Get microscope to see tax cut benefit: ALP

Treasurer Scott Morrison has not given up pursuing the remainder of the government’s 10-year business tax plan but will not put a figure on the economic benefit from the tax cuts that have already been passed by the parliament.

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Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says you would need a “microscope” to find them.

The parliament on Friday agreed to a tax rate of 27.5 per cent for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million, to be phased in over the next three years, or “stage one of the plan”, as Mr Morrison describes it.

“We haven’t moved away from this at all,” he told ABC television on Sunday.

The government will present legislation for cuts for larger businesses – which would deliver a tax rate of 25 per cent in 10 years time rather than 30 per cent now – when it believes it has the support of the Senate.

Mr Morrison believes that does not mean waiting until after the next election, given the Senate crossbench has already shifted from supporting a rate reduction for businesses with a turnover of up to only $10 million.

Treasury modelling suggests the economy would gain a one per cent lift to growth if the whole plan is passed.

Mr Morrison would not say what the impact of the measures passed on Friday would be.

“We are committed to getting the full dividend of the full plan,” he said.

Mr Bowen said the fact the treasurer did not answer the question was telling.

“You would need to find a microscope to find the economic dividend,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“It just goes to show that this government’s slogan of jobs and growth is just that.”

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott is “pretty confident” the government will eventually deliver the full tax cut to all businesses.

“This is quite a big change. Three months ago people were writing this off, not even for $10 million,” she told Sky News.

However, she warned the problem with having a two-tier tax system is companies approaching a $50 million turnover will start planning their businesses for taxes purposes, possibly carving off bits of their firms rather than pursuing growth.

“In the UK they had this two-tier tax system and they got rid of it pretty quickly and headed down the path of a low rate for all businesses,” she said.

Labor had opposed the $50 billion tax plan, other than for businesses with a $2 million turnover.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh would not say whether Labor would repeal the tax cut in government.

“We will have those conversations as we come into the next election,” Dr Leigh told Sky News.

“We will be looking at the impact this has on our triple-A credit rating and that’s probably a bigger concern to many businesses than a company tax cut.”

Rain halts search after Indonesia landslide

Heavy rains have halted the search for at least two dozen people missing after a landslide swept into a village on Indonesia’s main island of Java.

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Four excavators working under cloudy skies dredged the mud, sand and rocks, pilling the debris up to 20 meters high.

Two bodies were discovered before the search was suspended due to heavy rain. One body was found Saturday.

The landslide hit some 23 houses and farmers harvesting ginger at Banaran village in East Java’s Ponorogo district.

Watch: More than 200 killed in Colombia mudslides

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Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency, said 27 people were missing.

According to villagers, 38 people were buried by the landslide.

Rescuers from the disaster agency along with soldiers, police officers and volunteers are searching for the missing. Access to the site was hampering the effort.

The landslide – measuring 800 meters long and 20 meters high – overturned vehicles, shattered and buried buildings, and left a massive scar on a hillside where lush vegetation has been torn away.

Seasonal rains cause frequent floods in Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, where many of the country’s 256 million people live in mountainous areas or fertile, flood-prone plains near rivers.

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Gregson calls for 12-man 1500m Aust final

Australian 1500m champion Ryan Gregson has called for a national 12-man final after one of his main rivals fell in a messy mid-race bunch-up.

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The Rio Olympics finalist continued a fine domestic season in Sydney on Sunday, holding off training mate Matt Ramsden to defend his title in three minutes 52.86 seconds.

But he was disappointed when the large field made for a slow and chaotic race, which saw one of the favourites, Jordan Gusman, fall with a lap to go and cross last nearly 20 seconds adrift.

“It’s a shame and I wish Athletics Australia would make it a 12-man final, because that’s what happens when there are too many in it and it’s slow,” Gregson said.

“Three extra people on the track leads to bad things and it’s such a shame Gusman went down because he was one of the favourites to win this race.

“It was such an ugly race and you hate seeing people go down like this.”

The field in Olympic 1500m finals is traditionally limited to 12.

But timetable constraints at the Australian championships prevents three rounds, meaning 15 are taken into the final.

Gregson himself was nearly pulled down in the commotion, which he said put him off as Ramsden (3:53.12) chased him down.

“Running down the home straight I felt quite tired and I could see on the screen that Ramsden was catching me and it’s because it’s hard to stay relaxed when you nearly go down with 450m to go,” he said.

