of-rural-queensland.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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How countries can recycle more buildings

<p>More than <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118710">35 billion tonnes</a> of non-metallic minerals are extracted from the Earth every year. These materials mainly end up being used to build homes, schools, offices and hospitals. It’s a staggering amount of resources, and it’s only too likely to increase in the coming years as the global population continues to grow.</p> <p>Thankfully, the challenges of sustainable construction, industrial growth and the importance of resource efficiency are now clearly recognised by governments around the world and are now at the forefront of strategy and policy.</p> <p>A critical component of the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/securing-the-future-delivering-uk-sustainable-development-strategy">UK government’s sustainability strategy</a> concerns the way in which construction and demolition waste – CDW, as we call it in the trade – is managed. CDW comes from the construction of buildings, civil infrastructure and their demolition and is one of the heaviest waste streams generated in the world – 35% of the world’s landfill is made up of CDW.</p> <p>The EU’s <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/growth/content/eu-construction-and-demolition-waste-protocol-0_en">Waste Framework Directive</a>, which aims to recycle 70% of non-hazardous CDW by 2020, has encouraged the construction industry to process and reuse materials more sustainably. This directive, which favours preventive measures – for example, reducing their use in the first place – as the best approach to tackling waste, has been implemented in the UK since 2011. More specific to the construction industry, the <a href="https://www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk/berr-strategy-for-sustainable-construction">Sustainable Construction Strategy</a> also sets overall targets for diverting CDW from landfill.</p> <p>Policies worldwide recognise that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-a-circular-economy-29666">circular economy</a> approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.</p> <p>Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimising waste.</p> <p>It would change economic logic because it replaces production with sufficiency: reuse what you can, recycle what cannot be reused, repair what is broken, and re-manufacture what cannot be repaired. It will also help protect businesses against a shortage of resources and unstable prices, creating innovative business opportunities and efficient methods of producing and consuming.</p> <p><strong>Changing the mind-set</strong></p> <p>The mind-set of the industry needs to change towards the cleaner production of raw materials and better circular construction models. Technical issues – such as price, legal barriers and regulations – that stand in the way of the solutions being rolled out more widely must also be overcome through innovation.</p> <p>Materials scientists, for example, are currently investigating and developing products that use processed CDW for manufacturing building components – for example, by crushing up CDW and using it to make new building materials.</p> <p>Technical problems around the reuse of recycled materials should be solved through clever material formulations and detailed property investigations. For instance, the high water absorption rate in recycled aggregates causes durability problems in wall components. This is something that research must address.<span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/manager-engineer-check-control-automation-robot-1104780941" class="source"></a></span></p> <p>Moreover, it is illegal in the EU to use products that haven’t been certified for construction. This is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of the more widespread reuse of materials, particularly in a structural capacity. Testing the performance of materials for certification can be expensive, which adds to the cost of the material and may cancel out any savings made from reusing them.</p> <p>For the construction, demolition and waste management industries to remain competitive in a global marketplace, they must continue to develop and implement supply chain innovations that improve efficiency and reduce energy, waste and resource use. To achieve this, substantial research into smart, mobile and integrated systems is necessary.</p> <p>Radically advanced robotic artificial intelligence (AI) systems for sorting and processing CDW must also be developed. Many industries are facing an uncertain future and today’s technological limitations cannot be assumed to apply. The construction industry is likely to be significantly affected by the potential of transformative technologies such as AI, 3D printing, virtual/augmented reality and robotics. The application of such technologies presents both significant opportunities and challenges.</p> <p><strong>A model for the future</strong></p> <p>As the image below shows, we have developed a concept for an integrated, eco-friendly circular construction solution.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304567/original/file-20191201-156095-1h42cnl.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Advanced sensors and AI that can detect quickly and determine accurately what can be used among CDW and efficient robotic sorting could aid circular construction by vastly <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2018.05.005">improving the recycling of a wide range of materials</a>. The focus should be on the smart dismantling of buildings and ways of optimising cost-effective processes.</p> <p>The industry must also be inspired to highlight and prove the extraordinary potential of this new construction economy. We can drive this through a combination of creative design, focused academic research and applied technology, external industry engagement and flexible, responsive regulation.</p> <p>Only through a combination of efforts can we start to recycle more buildings, but I’m confident that with the right will – and the right investment – we can start to massively reduce the amount of materials we pull from the ground each year and move towards a truly sustainable future.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126563/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/seyed-ghaffar-500624">Seyed Ghaffar</a>, Associate Professor in Civil Engineering and Environmental Materials, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/brunel-university-london-1685">Brunel University London</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-we-can-recycle-more-buildings-126563">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Why so many are "exhausted" of the bushfires

