Morning Buzz: Extreme heat lifts fire threat

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Thursday, September 14. The reprieve is on the way today with rain and top temperatures of just 18 degrees expected. Enjoy your day!

Bushfires threaten properties as extreme heat lifts fire threat

A fire burning along Leggetts Drive at Richmond Vale. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

A fire burning along Leggetts Drive at Richmond Vale. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

Sydney sweltered through its hottest early September day in 159 years on Wednesday as the temperature reached 33.8 degrees in the city at 2.30pm.

It was also the fourth-warmest reading for any September day.

A hot and windy day saw fire risks lifted to extreme in parts of Sydney and elsewhere in the state.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said about 1000 firefighters were dispatched to fight 94 bush and grass fires that were burning around NSW. Thirty eight remained uncontained on Wednesday night. Read more.

ABS warns Australians not to post same-sex marriage survey forms online

Supporters join in the marriage equality rally in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

Supporters join in the marriage equality rally in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is warning people not to post pictures online that reveal the unique barcode on their same-sex marriage survey forms amid concerns it could jeopardise individual results. 

Marriage postal surveys have begun to arrive in Australian mailboxes, but people are already taking to social media to upload images of their forms, some even posting photos with their personal details and unique barcodes in clear view. Read more.

St Mary’s firefighters’ bravery recognised

October 2013: Officers Andrew Sarson, Phil Holdsworth and Tony Gutteridge, with Bob and Susan Pearson (back right) and some of those who took shelter.

October 2013: Officers Andrew Sarson, Phil Holdsworth and Tony Gutteridge, with Bob and Susan Pearson (back right) and some of those who took shelter.

It was one of the more extraordinary stories of the 2013 bushfires – 54 people holed up in one house in Yellow Rock while four firefighters and the owner of the house battled the blaze outside.

They saved the house, and the lives of those inside, and have now been recognised with an Australian bravery award.

For Bob Pearson, news of the award came out of the blue. Read more.

Wealth is up, but more than 400,000 Sydneysiders are 'over-indebted'

Nationally, average household debt has almost doubled since 2003-04. Photo: Bloomberg

Nationally, average household debt has almost doubled since 2003-04. Photo: Bloomberg

Soaring house prices have lifted the wealth of the average Sydney household to $1.3 million, but hundreds of thousands of families in the city have been left "over-indebted".

The Bureau of Statistics' latest survey of income and wealth has classified 407,000 Sydney households with property loans as over-indebted, meaning they owe at least three times more than they earn in year. The typical over-indebted household in Sydney is carrying a hefty $765,400 in total property debt. Read more.

Western Sydney Zoo gets the go-ahead

Sydney Zoo artist's impression. Picture: Supplied

Sydney Zoo artist's impression. Picture: Supplied

The final box has been ticked for work to begin on a new world-class zoo in Blacktown.

The Planning Assessment Commission has approved the multi-million dollar Sydney Zoo on a 16.5 hectare site overlooking Bungarribee Park.

Work is due to start later this year, with the zoo due to be open in time for the 2018 summer holidays. Read more

Macarthur patients part of Australian-first program

If you have ever presented to an emergency department – particularly at night – you would know how frustrating it can be waiting to undergo tests and receive the results.

However, a new program – project iRAD (Integrated Realtime Active Data) – launched by the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN), will aim to reduce the need for unwanted tests and delayed treatment by improving communication between GPs and doctors based at hospitals. Read more

Caltex caned as servos slapped on pay

Caltex CEO Julian Segal in a Caltex convenience store in 2016 in Melbourne. Photo by Pat Scala/Fairfax Media

Caltex CEO Julian Segal in a Caltex convenience store in 2016 in Melbourne. Photo by Pat Scala/Fairfax Media

Fuel giant Caltex is likely to face "enforcement action" from the workplace watchdog as the entire industry was put on notice to clean up persistent issues of underpayment for vulnerable workers.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James will use a speech to an industry event on Thursday to reprimand Caltex for not following the example of 7-Eleven by entering a formal arrangement with the Ombudsman to provide underpaid workers restitution. Read more.

Sharks and Dragons dominate Prime Minister's XIII selection

Representing: Sharks five-eighth James Maloney was one of five Cronulla players chosen in the Prime Minister's XIII. Picture: AAP Image

Representing: Sharks five-eighth James Maloney was one of five Cronulla players chosen in the Prime Minister's XIII. Picture: AAP Image

Cronulla and St George Illawarra players have dominated selection in Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga's Prime Minister's XIII team to take on Papua New Guinea. 

The Sharks and Dragons make up eight members of the 18-man squad to face the Kumuls in Port Moresby on Saturday.

Cronulla will provide five players to the match – Valentine Holmes, Jack Bird, James Maloney, Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham – after their controversial finals exit on Sunday.

St George Illawarra’s Paul Vaughan has been rewarded for an outstanding season with his selection, with the Dragons prop to be joined in the side by club teammates Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell. Read more.

Josh Dugan: I haven't gone back to my wild ways

Josh Dugan is adamant he isn't slipping into bad, old habits. Photo: AAP

Josh Dugan is adamant he isn't slipping into bad, old habits. Photo: AAP

Josh Dugan claims he's worked hard to clean up his image since leaving Canberra and is adamant he isn't reverting to his wild-child ways after his latest indiscretion.

Dugan is preparing to join Cronulla in the off-season after a five-year stint with St George Illawarra.

His time in the Red V ended controversially after he missed the team bus for the crucial clash with Penrith. Read more.

Podcast: Coaches fume after first finals round but many say toughen up

On this week's podcast, we discuss the fallout after the first weekend of finals, which saw two coaches fined for questioning referee decisions. Follow us on Facebook

Sydney FC dump Melbourne City out of the FFA Cup to cruise into the semi-finals

Jordy Buijs of Sydney FC celebrates his opening goal during the quarter final FFA Cup match between Sydney FC and Melbourne City. Photo: AAP

Jordy Buijs of Sydney FC celebrates his opening goal during the quarter final FFA Cup match between Sydney FC and Melbourne City. Photo: AAP

Sydney FC sent out an early warning to the rest of the A-League that they're still the team to beat after dumping the reigning champions out of the FFA Cup to cruise into the semi-finals.

The Sky Blues are on course for a third trophy in 2017 following a commanding 2-0 win over Melbourne City at Leichhardt Oval where their new attacking weapon for the upcoming season, Adrian Mierzejewski, was unveiled. Read more.

Giants strongly considering finals recall for Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson: A return looms large. Photo: AAP

Steve Johnson: A return looms large. Photo: AAP

The Stevie J show may not be over yet as Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron threatens to make wholesale changes for the club's do or die semi final against West Coast on Saturday night.

The Giants are seriously contemplating turning to the magic of Steve Johnson as part of a remodelled forward line after the season-ending injuries to spearhead Jeremy Cameron and ruckman Shane Mumford.

The temptation to hand Johnson an immediate recall will be huge after the Giants managed just six goals in their loss to Adelaide. Read more.

AOC refuses to endorse same-sex marriage because of religious concerns

Sitting on the fence: AOC chief executive Matt Carroll. Photo: AAP

Sitting on the fence: AOC chief executive Matt Carroll. Photo: AAP

The Australian Olympic Committee has refused to join other sporting organisations in backing same-sex marriage because it does not want to offend religious groups, chief executive Matt Carroll has revealed.

"I'm not ducking anything," Carroll said.

"I'm just saying there are two sides to this discussion and I'm respecting both sides of this discussion. People's religious views are important and they should be respected." Read more.

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