“You tense up naturally and that puts lactic straight in your legs, so I’m just happy to win.

“I think my strength is my finish and I was never going to lead until 200m to go.”

Venezuela court retreats from bid to boost president’s power

In a rare climb-down by the president’s allies, the pro-Maduro Supreme Court retreated from the rulings that had prompted opposition calls for mass protests in a volatile country stricken by economic and political crisis.

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The court said on its website that it was revoking a March 29 decision to take over legislative powers from the National Assembly, a move opponents had angrily branded as a “coup d’etat”.

It also revoked an earlier ruling that stripped lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution. And it ended special powers it had conferred on Maduro over security legislation in the crisis.

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Opposition not swayed

Opposition assembly speaker Julio Borges dismissed the court’s gesture.

“Nothing has changed. The coup d’etat continues,” he told reporters.

Opposition groups went ahead with planned street rallies in Caracas on Saturday.

At a gathering of lawmakers on a public square in Caracas, opposition congressional leader Stalin Gonzalez said the assembly should move to suspend the judges.

That would be a difficult task, since it would require support from senior state officials who support Maduro.

“We want general elections, not dialogue,” said retiree Eugenia Salazar, 67, one of hundreds of people who attended the gathering.

The court “violated the constitution by trying to dissolve the parliament. Now they are going back on that, but this is still a dictatorship”.

After the gathering, participants tried to march to the state ombudsman’s office to lobby for his support. They were turned away by riot police who fired tear gas.

Internal criticism

Maduro faced the strongest criticism ever from within his own camp on Friday when Attorney General Luisa Ortega condemned the court rulings as a “rupture of constitutional order”.

The court denied on Saturday that it had aimed to dissolve the legislature.

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But it reiterated the original grounds for its ruling: that the assembly would be in contempt if it includes three opposition lawmakers whom the court has suspended for alleged fraud.

The court warned the assembly that it must ensure the “legal and legitimate” exercising of its functions.

Borges earlier called on the military and other institutions to follow Ortega’s example and speak out against Maduro.

Pressure against Maduro also increased abroad. In Washington, the Organization of American States (OAS) scheduled an emergency session for Monday to discuss the Venezuelan crisis.

Foreign ministers of the regional Mercosur bloc said in a joint statement after a meeting Saturday in Argentina that Venezuela must “ensure the effective division of powers” and “respect the electoral schedule”.

Power struggle

The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won a landslide in legislative elections in December 2015.

But the court has since overturned every law passed by the current legislature.

Venezuela has the world’s biggest oil reserves, but the collapse in energy prices has sapped its revenues, prompting shortages of food, medicine and basic goods along with a surge in violent crime.

Watch: Paraguay rioters set Congress on fire

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Maduro is not up for re-election until October 2018, but he has been forced to fend off opposition efforts to call a vote on removing him from power.

Nestor Ramos, 67, joined the lawmakers’ gathering in Caracas, saying he was fed up with not being able to obtain medication for his diabetes.

“I am at the mercy of God,” he told AFP. “I don’t care about the Supreme Court, I just want elections and for all of them [in the government] to go.”

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Ecuador determines its future in key poll – and maybe Assange’s

It’s a choice between left and right

Rafael Correa has led a socialist movement in Ecuador since becoming president in 2007 and winning three consecutive elections.

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Poverty has been slashed as a result, but reliance on the extraction of natural resources remains a key issue.

Now the country must decide between Correa’s successor, Lenin Moreno from the PAIS Alliance, and a challenger from the centre-right CREO-SUMA Alliance, Guillermo Lasso.

Moreno plans to advance Correa’s citizens’ revolution, campaigning on the basis of “a government for all”.

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Lenin Moreno.EFE

His proposals include the immediate creation of 40 technical universities and 325,000 new houses for the country’s poorest families.

His final campaign speech stressed the importance of taxes on the rich in the name of social solidarity.

Lasso, a former banker, has a neoliberal agenda and promises to generate a million new jobs within four years.

He has proposed the privatisation of public services, cuts to government spending and the removal of 14 taxes in order to attract foreign investment. 

Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ is turning

Latin America has been riding a wave of leftist populism known as the ‘pink tide’, but recent events indicate a change of direction.

In 2015 Argentina voted in the centre-right Mauricio Macri after 12 years of government by the Kirchners.

