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Sydney news: Kean, Elliott, Ward, Henskens fri for Liberal deputy leadership after Stuart Ayres’s resignation

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Replacing Stuart Ayres

Jostling is underway for the deputy leadership of the New South Wales Liberal Party after the resignation of Stuart Ayres from cabinet yesterday.

The main contenders so far are: Treasurer Matt Kean, Transport Minister David Elliott, Metropolitan Roads Minister Natalie Ward and the Science, Innovation and Technology and Skills and Training Minister Alister Henskens.

Mr Ayres resigned from his portfolios and leadership position in the Liberal Party after an inquiry “raised concerns” about his conduct in the appointment of John Barilaro to a lucrative US trade role.

The deputy leadership will be determined at a party room meeting next Tuesday.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced three New South Wales ministers will have their portfolios expanded to take over Mr Ayres’s ministerial responsibilities.

Mr Henskens will also add Enterprise, Investment and Trade and Sport to his list of portfolios.

Ben Franklin — who already is Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for the Arts, and Minister for Regional Youth — will add Minister for Tourism to his portfolio.

David Elliott — who is Minister for Transport and Minister for Veterans Affairs — will add Minister for Western Sydney to his portfolio.

Aboriginal inmates on rise

New data reveals Aboriginal people remain over-represented in NSW jails.

Bureau of Crime Statistics figures show the overall number of prisoners dropped since the start of the COVID pandemic, with around 1,000 fewer inmates than three years ago.

However the number of Aboriginal men in jail has risen by more than 100 and they are now 28 per cent of the jail population.

Aboriginal women make up 40 per cent of the state’s jail population.

Police release images in murder probe

Police have released images of a man and woman who may have seen something that can help their investigation. (Supplied: NSW Police)

Detectives have released images of two people they believe could help with their investigations into the murder of Western Sydney man Shady Kanj.

Shortly after 11pm on Friday, August 6, Mr Kanj was treated for gun shot wounds by paramedics on Rhodes Avenue, Guildford.

Despite their efforts, Mr Kanj died at the scene.

Strike force detectives have released CCTV of a man and woman in a white Audi Q5 captured at a fast-food restaurant on the corner of Vaughan Street and Olympic Drive at Lidcombe prior to the murder.

They do not believe the man and woman were involved in the murder, however, they may have information that could assist with inquiries.

Homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty urged the man and woman, or those with knowledge of their identities, to come forward.

Premier criticized over Leichhardt snub

Paul Gallen runs out at Leichhardt Oval
Leichhardt Oval is set to miss out on redevelopment funding.(AAP Images: Craig Golding)

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet has been criticized for committing more than $300 million to rebuilding Penrith Stadium while ignoring Leichhardt Oval.

NRL boss Peter V’landys said the government had reneged on a promise to upgrade a number of suburban grounds.

Inner-West Deputy Mayor Jessica D’Arienzo said that it was despite more games and more sports being played at Leichhardt.

“It means that, again, Leichhardt misses out,” Ms D’Arienzo said.

“We should make it clear that it’s not just the Tigers that play there. Actually, you’ve got soccer, the rugby league and rugby union. We’ve got around 50 to 60 games a year being played on Leichhardt oval.”

Call for flood report’s release

a man looking
NSW Labor’s Jihad Dib wants the findings released.(abcnews)

The New South Wales government has been criticized by the opposition for failing to release the findings of an inquiry into the floods earlier this year.

Severe weather and flooding devastated the Northern Rivers and Hawkesbury Nepean regions in February and March.

Premier Dominic Perrottet was due to release the final report from the inquiry on July 31.

Opposition emergency services and climate and environment spokesperson Jihad Dib said Mr Perrottet must put aside political issues within his party and release the report immediately.

“Local communities that are devastated by the floods are not interested in the government’s internal rumblings,” he said.

“What they’re interested in is a report that identifies what went wrong and a pathway forward into the future.

“He needs to release the report now rather than when its politically expedient to do so.”

Empty CBD offices

The number of empty offices in Sydney’s CBD has risen, which the property council says is due to an increase in supply.

Office vacancies in the CBD have risen from 9.3 per cent to 10.1 per cent, according to the Property Council of Australia’s latest Office Market Report.

The council says that, while vacancies have risen, the figures are actually positive, given the pressures of COVID-19, working from home and industrial action.

Property Council executive director Luke Achterstraat said there was still strong commercial property confidence in Sydney.

Thredbo cancels lift operations

A landscape photo of the ski slopes at Thredbo in 2019
Damaging winds averaging 80 to 90 kilometers per hour are forecast. (ABC South East NSW: Adriane Reardon)

Thredbo resort has made the decision not to operate any ski lifts on Thursday due to an extreme weather forecast.

A complex low pressure system, along with an associated through and cold front, are causing vigorous winds across south-east New South Wales, as well as the potential for heavy rainfall from Thursday morning.

Damaging winds averaging 80-90 kilometers per hour are forecast for Alpine areas above 1,900 meters.

Five teenagers charged after stabbing

Police have charged five teenagers after a stabbing at Bankstown in South-West Sydney.

About 3:15pm yesterday, emergency services were called to Chapel Road, where they found a 15-year-old boy with stab wounds, who they took to hospital.

Two other 15-year-old boys were also injured.

Five teenagers aged between 15 and 16 years were arrested.

The five were taken to Bankstown Police Station, where all were charged with reckless wounding in company, and affray.

They were refused bail and are due to appear before a Children’s Court on Thursday.

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