Good morning central Victoria!
We’re in for a partly cloudy day with a medium (60%) chance of showers, becoming less likely in the early afternoon. There is also a chance of a thunderstorm this afternoon - Bendigo 30, Maryborough 28, Castlemaine 27, Kyneton 26, Redesdale 29, Echuca 32.
Catch up on news here:
Transformational plan believed to be first of its kind in Victoria
Bendigo’s long-term city development plan, believed to the the first of its kind in Victoria, is expected to transform the regional centre over the next 30 years. Read more here.
Murder accused returns to court
A man accused of the stabbing murder of another man in Long Gully in September has made a brief appearance in court. Odin Gillin, 20, appeared via video link in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, where his lawyer, Peter Chadwick QC, indicated his client’s case would rely on self-defense, saying none of the witnesses had seen precisely what happened between the two men on the night in question. Read more here.
New home for health body
Many years of work have culminated in Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative officially opening its new health and community centre this week. Read more here.
Crafty fix for plastic waste in the bag
What goes around comes back around. That is the adage a team of Castlemaine craftspeople are counting on as they try to rid their community of plastic bags. Read more here.
Bendigo shooter gunning for gold
Bendigo rifle shooter James Daly is targeting success on foreign soil. The 28-year-old has been selected in the Australian team to contest a International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup event in Munich in May. Read more here.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered.
Police raided eight homes at Unanderra, Warrawong, Warilla, Corrimal, Port Kembla and Cringila about 8.30am on Wednesday.
Seven kilograms of MDMA, ice, cannabis, cocaine and heroin were seized during the searches. Read more
►SA: South Australian Irrigators will receive the full 100 per cent water allocation for 2017/18, thanks to the highest flows in the River Murray for 23 years.
The opening 100 per cent allocation follows high rainfall in spring and the state’s wettest summer since 1937.
It means South Australia is now expected to receive its full State Entitlement Flow of 1,850 gigalitres. Read more
►QLD: New technology described as a “fitbit for a cow combined with a virtual fence” will hit the market later this year, taking grazing to a whole new level.
Ian Reilly, chief executive officer of Agersens, said the Livestock Virtual Shepherd involved the grazier using their phone or table to create a fence from a grazing program, and moving the fence or stock from that device. Read more
►VIC: A band of residents and business owners from rural towns across Victoria are demanding a ban on duck hunting, a move they say would protect the animals and safeguard tourism to their regions.
Dozens of people with property and businesses backing on to popular hunting sites have joined new group Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting in the last fortnight. Read more
The AMC is in the process of engaging with the Tasmanian government to develop a state-wide defence strategy that could feed into the national industry. Read on
►NSW: In late summer and early autumn the processionary caterpillar has been known to horrify the odd gardener on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.
They travel in long lines of hundreds or more in search of food or a suitable place to begin the transformation into their adult form: the bag-shelter moth (Ochrogaster lunifer). Read more
►Labor leader Bill Shorten distanced himself from the newly minted ACTU leader Sally McManus after the union boss condoned breaking laws she sees as "unjust."
Ms McManus was endorsed as the ACTU's first female secretary on Wednesday. In her first major interview, Ms McManus was asked if she would distance herself from the CFMEU union, which its critics describe as militant.
"There's no way we'll be doing that," Ms McManus told the ABC's 730 program. Read more
►A delegation of Australians has travelled to India to confront Gautam Adani over the proposed Carmichael coal mine, urging the business tycoon to abandon the project and protect the environment.
The group - comprised of businessman, conservationist and former Howard government adviser Geoff Cousins and three other campaigners - will also deliver a letter signed by 90 prominent Australians. Read more
National weather radar
What’s coming you way …
►SPAIN: Spanish police have seized more than 10,000 weapons of war, including assault rifles, anti-aircraft machine guns, shells and grenades, destined for criminal and terrorist groups in Europe.
The massive haul was seized by Spanish National Police with help from Europol in January, but its scale was only announced on Tuesday (local time) because of the time it took to compile a complete inventory, a police statement said. Read more
►GENEVA: The Turnbull government has refused to back an international investigation into atrocities against Rohingya Muslims despite a motion passed in the Senate urging Australia to call for a United Nations commission of inquiry.
Australia's statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva called for Myanmar to conduct its own investigation with international help into what the UN says could amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the country's western Rakhine state, home to more than one million Rohingya. Read more
On this day
The faces of Australia: Mel Wells
Mel Wells has given her two friends the ultimate gift.
The Northern Tasmanian woman gave birth to a baby boy she carried for a same-sex male couple from Sydney.
Ms Wells, a first-time surrogate, was a self-proclaimed “oven” for the baby, conceived with an embryo from a Melbourne donor through IVF.
She laughed that the situation was the epitome of a modern family. Read more