Then in 2016, Michael Temer took power in Brazil, ushering in a new right-leaning agenda.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.EFE

Meanwhile the deterioration of Venezuela has been generating a distrust of leftist economies.

The outcome of this election will be a defining moment in the history of Latin America’s twenty-first century socialism.

It’s a tight race

Moreno came out ahead of Lasso in the first round but 33% of the population didn’t vote for either of them.

Now those people will have to choose between the two. If more than two-thirds of them vote for Lasso, he will have the majority he needs to win.

Opinion polls place Moreno in the lead but only by a small margin. In the most recent poll by CEDATOS, 45.7% chose Moreno and 41.5% chose Lasso.

The international vote matters

At least 12% of Ecuador’s population lives abroad. In Spain, voting is about to begin at polling places across the country to accommodate the 170,000 Ecuadorians eligible to vote there.

Australia’s Ecuadorian community is much smaller – around 2,000 people at last count.

Of those, 336 are eligible to vote in Sydney and 59 in Canberra.

Today they gathered at Redfern Town Hall and the Ecuadorian embassy in Canberra to have their say in the country’s future.

Guillermo Lasso, presidential candidate for the CREO political party.AP

The world might get its first paraplegic president

Lenin Moreno was shot in the back during a robbery in the country’s capital 19 years ago.

The attack left him suffering from paraplegia and bedridden for four years in what he describes as a slow and painful recovery.

After taking office as vice president in 2007 he implemented policies and programs that radically transformed the lives of people living with a disability.

His work on disability rights earned him global recognition, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

Julian Assange’s future is on the line

In an interview with The Guardian, Lasso said that if elected he would ask Julian Assange to leave Ecuador’s London embassy within 30 days.

He later confirmed this position in an exchange with the Miami Herald but said he would try to arrange refuge in another country’s embassy so that Assange’s rights are protected.

How such a transfer would happen is unclear though, and Assange could be apprehended and extradited as soon as he leaves the building.

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Paraguayan activist killed in a night of political riots

Authorities said 30 people, including some opposition leaders, were injured in unrest in the capital after senators approved the bill in a secretive vote.

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Opposition leaders denounced the vote Friday as a “parliamentary coup,” saying it could clear the way for a return to dictatorship in the landlocked South American nation of 6.8 million people.

Furious protesters broke into the Congress late Friday, ransacking lawmakers’ offices and starting fires after senators approved a proposal to allow the president to run for re-election.

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Right-wing President Horacio Cartes is seeking to amend the constitution to enable himself to run for office again in 2018 after his current term ends.

The measure requires approval in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, which delayed a vote originally set for Saturday. 

Riots, fires, arrests

Rodrigo Quintana, 25, leader of the opposition Liberal Party’s youth branch, was shot and killed as police searched the party’s premises in Asuncion, party leader Efrain Alegre said.

The interior ministry said in a statement that “the authorities are investigating the circumstances of the death, which is presumed to have occurred at the hands of a member of the National Police.”

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It added: “We are going to establish fully what happened, and those responsible will be brought to justice.”

Police raided the party offices after activists took refuge there during a night of riots, Alegre said.

The injured included three lawmakers, according to firefighters and an opposition senator. Police said 211 people were arrested, some of them minors.

To chants of “Dictatorship never again!” hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police, who used mounted units and water cannon to disperse them.

Calm was restored around 0400 GMT Saturday. Large numbers of police remained on alert.

Rubber bullets

Cartes’s allies in the upper house of the legislature passed the bill on Friday, sidestepping resistance from opponents.

The vote took place in Senate offices as the main assembly hall was occupied by senators from the Liberal Party, opposed to the reforms.

Opposition senator Luis Wagner said those injured included Senate speaker Roberto Acevedo, lawmaker Edgar Ortiz, who was hit in the mouth by a rubber bullet fired by police, and Liberal leader Alegre, who lost to Cartes in the 2013 presidential elections.

Watch: Protesters storm Paraguay’s Congress

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Acevedo has challenged the bill in the Supreme Court, arguing it is unconstitutional.

The measure was scheduled to be considered Saturday in the Chamber of Deputies, where the president has a majority.

But after the rioting, the president of the lower house, Hugo Velazquez, announced the vote was postponed, saying he was shocked by the violence. 

“I hope that calm and harmony will return,” Velazquez said in a televised message.

