Here’s what you need to know this morning.
Call for mandatory masks on public transport
There are renewed calls from the NSW Opposition for face masks to be made mandatory on public transport after a confirmed COVID-19 case travelled on a Sydney bus.
Labor’s transport spokesman Chris Minns said voluntary face mask use had dropped on public transport in recent weeks.
“It’s the cheapest, easiest way of ensuring confidence is restored to our network and people are safe when using public transport,” he said.
NSW Health has issued an alert for a replacement rail bus from Central to Strathfield on October 4 around midnight, with all passengers now considered close contacts.
Transport for NSW said it strongly recommend the use of face masks and adherence to physical distancing was at 98.8 per cent.
Changes to school suspensions are ‘blame shifting’
A group of parents, teachers and principals are voicing their opposition to planned changes to suspensions and expulsions in schools.
Under the reforms, the maximum school suspension would fall from 20 to 10 days and pupils from Kindergarten to Year 2 could only be sent home in serious circumstances and for no longer than five days.
The NSW Teachers Federation, primary and secondary principals groups and the P&C Federation say the Department of Education developed the new plan without prior consultation.
The groups say implementation of the new strategy is being rushed and it looks like a “thinly veiled exercise in data suppression and blame shifting,” portraying schools as failing when suspensions are issued.
They are calling for additional funding, support and staffing to better address student behaviour.
Woman dies in boating accident
An investigation has been launched into the death of a 19-year-old woman who died in a boating accident in Deniliquin in the state’s south-west yesterday.
The boat hit a submerged tree in the Edward River causing the woman and another man on board to hit their heads on the boat.
The man regained consciousness but the woman did not.
Residents and a fisherman commenced CPR on the woman until first responders arrived but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
MP caught up in cyber attack
The Opposition spokeswoman for Better Public Services, Sophie Cotsis, has revealed she was one of the 186,000 people whose personal information was stolen in a cyber breach on Service NSW.
It is believed millions of documents may have been compromised in the criminal attack.
The NSW Government says the attack occurred because Service NSW did not use multi-factor authentication for staff logins, which means the Government has not been following guidance from the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
NSW Labor will use an upcoming parliamentary inquiry into cybersecurity this month to explore the extent of the problem and the lack of assistance available to those impacted.
The NSW Government is fast-tracking a pumped hydroelectricity project proposed for a site between Kempsey and Armidale in the state’s north.
The $1 billion Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro project is expected to generate 600 megawatts of power during periods of peak demand and create 600 jobs during construction.
Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean says it will be an important replacement for ageing coal-fired power stations.
“We know that our coal-fired power stations are coming to the end of their lives, we need to ensure they’re replaced before they close and we need to replace them with cheap reliable power and that’s exactly why we’re fast-tracking the build of this pumped hydro storage facility.”