A burst water main on Ann Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is causing major peak hour traffic delays.
The road was initially closed after the pipe burst, but one lane was reopened to traffic a short time later.
Drivers heading into the CBD have been advised to try to avoid the area if possible.
Brisbane City Council said the south-bound Clem 7 toll fee was being waived for motorists trying to get around the disruption.
Michelle Cull from Queensland Urban Utilities said crews had turned the water supply off and were working to clear the debris and repair the pipe.
“There was quite a lot of water over Ann Street, which has now subsided,” she said.
“The good news is that no customers are without water and fortunately also there wasn’t any flooding damage to the properties.
“Two lanes will be closed tonight, and the crews will work through the night to hopefully reopen the road in time for peak hour in the morning.
“We’re investigating the cause, but it’s possible the wet weather has played a part. Heavy rain can cause the reactive clay soil to swell, and cause the pipes to shift and break.”
Here’s what you need to know this morning.
Dams around Sydney like ‘sponges’
There are hopes heavy rain today and into the weekend across Sydney will help replenish the city’s water supplies.
Tony Webber from Water New South Wales said the catchment was extremely dry though and would need a major soaking before water started flowing into the dams.
“It’s like a sponge, it needs to be saturated before that water starts to move but what we’re hearing from the [Bureau of Meteorology] is that the main volume of that rain event is going to arrive by Sunday, we think by then the catchment is going to be wet enough to generate some inflows … into our dam storages,” Mr Webber said.
Tough level 2 water restrictions were brought in late last year when dam levels in the Sydney catchment fell below 45 per cent.
New cracks have emerged at the troubled Mascot Towers apartment block in Sydney’s south.
Fire and Rescue crews were called to the building on Bourke Street just after 10:00pm Thursday after the new cracks were spotted in the brick facade.
Engineers arrived to inspect the area and then cordoned it off.
More substantial hoardings will be put in place today.
A NSW parliamentary inquiry will be held into hazardous air quality from bushfire smoke that choked Sydney and other parts of the state over the past few months.
Upper House MPs will investigate the short- and long-term impacts of poor air quality as well as whether the Government can put in a place a better strategy to deal with such an event.
Sydney’s air quality index skyrocketed on certain days when bushfires raged and at one point was 12 times hazardous levels.
This new probe is separate to an independent bushfire inquiry taking place at the request of the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and will be taking submission until late March.
A flood watch is in place for parts of Sydney with heavy rainfall expected across much of the state’s east coast over the weekend.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of the potential for local flooding in the Northern Sydney, Southern Sydney, and Parramatta River catchments.
Penrith could experience up to 100mm of rain today, and up to 150mmm on Sunday, while Sydney could see up 90 mm fall both today and tomorrow.
The Illawarra can also expect heavy falls, with up to 200mm forecast for Wollongong and 150mmm for Nowra on Saturday.
Bushfire scam warning
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it is aware of hundreds of scams circulating in connection to bushfire donations.
Chairman Rod Sims said there were about 500 scams, the worst of which had fraudsters impersonating relatives of bushfire victims on crowdfunding sites.
Cybersecurity expert Suranga Seneviratne said scam sites often featured bad spelling or suspicious URL’s, and social media accounts with a small number of posts or followers should ring alarm bells.
He advised people who wanted to donate to do so directly through the charity, rather than use third-party purporting to fundraise on the charity’s behalf.
Heroin ‘hidden in deodorant cans’
A 42-year-old man will appear in court today over charges relating to drugs and weapons seized from a unit in inner Sydney.
Police said officers attended a unit in Ultimo around midday yesterday to issue the man with a Firearms Prohibition Order and found heroin in bags and concealed in deodorant cans.
Officers alleged they also found two vials of steroids, cash, a pair of knuckle dusters and a large knife with a double-edged blade.
The man was charged with possessing and supplying a prohibited drug, possessing a prohibited weapon and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Showers increasing, possibly heavy. Min.Max.CBD2224Parramatta2123
Here’s what you need to know this morning.