Closed circuit cameras captured the death of 25-year-old Rodrigo Quintana, leader of the opposition Liberal Party’s youth branch, who was apparently shot by police early Saturday as they searched the party’s offices in Asuncion for protesters.

About 30 people were injured, including three lawmakers, according to firefighters and an opposition senator. Police said 211 people were arrested, some of them minors.

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President Horacio Cartes on Saturday responded by firing Interior Minister Tado Rojas and Police Commissioner Crispulo Sotelo.

But Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga slammed the unrest as “the work of a violent group that does not understand what democracy is, does not understand tolerance.”

“Paraguay’s democracy is stronger than ever,” he said, adding that security forces acted with “total responsibility.”

Furious protesters broke into the Congress late Friday, ransacking lawmakers’ offices and starting fires after senators approved a proposal to allow the president to run for reelection.

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Opposition leaders denounced the  secretive vote Friday as a “congressional coup,” saying it could clear the way for a return to dictatorship in the landlocked South American nation of 6.8 million people.

Right-wing leader Cartes is seeking to amend the constitution to enable himself to run for office again in 2018 after his current term ends.

He blamed the violence on “a group of Paraguayans embedded in politics and the media aimed at destroying democracy and political and economic stability.” 

“Democracy is not won or defended by violence,” he said on Twitter.

“We must not allow barbarians to destroy the peace, tranquility and welfare of the people.”

Police on alert

To chants of “Dictatorship never again!” hundreds of protesters clashed late Friday with riot police, who used mounted units and water cannon to disperse them.

Police raided the Liberal Party offices after activists took refuge there during a night of riots, party leader Efrain Alegre said.

Calm was restored around 0400 GMT Saturday, though police remained on alert.

Paraguay has banned presidents from re-election since 1992 to avoid a return to dictatorships like that of General Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled from 1954 to 1989.

Removing the ban would also allow left-wing former president Fernando Lugo to run again. He held power from 2008 to 2012, when he was removed after an impeachment trial.

The measure was scheduled to be considered Saturday in the Chamber of Deputies, where the president has a majority.

But after the rioting, the president of the lower house, Hugo Velazquez, announced the vote was postponed, saying he was shocked by the violence. 

“I hope that calm and harmony will return,” Velazquez said in a televised message.

If the latest measure is approved by the two houses, it is expected to be put to a referendum within three months.

History of dictatorship

Paraguay has banned presidents from re-election since 1992 to avoid a return to dictatorships like that of General Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled from 1954 to 1989.

Removing the ban would also allow left-wing former president Fernando Lugo to run again. He held power from 2008 to 2012, when he was removed after an impeachment trial.

If the latest measure is approved by the two houses, it is expected to be put to a referendum within three months.

The opposition condemned the move as a “parliamentary coup” and called for resistance.

“It is a dictatorial plan by Horacio Cartes with the complicity of Ferdinand Lugo,” said Senator Carlos Amarilla.

‘Barbarians’

Cartes blamed the violence on “a group of Paraguayans embedded in politics and the media aimed at destroying democracy and political and economic stability.” 

“Democracy is not won or defended by violence,” he said on his Twitter account.

“We must not allow barbarians to destroy the peace, tranquility and welfare of the people.”

NSW flood victims tell of damage, trauma

Days after being forced from her flooding Lismore home, a traumatised Christine Devine ended up in hospital after collapsing on her friend’s floor.

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“I just couldn’t move and I was shaking,” Ms Devine told AAP after returning to her house to assess the damage.

“It (her emotions) just exploded like a volcano.”

The SES gave Lismore residents the all-clear to return to homes and businesses in the town’s CBD, north and south on Sunday afternoon.

Mayor Isaac Smith described the town as akin to a war zone and the Rural Fire Service has set up a base camp for hundreds of workers to help with the clean up nearby.

Water came close to entering the second storey of Ms Devine’s home after ex-cyclone Debbie soaked northern NSW.

Furniture is upturned and gardens are in complete disarray at the house, which Ms Devine had been turning into a massage, healing and wellness “sanctuary”.

The road to Murwillumbah in the north is littered with washed away cars and debris from landslides.

Towers of rubbish line Murwillumbah’s streets.

Water went to the ceiling of Cheyenne Walsh’s floristry on the outskirts of town.

She’s not insured and will close her business permanently.

“To be honest I actually haven’t thought about it (what to do afterwards),” she told AAP.

