One person remains missing after a factory in Melbourne’s southeast, with search efforts hampered by safety concerns.
Firefighters have not yet conducted a primary search of the paint facility in Dandenong South because the structure has not been declared safe, reports AAP.
A building surveyor will complete an inspection before fire crews and police can enter the building.
The first fire crews arrived at the Superior Drive factory shortly after midday on Friday and immediately called for backup.
More than 120 officers and 40 trucks fought the massive blaze for hours before it was brought under control.
Three men had to be hospitalised for upper body injuries but are in a stable condition.
One person was still unaccounted for on Saturday morning, Fire Rescue Victoria confirmed.
Anthony Albanese said the government will scale back migration as part of its new strategy, the details of which will be released in the week ahead.
In a press conference a short time ago, the prime minister said there would be a crackdown on abuses of the migration system that see international students entering Australia without adding to their or the broader skills base.
People are coming here, enrolling in courses that don’t really add substantially to either their skills base or to the national interest here. So, it’s not in the interests of our neighbours, nor is it in the interests of Australia, that there not be a crackdown on this. We’re determined to do that.
He said Covid had affected population figures, which are lower than they were forecast to be before the pandemic.
But what we know is that we need to have a migration system that enables Australia to get the skills that we need, but make sure the system is working in the interests of all Australians.
He said that migration policy needed to address skills shortages, giving permanent visa pathways to those with special skills such as engineering.
The government’s “first priority” would be to train Australians in an attempt to fill the skills gap in the aged care, early childhood, and traditional trades sectors, he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney, prime minister Anthony Albanese said the current heatwave is “a reminder that there just might be something in this climate change stuff.”
We have experienced 2023 as the hottest year on record. We continue to break these records, and that’s why my government’s determined to act on climate change.
Today, with the high heat levels, I do say that it’s a time to ensure that we look after each other and stay safe.
Climate change is a threat to people’s health as well as to our environment and we need to acknowledge there’s a need for a comprehensive response.
He said climate change minister Chris Bowen was attending the CoP meeting in Dubai and that 10 members of the coalition were registered to attend.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese is holding a press conference in Sydney.
He says the Labor government will next week launch a new migration strategy.
“We need to have our migration levels brought to a sustainable level and we will be releasing details of that this week,” he said.
New South Wales Health is urging music festival goers to take precautions in the extreme heat on Saturday.
Dr Darren Roberts, Medical Director of the NSW Poisons Information Centre, said that festival organisers would have special measures in place to cope with temperatures of up to 44C in parts of the state.
“Several music festivals of different styles are taking place this weekend in New South Wales, and very hot weather is predicted. Without the right precautions, people will be putting their health at risk,” Dr Roberts said.
“Overheating during activities in dangerous heat is a huge risk, and people need to take a break from dancing, seek shade, drink water and cool down to reduce the risk of overheating at festivals.
“Festivals will have special measures in place this weekend including chilled water and misting fans to help keep people cool. Everyone attending festivals this weekend should make use of these measures.”
He warned that hot environments can increase the risk of harm from some drugs.
Australian federal police are part of an international investigatory team that has worked to remove 92 children from exploitation and abuse in the Philippines in 2023.
The interventions are a direct result of the Philippines Internet Crimes Against Children Center’s (PICACC) work to protect children, the AFP said in a statement on Saturday.
Established in 2019, the PICACC is a joint initiative by police forces from the Philippines, Australia, UK and the Netherlands.
As of 5 December, PICACC operations have resulted in 92 victims being removed from harm and 15 alleged facilitators arrested this year. In 2022, 60 victims were removed from harm and nine alleged facilitators were arrested.
Of these, the rescue of 52 victims internationally and the arrest of eight alleged offenders were a direct result of AFP International Command members in the Philippines facilitating and value-adding to referrals from Australian-based investigations. This includes 16 children removed from harm in a single operation in June 2023, the largest recovery of victims since the founding of the PICACC.
South Australia: heatwave, cold weather and flood warnings
In what is shaping up to be an extraordinary day for weather events in parts of Australia, South Australia is facing concurrent heatwave, cold weather and flood warnings.
