Russian naval vessels heading for Australia
In the lead up to the G20 summit in Brisbane, four Russian naval vessels have been spotted cruising towards the north of Australia. The Australian Defence Force said they were “monitoring Russian naval vessels that are currently transiting through international waters to the north of Australia.” Seven News reported that P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft and the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Stuart were dispatched to monitor the ships, last seen travelling through the Coral Sea south of Bougainville. More than 6000 police and 900 soldiers have been deployed throughout Brisbane before the summit, which is costing $500 million to host.
Director of Yellow Tail wines allegedly involved in criminal syndicate
Marcello Casella, 54, the youngest brother of Australia’s largest multi beverage family-owned winery business Casella Wine, has appeared in Griffith’s Local Court on Wednesday. Mr Casella is being charged with one count of cultivating a large commercial quantity of a prohibited plant and one count of participating in a criminal group. It is alleged that he was involved in the production, distribution and selling of commercial quantities of cannabis and methylamphetamine throughout southern NSW. Following a police raid carried out on a property that Casella was linked to, he ceased being a director of Casella wines in February, leaving his brothers Joe and John as joint directors.
Concerns for cyclists as light rail project approaches
Sydney’s light rail project is set to begin next year, but concerns have risen as bike paths are set to be demolished in the process. The government has proposed removing the existing cycleway on College St and replacing it with a part-time path on Castlereagh St, which vehicles will be able to travel through during off-peak hours.The NSW government has said it wants majority of the cycleways to be built by the time construction begins on George St in April next year. Cyclists have expressed concerns on how soon it will be before they’re able to use the new cycleways, “Yet progress appears to have ground to a halt and we are concerned the strategy is being compromised,” Sophie Bartho, communications director for Bicycle NSW said.
Palmer United Party strained relationships
Senator, Jacqui Lambie, admitted to ABC TV that her relationship with Palmer United Party (PUP) leader Clive Palmer, can sometimes be strained. “I’m asking him to help those people that he knows I’m trying to help and I just don’t feel like I’m getting support out of Clive Palmer or the Palmer United Party senators with that,” she said. Denying a split in the party, Senator Lambie did admit that unless the PUP begin to use their consciences a bit more, the party might start losing its bearings. Senator Lambie will vote with her conscience on issues affecting Tasmania, veterans and military pay.
Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly retires
Chief executive of Westpac, Gail Kelly, will officially step down on February 1 and head into retirement. Brian Hartzer, the chief executive of Westpac’s Australian financial services division will replace Ms Kelly. She said it was the right time to hand over the reins to the bank. “As our recent results show, the Westpac group is very well positioned with strong momentum and a high quality team,” she said. “This is an excellent time to hand the reins to our next CEO, who will take the group through to our bicentennial celebrations and beyond.” Chairman Lindsay Maxsted said Ms Kelly was leaving the bank in a good position and praised her seven year tenure, which resulted in a more “diverse and highly engaged workforce”. – Bianca Mureddu
Top photo from Official US Navy Page’s Flickr photostream.