Morning Buzz: Sydney news, traffic and weather for Thursday, August 17

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Thursday, August 17. Temperatures are expected to reach 23 degrees today with winds continuing into the afternoon. Enjoy your day!

Morrison urges retirees to 'free up larger homes for younger families'

Treasurer Scott Morrison is encouraging older Australians to downsize and "free up homes for larger families" after a Fairfax Media analysis of census data found more than 2000 homes in Sydney and Melbourne with six or more bedrooms and only one person living in them.

The Turnbull government has acknowledged a lack of supply in key areas is locking younger Australians out of the market, while the Greens and Labor have described Australia's housing system as "broken" with a "significant social problem". Read more

'Rush job' doubts ABS over same-sex marriage survey

Rank-and-file officials at the Australian Bureau of Statistics have "grave doubts" that the same-sex marriage postal vote can be done properly in the time-frame ordered by the Turnbull government, the public servants' union says.

Some ABS workers fear the postal survey will be a "rush job" that risks repeating last year's Census debacle, while others are worried it will not deliver an accurate picture of Australians' opinions of same sex marriage, according to the Community and Public Sector Union. Read more

Worker killed in wall collapse as wild winds hit Sydney

Wall collapse at Carlingford.

Wall collapse at Carlingford.

A tradesman has died and another remained in a critical condition on Wednesday afternoon after brick walls collapsed on them in separate incidents at building sites in Sydney's north-west.

Wild winds wreaked havoc across the city on Wednesday with walls collapsing in Carlingford and Kellyville and power lines coming down in other suburbs. Read more

Shopping centres bank on coffee and salons amid retail slump

What can't you do or buy online nowadays? Whatever the answer, shopping centres want a piece of it.

Faced with a retail landscape rocked by cautious shoppers and the encroachment of online players, shopping centres are turning over more and more space to cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons to keep the tills ringing. Read more

M4 toll: motorists avoid motorway as 'blatantly unfair' charges kick in

The M4 on the day tolls commenced. Picture: Nick Moir

The M4 on the day tolls commenced. Picture: Nick Moir

Western Sydney motorists who drive to work in the city have either had a quick run - or a significantly slower one - this week.

The M4 toll kicked in on Tuesday for the first time since 2010, leaving the motorway a “ghost town” between Parramatta and Homebush. Read more

Michelle Bridges is now doubting her fitness

The world of social media fitspo (fit-inspiration) is one of permanently flexed abs, Fitbit PB screenshots and glowing post-marathon faces, so it's refreshing to see Michelle Bridges keeping things real.

The 45-year-old Biggest Loser trainer gave the genre an oft-needed touch of realness, sharing a candid account of one of her training sessions, squeezed in between her business commitments and looking after her six-month-old baby. Read more

No outstanding leader in the free world, Bob Hawke says

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has declared there is not an outstanding leader in the world today and blamed media intrusion for deterring potential politicians from running for office.

In a 30-minute conversation alongside former Liberal prime minister John Howard with the ABC's Annabel Crabb at Old Parliament House in Canberra, Mr Hawke said the world had never needed an outstanding leader more than it did at this time. Read more

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