<p>It is only mid-November but we have to walk early to avoid the heat. A northerly wind picks up clouds of dust and pollen, sending dirty billows across the paddocks. The long limbs of the gum trees groan overhead. Leaves and twigs litter the road. We stop to pull a branch off to the side.</p> <p>Not even summer yet and already we are facing our first catastrophic fire rating of the season. Normally, I don’t even worry much about fires until after Xmas. In the southern states, it is January and February that are the most dangerous.</p> <p>We live in the Adelaide Hills and never schedule holidays away from home in those months, even though it is hot and unpleasant. Now I’m worried we will have to cancel our pre-Christmas holiday plans. Winter will be the only time we can leave.</p> <p>We cross paths with a friend walking her dog. We share mutual exclamations about the weather and the risk and she reminds me about the neighbourhood fire group meeting. I should go. I know, better than most people, just how important and lifesaving they can be. But I just don’t want to.</p> <p>On the weekend, my husband had made us start the fire pump. It’s good to make sure it is all working, but I harbour a vague, irrational resentment at having to be taught how to do it every year. I know why. Mike has all that mechanical knowledge embedded in his brain like a primary instinct, but the information trickles out of mine like water through sand. I cannot rely on remembering what to do in an emergency.</p> <p>I know my limitations. I’ve attached a laminated, labelled diagram to the pump with numbered instructions on it. Leave nothing to chance. My daughters are running through the pump this year too – in case they find themselves home alone.</p> <p>Fuel on, throttle on, choke on.</p> <p>I worry that the pull cord will be too hard, but my youngest yanks at it with practised determination and the pump starts first go.</p> <p>Choke off, throttle up, water on.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305086/original/file-20191204-70122-1hrgimn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305086/original/file-20191204-70122-1hrgimn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">At the fire pump.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>The sprinklers fire up a dull, thudding rhythm around the verandah, spraying a mist over the garden and the cat while Mike runs through the finer details of protecting the pump with a cover and sprinkler in the event of a fire.</p> <p>I watch the garden soaking up the unexpected bounty and notice that some of the plants have gone a bit leggy. Their undergrowth is woody with age. I’ll have to cut that back, prune off the old growth. Some of them may have to go. Much as I love Australian plants and their waterwise habits, I can’t have many in the garden. Most of them are just too flammable.</p> <p>Everything we do here, every decision we make, is shaped by fire risk: the garden, the house, our holidays, our movements, where we park the cars, our power and our water supply, even our telecommunications.</p> <p>It is relentless. A friend of mine who went through Ash Wednesday said she was just tired, after 45 years, of the constant worry. She wanted to move somewhere safer. But she couldn’t bring herself to leave the bush.</p> <p>Perhaps it would be easier not to know the risk, to live in ignorance.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305110/original/file-20191204-70133-1nkvveo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305110/original/file-20191204-70133-1nkvveo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Though the worry is constant, many people can’t bring themselves to leave the bush.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>‘Too busy’</strong></p> <p>My local fire brigade had an open day a few weeks ago. The volunteers were busy for days, cleaning the shed, preparing the sausage sizzle. Lots of new people have moved into the area, mostly from the city, and chances are they don’t appreciate the risks of living in a bushfire-prone area.</p> <p>The brigade put up signs, distributed flyers and knocked on doors with invitations. On the open day, I wander over and ask how many people have turned up.</p> <p>“Oh about half a dozen,” says the captain brightly, before adding, “Well, maybe four actually. And only two of those are new.”</p> <p>Someone asks about a family who has moved into a property down the road, a younger couple with kids and a stay-at-home dad. Would he be interested in joining the fire brigade?</p> <p>“Said he was too busy. Maybe later when the kids are older.”</p> <p>There are more and more people moving into the high risk urban fringes of our major cities, where houses mingle with flammable vegetation. Fewer and fewer people have the time or inclination to join their local volunteer fire brigade.</p> <p>Many of them commute for work. They think fire-fighting is what happens when you ring 000. They don’t seem to realise that outside of the city, it is every community for itself. We have to fight our own fires.<a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305087/original/file-20191204-70144-4l4mik.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305087/original/file-20191204-70144-4l4mik.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Increasing population in the urban interface.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author provided.</span></span></p> <p>I’m watching the news filled with images of the fires in New South Wales. Traumatised householders stand in front of the twisted wreckage of their homes. Tumbled masses of brick and iron are all that remain of a house full of memories.</p> <p>“We never expected….”</p> <p>“I’ve never seen….”</p> <p>“I never imagined….”</p> <p>No matter how well prepared we are for fires, we always underestimate the scale of the loss – the photos, the family pets, the mementos and heirlooms, or simply the decades of work building a house, a property, a business.</p> <p>Looking at the television screen, I can’t help but notice the blackened tree trunks next to the ruins of their homes. I worked for a while in community safety for the Country Fire Authority when we lived in Victoria, researching and writing <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270275555_Coping_with_fire_Psychological_preparedness_for_bushfires">reports</a>, and later <a href="https://www.ligatu.re/book/a-future-in-flames/">a book</a>, on how people respond to bushfires.</p> <p>I’m well versed in the risk factors – proximity to native vegetation, fuel loads, clearance around houses, house construction and maintenance and most importantly of all, human behaviour.</p> <p><strong>Leaving is not easy</strong></p> <p>I used to live in a forest too, with mature eucalypts surrounding my house. We always knew this was a risk. We cleared the undergrowth and removed any “ladders” of vegetation that could allow ground fires to climb the trees. We removed new saplings growing close to the house.</p> <p>We did as much as we could to make our 1970s home fire safe: installing sprinklers, sealing the roof, covering all the timber fascias in metal cladding.</p> <p>In an average fire, we probably would have been fine. But when the Kinglake fires approached from the north on Black Saturday, I was no longer sure we would survive. A last-minute wind change swept the fire away from our home.</p> <p>Like many people, in and around the impact zone, the fires uprooted us and disconnected us. There were so many deaths, so many people and houses gone. And yet so many are still living in the same risky buildings, often rebuilt in the same risky locations. As if we never learn.</p> <p>We no longer felt so attached to our home. When the opportunity to leave arose, we took it. When we moved to South Australia, we still wanted to live in the bush, despite the fire risk. But it seemed impossible to find a home that had been built for bushfire safety.</p> <p>A real estate agent showed me an elevated timber home that looked out to the south-west across vast hectares of native forest. A death trap if ever there was one.</p> <p>“Yes,” agreed the agent. “I’ll just have to find a buyer who doesn’t mind about that.”</p> <p>Our new house is built of stone, steel and iron, with double-glazed windows and a simple roofline surrounded by sprinklers and hard paving. Every crack and crevice is sealed. And it sits in the middle of a cleared paddock surrounded by a low-flammability garden. We look out over the bushland from a safer distance.</p> <p>When my children were small, I packed them up and took them into town on every or total fire ban day. It was the prevailing advice from fire authorities. I cannot recall anyone else who did so – it is too hard, too disruptive and too inconvenient. And what do you do with the pets and horses and sheep? Let alone farms and businesses whose assets are practically uninsurable.</p> <p>Besides, there are so many total fire ban days and they are getting more and more frequent. We’d be leaving for all of summer soon and not everyone has somewhere safer to go.</p> <p>My former colleagues at the CFA confirmed that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S037971120000014X">few people take this advice to leave on total fire ban days</a>. When the fire risk categories were upgraded to include “catastrophic”, people simply recalibrated their fire risk range to suit.</p> <p>Now total fire ban days are everyday, ordinary events and people only talk about leaving if the risk is catastrophic or “code red”. And even then, few of them do.</p> <p>That’s why fire agencies continue to put so much effort into teaching people how to stay and defend their homes – because that is where they are going to end up, no matter what they are told or what they say. After the shocking deaths on Black Saturday, urban politicians thundered in self-righteous fury.</p> <p>“Why don’t you just tell people to leave?”</p> <p>Like it is that easy.</p> <p><strong>Other people's fates</strong></p> <p>I’m reminded of the <a href="https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-13-03-17">neighbourhood fire safety programs</a>. These are groups of neighbours in fire risk areas who meet up regularly to undertake training in fire preparation. They run in several states, such as <a href="https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/community-fireguard">Community Fireguard</a> in Victoria, <a href="https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/resources/text_only/community_fire_safe.jsp">Community Fire Safe</a> in SA and <a href="https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=133">Community Fire Units</a> in NSW.</p> <p>Some of the groups in Victoria have continued for years, often meeting annually just before the fire season to run through their plans and discuss issues they might be having. They share advice on how to protect properties, what to do when things go wrong, whose house offers the safest refuge, who is leaving and who is staying. They establish phone trees to warn everyone of imminent dangers and to stay in touch.</p> <p>I know <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337670275_A_review_of_the_role_of_Community_Fireguard_in_the_2009_Black_Saturday_bushfires">these programs work</a>. I surveyed many of the fireguard groups who survived Black Saturday and compared them to neighbours who weren’t in groups.</p> <p>The active members of fireguard groups were more likely to defend their houses. Active members’ houses were also more likely to survive, even when they were not defended. A handful felt their training had not prepared them for the severity of the fires they faced. In truth, I don’t think anyone, not even the most experienced firefighter, expected the severity of those fires. But the vast majority were certain their training helped, and had saved their lives.</p> <p>In every group, there are people who do the work and those who don’t. There are always neighbours who are too busy for the training and just ask for the notes, which they never read. They want to be on the phone tree, even though they have not prepared their property and have not thought about what they will do in an emergency. These “inactive” members do not seem to benefit from training. Their houses have the same loss rates as people who aren’t in fireguard groups.</p> <p>No matter how much other members of the group support them and encourage them, it does not help. I’ve tried to help before, running a fireguard group, but I don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to hold myself responsible for other people’s fates. It is enough to take responsibility for myself and my family.</p> <p>I remember the fireguard trainers who blamed themselves, who were blamed by others, when neighbourhoods they had worked with suffered deaths and house losses. They often targeted the riskiest locations, areas that were virtually indefensible. Their information was not always accepted.</p> <p>Trainers, some of whom had lost friends, neighbours and houses in the fires themselves, felt criticised for advice that had not been given, and also for advice that had not been taken. You cannot defend yourself against such angry grief, particularly when you are carrying so much of your own. You just have to listen. A court of law, which looks only for someone to blame, is no place to resolve the <a href="https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/3640945/bushfire-commission-lashes-government-failures/">complexities of bushfire tragedies</a>.</p> <p>I had originally thought, when I wrote <a href="https://www.ligatu.re/book/a-future-in-flames/">my book about bushfires</a>, that it would be a simple analysis of the lessons we had learnt. After the Black Saturday fires, I had to write a completely different book. I realised it wasn’t about lessons learnt (even though there are many), it was about our failure to learn from history, our astonishing capacity to repeat the mistakes of the past.</p> <p><strong>Harder and harder to protect people</strong></p> <p>“We never expected….”</p> <p>“I’ve never seen….”</p> <p>“I never imagined….”</p> <p>The same things are said after every fire. Blaming a lack of prescribed burning in distant parks when we know that preparation within 100 metres of our own homes is far more important.</p> <p>Waiting for an “official” warning, as an evil-looking, yellow-black cloud streams overhead and embers land sizzling in the pool beside you.</p> <p>Politicians with slick, easy point-scoring ways that divert attention from their own policy obstruction.</p> <p>The hopeful denial that bad things only happen to other people and won’t happen to us.</p> <p>We’ve just experienced the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/bureauofmeteorology/videos/1577380252402576/?t=16">hottest year on record, and the second driest year on record</a>. We have lost <a href="https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-are-our-rainforests-burning">rainforests that have not burnt</a> for millennia and may not recover. With climate change, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4785963/">fires have become more frequent</a> across all the Australian states, and with more extreme weather events, they are likely to become even <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-will-make-fire-storms-more-likely-in-southeastern-australia-127225">less predictable and more dangerous</a>.</p> <p>There is no avoiding the fact that for the next few decades, we face an increasingly dangerous environment. We have more people living in more dangerous areas, in a worsening climate. Our volunteer firefighters are ageing, and local brigades struggle to entice new members to join. It’s getting harder and harder to protect people.</p> <p>It would be nice if there was a silver bullet to protect us. If broad-scale <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08941920.2014.905894">prescribed burning in parks actually protected houses</a> and lives, or if we had enough fire trucks and water bombers to save us all.</p> <p>It would be great if we had a cohesive suite of integrated bushfire policies across states, strong enough to survive from one generation to the next. They could include adequate building standards and <a href="https://www.resorgs.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/resource_challenges_for_housing.pdf">access to materials</a>, effective <a href="https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-27-04-09">planning and development codes</a>, <a href="https://eprints.qut.edu.au/63845/">integrated municipal, state and federal strategies</a> incorporating education, health and safety campaigns. We could create a culture of fire-awareness, rather than panicked responses to disasters followed by a long, inevitable slide into apathy and ennui.</p> <p>Perhaps one day we will. But in the meantime, our best protection lies in our own hands, safeguarding our own property and making carefully considered plans in advance as to how to save our own lives. It is not an easy path, and one none of us wants to take. But in the end, we are the only ones who can do it.</p> <p><em>Views expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect or represent those of the CFA or any other fire agency.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/128093/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/danielle-clode-442877">Danielle Clode</a>, Senior Research Fellow in Creative Writing, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-living-with-fire-and-facing-our-fears-128093">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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New $10 million floating hotel lets you stay in the Great Barrier Reef

