Sydney news: COVID-19 close contact laws set to change in NSW

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Announcement expected on the lifting of the rule of family contacts

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has come under pressure to lift the close contact isolation rule. (AAP: Brendon Thorne)

Lifting the requirement for household contacts of COVID-19 cases to self-isolate for seven days was on the agenda at last night’s meeting of the NSW Government’s COVID and Economic Recovery Committee.

A spokesman for NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard declined to confirm whether a decision had been made to scrap the rule.

“A range of issues continue to be discussed at the Australian Health Protection Senior Committee. The NSW Government is working on these and will make further changes if satisfied that community safety is the priority,” the spokesperson said.

The government has come under pressure from businesses to remove the restriction, prompting complaints from some sectors struggling with staff shortages.

A spokesman said the government’s decision would be announced this morning.

Ben Roberts-Smith witnesses continue

A man wearing a suit looks aside as he walks out of court
Ben Roberts-Smith is suing The Age, Federal Capital Press and Fairfax Media for information linking him to alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

A former SAS patrol commander will continue to testify in Ben Roberts-Smith’s libel case against three newspapers.

Codenamed Person 5, the witness yesterday gave a detailed account of a 2009 mission to a Taliban compound where a man with a prosthetic leg was shot dead.

Mr Roberts-Smith denies claims the man was unarmed and was taken prisoner after hiding in a tunnel, insisting he was an armed insurgent he had legitimately engaged.

He is suing publications for a series of articles from 2018 – which mentioned this allegation along with others of unlawful killings, domestic violence and intimidation – claiming the allegations are all false.

Police seek information on fatal crash

Generic NSW Police logo on policeman's uniform sleeve
Police are investigating a fatal motorcycle accident last night.(ABC News: Dan Cox)

Following a fatal motorbike accident in Sydney’s North West last night, police have appealed for information.

The 21-year-old was found seriously injured at the scene on the corner of Sunnyholt Road and Quakers Hill Parkway, Acacia Gardens, around 9.30pm.

It is believed that the young man lost control of his motorbike and crashed.

He was taken to Westmead Hospital in critical condition, but died shortly afterwards.

Officers from the Riverstone Police District established a crime scene, which was the subject of a forensic examination.

Police are appealing for witnesses, including motorists with dash cams, to contact Riverstone Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Insurance Board calls for more action to reduce flood risk

The reconstruction agency will coordinate the long-term flood response.
The Insurance Council of Australia calls for a halt to construction in the floodplains.(ABC News: Jerry Rickard)

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is calling on governments to do more to reduce flood risk, including a moratorium on building homes in floodplains.

He says it would help reduce the cost of insurance premiums for people living in flood-prone areas.

The ICA says the cost of flood cover can be prohibitive for people living in high flood risk areas, leading many to opt out of flood cover altogether.

“Beyond immediate cleanup and community recovery, it is clear that there are complex issues to be resolved if we are to ensure that the community of Lismore is more resilient to future flooding,” the general manager said. of the CIA, Andrew Hall.

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