“We’ll just do the clean up and see what we can savour.”

Two women have been killed by NSW floodwaters after ex-cyclone Debbie dumped heavy rainfall on large parts of the state.

It’s still being determined how a man, whose body was found after flooding at a South Murwillumbah caravan park, died.

A 46-year-old man also died at his Murwillumbah home, but it is understood he had not entered the floodwaters.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian are set to see the damage in flood-hit regions of northern NSW first-hand on Monday.

Ms Berejiklian has urged residents to be patient as the damage is assessed.

“This is a huge catastrophe,” she said in Sydney.

“This is a massive, massive natural disaster.”

According to the SES, about 15,000 properties were isolated by floodwater, and about double that were subject to evacuation orders.

The small Aboriginal community of Cabbage Tree Island was evacuated as the water rushed downstream on Saturday.

The SES will focus on the clean-up effort in badly hit areas on Monday.

Foran will only get better: Johnson

Keiran Foran will only get better after playing an influential role in the Warriors’ 28-22 come-from-behind NRL win over Gold Coast, halves partner Shaun Johnson believes.

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The five-eighth was making his first appearance in 10 months on Sunday, after his planned Warriors debut last week was delayed by a late hamstring strain.

Foran worked his way in to the game in Auckland, becoming more influential as it progressed with his organisation and running at the line.

It was his bust between two defenders with 18 minutes to go that produced his side’s fourth try, which Johnson converted for a 22-22 scoreline.

Johnson says he wasn’t surprised with what Foran managed to produce.

“No, and I don’t even think he was even near his best today – that’s the pleasing thing about it all,” he said.

“It’s a great starting point for him.”

Johnson said Foran’s confidence would build.

“For his first hit-out – jeez, how long had be been out of the game for? – and he comes out and just controls us, gets us to our points and just competes,” he said.

“You see him physically with his defence as well. You get inspired by that sort of stuff.”

With the score locked, Johnson and Titans half Kane Elgey both missed field goal attempts in the last six minutes.

Warriors second-rower Ryan Hoffman also missed with a shot before making up for it with a try two minutes out to put his side back in front.

Both sides entered the contest in front of 10,263 fans at Mt Smart Stadium with one win from four games.

Foran’s presence meant the Warriors boasted the Kiwis’ spine, along with fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Johnson and hooker Issac Luke.

The early signs were promising for the home side and they scored first when Tuivasa-Sheck ran the ball out from the in-goal and Luke made a big break before sending Johnson over.

But the Titans’ enterprise was rewarded by tries to centre Dale Copley and winger Daniel Vidot.

The full Warriors spine was then to the fore – Luke, Foran, Johnson and Tuivasa-Sheck all involved before centre David Fusitu’a produced a one-handed put down.

However the Warriors’ defensive woes meant the Titans finished the half strongly, Elgey bagging a double in three minutes, to lead 22-12.

The first was created by halves partner Ash Taylor and second by fullback Tyrone Roberts.

Roberts failed to finished the match, damaging his right knee early in the second half while defusing a bomb.

Minutes earlier, Tuivasa-Sheck cut the lead, dotting down after busting the line out wide.

Roberts’ injury, as well a head knock to Joe Greenwood and a leg problem for Nathaniel Peteru, meant the Titans finished with a one-man bench.

As well, Ryan Simpkins played on with back spasms.

Coach Neil Henry was forced to make his last interchange with 19 minutes to go but declined to use the casualty toll as an excuse.

He said his players produced plenty but paid for a lack of “footy smarts”.

“There were couple of crucial turnovers, a few players out of position,” he said.

“The game was there but we had no field position in the second half and it wore us down eventually.”

Floodwaters still rising as search for missing continues

Rising floodwaters continue to plague vast areas of eastern Australia as emergency workers battle to restore water and electricity in cyclone-hit areas, with the recovery efforts expected to last several months.

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Torrential rain has inundated large areas of Queensland and NSW, flooding homes and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. 

At least four people have died in separate incidents during the flooding, including two women, aged 36 and 64, who were swept away by floodwaters in northern NSW.

Watch: Floodwaters near Murwillumbah

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A 46-year-old man died in Murwillumbah from a heart attack when paramedics couldn’t reach him, and a 77-year-old man died in Eagleby in southeast Queensland.

A 45-year-old man was also discovered dead at a South Murwillumbah caravan park, although cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

There are still three men missing in Queensland.