<p>A new $10 million floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef is offering Australia’s first underwater suites, which means tourists are able to wake up to the natural wildlife.</p> <p>The <a href="https://cruisewhitsundays.com/experiences/reefsuites/">Reefsuites</a> at Hardy Reef are set to be a “game changer” for the local tourism industry, according to Tourism Minister Kate Jones.</p> <p>“This will be one of the most iconic tourism projects in the world,” she said in a <a href="http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2019/8/1/new-attraction-to-bring-thousands-of-tourists-to-the-whitsundays">statement</a>.</p> <p>“We want to invest in tourism attractions that we know will attract more visitors to the Whitsundays and support local jobs – this project will achieve just that.”</p> <p>The two exclusive suites sit four metres below the surface, with just three inches of glass separating you from the reef life outside.</p> <p>At night, outside lights illuminate the waters so you can see what happens in the reef after dark.</p> <p>Floor to ceiling windows are a part of the experience so you don’t miss anything.</p> <p>The project began in 2017 as the pontoon was reconstructed after damage from Cyclone Debbie. The project was developed by Cruise Whitsundays and the Queensland Government.</p> <p>“Today is a landmark moment for Australia,” says Luke Walker, from Journey Beyond, the parent company of Cruise Whitsundays.</p> <p>“We are extremely privileged to have access to such a truly breathtaking and remote part of Australia and to provide both local and international guests the chance to gain a deeper appreciation of our wonderful Great Barrier Reef,” he says.</p> <p>Each Reefsuite has a two-person capacity, but guests can also camp under the stars as the roof of the pontoon is set up to accommodate a dozen queen beds in custom-built canvas canopies. Up to 28 visitors at a time can be on the pontoon.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the pontoon and how the suites will look underwater.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a href="https://cruisewhitsundays.com/experiences/reefsuites/">Cruise Whitsundays</a></em></p>

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More than 206 heat records broken in just 90 days

<p>More than 206 climate records were broken across Australia in just 90 days as temperatures soared and rainfall declined, according to a report by the Climate Council of Australia.</p> <p>This year saw record-high summer temperatures, record-low rainfall, and record high temperatures across states and territories, the report said.</p> <p>Heatwaves, defined as unusually high temperatures lasting for at least three days in a row, are occurring more frequently in Australia.</p> <p>The number of heatwave days each year has increased in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Hobart since 1950. The peak temperature during heatwave days in Adelaide is on average 4.3C higher in 1981-2011 than in 1950-1980.</p> <p>The Murray-Darling Basin saw its driest period on record yet from January 2017 to October 2019. Due to the current prolonged drought across eastern Australia, national summer crop production is also forecast to fall by 20 per cent to 2.1 million tonnes in 2019/20.</p> <p>Major regional centres in New South Wales’ central west are also set to face worsening heatwaves, droughts and bushfires.</p> <p>“Major regional centres such as Orange and Dubbo are currently facing severe water shortages, and this summer is shaping up as a terrible trifecta of heatwaves, droughts and bushfires with no reprieve for the Central West,” Climate Councillor and report author Professor Will Steffen said.</p> <p>“We have seen bushfires starting in winter, a heatwave traversing the country in spring, and a prolonged drought. Climate change is influencing all of these things.”</p> <p>By the end of the century, major capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are expected to see 50C summer days as the norm.</p> <p>“We have seen temperature records smashed, bushfires in winter and a prolonged drought," said Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie.</p> <p>"Climate change is influencing all of these things. It is only the beginning of summer, which means the biggest danger period may yet be to come.”</p> <p>Orange farmer Robert Lee told <em><a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-will-face-50c-summer-days-unless-more-action-is-taken-on-climate-change">SBS</a> </em>that drastic changes in policy are needed. “We have never seen a drought as bad as this. In 2018, we sold one-third of our cows, and again this year we sold another third. Once we are through the next calving, we will get out altogether and run just sheep,” he said.</p> <p>Lee called on the government to take action to promote renewable energy industry to help relieve the impacts of climate extremes in regional Australia.</p> <p>“Australia needs to take serious, credible action on climate change. Renewable energy is an investment in the future, an opportunity that could create a lot of industries in regional areas like the Central West.</p> <p>“I get very frustrated when I think about all the time we have wasted. Now it is time to act, to ensure Australians have a safe climate and a modern economy, now and into the future.”</p> <p>The report comes as the World Meteorological Organization marked the last decade as one of “<a href="https://news.sky.com/story/2019-set-to-be-one-of-the-hottest-ever-years-on-record-11877004">exceptional</a>” heat around the world and 2019 as the second or third-hottest year in history.</p> <p>“This [temperature rise] does not simply mean slightly warmer summers, it means an increased frequency of extreme weather globally – droughts, heatwaves, flooding and changing patterns in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones,” Grant Allen, professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Manchester told <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/03/decade-of-exceptional-heat-likely-to-be-hottest-on-record-experts-say">The Guardian</a></em>.</p> <p>“These impacts are real and happening now and place huge pressures on communities and countries – put simply, these impacts make for a more unstable world.”</p>

Domestic Travel

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Robert Irwin's sneak peek into fanged and furry guest list at Bindi’s wedding

<p><span>Robert Irwin has revealed the animals that may be present at his sister’s wedding to former wakeboarder Chandler Powell.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking backstage at the ARIA Awards in Sydney on Wednesday, the 15-year-old said there will be koalas and some bigger animals at Bindi’s upcoming wedding next year.</span></p> <p><span> “Yes, there are going to be animals at Bindi’s wedding, it’s going to be very exciting,” Robert said.</span></p> <p><span>“She definitely wants koalas walking down the aisle and I think we’re going to incorporate some larger animals as well.”</span></p> <p><span>Robert joked, “And maybe some crocodiles!”</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B3KLP9-ByWj/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B3KLP9-ByWj/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)</a> on Oct 3, 2019 at 7:13am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>The reveal comes after Bindi shared that she will be walking down the aisle <a href="https://www.ladbible.com/entertainment/celebrity-bindi-irwin-reveals-shes-walking-down-the-aisle-with-a-koala-20191008">with a koala</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking to <em>Good Morning America </em>in October alongside her husband-to-be, Bindi said she was “excited” about their forthcoming nuptials at Australia Zoo.</span></p> <p><span>“It’s where we met and where we got engaged so it only makes sense that we’d have it at Australia Zoo. I think this wedding is going to be unique because it’s going to be at the zoo with tons of animals,” Chandler said.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Ct-dFB_1b/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Ct-dFB_1b/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)</a> on Sep 5, 2019 at 1:11pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“I’m not sure how many people have walked down the aisle with a koala, but we may be setting some new trends for weddings from here on out!” Bindi said.</span></p> <p><span> “The easiest part of wedding planning is just knowing that I get to marry this amazing guy. Whatever else happens, it doesn’t matter.”</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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What a hot and dry Australian summer means for you

