Sydney News: Hundreds of bus drivers in Sydney on strike

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Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Hundreds of bus drivers on strike

Today’s bus strike is part of an escalating dispute between the government and transport unions.AAP: Bianca De Marchic

Transport delays and traffic congestion are expected in Sydney this morning as hundreds of bus drivers leave their jobs.

The union action is part of a dispute between transport unions and the state government over pay and conditions.

Bus services operate on a shortened schedule in the Inner West, The Hills district and the North, South and West of Sydney.

Services in the Hunter, Central Coast and Blue Mountains will also be affected.

Transport for NSW Chief Operating Officer Howard Collins said commuters need to plan ahead.

“If you have any doubts and you don’t have to travel today, I wouldn’t choose to get on a bus in one of those areas today,” said Mr Collins.

“Those people who have to travel, and I recognize that there are a lot of people who have to go to and from work, just give a little extra time so you can get to your destination safely.”

All other public transport is expected to be affected by the throughput effects of the strike.

“Obviously the roads will get busier, we’ll see a lot more people going to train stations,” he said.

The unions demand limited driving times, mandatory breaks, violence training and wage standards.

Surry Hills brawl witness appeal

a young man looking at the camera
Evander Tuala was seriously injured in an alleged attack on Surry Hills.Delivered: Facebook

Police are looking for witnesses to a brawl in Sydney’s inner city in which a man suffered serious head injuries.

Evander Tuala, 23, was reportedly struck on the head and fell to the ground during a fight that broke out between two groups in Oxford Street just after midnight on Saturday.

Police arrested three men after a short foot chase. They have been charged with arguing.

Detective Superintendent John Duncan said there were many witnesses to the incident and they are being asked to come forward with images from dashcams or cell phones.

“This young man is fighting for his life in the hospital, we think there were probably 10 to 15 people involved,” Chief Inspector Duncan said.

“So before we figure out who’s being accused of what, we need a little more footage to establish who did what.”

NRL flare protester charged

Protester with an orange glow faces Joe Ofahengaue
Tigers player Joe Ofahengaue holds a pitch invader with the Wests Tigers at Shark Park yesterday. Getty Images: Mark Kolbe

A protester who stopped an NRL game over the weekend by running onto the pitch and waving a torch near players is set to appear in court today.

Play was interrupted for several minutes during Sunday-evening Tigers vs Cronulla game in Woolware before the man was escorted off the field by security.

The 32-year-old was charged with illegally entering a landlocked country and possessing a dangerous item in a public place.

His bail was refused this morning to appear in Sutherland court.

Cost of living a priority for voters in Western Sydney

a composite image of a man and a woman both wearing sunglasses
For voters in Parramatta’s fringe seat, it’s all about the cost of living.ABC news

Pressure on the cost of living, such as housing and rising fuel prices, is looming on the minds of voters in Western Sydney as they prepare to go to the polls on May 21.

The state has a high proportion of vulnerable seats and there is a concentration of them in the west of Sydney.

The ABC spoke to voters in the fringe seats of Parramatta and Reid — who are considered a bell-ringer of sorts — about the issues that would affect their vote.

“Cost of living, rising fuel prices and interest rates,” said one young voter.

Another said she was concerned about the “extreme homelessness in Parramatta”.

“A lot of them have lost their homes and their jobs – I don’t think they’re getting a good response,” she said.

Another said it was all about jobs for people.

“I think the point is, if either side can guarantee or keep the jobs in this current environment, I think they will win.”

The government currently controls Lindsay, Banks and Reid.

The fringe Labor seats in the west of the city are Macquarie, Parramatta and Greenway.

Princess Anne pays tribute to dead firefighters

a woman talks to a man holding a photo of a young man
Princess Anne met Andrew O’Dwyer’s family during her visit to RFS headquarters.Facebook: NSW National Fire Brigade

Princess Anne paid tribute to the two men who died fighting the Green Wattle Creek fire south west of Sydney in 2019.

The Princess Royal, who has been in NSW since Saturday, met the families of Geoff Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer on Sunday during her visit to the NSW National Fire Brigade headquarters.

She said it was important to remember those who sacrificed their lives “to make that volunteer effort”.

†[I want to] thank the families of those two cops who got lost…

The Queen’s only daughter also praised the service for taking on the challenge during “the most extraordinary period” of catastrophic fires, floods and the pandemic.

“I really hope these floods won’t last long,” she said.

“And you get a chance to rebuild those communities the way you want to and give your volunteers a little chance to catch their breath.”

Princess Anne opened the Royal Easter Show on Saturday to mark her 200th anniversary.

Today she will meet with army personnel before traveling to Papua New Guinea.

Calls on JobKeeper to save rural GP posts

a man with a stethoscope around his neck
A national health organization warns that many clinics are struggling to remain financially viable.AAP: Julian Smith

The federal government is being urged to put in place a JobKeeper package to prevent GP practices from closing in rural and regional Australia.

The charity, Rural and Remote Medical Services, says a $300 million program would keep clinics afloat until a long-term solution is found to stem the loss of doctors.

Chief Executive Mark Burdack said the funding was needed because foreign-trained medics have been unable to fill positions and keep operations viable.

“What we need is a package that allows us to maintain that infrastructure and that workforce,” Burdack said.

“We can use other mechanisms to maintain the services in those communities for a period of 12 to 24 months until we can get the supply of labor back into the rural communities.”

Temporary Classrooms for Northern Rivers

A student walks along a path surrounded by demountable classrooms.
It is hoped that the pop-up classrooms will be placed early in the second grade.Delivered

Pop-up classrooms will be rolled out for nine significantly damaged schools in flooded parts of the state’s Northern Rivers area.

In late February, more than 1,200 students and 150 teachers had to move from their school campuses when devastating floods hit the area.

Pop-up classrooms will be located at Blakebrook, Broadwater, Condong, Lismore South, The Richmond River Campus at Rivers Secondary College and Tumbulgum Public Schools.

Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell hopes the demountables will be operational as early as possible in the second semester.

“Efforts to install pop-up classrooms were somewhat hampered by the ongoing bad weather,” Ms Mitchell said.

“But I want to assure the community that once the ground is sufficiently dry, our teams from the Ministry of Education will get them in place.

“They will remain in place until the schools can be rebuilt.”

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