Mascot tunnel crash
Traffic around General Holmes Drive is gridlocked after a fatal crash in the airport tunnel near the M5 forced the closure of all southbound lanes.
NSW Police said two vehicles, one with five people travelling northbound and another with only a driver travelling southbound, collided head-on on General Holmes Drive around 5:40am.
A passenger in the first car died at the scene, and all others involved in the crash were taken to hospital.
One northbound lane and all southbound lanes were closed, but all lanes were reopened by around 10:30am.
Rain continues across NSW
More rain is forecast to hit parts of eastern NSW today, with the heaviest falls in the state’s north.
Parts of the state’s Central West and North-West Slopes received some welcome rain yesterday, including more than 20mm in Dubbo, and more than 30mm in Walgett.
“There’s a great feed of easterly warm, moist air feeding into the system and we’re seeing that kick off in the form of rainfall today,” the Bureau of Meteorology’s Mike Funnell said.
“We are expecting those larger totals and heavier rainfall to come into the north-east coast of NSW and then sort of track slowly southwards.”
A man was taken to hospital after he was attacked with a crowbar during a home invasion in Sydney’s south-west overnight.
Just before midnight, a 46-year-old man woke to find two men in dark clothing inside his Roselands home.
The men, armed with a crowbar, assaulted him while demanding cash before ransacking his house and fleeing the scene.
The occupant was taken to Bankstown Hospital and was treated for a suspected hand fracture, cuts and bruising.
The NSW Department of Corrective Services says six officers have been suspended over the past year due to allegations of bullying or harassment.
A spokeswoman said one officer resigned, another was fined for misconduct and four investigations were ongoing.
Female former prison officers have accused Correctives Services of not doing enough to prevent sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination from occurring in the state’s jails.
Commissioner Peter Severin said he was trying to improve the organisation’s culture.
Aged care nurse charged
A 56-year-old former aged care nurse has been charged over the alleged assaults of eight patients at a facility in Ashfield.
Officers arrested the woman at a home in Yagoona yesterday after an investigation.
NSW Police will allege she assaulted six men and two women — aged 53 to 95 — between February and October last year.
The facility has since fired her, and she will appear at Burwood Local Court next month.
Thursday’s weatherCloudy with a high chance of showers. Min.Max.CBD2225Parramatta2026
Police have charged a man who stopped trams and traffic at a busy Melbourne intersection and stood on the roof of his car, shouting at police to stop him before getting back into his car, doing doughnuts and driving off with officers in pursuit.
- Superintendent Dan Trimble said the man had no weapons on him but a backpack in the man’s car was inspected by the bomb squad and deemed safe
- He said police did not believe there were any links to terrorism
- No-one was injured during the incident
The Critical Incident Response Team and local police arrested the 26-year-old man at the intersection of Flinders and William streets at about 2:00pm.
The man has been charged with reckless conduct endangering life and a number of traffic offences.
He was remanded in custody and will appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court later today.
Victoria Police Superintendent Dan Trimble said police were called to the area after receiving reports of a car that had pulled up in front of a tram at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston streets.
He said the driver got out of the car and stood on the roof, asking for police to come and stop him.
In scenes eerily similar to those that preceded the 2017 Bourke Street attack, the man then got back into his car and drove in circles around the intersection before speeding down Flinders Street to William Street, where Superintendent Trimble said the man stopped, turned on his hazard lights and was arrested.
In footage of the scene outside Flinders Street Station, a person on a scooter tried to approach the car and reached towards the passenger side door before the driver tore off.
Superintendent Trimble said the man had no weapons on him but there was a backpack in the car that the bomb squad inspected and deemed safe.
Police set up an exclusion zone around the incident scene.
No-one was injured during the incident.
Superintendent Trimble said police did not believe there were any links to terrorism.
An eyewitness, Russ, told ABC Radio Melbourne when he saw the car blocking trams in the intersection, he assumed it had broken down.