<p>Summer is likely to start off hot and dry, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/summary">summer outlook</a>, released today.</p> <p>Much of eastern Australia is likely to be hotter and drier than average, driven by the same climate influences that gave us a warmer and drier than average spring.</p> <p>But these patterns will break down over summer, meaning these conditions may ease for some areas in the second half of the season. Despite this, we’re still likely to see more fires, heatwaves, and dust across eastern Australia in the coming months.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304164/original/file-20191127-176602-1dh4kdv.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304164/original/file-20191127-176602-1dh4kdv.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Rainfall outlook for December 2019.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">BOM</span></span></p> <p><strong>What drove the climate in 2019</strong></p> <p>Our current weather comes in the context of a <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-the-climate/">changing climate</a>, which is driving a drying trend across southern Australia and general warming across the country.</p> <p>In southern Australia, rain during the April to October “cool season” is crucial to fill dams and grow crops and pasture. However, like 17 of the previous 20 cool seasons, 2019 was well below average, meaning a dry landscape leading into the summer months.</p> <p>The frequency of high temperatures has also increased at all times of year, with the greatest increase in spring.</p> <p>But summer, like spring, will also be influenced by two other significant climate drivers: a change in ocean temperatures in the Indian Ocean, and warm winds above Antarctica pushing our weather systems north.</p> <p><strong>Indian Ocean</strong></p> <p>The first driver is a near-record strong positive <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/iod/">Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)</a>. A positive IOD occurs when warmer than average water develops near the Horn of Africa, and cooler waters emerge off Indonesia.</p> <p>This pattern draws moisture towards Africa - where in recent weeks they have seen flooding and landslides - and produces higher pressures over central and southern Australia. This means less rain for Australia in winter and spring.</p> <p>Usually the IOD events break down by early summer, when the monsoon arrives in the southern hemisphere. However, this year the monsoon has been very sluggish moving south – in fact it was the latest retreat on record from India – and international climate models suggests the positive IOD may not end until January.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304165/original/file-20191127-176588-1v2887s.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304165/original/file-20191127-176588-1v2887s.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Rainfall outlook for summer 2019-20.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">BOM</span></span></p> <p><strong>Southern Ocean</strong></p> <p>The other unusually persistent climate driver is a negative <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/sam/">Southern Annular Mode (SAM)</a>, which means weather systems over the Southern Ocean - the fronts and lows and wild winds - are further north than usual. This means more days of westerly winds for Australia.</p> <p>In western Tasmania, where those winds are coming off the ocean, it means cooler and wetter weather. In contrast, in southeast Queensland and New South Wales, where westerlies blow across long fetches of land, this air is dry and hot.</p> <p>This persistent period of negative SAM in 2019 was triggered by a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-air-above-antarctica-is-suddenly-getting-warmer-heres-what-it-means-for-australia-123080">sudden warming of the stratosphere above Antarctica</a> - a rare event identified in early September.</p> <p>Models suggest the negative SAM will decay in December. This means the second half of summer is less likely to be influenced by as many periods of these strong westerlies.</p> <p>But while both these dry climate drivers are expected to be gone by midsummer, their legacy will take some time to fade.</p> <p>The positive IOD and the dry conditions we have seen in winter and spring are associated with <a href="https://theconversation.com/indian-ocean-linked-to-bushfires-and-drought-in-australia-20893">severe fire seasons for southeast Australia in the following summer</a>.</p> <p>And while the drying influences are likely to ease, the temperature outlook indicates that days are very likely to remain warmer than average.</p> <p>We also know that any delay in the monsoon will keep air drier for longer across Australia, and potentially aid in heating up the continent.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304167/original/file-20191127-176593-1awfhxw.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/304167/original/file-20191127-176593-1awfhxw.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Maximum temperature outlook for summer 2019-20.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">BOM</span></span></p> <p><strong>What about the wet season?</strong></p> <p>For areas of southern Queensland and northeastern NSW, the wet season will eventually bring seasonal rains, although heatwaves are likely to continue through summer.</p> <p>So, while the outlook for below average rainfall may ease over summer months for some areas, the lead-up to summer means Australia’s landscape is already very dry. Even a normal summer in the south will mean little easing of the dry until at least autumn.</p> <p>With dry and hot conditions looking likely this summer, it’s important to stay safe, have an emergency plan in place, look after your friends and neighbours in the hot times, and always listen to advice from your local emergency services.</p> <p><em>You can visit the Bureau of Meteorology <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/">website</a> to view the latest outlook, or <a href="https://e.bom.gov.au/link/id/zzzz53bb31db150fb433/page.html?prompt=1">subscribe</a> to receive climate outlooks via email.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127990/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/catherine-ganter-259928">Catherine Ganter</a>, Senior Climatologist, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-bureau-of-meteorology-1083">Australian Bureau of Meteorology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-b-watkins-2818">Andrew B. Watkins</a>, Head of Long-range Forecasts, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-bureau-of-meteorology-1083">Australian Bureau of Meteorology</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-hot-and-dry-australian-summer-means-heatwaves-and-fire-risk-ahead-127990">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Kevin Rudd warns of return of the “yellow peril”

<p><span>Kevin Rudd has warned of a “return to the days of the yellow peril”, and slammed the Coalition’s management of the relationship with China as self-serving.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking in Canberra on Tuesday, the former prime minister blasted the Abbott and Turnbull governments for using a hard-line approach on the Chinese government.</span></p> <p><span>Rudd said Malcolm Turnbull’s 2017 speech declaring that Australia will “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/09/china-says-turnbulls-remarks-have-poisoned-the-atmosphere-of-relations">stand up</a>” against Chinese interference was actually motivated by domestic and internal politics, at a time when Turnbull’s leadership was under threat.</span></p> <p><span>“Managing the China relationship has always been difficult, it was difficult when I was prime minister, so it is for prime minister Morrison today,” Rudd said. </span></p> <p><span>He said while there should be vigilance against threats to Australia’s democracy, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/26/kevin-rudd-lashes-coalition-over-increasingly-strained-relationship-with-china">it should not translate into racial profiling</a>.</span></p> <p><span>“I will be the first to the barricades if the most recent national security legislation becomes a political vehicle for Hansonism and a return to the days of the yellow peril,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>Rudd also slammed Abbott’s cutting of the foreign aid program towards the South Pacific, saying it would allow China to expand its influence in the region.</span></p> <p><span>“Abbott also collapsed Australia’s aid effort into the South Pacific, virtually cutting it in half from our period in office, and in doing so the Liberal government opened the door to the region for China,” Rudd said.</span></p> <p><span>“This was an utterly reckless act with long-term national security consequences for Australia.”</span></p> <p><span>On the same day, Rudd told ABC’s <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/kevin-rudd-discusses-australias-relationship-with/11740904">7.30</a> </em>that while Australia should not be “naïve” about China’s interests in relation to Australia, he favoured a “balanced” approach.</span></p> <p><span>When asked about <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/insidious-former-asio-boss-warns-about-china-s-interference-in-australia">warnings from former ASIO chief Duncan Lewis</a>, Rudd said it was “kind of crazy to overreact and to get into reds under the bed land, to get into yellow peril land”.</span></p> <p><span>The former politician said while Labor supported the foreign interference legislation, it “should not result in some sort of anti-Chinese domestic political witch-hunt”.</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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Mums slam "secretly underwhelming" tourist attractions

