NSW flood victim tells of trauma, damage

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


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

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

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

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

A stone fountain is now lodged in a spa bath, about ten metres from where it was previously located.

A sign above it reads “envious beauty”.

“The little boy’s standing there saying… ‘everything will be alright,” she said of a stone statue still standing in her back garden.

“The world is still revolving Christine, you’re not dead.”

The SES gave residents in Lismore’s south, north and CBD the all-clear to return to homes about 2:30pm on Sunday.

On Friday the Wilsons River peaked at 11.6 metres – its highest level since 1974.

Ms Devine says she lost diplomas, years’ worth of her art and hard drives full of film work. She thought her house would be protected by the town’s levee walls, which were breached as the river rose.

She told AAP she kept thinking “I hope it doesn’t, I hope it doesn’t” as the water approached.

Her canoes – one emblazoned with the word ‘Escape’ – were used to rescue two neighbours trapped by water.

She said she left the hospital after seeing people in the waiting room with physical injuries.

“I can see that there’s a lot of people worse off than me,” she said.

Cats beat Roos by a point in epic AFL duel

The outcome of Geelong’s Harry Taylor experiment remains no clearer after his key role in their pulsating one-point AFL win over North Melbourne.


Taylor’s return to defence in the second half was pivotal as the Cats rallied from 32 points behind during the third term and won 17.10 (112) to 17.9 (111) on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

Rightly, much of the post-game focus was on the best afield performance of North Melbourne midfielder Shaun Higgins and the outstanding last quarters of Geelong stars Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood as the Cats kicked five goals to one.

George Horlin-Smith was the game-winning hero, calmly slotting a goal from a free kick with two minutes left to put Geelong ahead for the first time in the match.

But Taylor’s return to his natural environment down back too was notable because Geelong have invested so heavily in trialling him as a key forward.

Taylor also had an impact in defence – he had none in attack.

“We looked more stable behind the ball … he definitely shored us up,” coach Chris Scott said.

“We’re not wedded to playing him as a forward and we’re certainly bloody-minded about it, either.

“If the situation dictates that he needs to be in our back half, then we’ll do it. That’s probably the simple answer.”

There also remains no simple answer to the lapses during games that continue to plague Geelong.

North belted them in the first quarter, leading by 26 points and seizing the initiative.

After the Cats rallied to only trail by six points, North again went clear for a 32-point lead midway during the third term.

But just as Trent Dumont ran out of steam with his outstanding midfield role on Dangerfield, so North could not hold off Geelong in the last quarter.

North were given little chance pre-game, even more so when star ruckman Todd Goldstein was a late withdrawal because of an ankle injury.

But big men Braydon Preuss and Majak Daw shone in Goldstein’s absence.

North also threatened to overpower Geelong with fierce physical pressure – the Cats only had 12 tackles at half time.

The ‘Roos could pay a price for that aggression, with Preuss already on report for ploughing into Jackson Thurlow’s back.

Scott Thompson also will occupy the match review panel’s attention on Monday for the first-quarter foreram jolt that caught Dangerfield high.

The pulsating clash gives the Scott twins plenty to think about and Brad spoke of his frustration at coming so close to a resounding upset win.

“We didn’t get the ultimate result but I think looking forward, there was a lot to like out of today,” he said

Chris was rapt that for all their problems, the Cats never gave up.

“We had a big portion of our team who were probably beaten on the day but … they were still fighting towards the end,” he said.

Lyon to swing selection axe at Fremantle

Port Adelaide’s elusive forward Robbie Gray has slotted six goals in an 89-point rout of a hapless Fremantle in Sunday’s AFL twilight match.


The Power banked consecutive wins with a resounding 22.13 (145) to 8.8 (56) triumph at Adelaide Oval – they’re table-toppers after two rounds.

The winless Dockers are anchored in last spot on the ladder after a lacklustre display.

Port kicked the initial six goals and made easy road kill of their visitors.

Gray was central in the opening blitz, kicking two and setting up another within 15 minutes of play to delight the 38,388-strong Port crowd.

The Dockers cruelled their efforts with sloppy disposal – by halftime, when they trailed 11.8 to 3.3, the visitors had recorded 38 turnovers and 20 clangers.

While Gray (30 possessions) ran rampant, fellow forwards Charlie Dixon (four goals), Chad Wingard (two goals) and Brett Eddy (two goals) were productive while Ollie Wines capped his superb 30-disposal performance with two goals.

Wines led a dominant Port midfield with Brad Ebert (28 touches), captain Travis Boak (25 touches) and second-gamer Sam Powell-Pepper (25 disposals) all prominent.

And Port’s defence, despite the late withdrawal of halfback Hamish Hartlett because of illness, was miserly against a misfiring Freo forward line – the visitors couldn’t find a multiple goalkicker in the game.

