The Newsroom reviews this week’s top stories.
Search for Matthew Leveson’s body called off
The eight-day search in the Royal National Park south of Sydney for the body of 20-year-old Matthew Leveson has ended after no remains were found. Police had initially set up a crime scene in the park after being led to the area by Leveson’s former partner Richard Atkins, who was in 2009 acquitted of Leveson’s murder. Leveson’s parents, Mark and Faye, are still determined to locate their son’s body. Mr Leveson thanked police for their efforts: “To the police, Gary and his team, the forensic police that have been here, the Dog Squad. They’ve done a phenomenal job. Although there are no results here, what this does, it only strengthens our resolve. So we are even more determined to find Matt.” Matthew Leveson was last seen outside a Sydney nightclub, ARQ, with Mr Atkins in September 2007.
Police set up strike force to investigate shootings
New South Wales Police has set up Strike Force Osprey to investigate the recent spate of shootings on underworld figures such as Pasquale Barbaro, who was gunned down in Earlwood this week. Up to eight shootings since June last year will be investigated by the State Crime Command Homicide Squad. Police believe the shootings are all linked and will treat each case as such. Commissioner Andrew Scipione believes the strike force will protect civilian lives. “Every resource that we have as an organisation will be made available to this strike force, to ensure that we save as many people as we need to from that type of behaviour, that criminal, thuggish behaviour.”
St Paul’s College boycotts review
The male-only St Paul’s College located on the University of Sydney campus has refused to co-operate with a review of college culture headed by Elizabeth Broderick, which was initially put forward in May. The college will instead opt to undergo its own independent review which will not be released to the public. College warden Dr Ivan Head stated, “Council has exercised its liberty as a self-governing body to pursue the same outcomes in its own way.”
Hazard reduction burns caused 14 deaths
It was recently revealed air pollution from several backburning operations undertaken by NSW’s Rural Fire Service in May could have caused as many as 14 deaths. It is believed there were also up to 100 more hospital admissions than might otherwise have occurred through the duration of the burns. Dr Fay Johnston said smoke from the burns led to “one of the biggest air pollution events in Sydney’s history” and called for better warning systems to be implemented. The RFS Deputy Commissioner, Rob Rogers, suggested people check the RFS website where all planned hazard reduction burns are listed but agreed that changes could be made to better warn people of the potential for severe air pollution.
Schoolies to kick off in Queensland
It’s expected that more than 20,000 students will descend on Surfer’s Paradise this weekend for this year’s Schoolies, with more expected the following week. Those travelling to the Gold Coast have been warned against alcohol and drug abuse and to be careful about what they post to social media during the festivities. Schoolies begins on Saturday and will continue through the week. – Compiled from online sources by Matthew Buchanan
Top photo from ABC News Sydney’s twitter feed.