Record rainfall inundates Townsville
Thousands of residents in the city of Townsville in Queensland were without power and cut off by flooded roads. Australia’s tropical north experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent downpour has surged far above normal levels.
Landslides were reported with more possible in the worst-hit areas, the Bureau of Meteorology said today, warning of further “intense rainfall” and “significant flash flooding” along the eastern shore.
The weather office earlier announced that spillway gates at the Ross River dam had been opened to their maximum setting with a rapid rise in the water level predicted to follow.
“Dangerous and high-velocity flows will occur in the Ross River Sunday night into Monday. Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville,” a statement said, adding that there was a “risk to life and property”.
Australian Border Force targeting Saudi Arabian women
Witnesses and activists have accused Australian Border Force officers of targeting Saudi Arabian women whom they suspect will apply for asylum and blocking them from entering the country when they arrive at Australian airports.
Four Corners has evidence of at least two young Saudi women who arrived at Sydney Airport in the past two years but were turned back after making their asylum claims clear to Australian officials. Saudi women who arrive alone at Australian airports are being questioned as to why they are travelling without a male guardian.
At least 80 Saudi women have sought asylum in Australia in recent years, many of them fleeing Saudi Arabia’s oppressive male guardianship laws, which allow their husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and even sons to strictly control their lives.
Four Corners has spoken to several Saudi women who managed to escape the Middle Eastern kingdom and make it to Australia. All of them remain on bridging visas waiting for their asylum claims to be processed.
One of them is 28-year-old Ranya*. In early 2017 she waited at Sydney Airport for her friend to emerge from arrivals, but she never came out.
“She was planning to apply for asylum here, she came from Saudi to Indonesia and Indonesia to Sydney,” she said.
“And since that time, I never heard from her or what happened to her. We tried to reach her, but we haven’t heard from her.”
ASIC orders Commonwealth Bank to stop charging financial planning fees
ASIC has ordered the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning arm to immediately stop charging its customers ongoing service fees, hours before the Government releases the banking royal commission’s final report.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said Commonwealth Financial Planning (CFPL) had breached a court-enforceable undertaking.
It had also been ordered not to enter into any “new ongoing service arrangements” with customers.