The death toll from an earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has climbed to 1407, according to Indonesian emergency response agencies. Six days after disaster struck the city of Palu, authorities and rescue workers conceded the likelihood of more survivors being found by rescuers had diminished. Indonesian president Joko Widodo visited Palu on Wednesday, ordering military and police to join rescue operations. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said rescuers were “racing against time” to find survivors trapped by fallen buildings. More than 70,000 people have been displaced by the disaster, with extensive damage to infrastructure hindering the distribution of food, water and medical supplies. Donate to UNICEF’s Indonesia tsunami appeal here.
One of the architects of the Paris climate agreement has criticised the federal government’s failure to act on reducing carbon emissions. Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation and former French climate change ambassador, was one of the driving forces behind the 2015 global agreement to keep global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Speaking to Fairfax, Tubiana said the government’s lack of a concrete emissions policy “goes against the science, spirit and letter of the Paris agreement”. She disputed prime minister Scott Morrison’s assertion that Australia would meet its Paris targets “in a canter”, saying “the consensus in the scientific community is that Australia is not currently on track to reduce emissions and meet its Paris Agreement commitments”.
Economists have warned the royal commission into the banking and finance sectors could inadvertently lead to a steep fall in house prices. Speaking to the ABC, Capital Economics chief economist Paul Dales said tightened borrowing standards brought on by revelations of irresponsible loan practices by the major banks could trigger “the largest downturn in Australia's modern history” over the next few years. Economist Saul Eslake said the slowdown could prove to be good news for prospective first-home buyers, estimating that “a decline in prices of the order of 10 to 20 per cent over a two or three year period, especially if [that] happens without any significant increase in interest rates, could be the most promising thing that's occurred for more than 25 years”.
Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission has reported a record number of public servants seeking protection for blowing the whistle on official misconduct in the last financial year. Queensland public officials made 591 reports of corrupt conduct in 2017-18, while the commission received 368 complaints about police officers from March to May. Queensland Police Accountability Taskforce spokesperson Renee Eaves said the spike in reports was evidence “that corrupt conduct is occurring in Queensland that is not being properly investigated”.