The South Coast Brekkie Wrap | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Good morning here’s your headlines from around regional Australia and beyond. Scroll down and refresh for weather, road reports and more.

8.33am: That's a wrap for this morning. Remember to check in on your local paper's website for breaking news throughout the day.

8.32am: A spokeswoman from Spotlight, the curtaining and fabric store, has confirmed that executives from the company visited the Bega area last week.

Speculation about the visitors was rife after a large corporate business jet landed at Merimbula Airport on March 7. Full story.

8.19am: Wow, ever been in a tornado? Watch this to see what it’s like.

8.15am: It’s not just the humans making the most of large swells on the South Coast this week. See the pics.

7.50am: Did you see this bunch of funsters on the weekend? The main street of Bermagui was turned into a bright display of colour, movement and creative costumes on Saturday. See the pics.

7.32am: The reality of winning more than $250,000 had still not sunk in for Wollongong poker player Branko Usljebrka on Tuesday.

The day before Usljebrka recorded his biggest ever poker win when he beat a field of 1164 players to claim the prestigious APL Million tournament at the Star Poker Festival in Sydney. Find out more.

Wollongong poker player Branko Usljebrka claims the APL Millions tournament and $265,000 first prize. Picture: Tim Manners.

Wollongong poker player Branko Usljebrka claims the APL Millions tournament and $265,000 first prize. Picture: Tim Manners.

South Coast weather

Cloudy. Very high (90%) chance of showers. Winds E 15 to 20 km/h turning NE in the early afternoon. Daytime maximum temperatures in the low to mid 20s.

Roads and rail

For those hitting the road this morning we’ve got a clear run so far. Good news for train commuters, there are no delays on the South Coast line.

State of the nation

Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered. 

Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Getty Images

Premier Jay Weatherill. Picture: Getty Images

SA: A $550 million energy plan unveiled by the South Australian government will aim to improve the reliability of statewide power.

Premier Jay Weatherill released details of the plan on Tuesday, March 14, saying the goal was delivering “reliable, affordable and clean” power.

The state government expects the plan to create 630 new jobs in South Australia. Read more

ILAWARRA: A shortfall of at least 50 paramedics in the region is putting lives at risk according to an Illawarra-based paramedic.

NSW assistant secretary for the Australian Paramedics Association Glenn Congram said lack of front-line staff had led to a ‘’blow-out’’ in emergency response times.

Ageing communications equipment – including a failing GPS system – was also hampering paramedics’ efforts to get to patients as quickly as possible. Read more

►TAS: A bloom of bright blue bioluminescent algae has blistered beaches near Penguin. 

Bioluminescent phytoplankton or ‘sea sparkle’ thrives in calm and warm sea conditions.

It was spotted at Preservation Bay on Saturday night. Read on

NSW: One of Australia’s leading obstetricians and gynaecologists landed a damning indictment on his own profession and the health system in 2013 in a paper titled “The Transvaginal Mesh Decade”.

Associate Professor Chris Maher blamed regulators in America and Australia for clearing transvaginal mesh devices for use in women without original clinical evidence supporting safety and efficacy.

The devices are used where women experience prolapse and incontinence problems after childbirth, and are implanted via the vagina. Read more

QLD: Rates in the North-West Queensland are not going to jump by a large amount, despite big land valuation increases.

Property in the Carpentaria and Croydon Shire Councils received the largest percentage increases in the state when new valuations were released by Queensland’s Valuer-General last week. Read more

VIC: A three-year-old Golden Square boy has been rescued after being caught in a drain on Tuesday.

Tobias was outside with his mother when his foot became stuck in a small drain opening.

The worried mother called emergency services, with CFA and SES crews working to free the boy. Read more

National news

Tasmanian parliment

Tasmanian parliment

►In a rare display of tripartisan support, the Tasmanian government’s family violence reform legislation passed through the Lower House unimpeded on Tuesday.

Premier Will Hodgman acknowledged the cross-party cooperation that enabled the Family Violence Reforms Bill 2016’s passage through the House of Assembly.

“There’s been a very collaborative effort, and a lot of good will,” he said. Read more

►The minister charged with pulling together the Turnbull government's looming housing affordability package has suggested Australians could be allowed to use superannuation when buying their first home but that such a change would have to be a part of broader reforms.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who is spruiking housing affordability as a key platform of the May budget, said any changes on the "demand side" such as superannuation reform could work if supply in the housing market was also increased. Read more

National weather radar

What’s coming you way …

International news

►BALI: A former West Australian bricklayer who was busted with hashish at his Sanur home has been sentenced to seven months' jail for possessing an illegal narcotic for personal use.

Guiseppe "Joe" Serafino, who had lived in Bali for five years and managed the On-On Billiard Bar in Sanur, was arrested by police on October 8 with 7.32 grams of hashish. Read more

Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images

Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images

►SCOTLAND: Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched a fresh push for independence, complaining she hit a brick wall trying to avoid her country being dragged down a "hard Brexit" path.

However she will face stiff opposition from the UK government, with Prime Minister Theresa May accusing Ms Sturgeon of setting the country on a path for more "uncertainty and division". Read more

On this day

The faces of Australia: Kate Griffiths

Owner Kate Griffiths with Eliza Rae. Picture: supplied

Owner Kate Griffiths with Eliza Rae. Picture: supplied

Opening a new business can be daunting, but NSW entrepreneur Kate Griffiths is encouraging residents to take the leap into self-employment.

The former Narromine local, who left the region five years ago to study at Sydney’s Whitehouse Institute of Design, had always dreamed of opening a store in Dubbo.

On Thursday she launched her boutique Lazy Sunday Lifestyle – a mix of homewares, fashion and gifts as well as art and furniture.

Ms Griffiths has been overwhelmed by the response so far, and said now was the perfect time for Dubbo residents to open their own business. Read more

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