Sydney news: Sydney trains return to normal timetable; evacuation orders issued as Lismore braces for biggest floods on record

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Trains back to full weekday timetable

people wearing masks and walking along a train platform
Trains are returning to normal after last week’s shutdown.AAP: Bianca De Marchic

Train services across Sydney are expected to return to a normal timetable today, a week after the government canceled all services for 24 hours.

Last Monday the train network was shut down without warning after Sydney Trains decided there were safety risks associated with planned industrial action from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU).

Sydney Trains had failed to stop the action in the Fair Work Commission.

The network restarted on Tuesday, providing 25 to 30 per cent of services.

But the network will now operate as normal even though the same industrial action from the union remains in place.

“Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink apologise for the inconvenience faced by commuters last week,” Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said.

“Unfortunately, some industrial action by the RTBU remains ongoing which may impact our ability to manage incidents on the network which could reduce service quality.”

Yesterday, Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said Sydney Trains would “constructively work” with the union on a new enterprise agreement.

“We are expecting now Matt Longland and his team will be back around the table and talking with the unions, and I hope to see progress this week,” he said.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet and Transport Minister David Elliott have both claimed they were not involved in the decision to shut down the network.

The minister has been under pressure, with the opposition calling for him to be sacked.

Changes to masks, testing in schools from today

students carrying back packs walking through the school gates
High school students and staff are no longer required to wear masks.AAP: Bianca De Marchic

From today, masks are no longer mandatory in high schools for students and staff.

Primary schools will follow suit from next week.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the move had been welcomed by the school community amid the current downturn in COVID-19 cases.

“The truth is we don’t know whether we will have to dial up these requirements again,” she said.

“So I think people understand that this is safe and sensible, this is really about tapping into where we’re up to in our community settings.”

Also from today, rapid antigen tests are to be used at parents’ discretion after the twice-weekly surveillance regime was dropped.

Students and staff have been issued with eight free kits.

Search resumes for man missing in floodwaters

police cars on a road covered with floodwater
Police heard the man calling for help from a flooded area in Lismore’s CBD.ABC News: Bronwyn Herbert

Police will resume their search this morning for a man believed to be missing in floodwaters around Lismore in northern New South Wales.

Yesterday officers said they saw and heard the man calling for help in a flooded area in the Lismore CBD but lost sight of him a short time later.

“Police did observe a male in floodwaters in that area with a possibility that he actually may have gone down a drain,” SES incident controller Steve Patterson said.

Police Rescue entered the water and searched for the man but could not find him and the search was suspended after it was deemed too dangerous to keep going.

The incident came hours after authorities warned the flooding in the state’s north was “potentially life threatening”.

Biggest floods on record

A flooded river.
Evacuation orders have been issued overnight for South Murwillimbah, Kyogle and parts of Lismore.Supplied: Fran Silk

Lismore is bracing itself for the biggest floods since records began.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted flood levels will peak at 13.5 meters in the town this evening.

That is almost a meter higher than the previous peak, recorded in 1880.

The levee in the town center was breached in the early hours of this morning.

The SES said it was likely that homes would be flooded, roads closed and some areas cut off.

Residents in South Murwillumbah, Kyogle and parts of Lismore have been ordered to evacuate.

An evacuation center has been set up at Southern Cross University in Lismore.

Police investigating death of baby girl offer reward

A warning to Indigenous readers that this article contains the name of a person who has died.

NSW Police have announced a reward of $250,000 for information into the suspicious death of an 11-month-old girl in 2019.

Jayleigh Murray was found unresponsive at her home in Dubbo on June 6, 2019.

She was airlifted to Sydney but died a few days later.

A post-mortem revealed she had suffered a non-accidental head trauma and other suspicious injuries before her death.

Despite extensive police investigations, no-one has been charged.

Police hope the reward will prompt people in the community who may have information to come forward.

“Family and friends have told us that Jayleigh had a vibrant smile and an infectious laugh,” said Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty.

“We cannot imagine what would lead someone to hurt such a beautiful, helpless little girl.”

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