“Next minute he climbs on his roof and starts screaming and shouting something and then he slid down the bonnet and got in the car and did three doughnuts and took off in a westerly direction.
“Pretty soon there was one of the cop’s pursuit cars that went roaring down.”
Russ described the incident as a “bit scary” and said he stood behind a big pole “in case he went and did what that other guy did and you know, started running over people.”
Victorian authorities have put in place multiple safety measures in Melbourne’s CBD, including bollards, in the wake of several car attacks in recent years.
In the same year, Saeed Noori killed grandfather Antonio Crocaris and injured 16 people when he drove his car into pedestrians at the intersection of Flinders and Elizabeth streets.
In November 2018, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali drove a vehicle loaded with gas bottles down Bourke Street before getting out and stabbing three people, killing restaurateur Sisto Malaspina.
Evelyn Hamlett was one of hundreds of city workers whose building went into lockdown during today’s police operation.
Ms Hamlett and her 200 colleagues spent the afternoon “staring out the windows” and trying not to worry.
“We saw a lot of police cars down near our building and a lot at the intersection. We saw fire trucks so we got a bit worried,” she said.
“It was all a bit scary as we didn’t know what was going on.”
Ms Hamlett was also working in the CBD during the 2017 Bourke Street attack and said the lockdown brought back memories of that day.
“[Bourke Street] is always in the back of your mind … everybody was a bit on edge,” she said.
Video posted to Twitter by a passer-by shows about 10 police cars blocking Flinders Street, as officers approached a silver car.
@jkmccrann: About 10 cop cars on the scene in no time down at Flinders St.
One officer could be seen running across the intersection, and appeared to be carrying a large weapon, while many of the officers are in bulletproof vests.
In the video, one person could be seen sitting on the ground surrounded by police officers, next to the silver car.
NSW Police and the hospitality industry are gearing up for the end of Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, which have today been officially lifted.
- The ABC understands NSW Police will increase patrols around licensed venues from tonight
- Several venues across Sydney are planning celebration parties this weekend to mark the end of the laws
- The laws led to a dramatic decrease in violence in Kings Cross
The Berejiklian Government last year announced several restrictions imposed on licensed venues would be scrapped across the city’s CBD.
The exception was in Kings Cross, which the State Government said would be up for review in 12 months.
The ABC understands police will increase patrols around licensed venues from tonight.
“The NSW Police remains committed to ensuring safety and security of the community in responding to alcohol-related crime,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.
From today, patrons can enter licensed venues in the CBD and Oxford Street after 1:30am.
Restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight are gone and venues with “good records” will have their last drinks extended by half an hour to 3:30am.
Bottleshops across NSW can also stay open until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with an 11:00pm closing time on Sunday.
Some venues in central Sydney will host celebration parties tonight and this weekend to mark the end of the much-maligned legislation.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore declared on Twitter: “Sydney is open again”.
The laws were introduced in 2014 by then-premier Barry O’Farrell in a bid to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.
They were sparked by the “coward-punch” deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in Kings Cross.
Assaults in Kings Cross dropped by 53 per cent across a five-year period after the laws were introduced, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
CBD assaults also dropped to 13 per cent over the first two and a half years, before levelling out to 4 per cent across the same five-year period.
However, many argued the drop in assaults correlated with a drop in patrons caused by the new nightlife rules.
Areas outside the lockout law boundaries saw an increase in violence, with a 30 per cent jump in assaults across Newtown, Double Bay, Bondi and Coogee.
The venue restrictions also wreaked havoc on the city’s nightlife, with a NSW parliamentary inquiry last year hearing about 270 venues were forced to shut down.
Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics found Sydney was missing out on $16 billion a year because its night-time economy was underdeveloped.
Tim Piccione, a pub manager in The Rocks, was worried the damage to Sydney’s reputation and hospitality industry was already done.
But he was nevertheless excited by the lockout laws being lifted.
“I think it’s definitely going to be a good thing to encourage people to come in and actually feel like they can stay out late,” he said.