<p>Mumsnet is a forum where mothers gather together and voice their opinions on a range of topics, including what tourist destinations are “secretly underwhelming”.</p> <p>This topic spread like wildfire, and the answers will either have you agreeing or shaking your head in disapproval.</p> <p>In a thread titled “What famous landmark or must visit place/thing were you secretly underwhelmed by?”, Mumsnet user Midge1978 elaborates on her provocative question.</p> <p>“I went to Stonehenge this year and whilst I was trying to get in touch with my inner druid, trying to project historical importance and mystery onto the place, I just couldn’t escape the feeling that I was just looking at some very old stones and it was actually (whisper) a little bit boring!!” she said.</p> <p>“My husband thought it was all marvellous though so I have never told him!!!”</p> <p>Others were quick to voice their opinions, even knocking the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>“The Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef,” said one mum, declining to elaborate.</p> <p>Another mum seconded her, “Yes, Great Barrier Reef – sadly, and only because there is so much coral die back it is depressing. Genuinely disappointing as diving here was a long-held dream of mine.”</p> <p>Paintings were even on the list, with some mentioning <em>The Scream</em>.</p> <p>Midge agreed and shared her experience of seeing <em>The Mona Lisa</em>.</p> <p>“Oh gosh yes The Mona Lisa – queued for bloody ages to see a small dull painting that I had already seen emblazoned over every item in the gift shop!” she said.</p> <p>“The pyramids/sphinx,” said another mum. “I expected a mystical, magical place in the desert. I got … lots of beggars/sales people/McDonalds. Gutted.”</p> <p>Another mum agreed: “Yep Midge, sorry. I have a fabulous photo that everyone aaahs over of the sphinx with a pyramid behind it and a clear blue sky. When I look at it all I can think is “I was standing in front of McDonald’s when I took that …”</p> <p>However, some comments called out the lack of culture in Australia.</p> <p>“The whole of Australia frankly – no culture at all apart from the Aboriginal history,” someone wrote.</p> <p>“The Aborigines were treated like sh*t by the white Australians which disgusted me. Didn’t hear a single one have a good thing to say about the indigenous population – notice how there’s never any on Australian TV.”</p> <p>New Zealand made the list too.</p> <p>“Another vote for the various different landmarks in New Zealand. I went expecting awe-inspiring views and to be blown away by the scenery, but I wasn’t,” one said.</p> <p>“It’s all really nice, don’t get me wrong. But the mountain views aren’t as good as those in the European Alps, the fjords aren’t as good as Norway’s, various bits of Scotland etc. It’s like a 7 out of 10 of everything all in one country, compared to 9 or 10 out of 10 of other things scattered around the world.”</p>

Domestic Travel

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Surprise Aussie destination makes National Geographic’s “most exciting” destinations to visit in 2020

<p>National Geographic has surprised and delighted many by including another region in Australia on their “<a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/best-trips-2020/">best trips to take in 2020</a>” list.</p> <p>Usually, it’s expected that cities like Sydney, Melbourne or even the Gold Coast appear on these lists, but National Geographic included the region of Tasmania.</p> <p>Tasmania came in at number 16 on the list of 25, as the destination has quickly become a hotspot for domestic and international travellers.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Pf8LQgkYk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Pf8LQgkYk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Discover Tasmania (@tasmania)</a> on Nov 24, 2019 at 12:53am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The 2019 figures indicate that the region has experienced the biggest growth in international visitors in the country.</p> <p>The latest figures released from Tourism Research Australia showed that 307,000 international visitors explored Tasmania in the 12 months to September last year. This is a 15 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.</p> <p>Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said to the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-09/tasmania-tourism-boom-driven-by-chinese-tourists-report-says/10701274">ABC</a></em> that the growth has largely been driven by visitors from China.</p> <p>“Part of the lift in Tasmanian tourism can be attributed to (having a) high profile in China, associated with President (Xi Jinping’s) visit to Tasmania over the last couple of years,” he said.</p> <p>“That just shows how every little thing helps in terms of growing tourism.”</p> <p>However, Luke Martin from the Tourism Industry Council in Tasmania has said that the boom is putting pressure on the environment.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y2iV-APky/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4y2iV-APky/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Discover Tasmania (@tasmania)</a> on Nov 12, 2019 at 9:52pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Those areas are jewels for Tasmania and Australia … frankly they haven't had the investment they should over time," he said.</p> <p>"We're seeing about $80 million spent on Cradle Mountain.</p> <p>"That will help with conservation challenges and its role of key tourism icon in northern Tasmania," he explained.</p> <p>"Sustainable tourism is the discussion topic for the next couple of years.</p> <p>"We've got more lead time than other countries, so we need to work out how to protect and provide access."</p>

Domestic Travel

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Strike threat: Jetstar pilots set to cause Christmas chaos

<p>Aussies planning to travel in December for Christmas could see major disruptions to their plansm, as Jetstar pilots threaten to strike in mid-December. </p> <p>The Fair Work Commission has authorised for the pilots union to hold a ballot vote. </p> <p>This will determine whether or not they will be moving further with their claims and is to take place next Monday. </p> <p>It will decide on a number of actions, including deciding not to work overtime, refusing to follow standard fuel-saving procedures or stopping from working for up to 24 hours. </p> <p>The current enterprise agreement states Jetstar employees are to receive a 3 per cent wage increase every year, as well as other benefits and allowances. </p> <p>The Australian Federation of Air Pilots have asked for a pilot cost raise that was closer to 15 per cent.</p> <p>“The union has been genuinely negotiating with Jetstar for nearly 12 months, but the company remains unwilling to shift on any of the pilots’ pay and conditions such as rostering,” AFAP executive director Simon Lutton said.</p> <p>“Jetstar pilots simply want to be valued fairly in line with their peers at other airlines.”</p> <p>Pay negotiations broke down after almost a year, resulting in Jetstar highlighting that further actions from the union will still not change its position. </p> <p>It is understood a pilot's base salaries range from $230,000 to $320,000, under the current enterprise agreement. </p> <p>A company spokesman for Jetstar labelled the union's decision as disappointing. </p> <p>“We remain committed to reaching a new agreement to support the great work our people do every day, but not any cost,” the spokesman said.</p> <p>“Making wage comparisons with loss-making airlines isn’t a compelling argument. We intend to make sure Jetstar has a sustainable cost base, which is what the union should want as well.”</p> <p>The pilots and the airline both say they are committed to a mutually-agreed resolution and have scheduled their next bargaining meeting for November 29.</p>

Domestic Travel

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3 can’t miss places in Australia according to Chris Hemsworth

