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The Target stores closing down and converting to Kmart across Australia are revealed - Daily Mail
Parent company Wesfarmers announced on Friday that 75 Target stores across Australia would close and 92 others would be transformed into Kmarts.
Target has revealed which stores will permanently close and which will be turned into Kmarts after the retail chain suffered a $67million slump in sales. Parent company Wesfarmers announced on Friday that 75 Target stores would close and 92 others would be transformed into Kmarts. Ten to 25 large Target stores will be closed, alongside 50 smaller Target Country stores. An additional 25 regional Target Country stores will be converted into small Kmarts, while between ten and 40 large stores will become big Kmarts. This means anywhere between 122 and 167 Target locations will either be converted or shut - which amounts to around half of Target's network of 284 stores. Target (pictured in Sydney) has announced the closure of up to 75 of its stores, with others being converted into Kmarts The coronavirus outbreak meant many shops in Australia had to close for months, with less customers in the streets (pictured, shoppers in face masks in Sydney on May 17) In an announcement to investors on Friday morning, owners Wesfarmers said the restructure would reduce Target's 'unsustainable' cost base and allow it focus on the more-profitable Kmart. Target staff will be offered jobs at Kmart or other Wesfarmers companies, including Bunnings and Officeworks. The changes will be implemented over the next 12 months, with most of the work to rebrand stores being carried out in 2021. The closures and conversions are likely to cost the company between $120million and $170million over the next year. A further $140million will be used for one-off store conversion and stock clearance costs. Stores throughout all of Australia will close or be converted with most to be finalised by early 2021. So far Target has confirmed 53 stores that will be closing and 53 others that will be converted into Kmarts - with the rest expected to be announced soon. CONFIRMED TARGET STORES CLOSING Wesfarmers chief Rob Scott said the company hopes to focus on its online sales. 'The actions announced reflect our continued focus on investing in Kmart, a business with a compelling customer offer and strong competitive advantages,' he said. 'While also improving the viability of Target by addressing some of its structural challenges by simplifying the business model. 'While accounting standards require us to recognise an impairment of assets within Target to implement the restructuring, these actions will allow us to enhance the overall value of Kmart Group and further strengthen Kmart.' Target designer Dannii Minogue (pictured) is seen at the brand's fashion show during Melbourne Fashion Week in 2015, as the company tried to inject some glamour TARGET STORES CONVERTED TO KMART STORES But the company warned that even more stores could be shut entirely if landlords don't help with the costs of converting stores into Kmarts. Mr Scott told the Australian Financial Review on Friday that more Kmart stores could help increase overall foot traffic into shopping malls and centre. Announcing the conversion of some stores, Wesfarmers said it was 'subject to landlord support'. 'To convert stores costs money and there are some stores that are not commercially viable in the current structure,' Mr Scott commented. 'In some cases it's better to close stores than to keep pursuing unviable stores. 'The opportunity is to work out how we jointly share the costs and share the benefits.' Many stores will be converted into Kmarts (pictured in Sydney) with the store still offering popular items HISTORY OF TARGET Target is Australia's largest department store chain with 284 stores across the country. Established in 1926, the retailer was originally known as Lindsays until 1968, when Myer Emporium bought the chain of 16 stores across Victoria, which were renamed Lindsay's Target. The retailer was renamed Target Australia in 1973. On April 28, Wesfarmers has fast-tracked a review into the commercial viability of the struggling retailer after a worse than expected slump in sales. The department store chain's revenue and profits have taken a 'significant' hit during the coronavirus lockdowns, which have left shopping centres deserted as retailers temporarily close their doors. Announcing the fast-paced review, Mr Scott highlighted Target's 'unsatisfactory' financial performance in a trading briefing to investors, and said store closures were 'inevitable'. While sister department store chain Kmart remains profitable in deteriorating trading conditions, Target's earnings have slumped significantly. Wesfarmers says a decline in in-store sales will continue declining sales is expected to persist (pictured, shoppers in Sydney's deserted Pitt Street Mall on April 27) In February, Kmart swung to a 5.5 per cent first-half comparable sales growth from a 0.6 per cent decline a year ago, with revenue at the discount department