The Bureau of Meteorology has active warnings in place for the state, with an initial flood watch in place for the Mount Lofty Ranges, mid-north and Eyre Peninsula.
A severe heatwave warning is in place for the state’s Flinders, north-west Pastoral and north-east Pastoral districts.
It also warns graziers of lower than average temperatures in Mount Lofty Ranges, West Coast, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and north-west Pastoral forecast districts.
See the bureau’s current SA warnings here.
As New South Wales residents and emergency services brace themselves for temperatures as high as 44C today, the Rural Fire Service has enforced a total fire ban across large parts of the state. The Greater Sydney, Northern Riverina, Lower Central West Plains, Southern Slopes and Central Ranges areas are affected.
More news from Queensland, where a man has been taken to hospital after a shark attack off the state’s central coast.
Paramedics were called out to a beach at Seventeen Seventy near Gladstone after 4.30pm AEST on Friday, reports AAP.
They discovered a man in his 20s with a “significant leg injury” from a shark bite, Queensland Ambulance Service said.
He was treated on the beach before being transported to Bundaberg hospital in a serious condition.
Tropical cyclone looms off Queensland coast
A rescue helicopter is set to evacuate a remote weather station as a tropical cyclone looms off the Queensland coast.
Four scientists will be picked up on Saturday from Willis Island, about 450km off Cairns in the Coral Sea, ahead of Tropical Cyclone Jasper’s expected arrival, reports AAP.
Cyclone Jasper intensified into a category 4 system on Friday with sustained winds of 195km/h and gusts up to 270km/h.
It has the tiny island’s station in its sights as it tracks toward the Queensland coast.
The cyclone looks set to impact landfall between Cooktown and Townsville by mid-next week.
Cyclone Jasper is set to weaken at the weekend, dropping to a category 2 by Monday.
But it is expected to intensify again into a severe tropical cyclone as it approaches the north Queensland coast next week.
A cyclone watch – a warning issued when coastal impact is expected within 24 and 48 hours – could happen as early as Sunday.
The good news is that a cool change is set to bring relief to the southern states with a maximum of 17C forecast in Adelaide and 19C in Melbourne.
Warnings are still in place further north for Saturday, with the NSW Rural Fire Service issuing total fire bans for five state districts including greater Sydney, reports AAP.
Saturday is expected to be the hottest day of the NSW heatwave which is notable for its spread across the state.
Bureau of Meteorology’s Mariam Bradbury told AAP:
That intensity is really coming across the Dividing Ranges, bringing those severe heatwave conditions with them.
She said a sea-breeze will not save coastal areas.
This is not just the Sydney area. All the way up to the Newcastle coast, temperatures are pushing 40 degrees.
Ms Bradbury said the cool change will continue to push up the east coast later in the weekend, but inland areas won’t see much of a reprieve from the high temperatures.
Sydney is going to see a bit of relief going into Sunday with the cool change, but it’s going struggle to penetrate inland.
A top of 27C is forecast for Sydney on Sunday.
I’m Daisy Dumas and I’ll be with you throughout the day. We’re expecting some extreme heat in New South Wales over the course of the day – we’ll keep you up to date with the latest.
Let’s begin with more details about the heatwave. NSW residents are bracing for a summer scorcher with temperatures due to hit the mid-40s and people urged to check on elderly neighbours.
Penrith and Richmond in Sydney’s western suburbs are forecast to reach 44C on Saturday, with 40C expected in the city.
Inland areas will also be hot and windy, with the nation’s capital set to reach 37C.
Health authorities have issued heatwave alerts urging people to avoid the outdoors during the hottest part of the day, to check in on elderly friends and neighbours and to keep pets cool.
Heatwave warnings were in place on Friday across parts of all mainland states, prompting extreme to catastrophic fire danger alerts to be issued for sections of South Australia, northern Victoria and outback NSW.
In SA, temperatures at Coober Pedy and Leigh Creek topped 43C with the mercury at Woomera Aerodrome climbing to 46.4C.