Category four Cyclone Debbie smashed into Queensland on Tuesday between Bowen and Airlie, ripping up trees and causing widespread damage that is still being assessed.

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It was downgraded to a tropical low as it tracked southeast through the week, packing high winds and dumping huge volumes of rain all down the east coast to Sydney before blowing out over the Tasman Sea.

Even as skies began to clear, numerous towns were still on flood alert and some regions remain under water.

Record floodwaters for Rockhampton

Preparations are underway in Rockhampton for the biggest flood in more than 60 years, with army personnel being deployed to assist residents in the central Queensland city.

Forecasters expect a major flood peak to hit Rockhampton by the early hours of Thursday, reaching a level larger than the 2011 floods and potentially matching the February 1954 flood level of 9.4 metres.

“At that level, we would see around 5400 properties impacted including 3,000 residential, 1500 commercial and potentially another 900 properties,” Mayor Margaret Strelow said.

‘This is unprecedented’

Logan just south of Brisbane reflected the varied situation, with rising floods affecting some areas while other parts swung into clean-up mode as waters receded.

“This is unprecedented for us,” Logan city mayor Luke Smith said Sunday, warning that his city was still “in flux” with one key river remaining at high levels.

“The sky is the limit at this stage about what that means,” he added about the potential damage bill.

Fears for missing

The torrential rain also wreaked havoc south of the Queensland border in New South Wales, bringing severe floods to several towns.

Residents of Lismore and Tweed Heads near Murwillumbah were late Sunday cleared to return to their homes as waters subsided, but face a tough clean-up ahead.

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“It’s a disaster zone, it really is. Just mud and debris and concerned people everywhere – people cleaning out their businesses,” Naomi Tarrant of Lismore told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Just so much loss. (It’s) so inconceivable what’s been lost downtown here.”

There were also fears for three other people missing in flood-hit areas in Queensland, with police searching for them Sunday.

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The military and emergency personnel were working to restore essential services such as water and electricity in towns that were in the direct path of Debbie in northern Queensland.

More than 500 homes were destroyed by the cyclone while almost 30,000 properties in that region remained without power, the state government said.

In cyclone-hit Proserpine, Colin Ridgway’s home of two decades was destroyed by Debbie.

“Oh, it breaks your heart, really. But not much you can do about it. It’s gone,” he told the ABC Saturday.

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the Queensland and northern NSW regions disaster zones, estimating the damage bill could reach Aus$1 billion (US $770 million).

“The devastation across our state is huge, it is going to take months to repair,” Palaszczuk told reporters in Logan Sunday.

Vixens win their toughest yet: McKinnis

Magpies coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell has challenged her star-studded team to step up before it’s too late after another Super Netball derby loss to Melbourne Vixens.

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The Vixens made it two from two in derby clashes when they led at each change to win 60-56 victors in a tightly-contested round seven match at Hisense Arena on Sunday.

The win leaves the Vixens (5-1-1) level with the Sunshine Coast Lightning on 11 points at the halfway mark in the season, one point behind the undefeated, Sydney-based Giants.

For well-resourced start up team the Magpies (3-4), Keppich-Birrell said their season was on the line as they sit fifth on six points, having been among the pre-season favourites due to their strong recruiting.

“We certainly had enough of the ball to put some scoreboard pressure on but again just in those critical moments (we’re) not having the foresight to use a different style of game to keep possession and get the score on the board,” she said.

“The challenge to the team is to step up and put what I know and I see during the week out there on the court and what they’re absolutely capable of … and be a formidable force that they could be.”

Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said her side’s fourth win in a row was an important one as they showed significant progress.

“That was one of the most pleasing things, that capacity to keep the work rate up, to absorb the pressure, to stick to our game and push it all to the end,” she said.

“It was a really, really tough game from the very start and I think it was at another level to than we’ve had up until this point, it was tough.

“In previous years, if other teams would came back at us, we weren’t as good at responding.”

Vixens shooter Mwai Kumwenda held her own against the Diamonds defensive duo of Sharni Layton and April Brandley on her way to a 33-goal haul from 35 attempts. Shooting partner Tegan Philip made plenty of long range shots in her 27 goals.

Magpies goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites top-scored for the match with 43 from 47 attempts but missed a couple of shots under pressure in the dying minutes of the tightly-contested game.