<p><span>Chris Hemsworth quickly rose to fame after his appearance in superhero film Thor which solidified his place in the Marvel universe.</span></p> <p><span>However, despite the atmospheric rise to fame, he still calls Australia home and loves to explore when he gets an opportunity.</span></p> <p><span>He sat down with <em><a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/places-to-visit-in-australia-according-to-australians">Travel + Leisure</a></em> and spoke about his favourite places around the nation.</span></p> <p><span>“Australia has some of the most diverse, vibrant, and pristine coastlines in the world,” says Hemsworth. </span></p> <p><span>The quality of life here is second to none; plus we have some of the most unique marine wildlife. There are places where the red dirt meets crystal turquoise water, and you can go days exploring the coast without seeing anyone else. </span></p> <p><span>“You can be in the heart of a buzzing city, like Sydney or Melbourne, with great restaurants and beaches just around the corner.”</span></p> <p><span>However, his three favourite places are as follows:</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. The Kimberley</span></strong></p> <p><span>Hemsworth recently went to the Kimberley in the Northern Territory and was in awe of the natural wonders there. </span></p> <p><span>“In The Kimberley, we went fishing in one particular spot that rivalled Jurassic Park — there were crocodiles, snakes, buffalo, and an abundance of other amazing native wildlife. Sunset dinners in The Kimberley are another absolute must. </span></p> <p><span>“The colours of the skyline there are as rich and vibrant as anywhere I've seen, and it is pretty special to see the millions of stars of the Australian outback’s night sky. We stayed at a beautiful place called Berkeley River Lodge, having dinner each night on a sand dune, barefoot in the desert sand was pretty cool.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B35W_PRFPbY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B35W_PRFPbY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Berkeley River Lodge (@berkeleyriverlodge)</a> on Oct 21, 2019 at 3:00pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“And one of the best afternoons in The Kimberley was swimming in a secluded waterhole at the base of a waterfall. We helicoptered down along the winding Berkeley River and then boated across to this really private spot. It's something I'll never forget.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>2. The Whitsundays</span></strong></p> <p><span>The Whitsundays are a must-see if you’re interested in seeing the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef at 2,300kms long. </span></p> <p><span>“In the Whitsundays, we stayed at One&amp;Only Hayman Island, which was a real highlight. Amazing food and wine, it overlooks the reef — plus, they have an awesome kids club, with face painting, fish feeding, jewellery making, and some great swimming pools for us to chill out as a family,” Hemsworth remembered.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B47KYzXh1Qm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B47KYzXh1Qm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Małgorzata Stępińska (@mstepinska67)</a> on Nov 16, 2019 at 3:20am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“On the Great Barrier Reef, I went scuba diving for the first time, which was amazing. It’s like visiting another planet. We also had an afternoon at Whitehaven Beach, which was absolutely stunning—it has the most pristine white sand and crystal-clear water. </span></p> <p><span>“The next day we took the kids for a picnic and a bit of beach cricket on Langford Island, just off Hayman Island. The kids loved running along the sand and playing in the shallows.”</span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Uluru</span></strong></p> <p><span>Hemsworth said that the first time he saw the rock monolith was “really awesome”.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5TeWgwn5r-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5TeWgwn5r-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Anna Gibson (@annacatherinegibson)</a> on Nov 25, 2019 at 1:56pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“</span>We had the very special experience of meeting with Sammy Wilson, a local Anangu Traditional Owner. Listening to the local Indigenous people speaking with us about the cultural and spiritual significance of Uluru was fascinating and inspiring.</p> <p>“The kids loved running around the base of the rock and exploring all the little caves and trails.”</p>

Domestic Travel

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"We were all in tears": Mum reveals Woolworths’ display of kindness after bushfire tragedy

<p>A NSW mum has shared her gratitude for Woolworths’ “generosity and kindness” after losing her home in the bushfires.</p> <p>Anna Lawrence lost her home in Willawarrin on the state’s Mid-North Coast earlier this month, according to a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-get-anna-and-her-kids-back-on-their-feet?utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&amp;fbclid=IwAR3kyqT0_wEYmmnmQswk2CO0mdr0e1Eevs2z1Xt9RL7IbJQ_muU3GAZ2I6Q">GoFundMe page</a>.</p> <p>Lawrence’s home was one of the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-17/nsw-bushfires-nearly-500-homes-destroyed-since-start-of-season/11711898">476 homes destroyed in this bushfire season</a> so far.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D119903756113534%26id%3D100042817299621&amp;width=500" width="500" height="650" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>Lawrence and her two children have since moved to a rental property in Kempsey.</p> <p>Last weekend, Lawrence went to a Woolworths store in the suburb to get the “bare essentials” amounting to $700 worth of items.</p> <p>“As we got to the checkout the woman behind the counter went to the manager to try and get $100 off our groceries,” Lawrence told <em><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/mum-reveals-woolworths-stores-touching-act-after-bushfire-tragedy-061933418.html">Yahoo News Australia</a></em>.</p> <p>“The manager then came down to speak with us.”</p> <p>The manager then offered to pay for all her groceries, she said. “We were all in tears. It was so nice of them,” she said. “It was really overwhelming.”</p> <p>Lawrence also expressed her appreciation with a post on the supermarket’s Facebook page.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D125010565602853%26id%3D100042817299621&amp;width=500" width="500" height="797" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“After losing our home and all our possessions to the Bush fires in Willawarrin last week, this has been an extremely challenging time for us,” she wrote.</p> <p>“You have no idea how much your help has meant to us. Words are really hard to express it. You took generosity and kindness to an uncommon level today with surprising us by paying for our first shop for our new home. We’re so grateful for your support.”</p> <p>Woolworths responded to the post this morning. “Hey Anna, our hearts are with you during these tough times,” the message read. “We wish you all the best for your new beginnings and we're always happy to help. We’ve shared this with our team at the Kempsey store, we’re sure they will appreciate your kind words.”</p> <p>A Woolworths spokesperson told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em> in a statement: “It’s important for local communities to rally together in response to the devastating bushfires.</p> <p>“We’re delighted our Kempsey store was able to provide a helping hand in this time of need.”</p>

Domestic Travel

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Australia named Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year for 2020

<p>Australia has taken out the title for the 2020 Destination of the Year from Travel + Leisure Magazine.</p> <p>The title of the Destination of the Year goes to places that the magazine says captures the travel zeitgeist of the moment, whether that’s cultural relevance, energy or experiences.</p> <p>Editor-in-chief Jacqui Gifford explained “why now” in a statement to <em><a href="https://news.yahoo.com/australia-named-travel-leisures-destination-2020-164952069.html">Yahoo News</a></em>.</p> <p>"Why Australia? And why now? It's always been considered a 'bucket list' spot, a place that people would reserve for a once-in-a-lifetime trip when they had a longer window of time to travel," she explained.</p> <p>"In today's 24/7-connected world, we want you to switch off and take that time. If the thrill of travel is to be pushed, mentally and physically, to discover something new -- and to appreciate the simple, awe-inspiring beauty of this earth -- Australia and its seven states deliver and then some."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B444MuRjJeH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B444MuRjJeH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Dreaming of visiting our 2020 Destination of the Year, Australia? We've teamed up with @blacktomatotravel to create a one-of-a-kind journey that will take you to Sydney, Alice Springs, Melbourne and more. Find out how to book at our link in bio! #tlpicks courtesy of @incyvincyspider</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/travelandleisure/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Travel + Leisure</a> (@travelandleisure) on Nov 15, 2019 at 6:02am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The magazine has released travel guides for all seven states of Australia, which focus on some of the natural wonders that the nation has to offer. However, it was also the culinary delights available in Australia that tipped the scales in the country’s favour.</p> <p>“New experiences and hotels have opened up less-frequented destinations. Innovative chefs and winemakers are putting a global spin on native ingredients,” according to a statement on <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/destination-of-the-year">their website</a>, which was key in helping Australia win the top spot of Destination of the Year.</p>

Domestic Travel

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Kevin the Kookaburra's killer receives maximum penalty

<p>The man who tore the head off a kookaburra at a Perth pub has been fined the maximum penalty of $2,500.</p> <p>WA Police and RSPCA WA began an investigation following accounts from patrons at the Parkerville Tavern, who said they witnessed Daniel Welfare rip the head off Kevin the kookaburra after the bird took food from his plate.</p> <p>The $2,500 fine is the maximum penalty for the offence of “unlawful take of fauna”.</p> <p>According to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Welfare was the first person to be fined the maximum amount for the offence since new laws came into force on January 1.</p> <p>“Even though kookaburras are not native to Western Australia, they are classified as fauna under the Act, which means people must not take or disturb them without lawful authority,” a spokesperson said.</p> <p>The kookaburra had been well-known to pub staff and regulars prior to the attack, with a notice featuring a photo of Kevin on display at the tavern.</p> <p>“Meet one of the locals (he’s still out there). He has a love for the Parky Steak Sandwich and fish. He is loathed to buy his own and whenever possible, will sneak up and steal yours,” the sign warns.</p> <p>“Please be mindful of your precious steak sandwich and meals in the garden and in the meantime, we shall continue our negotiations with this chap in the hope that he learns some table manners.”</p> <p>A customer told <em><a href="https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wildlife/kookaburras-head-ripped-off-in-barbaric-attack-at-parkerville-tavern-ng-b881364437z">PerthNow</a> </em>that Welfare “grabbed” Kevin after the bird flew down onto his plate.</p> <p>“I went ‘Oh my god, he’s got him’ and then he sort of just hesitated for a moment, like seconds, and then put his hands under the table and just ripped his head off,” the customer said.</p> <p>“The thing that got me is he just threw the bird on the floor, he just ditched it.”</p> <p>Investigations with the RSPCA and the Department of Primary Industries and Development are still ongoing.</p>

