MONDAY November 11
The NSW Premier has declared a seven-day state of emergency, predicting “the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen”.
Last night, Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons wrote to Gladys Berejiklian asking her to grant him emergency powers under the State of Emergency and Rescue Management Act.
“Our state has already been hit by some of the most devastating bushfires we have ever seen, with three lives lost and more than 150 structure destroyed,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“With catastrophic weather conditions predicted for this week, particularly Tuesday with hot weather and strong winds, I have decided to take the Commissioner’s advice and make this declaration.
“No matter where you are…everybody has to assume the worst and we cannot allow complacency to creep in.”
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said that the decision to declare a state of emergency was a “unanimous” decision by all the commissioners of the state’s combat agencies.
“This is a tool that government very, very rarely use but it is a tool that is necessary.” he said.
The declaration grants emergency powers to the RFS including the coordination of evacuations, extended access to government resources, traffic redirections, the power to shore up or demolish buildings and power to shut down gas, electricity, oil and water services.
Disobeying these orders, including order to the public to leave an area would be illegal.
The NSW Premier said the declaration was a “precautionary stance” and advised residents to be on high alert.
“If you’re told to evacuate, please do so. If you’re told to take certain actions, please do so,” she said.
More than half of the 60 fires burning across the state remained uncontained, the Commissioner said.
People at services across the country have marked Remembrance Day, with outgoing Australian War memorial director Brendan Nelson using the occasion to also pay tribute to the Australians “dealing with and facing this enormous fire tragedy.”
Today marks 101 years since the Armistice was signed to end World War 1, that claimed the lives of 60,000 Australians.
This morning, around 3,000 people attended the ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Governor-General and former senior Army officer, David Hurley, delivered the commemorative address.
“One of the benefits of the past four years of commemoration of the centenary of service that we have conducted in Australia, is that we have reconnected at a personal level to that first war generation,” he said.
Earlier today, Brendan Nelson told ABC Radio Canberra that those battling the country’s devastating bushfires were also in his thoughts.
“Today, of course, I will be thinking about those Australians, inspired by that spirit of mateship that binds us in the face of adversity, who are dealing with and facing this enormous fire tragedy,” he said.
On Saturday, Nine confirmed that Karl Stefanovic will return to Today in 2020, a year after he was controversially dumped from the show.
He will be joined by 60 Minutes reporter and Weekend Today presenter Allison Landgon.
“Before we get to the news, we wanted to acknowledge this morning our colleague and friend Georgie Gardner,” Knight said.
“You might have read over the weekend that Georgie has left the Today show and after a really challenging year, we want to wish Georgie all the very best.”
Nine news boss Darren Wick said on Saturday, “we took a bold decision to try something new with two women hosting The Today Show this year and regrettably that has not worked for the audience.”
Gardner said she was proud to have been part of the “first female hosting duo in Australian breakfast television” and was “naturally disappointed” it did not succeed.
“I learned a lot. I have no regrets, even though the scrutiny and public discourse has been daunting and disproportionate. It’s also at times been cruel.”
Stefanovic and Langdon will take over as hosts in January.
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