Fremantle’s captain Nat Fyfe gathered 30 disposals and kicked a goal and the tenacious Lachie Neale was the visitor’s standout with 34 touches and a goal.

Brothers Brad and Stephen Hill battled gamely against the flow, collecting 31 and 24 disposals respectively but there were few other shining lights for the Dockers.

And the outlook doesn’t get brighter for Ross Lyon’s side with a home match against reigning premiers Western Bulldogs next Saturday night.

Port meet arch rival and fellow unbeaten outfit Adelaide, also on Saturday night, in a clash of the AFL’s top two.

Storm expect Sharks to find best form

Melbourne are expecting NRL defending champions Cronulla to be back to their damaging best when the Storm host a grand final replay at AAMI Park next Sunday.


While Melbourne are unbeaten after five rounds to sit on top of the NRL ladder, the Sharks have three wins after a lucky one-point escape against the lowly Knights on Saturday.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith insists last year’s heart-breaking 14-12 loss in the title decider won’t be driving his team forward this week.

With five new faces in the Storm starting line-up compared to their grand final team, Smith said it wasn’t about revenge for his players.

“We started the year undefeated and we’d like to keep it that way but I don’t think there’s any more incentive because we’re playing the Sharks,” Smith said.

“We don’t have the same team playing as there was in the grand final last year so we put that to bed fairly early in the pre-season last year.

“I would have love to have gone back and done a few things differently and held up that trophy but the Sharks will always be the premiers of 2016.”

Smith expected patchy Cronulla to lift for the match, as many teams did when they faced the benchmark side of the NRL.

“It’s going to be a huge game, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“It’s a grand final replay as people like to call it, but it doesn’t matter who we play, they always come and turn up against us and play their best footy and the Sharks will do that next week.”

Melbourne turned in a stunning second half defensive display to repel Penrith for a 28-6 win on Saturday night but their attack wasn’t firing on all cyclinders.

Smith wanted his team to improve their ball control.

“We’ve been pretty poor in the five games we’ve played this year,” he said.

“We’ve won our games off effort.

“If we get fair possession and some quality completion rates we might be able to make things a bit easier for ourselves.”

Turnbull and Ghani sign $320m Afghan development agreement

Malcolm Turnbull has pledged Australia’s ongoing support for Afghanistan and signed a $320 million development agreement, during an historic visit by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.


Dr Ghani was greeted in Canberra on Monday night by thousands of Hazara protesters, many of whom travelled from interstate, who demanded the two countries revisit a 2011 deal to send failed Afghan asylum seekers back.

However Mr Turnbull turned on a warmer welcome saying Australia would remain focused on helping Afghanistan in its efforts to become more prosperous, secure and self-reliant.

The pair signed a memorandum of understanding for the Afghanistan-Australia development partnership worth $320 million over four years to 2020.

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The two countries will co-operate on infrastructure, education and employment of women and girls, agriculture and water management, training of Afghan civil servants and anti-corruption initiatives.

Also, Geoscience Australia will work with the Afghan mines ministry to improve the management of energy, mineral and water resources.

The leaders also discussed the security situation in Afghanistan.

Australia has lost 41 troops there since the US-led operation in 2001.

The current Operation Highroad involves about 270 Australian Defence Force personnel involved in training, logistics, administration and special forces duties.


Dr Ghani laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial before he met with Mr Turnbull.

The protesters are urging the Turnbull government to refuse deals to send asylum seekers and refugees to Afghanistan.

Barat Ali Batoor, a young Hazara photographer driven from Afghanistan by civil war, said security in the country had deteriorated.

“Afghanistan is extremely dangerous for the Hazaras if they are forced or voluntarily deported to Afghanistan,” he told AAP on Monday.

Mr Batoor said one Hazara man was deported from Adelaide to Afghanistan last week.

“There is an extremely high risk of being targeted there,” he said.

The protesters also want assurances Hazaras are kept safe in Afghanistan, saying the community has been subjected to systemic discrimination, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Afghanistan’s President Dr Mohammad Ashraf Ghani meets with Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, April 3, 2017. AAP

“Hazaras have been systematically discriminated against for a very long period and during President Ghani’s (time in power) it has spread widely,” Mr Batoor said.

“Peaceful rallies there have been hit by suicide and targeted attacks.”

Inside Government House, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Dr Ghani inspected Australia’s military guard before stepping inside for formal discussions.

The pair exchanged pleasantries about Canberra’s dreary weather and the last time they met before their topic of conversation took a personal turn.

“You look good,” Dr Ghani told the governor-general as the pair took their seats.

“Since last time I saw you, I’ve probably taken off quite a bit of weight,” Sir Peter replied.

“How much?” the president asked.

“About 22kg … I just did it deliberately because I wanted to be energetic in this job,” Sir Peter said.

Dr Ghani’s four-day visit to Australia – the first by an Afghan president – will wrap up on Wednesday.