The Informer: Hobart victorious as Nature shows her force

The east is mopping up after heavy rains while fires rage in Western Australia. Picture: Shutterstock
The east is mopping up after heavy rains while fires rage in Western Australia. Picture: Shutterstock

While one side of the country battles fires, the other is mopping up after floods.

It appears the low-pressure system that brought up to 200mm of rain to some parts of the NSW South Coast and caused some flooding has gone out to sea on Friday night. Major flood warnings remain for the Snowy River while other rivers in the east have reached their peak and are starting to recede.

The town of Mogo and the beloved Mogo Zoo was flooded in the low-lying parts on Friday - thankfully all of the animals had retreated to higher ground.

But in Western Australia's Margaret River region, residents have been told to evacuate or get ready to shelter in their homes. Firies made good progress overnight with slightly cooler weather but the blaze remained uncontained on Saturday.

It appears Christmas cheer has contributed to the increase in COVID-19 transmission. The NSW case numbers are creeping up each day, with 560 new COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday, including three Omicron variant cases. Health authorities put it down to mixing and mingling during festive season celebrations.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has made his first pandemic declaration under the new public health laws which sparked anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protests. The laws were necessary because the state of emergency could no longer be extended but health officials still need to put in place protective measures so that the health system doesn't become overwhelmed as new COVID-19 cases remain steady (1193 new infections were added to Victoria's caseload on Friday).

Slowly, slowly, Queensland is relaxing its quarantine requirements for close contacts. From January 1, fully-vaccinated household contacts won't have to quarantine but will need to get tested on day one and five, wear a mask and not visit high-risk settings. Businesses won't have to shut for deep cleaning if a case attended the site in the New Year.

Tassie has tweaked travel rules so that residents who have spent any time in a high-risk area will need to be tested within 72 hours of arrival - before a test was not required if they spent less than a week there.

Premier Peter Gutwein is proud as punch after it was announced that Hobart would be hosting the fifth Ashes test in January, winning the rights over the MCG and SCG.

"It's one I'm personally very proud of for our state," Mr Gutwein said.

"This top-level international event will be the biggest sporting event our state has ever hosted."

And if you were planning to enjoy a cold one this weekend, would a $30,000 bottle opener make your bevvy taste better? James Squire has created a one-off collector's item which is set to go under the hammer with proceeds to go to Rural Aid to support farmers in need.

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This story The Informer: Hobart victorious as Nature shows her force first appeared on The Canberra Times.