The South Coast Brekkie Wrap | Friday, December 16, …

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

8.10am: Here’s some good news in time for Christmas.

PCYC Wollongong is moving in the right direction thanks to a little help from its friends.

Local Rotary clubs and the ETC Community Support Fund stepped in recently to support the PCYC purchase a new bus. Read on.

NEW WHEELS: Senior Constable Darren Palk, Jason Dixon, Steven Trivett and Senior Constable Catherine Johnston give the thumbs up to PCYC Wollongong's new bus.

NEW WHEELS: Senior Constable Darren Palk, Jason Dixon, Steven Trivett and Senior Constable Catherine Johnston give the thumbs up to PCYC Wollongong’s new bus.

8.03am: A Sapphire Crescent home has sustained substantial smoke, water and structural damage after a large house fire on Wednesday afternoon. Full story.

7.55am: The wait is over for around 77,000 students across NSW, who received their HSC results on Thursday.

In the 50th year of the HSC a record number of students achieved the highest possible results.

In the Bega Valley, multiple students scored Band 6 results – 90 or higher in their particular subject. Find out more.

7.50am: The third annual Bega District News Toy Drive has once again exceeded all expectations, further demonstrating the incredible generosity of our community.

An estimated $6-7000 worth of toys, gifts and sports equipment has been donated to the appeal, with the pile under the BDN office Christmas tree spilling beyond the level of last year’s effort. Read all about it.

Preparing to distribute presents collected in the BDN Christmas Toy Drive are BDN editor Ben Smyth, Salvation Army lieutenant Rod Parsons, Anglicare's Vesna Andric, BDN sales rep Gary Etcell, Bega Lions president Phil Benny and Salvos helper Laurie Brett.

Preparing to distribute presents collected in the BDN Christmas Toy Drive are BDN editor Ben Smyth, Salvation Army lieutenant Rod Parsons, Anglicare’s Vesna Andric, BDN sales rep Gary Etcell, Bega Lions president Phil Benny and Salvos helper Laurie Brett.

7.45am: Five men have been charged with more than 160 drug-related offences following a major police operation across the Illawarra on Thursday. Full story.

7.40am: A man has been charged following a pursuit through the Shoalhaven on Thursday during which two police vehicles were rammed. Full story.

South Coast weather

Cloudy. Very high (90%) chance of rain. The chance of a thunderstorm in the north. Light winds. Daytime maximum temperatures between 18 and 22.

Roads and rail

For those hitting the road this morning we’ve got a clear run so far. Take care on the wet roads.

For rail commuters buses are replacing trains between Kiama and Shellharbour Junction due to urgent signal equipment repairs at Bombo. Trains continue to operate between Bomaderry and Kiama. Passengers should listen to announcements and allow plenty of additional travel time.

State of the nation

Need a national news snapshot first thing? Well, we have you covered.​ 

​►MAITLAND: An Abermain resident who nearly lost his property in this week’s blaze says anyone who intentionally starts a bushfire is “sick”.

Police say the fire, which burnt more than 800 hectares of land at Abermain as it headed towards Kurri Kurri, was deliberately lit. Investigators are looking for two men, about 183cm tall, and a juvenile who was seen leaving the area on a trike.

Escape: Allan Stacey and dog Indiana. Picture: Perry Duffin

Escape: Allan Stacey and dog Indiana. Picture: Perry Duffin

►BENDIGO: Bendigo International Madison chief executive officer Rik William McCaig has fronted court charged with four counts of corruption.

McCaig, 47, appeared at the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on Thursday following an investigation by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

Rik William McCaig

Rik William McCaig

►WOLLONGONG: Nicolas Saravanja may have won a Pacific island resort in a raffle earlier this year but he wasn’t going to miss his date to graduate from a commerce degree – with his proud family watching on.

Here today: Although Nicolas Saravanja owns an island resort he is concentrating on his financial planning career. Picture: Adam McLean

Here today: Although Nicolas Saravanja owns an island resort he is concentrating on his financial planning career. Picture: Adam McLean

►BALLARAT: Ballarat had one of the worst theft rates in regional Victoria, according to the latest official crime data. 

The statistics from the Crime Statistics Agency, which were collected from October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016, showed a 12.7 per cent increase in the number of thefts in Ballarat.

►JIMBOOMBA: A south-east Queensland councillor has been charged and stood down after being accused of defrauding a Brisbane business of more than $180,000.

Police allege Logan City Division 6 councillor Stacey Lee McIntosh, 34, stole more than $180,000 from an engineering company in Coopers Plains.

ORANGE: For the convenience of paying for a sandwich or a pie at Orange High School’s canteen with an EFTPOS card, it will cost you.

Logan City Council

Logan City Council

National news

►CANBERRA: Two Liberal MPs who lost their seats at the federal election and a former Labor speaker are among those tapped for plum positions in George Brandis’s latest round of appointments.

Former Liberal MPs Russell Matheson and Andrew Nikolic, who were voted out at the 2016 elections, former Labor Speaker Anna Burke and retired Labor Senator Linda Kirk were among the 17 appointees to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

►MELBOURNE: The concrete silos beneath the Nylex sign could be saved as the site’s developer revises plans to placate the state’s heritage authority.

Attorney-General George Brandis has previously come under fire for appointments he has made. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Attorney-General George Brandis has previously come under fire for appointments he has made. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Heritage Victoria is considering removing an exemption for the site that would have allowed the 1962 silos to be knocked over.

National weather radar

Check out what’s expected near you today.

The plan for Richmond's Nylex site. Photo: supplied

The plan for Richmond’s Nylex site. Photo: supplied

International news

BANGKOK: The chairman of Australian gold miner Kingsgate says the forced shutdown of its mine in central Thailand has sent a “horrendous” message to potential foreign investors in the military-run nation. 

LONDON: Rolf Harris will be a ‘virtual defendant’ at his sex assault trial next year, in what a judge said may be a British legal first.

In a pre-trial hearing on Thursday at Southwark Crown court, judge Alistair McCreath ruled that given the age and health of Harris, who is 86, exceptional circumstances justified his attendance by video link.

Thailand has reaped tens of millions of dollars in taxes and royalties from Thai Stock Exchange-listed Chatree. Photo: Craig Skehan

Thailand has reaped tens of millions of dollars in taxes and royalties from Thai Stock Exchange-listed Chatree. Photo: Craig Skehan

On this day

2013 It was reported that Miley Cyrus had insured her infamous tongue for $1 million.

2001 Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens

1993 Schindler’s List opens, wins Spielberg his first Oscar

1969 Nixon announces additional U.S. troop withdrawals

1915 British begin evacuation of Gallipoli

The faces of Australia: Frances Jardine

For 26 years, Frances Jardine has helped the community organisation make life a little easier for the widows and children of deceased service personnel.

Now the administration officer is retiring to enjoy more time with her own family, which includes nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“You’ve got to make a decision sometime, haven’t you?” she said. “And I would like to leave on a happy note. It’s just been so much fun.”

Administration officer Frances Jardine has helped hundreds of war widows since she began with Albury Legacy in 1990. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

Administration officer Frances Jardine has helped hundreds of war widows since she began with Albury Legacy in 1990. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

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