Domestic Travel

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Qantas lands historic non-stop flight from London to Sydney

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Qantas has done the unthinkable and touched down in Sydney after departing from London on a shocking 20-hour flight.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The journey was 17,800 kilometres long and this means that Qantas have successfully landed its second ultra-long-haul research flight as a part of Project Sunrise.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s the second time the route has been flown by a commercial airline, as the first time was back in 1989.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Project Sunrise is studying ways to combat jetlag for those on board and the flight carried just 52 passengers and crew.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s not the first test flight that Qantas has done, as they did another non-stop flight trial that connected New York and Sydney last month.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the London-Sydney flight being 1500 kilometres further than New York-Sydney, it takes a shorter journey due to tailwinds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that Qantas wants to make the non-stop journeys a reality within the next few years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We know that travellers want room to move on these direct flights, and the exercises we encouraged on the first research flight seemed to work really well,” he said to </span><em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/qantas-to-add-move-and-stretch-zones-to-ultralong-haul-flights/news-story/b8359f1b6cb804809567ed253fd0578a"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So, we’re definitely looking to incorporate on-board stretching zones and even some simple modifications like overhead handles to encourage low impact exercises.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Joyce also mentioned that the non-stop Perth to London flight has boosted confidence in the longer proposed journeys.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It had the highest customer satisfaction rating after a year of any route on our network, and it’s been the most successful launch of a new route,” he said.</span></p>

Domestic Travel

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"Hypocritical": Locals baffled by Sydney Harbour fireworks display in the midst of catastrophic blaze conditions

<p>Sydneysiders were left baffled by a 20 minute firework display in Sydney Harbour that took place in the midst of a total fire ban on Wednesday night. </p> <p>As wild bushfires and incredible winds have ravaged throughout New South Wales and Queensland within the past week, it is estimated the damage will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to repair, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/insurers-prepare-for-more-frequent-and-intense-bushfires-20191111-p539et" target="_blank">AFR.</a></em></p> <p><span>The dangerous conditions from strong winds and extreme temperatures on Tuesday prompted a fire danger rating for the greater Sydney region for the first time ever. </span></p> <p>While total fire ban remained in place for all of New South Wales on Wednesday, there were still fireworks seen over the CBD at around 9.50pm.</p> <p>The display went on for over 20 minutes, with many locals taking to Twitter to label the fireworks as “hypocritical” and “insensitive”.</p> <p>“Seriously, total fire ban, nearly 10 pm in a school night and there are fireworks galore going off in Sydney. P**s poor effort,” one resident wrote.</p> <p>“One of my students told me his house almost burnt down yesterday,” another said.  </p> <p>“Now there's fireworks exploding everywhere in Sydney. Seems a little insensitive, sending sparks everywhere at a time like this.”</p> <p>“How are fireworks allowed in Sydney on a day of total fire ban? Seems somewhat hypocritical given the tough stance that has been taken against individuals,” another local posted.</p> <p>Dozens of fires are still ablaze throughout the east of Australia. </p> <p>Firefighters are beyond stretched to their limits attempting to contain several of the out of control blazes. </p> <p>The largest active bushfire is the Liberation Trail bushfire just west of Coffs Harbour - covering more than 150,000 hectares with a circumference of 1,000 km. </p> <p>The NSW Rural Fire Services issued a statement that as of 10 pm on Wednesday, there were 69 fires burning across the state.</p> <p>14 of those are at Watch and Act alert. </p> <p>“Over 1000 firefighters remain in the field to protect properties and establish containment lines ahead of worsening conditions later this week,” the statement read. </p>

Domestic Travel

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How bushfires create their own ferocious weather systems

<p>As the <a href="https://theconversation.com/drought-and-climate-change-were-the-kindling-and-now-the-east-coast-is-ablaze-126750">east coast bushfire crisis unfolds</a>, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Rural Fire Service operational officer Brett Taylor have each warned residents bushfires can <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6486857/nsw-fire-emergency-what-all-the-terms-mean/">create their own weather systems</a>.</p> <p>This is not just a figure of speech or a general warning about the unpredictability of intense fires. Bushfires genuinely can create their own weather systems: a phenomenon known variously as firestorms, pyroclouds or, in meteorology-speak, <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/pyrocb.html">pyrocumulonimbus</a>.</p> <p>The occurrence of firestorms is increasing in Australia; there have been <a href="https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/news/2018/predicting-fire-thunderstorms">more than 50 in the period 2001-18</a>. During a six-week period earlier this year, 18 confirmed pyrocumulonimbus formed, mainly over the Victorian High Country.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301180/original/file-20191112-178498-1f0m8xr.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">A pyrocumulonimbus cloud generated by a bushfire in Licola,Victoria, on March 2, 2019.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Elliot Leventhal</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Its not clear whether the current bushfires will spawn any firestorms. But with the frequency of extreme fires set to increase due to hotter and drier conditions, it’s worth taking a closer look at how firestorms happen, and what effects they produce.</p> <p><strong>What is a firestorm?</strong></p> <p>The term “firestorm” is a contraction of “fire thunderstorm”. In simple terms, they are thunderstorms generated by the heat from a bushfire.</p> <p>In stark contrast to typical bushfires, which are relatively easy to predict and are driven by the prevailing wind, firestorms tend to form above unusually large and intense fires.</p> <p>If a fire encompasses a large enough area (called “deep flaming”), the upward movement of hot air can cause the fire to interact with the atmosphere above it, potentially forming a pyrocloud. This consists of smoke and ash in the smoke plume, and water vapour in the cloud above.</p> <p>If the conditions are not too severe, the fire may produce a cloud called a pyrocumulus, which is simply a cloud that forms over the fire. These are typically benign and do not affect conditions on the ground.</p> <p>But if the fire is particularly large or intense, or if the atmosphere above it is unstable, this process can give birth to a pyrocumulonimbus – and that is an entirely more malevolent beast.</p> <p><strong>What effects do firestorms produce?</strong></p> <p>A pyrocumulonibus cloud is much like a normal thunderstorm that forms on a hot summer’s day. The crucial difference here is that this upward movement is caused by the heat from the fire, rather than simply heat radiating from the ground.</p> <p>Conventional thunderclouds and pyrocumulonimbus share similar characteristics. Both form an anvil-shaped cloud that extends high into the troposphere (the lower 10-15km of the atmosphere) and may even reach into the stratosphere beyond.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301195/original/file-20191112-178516-1qzj1pp.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301195/original/file-20191112-178516-1qzj1pp.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">NASA image of pyrocumulonimbus formation in Argentina, January 2018.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">NASA</span></span></p> <p>The weather underneath these clouds can be fierce. As the cloud forms, the circulating air creates strong winds with dangerous, erratic “downbursts” – vertical blasts of air that hit the ground and scatter in all directions.</p> <p>In the case of a pyrocumulonimbus, these downbursts have the added effect of bringing dry air down to the surface beneath the fire. The swirling winds can also carry embers over huge distances. Ember attack has been identified as the main cause of property loss in bushfires, and the unpredictable downbursts make it impossible to determine which direction the wind will blow across the ground. The wind direction may suddenly change, catching people off guard.</p> <p>Firestorms also produce dry lightning, potentially sparking new fires, which may then merge or coalesce into a larger flaming zone.</p> <p>In rare cases, a firestorm can even morph into a “<a href="https://theconversation.com/turn-and-burn-the-strange-world-of-fire-tornadoes-11193">fire tornado</a>”. This is formed from the rotating winds in the convective column of a pyrocumulonimbus. They are attached to the firestorm and can therefore lift off the ground.</p> <p>This happened during the infamous January 2003 Canberra bushfires, when a pyrotornado tore a path near Mount Arawang in the suburb of Kambah.</p> <p><em><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5H1eVy6O3Fo?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </em></p> <p><em><span class="caption">A fire tornado in Kambah, Canberra, 2003 (contains strong language).</span></em></p> <p>Understandably, firestorms are the most dangerous and unpredictable manifestations of a bushfire, and are impossible to suppress or control. As such, it is vital to evacuate these areas early, to avoid sending fire personnel into extremely dangerous areas.</p> <p>The challenge is to identify the triggers that cause fires to develop into firestorms. Our <a href="https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/science/research-clusters/applied-and-industrial-mathematics">research at UNSW</a>, in collaboration with fire agencies, has made considerable progress in identifying these factors. They include “eruptive fire behaviour”, where instead of a steady rate of fire spread, once a fire interacts with a slope, the plume may attach to the ground and rapidly accelerate up the hill.</p> <p>Another process, called “vorticity-driven lateral spread”, has also been recognised as a good indicator of potential fire blow-up. This occurs when a fire spreads laterally along a ridge line instead of following the direction of the wind.</p> <p>Although further refinement is still needed, this kind of knowledge could greatly improve decision-making processes on when and where to deploy on-ground fire crews, and when to evacuate before the situation turns deadly.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126832/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-badlan-884363">Rachel Badlan</a>, Postdoctoral Researcher, Atmospheric Dynamics, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/firestorms-and-flaming-tornadoes-how-bushfires-create-their-own-ferocious-weather-systems-126832">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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The reason why fires are lighting up the east coast of Australia

