Good morning here’s your headlines from around regional Australia and beyond. Scroll down and refresh for weather, road reports and more.
8.30am: That's a wrap for this morning. Remember to check in on your local paper's website for breaking news throughout the day.
8.28am: NSW home owners will learn from May 1 exactly how much they will pay each year to fund fire and emergency services under a new system that will see an average $185 added to council rates notices. Read all about it.
8.24am: Ready for a new day? Here’s a little heart-starter for you just in case you need a boost.
8.21am: SHOALHAVEN police are investigating thefts from a number of vehicles in Berry, Bomaderry, Shoalhaven Heads, Nowra and Sussex Inlet at the weekend. Full story.
8.10am: NSW Health Water Branch in Sydney has advised Bega Valley Shire Council to introduce a Boil Water Notice as a precautionary measure following the recent rain within the Brogo River water supply catchment. Full story.
7.48am: The heart of the NSW State Emergency Service’s operations will continue to beat in Wollongong for a long time, the organisation’s new commissioner has vowed.
Mark Smethurst has also revealed the community will be given greater access to the SES than ever before, thanks to fresh venture that will enhance the visitor experience at the organisation’s soon-to-open new headquarters. Find out more.
7.43am: Are we sending patients home too soone? A patient of surgeon Chris Phoon’s was sent home from hospital the morning after an operation, before being readmitted a couple of hours later when he took a turn for the worse. Full story.
7.11am: Home buyers would only have to pay for 75 per cent of their total house price under a plan praised by Treasurer Scott Morrison less than eight weeks out from a federal budget designed to help ease Australia's housing affordability crisis. Find out more.
For those hitting the road this morning we’ve got a crash affecting northbound traffic on the Princes Hwy at Helensburgh. There is also heavy traffic at Waterfall due to an earlier crash. Good news for train commuters, there are no delays on the South Coast line.
Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered.
► MOAMA: A 27-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of her five-year-old son and attempted murder by drowning of her nine-year-old son, after refusing to appear on video link in the Deniliquin Magistrates Court on Monday morning.
In a brief hearing, the charges were revised to include murder following the discovery of the boy's body in the Murray River, near Moama, on Saturday morning. More here.
► MOUNT ISA: A Victorian man has been arrested for stealing a motor vehicle and a string of other offences after Police tracked him over 900 kilometres through north west Queensland. More here.
► NEWCASTLE: When Adyn Burns was 17, he had no fear. He’d got into the habit of doing backflips. Then one day, he saw a bridge. It was 5.6 metres high.
“At a young age I was doing flips off the house,” Adyn, who lives in Newcastle, said. “Then I found that bridge. I thought that’d look pretty awesome.”
The bridge was in Dubbo, where Adyn was living at the time. It was 2006. More here.
► MAITLAND: Two dogs that killed 15 pet chickens in a Gillieston Heights yard have been collected by a Maitland City Council ranger.
The large, brown dogs wandered into the Cessnock Road property just before 11am and began terrorising the birds, which had been hand-raised by the family that lives there. (Warning: this story contains graphic content.) More here.
► KANGAROO FLAT: A seven-year-old child has avoided injury after being struck by a train. Police believe a catastrophe was avoided after a message was relayed to the V/Line driver “just in time” that the young child was on, or near, the tracks. More here.
► ORANGE: Another few minutes and 100 families in Orange could have been going without food.
Vandals attacked Glenroi’s Community Centre in Gamera Road on Friday night. The centre is home to FoodCare, Glenroi Community Group, the Merge program and Narcotics Anonymous. FoodCare is a not-for-profit group which provides discounted groceries and free milk and bread to 100 families. More here.
► CARDROSS: Guy Milson has been farming his land for the past 38 years. "People 'round here the call me a newcomer," he said. "They tell me you haven't had time to unpack your bags."
Food security isn't just an issue for developing countries; in Australia we've already experienced the perils of food shortages. But during four decades on the farm, rarely has Mr Milson seen as season as good as this one – and neither has the rest of Australia. More here.
► Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is not travelling west this week for the final gruelling days of the West Australian state election, but his government's low standing and the taint of a resurgent Hansonism are playing their roles in the local contest. More here.
► An estimated 400 restaurants, cafes and hair and beauty salons will get a visit from the Tax Office this month, as part of the agency's continued focus on the illegal cash economy. More here.
► The argument is self-evident: weekend penalty rates are out-of-kilter because in a modern, secular, 24/7 economy, Sunday has become just like any other day. So why pay loadings for hours that are no longer unsociable - no longer deleterious to family and home life? Here's one reason. Because, it turns out, the loudest, clearest proponents of this change take a different view about their own leisure time. More here.
► More than half the world's turtles and two-thirds of some bird species along Australia's east coast are being found to have ingested plastics as the toll from pollution mounts, a leading CSIRO researcher said. More here.
► KUALA LUMPUR: Expelled from Malaysia after the nerve agent assassination of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport, North Korea's ambassador packed a television set into his luggage and flew home on Monday. More here.
► JAKARTA: The sensitive topics of Papua and the impact of the worst oil spill in the history of Australia's offshore petroleum fields have been raised in talks with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Indonesia. More here.
► NORTH KOREA: If panic is a product of proximity, you can understand why Japan is extremely nervous about a surprise volley of North Korean ballistic missiles splashing down on Monday in nearby seas. And you can understand why Australians, safely a long way distant, tend to regard the latest Pyongyang provocation as just another clownish outburst by a tinpot dictator. It's time to shake off the complacency. More here.
While most 11-year-olds spend the lead-up to Christmas thinking about presents, Dakota Bradley is busy preparing a hamper for police officers who have to work on December 25.
The Raworth girl has known since she was six that she wants to be a police officer.
She is so sure, she has decked out her room with police patches, toys, photos, letters and more. Read more here.
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