The Queen’s Baton is visiting Sydney today as a part of its Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games journey.
Swimmer Ian Thorpe, cricketer Glenn McGrath and Australian rugby union player Shannon Parry are among the baton’s bearer in the city. The relay will begin at Government House from 3pm to go through the Opera House, CBD, King’s Wharf and the Australian Maritime Museum.
The baton will continue its journey to other NSW cities for the next three days, including Penrith, Wollongong, Kiama and Batemans Bay.
Since leaving the Buckingham Palace in March last year, the baton has travelled through about 70 Commonwealth countries and territories.
The baton will reach its final destination on the Gold Coast on April 4, where the Queen or a representative will read the message within to officially open the Games.
Melbourne has again been named as the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year in a row.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) annual Liveability Index ranks 140 cities around the world based on healthcare, education and infrastructure – for which Melbourne received perfect scores this year – as well as stability, culture and environment. Overall, Melbourne scored 97.5 out of 100 points.
“This world record is an amazing feat that all Melburnians should be extremely proud of today,” City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.
“This accolade is an important selling point for Melbourne internationally: for businesses to invest or move here, for the best and brightest people to make Melbourne their home and for tourists to visit us.”
Vienna in Austria followed in the second spot, while Vancouver in Canada came third. Adelaide established itself as Australia’s second most liveable city at number five, while Perth came seventh. On the other hand, Sydney’s position dropped from the seventh place last year to the eleventh with a score of 94.9.
“Sydney in Australia is another city that has seen a decline in its ranking, reflecting growing concerns over possible terror attacks in the past three years,” the Global Liveability Report 2017 stated.
Damascus in Syria was ranked as the least liveable city, followed by Nigeria’s Lagos and Libya’s Tripoli.
An air pollution alert has been issued for Sydney residents as ozone levels continue to rise beyond government standards.
New South Wales Health said the ozone excess, which causes “poor” air quality on Tuesday, could affect people with respiratory conditions.
Ozone is a pungent gas resulting from chemical reactions between atmospheric gases and nitrogen oxides from car-vehicle exhausts, which can cause chest pain, coughing and throat irritation when inhaled. Hot weathers could exacerbate ozone pollution levels, a statement by NSW Health said.
Dr Ben Scalley, Director of Environmental Health Branch at NSW Health said parents are advised to keep watch on their children when ozone levels are high.
“Ozone levels are higher outdoors than indoors, so parents should limit the time their children with asthma play outside as they are more susceptible to the effects of ozone pollution,” said Scalley.
Scalley reminded that people should remain alert to the link between high temperatures and ozone pollution.
For more information on local air quality forecast and hourly air quality updates, visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/index.htm
For more information about air pollution and health, visit the NSW Health website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/default.aspx
Auction market opens the spring season with significant clearance rate in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.
Sydney market remains strong with its fourth consecutive weekend of a clearance rate above 80 per cent, well above the rate recorded at the same weekend last year of 75.1 per cent.
Melbourne market is also at its strongest since last winter, achieving 77.5 per cent clearance rate on Saturday and making it the sixth consecutive weekends of clearance rates above 75 per cent.
Domain senior economist, Andrew Wilson told AFR Weekend that other cities are experiencing similar trend. “Brisbane saw a clearance rate of 54 per cent when it is usually travelling in the 40s, Canberra hit 82 per cent and Adelaide 74 per cent,” said Wilson.
Observers believe that this market boom is motivated by lower number of listings and cuts in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia last month. Wilson reports that this weekend, Sydney only saw 537 auctions compared to 815 auctions at the same weekend last year while Melbourne had 718 auctions compared to 880 last year.