Sydney news: Illawarra South Coast Line commuters urged to take alternative transport due to industrial action

Sydney news: Illawarra South Coast Line commuters urged to take alternative transport due to industrial action

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Illawarra rail line closed

From 10am to 4pm today there will be no trains running on the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra and South Coast rail lines due to ongoing industrial action.

Although the protected action does not officially start until 10am, the head of Sydney Trains predicts impacts from about 6am.

“We urge all our customers to plan ahead by catching alternative public transport or working from home on Wednesday if possible,” Matt Longland said.

He said the line, which runs from Bondi Junction to Bomaderry, would not be fully operational until about 8pm.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) secretary Alex Claassens said union members were fighting for a greater commitment from the government to fix the new intercity fleet.

The RTBU says the fleet, built in South Korea, has a safety flaw which means guards cannot monitor passengers getting on and off the train.

The government has agreed to the safety changes in an enterprise agreement but the union wants a deed of agreement.

Mr Claassens said the NSW government chose to inconvenience customers on the T4 line today by not bringing in trains from other areas.

“90 per cent of our train crews and trains are still available to go form the other regions into that region to provide a level of service,” he said.

“Unfortunately… [Sydney Trains] management made a decision that they weren’t going to run any additional trains on that Illawarra line.”

Monkeypox vaccine rollout goal

There are currently 33 cases of the virus in NSW, two of which were locally acquired.(Reuters: Given Ruvic/Illustration)

The government wants everyone in NSW who takes HIV-prevention medication to be vaccinated against monkeypox before WorldPride 2023.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the government was aiming to have the 22,000 people who currently took pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) inoculated before Sydney hosted the pride event next March.

“NSW Health has been working with community partners … including doctors who have a special interest in HIV and sexual health … to support the vaccine rollout,” Mr Hazzard said during Question Time in parliament yesterday.

“With monkeypox cases increasing internationally, it’s expected there will be further cases in NSW and local transmission may increase rapidly.”

Men who have sex with men are considered most at risk of contracting monkeypox, which spreads through skin to skin contact.

There are currently 33 cases of the virus in NSW, two of which were locally acquired.

Vaccines are already being distributed in Sydney and on the Far North Coast, with 5,500 doses being provided by the federal government.

NSW Health expects to receive between 24,500 and 30,000 doses in September and another 70,000 in early 2023.

The symptoms of monkeypox include headache, fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, rash, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. The rash may initially look like pimples.

Resignation letter sought from building commissioner

The NSW Building Commissioner’s private resignation could be made public amid scrutiny over the conduct of sacked Fair Trading minister Eleni Petinos.

Commissioner David Chandler quit in late July.

The state opposition wants to see Mr Chandler’s resignation letter, amid reports the relationship between Mr Chandler and Ms Petinos had soured.

Debate on a motion to compel the state government to hand over a copy of the letter is expected today.

Ms Petinos was sacked from cabinet last month over bullying allegations.

Bill to ban Nazi symbols passes

A state government bill to ban displays of Nazi symbols in public has passed the lower house with unanimous support.

The bill criminalises knowingly displaying a Nazi symbol in public without a “reasonable excuse”, which includes artistic, academic or educational purposes.

Offenders can face 12 months’ imprisonment or fines of up to $11,000 for individuals and $55,000 for corporations.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the bill would provide additional safeguards against hate speech.

“The display of a Nazi symbol undermines our shared values ​​and causes harm and distress to others in the community, including those from the Jewish faith,” he said.

“This bill recognizes that the public display of Nazi symbols is abhorrent, except in very limited circumstances such as for educational purposes.”

The bill will ensure that use of a swastika by religious groups including Buddhists, Hindus and Jains will not be a criminal offence.

Mr Speakman said he expected the bill to pass the upper house and be enacted by next week.