<p>Last week saw an unprecedented outbreak of large, intense fires stretching from the mid-north coast of New South Wales into central Queensland.</p> <p>The most tragic losses are concentrated in northern NSW, where 970,000 hectares have been burned, three people have died, and at least 150 homes have been destroyed.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fdr-and-tobans">catastrophic fire warning</a> for Tuesday has been issued for the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Shoalhaven and Illawarra areas. It is the first time Sydney has received a catastrophic rating since the rating system was developed in 2009.</p> <p>No relief is in sight from this extremely hot, dry and windy weather, and the extraordinary magnitude of these fires is likely to increase in the coming week. Alarmingly, as Australians increasingly seek a sea-change or tree-change, more people are living in the path of these destructive fires.</p> <p><strong>Unprecedented state of emergency</strong></p> <p>Large fires have happened before in northern NSW and southern Queensland during spring and early summer (for example in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2018 in northern NSW). But this latest extraordinary situation raises many questions.</p> <p>It is as if many of the major fires in the past are now being rerun concurrently. What is unprecedented is the <em>size</em> and <em>number</em> of fires rather than the seasonal timing.</p> <p>The potential for large, intense fires is determined by <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00512.x">four fundamental ingredients</a>: a continuous expanse of fuel; extensive and continuous dryness of that fuel; weather conditions conducive to the rapid spread of fire; and ignitions, either human or lightning. These act as a set of switches, in series: all must be “on” for major fires to occur.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301032/original/file-20191111-194628-1xowzaz.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301032/original/file-20191111-194628-1xowzaz.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">L</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span class="caption">ive fuel moisture content in late October 2019. The ‘dry’ and ‘transitional’ moisture categories correspond to conditions associated with over 95% of historical area burned by bushfire.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016GL0686140" class="source">Estimated from MODIS satellite imagery for the Sydney basin Bioregion.</a></span></em></p> <p>The NSW north coast and tablelands, along with much of the southern coastal regions of Queensland are famous for their diverse range of eucalypt forest, heathlands and rainforests, which flourish in the warm temperate to subtropical climate.</p> <p>These forests and shrublands can rapidly accumulate bushfire fuels such as leaf litter, twigs and grasses. The unprecedented drought across much of Australia has created exceptional dryness, including high-altitude areas and places like gullies, water courses, swamps and steep south-facing slopes that are normally too wet to burn.</p> <p>These typically wet parts of the landscape have literally evaporated, allowing fire to spread unimpeded. The drought has been particularly acute in northern NSW where record low rainfall has led to <a href="https://biocollect.ala.org.au/acsa/project/index/77285a13-e231-49e8-b212-660c66c74bac">widespread defoliation and tree death</a>. It is no coincidence current fires correspond directly with hotspots of <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/">record low rainfall and above-average temperatures</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301040/original/file-20191111-194650-458t68.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301040/original/file-20191111-194650-458t68.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> <span class="caption">Annual trends in live fuel moisture. The horizontal line represents the threshold for the critical ‘dry’ fuel category, which corresponds to the historical occurrence of most major wildfires in the Bioregion.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Estimated from MODIS imagery for the Sydney basin Bioregion</span></span></em></p> <p>Thus, the North Coast and northern ranges of NSW as well as much of southern and central Queensland have been primed for major fires. A continuous swathe of critically dry fuels across these diverse landscapes existed well before last week, as shown by damaging fires in September and October.</p> <p>High temperatures and wind speeds, low humidity, and a wave of new ignitions on top of pre-existing fires has created an unprecedented situation of multiple large, intense fires stretching from the coast to the tablelands and parts of the interior.</p> <p><strong>More people in harm’s way</strong></p> <p>Many parts of the NSW north coast, southern Queensland and adjacent hinterlands have seen population growth around major towns and cities, as people look for pleasant coastal and rural homes away from the capital cities.</p> <p>The extraordinary number and ferocity of these fires, plus the increased exposure of people and property, have contributed to the tragic results of the past few days.</p> <p>Communities flanked by forests along the coast and ranges are highly vulnerable because of the way fires spread under the influence of strong westerly winds. Coastal communities wedged between highly flammable forests and heathlands and the sea, are particularly at risk.</p> <p>As a full picture of the extent and location of losses and damage becomes available, we will see the extent to which planning, building regulations, and fire preparation has mitigated losses and damage.</p> <p>These unprecedented fires are an indication that a much-feared future under climate change may have arrived <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222328">earlier than predicted</a>. The week ahead will present high-stakes new challenges.</p> <p>The most heavily populated region of the nation is now at critically dry levels of fuel moisture, below those at the time of the disastrous Christmas fires of 2001 and 2013. Climate change has been predicted to <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF08133">strongly increase</a> the chance of large fires across this region. The conditions for Tuesday are a real and more extreme manifestation of these longstanding predictions.</p> <p>Whatever the successes and failures in this crisis, it is likely that we will have to rethink the way we plan and prepare for wildfires in a hotter, drier and more flammable world.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126750/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ross-bradstock-1495">Ross Bradstock</a>, Professor, Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-helene-nolan-179005">Rachael Helene Nolan</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/drought-and-climate-change-were-the-kindling-and-now-the-east-coast-is-ablaze-126750">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Dozens of koalas burned in bushfire nursed back to health in couple’s home

<p>Paul and Christeen McLeod are sharing their home on the New South Wales mid-north coast with 24 koalas.</p> <p>The couple have been running a welfare refuge for injured koalas in Taree since 1993 and due to the intense NSW bushfires, have spent the last few days tending to as many of the marsupials as they can.</p> <p>With their local community being affected by the bushfires, the McLeods created a makeshift emergency room for their increasing number of furry patients.</p> <p>Many of the animals have arrived at their operation, Koalas In Care, with severe burns to their bodies, as they now undergo careful treatment by the couple that involves cleaning off soot and applying cream.</p> <p>In the midst of the Hillville fires, an adult male koala was rescued on Sunday and came to couple in a critical state.</p> <p>“This poor fellow has been in the thick of it all,” said Ms McLeod.</p> <p>“He’s severely burnt. His fur’s singed, all of his paws are burnt, his nose is burnt and his ears are burnt.</p> <p>“At the moment we’ve got him lightly sedated. We’ve tended to his injuries. Now it’s a wait-and-see if he responds to treatment. He’s got a long road in front of him.”</p> <p>Because of his dusty appearance, they’ve named him Sootie. And it seems he’s slowly recovering, as a day later his appetite was returning as he ate some eucalyptus leaves from his laundry basket.</p> <p>Another koala named Judy was also rescued from fires at Hillville on Sunday, but despite not suffering from serious burns, she’s dealing with an entirely different challenge.</p> <p>“She’s been pretty fortunate in that she doesn’t seem to have suffered burns to her feet (but) her fur is singed in various places,” said Ms McLeod,</p> <p>The koala is dealing with “wet bottom” – an incredibly painful and potentially fatal condition that’s common amongst the marsupials.</p> <p>“We’ll see how she fares over the coming days undergoing treatment for wet bottom and probably some smoke inhalation.”</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the koalas in care.</p>

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