store up $241million or 7.6 per cent to $4.99billion. Target's comparable sales went the other way, though, falling 2.3 per cent compared with 0.5 per cent growth a year ago as it recorded a worse-than-expected $67 million sales slump. Target is Australia's largest department store chain with 284 stores across the country. Established in 1926, the retailer was originally known as Lindsays until 1968, when Myer Emporium bought the chain of 16 stores across Victoria, which were renamed Lindsay's Target. The retailer was renamed Target Australia in 1973. Wesfarmers fast-tracked a review into the 'unsatisfactory' performance of Target (pictured), which has resulted in the closure of some stores A couple in face masks are seen walking past sales signs in an empty Pitt Street Mall in Sydney (pictured) on March 28, shortly after restrictions were brought in Announcing the fast-tracked review last month, Mr Scott admitted the already embattled Target had been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Shopping centres across the country emptied out almost overnight after people were encouraged to stay home and only go out for essential reasons to stop the virus spreading. 'In recent weeks, in-store sales momentum has moderated in Kmart and has declined in Target, reflecting the broader decline in customer footfall shopping centres and ongoing weakness in discretionary categories, particularly apparel,' Mr Scott told investors. But he insisted online sales were still strong. 'We are getting very strong growth in online in Target, its a great brand, with loyal customers, and a very engaged and loyal team,' he said. 'So there are assets of value we can work with but we need to get the property structure and network right to ensure the cost base is right for the future.' Target (pictured in Melbourne) is Australia's largest department store chain with 284 stores across the country A quiet Queen Victoria Building, usually a busy Sydney shopping area, is seen quiet on March 27 (pictured) Market strategist Evan Lucas, from IG, explained Target was 'consistently under-performing. He said part of this was down to a change in the market, with the introduction of other high street clothing brands such as Topshop and Zara. 'Target has consistently underperformed as its been wedged in that space now dominated by the interlopers,' he told the Herald Sun. 'They have much bigger turnover in apparel, which used to be Targets strength, and can offer higher discounts. 'Target now finds it has an inability to compete on price, these raiders can use cheaper labour from overseas.' It has been a difficult time for the retail sector, with many shops closed for months due to the coronavirus outbreak (pictured, shoppers in face masks in Sydney on April 27) It comes off the back of a series of major closures changing the face of the Australian high street. Household names like Harris Scarfe, Bardot, Roger David, and Napoleon Perdis dropped like flies in the past year with dozens of stores closing resulting in heavy job losses. Experts claim that the could be the tip of the iceberg as consumers continue to turn more to online shopping over bricks and mortar stores. Australian retail growth is at its worst level since the early 1990s recession and international giants like Amazon and Aldi threaten to further shake things up. Australia is headed for a retail apocalypse that could even kill off Myer, which recently closed its store in Hornsby, Sydney, after 40 years of serving customers Experts have warned Bardot (pictured) and Harris Scarfe are just the start of the downfall of big-name Aussie brands Kmart (pictured in Chatswood on May 6) has stayed open throughout the pandemic, attracting queues of customers Target's boss Mr Scott admitted the department store faced 'a number of structural challenges', blaming the size of the shops and high rental costs. 'A lot of the structural challenges facing department stores relate back to the number of stores, the size of stores and the nature of occupancy costs in a world where online is more relevant,' Mr Scott told The Australian Financial Review. 'Target is growing online sales quite strongly it's timely to review the store network. 'That could mean store closures, it could mean conversion of some Target stores to Kmart, and it could mean reviewing the size of the stores we have in the network.' On Friday, he admitted in a statement to investors that Target was not well positioned to tackle the new retail landscape. 'For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue,' he wrote. People are sen walking around an empty Melbourne on March 19 (pictured) as city centres resembled ghost towns at the height of the pandemic COVID-19 labour market at a glance Unemployment: it surged from 5.2 per cent in March to 6.2 per cent in April - the highest since September 2015 Number unemployed climbed by 104,500 to 823,300 In April, 489,800 people left the labour force, which meant 594,300 either lost their job or gave up looking for one Underemployment soared by 4.9 percentage points to record 13.7 per cent Tally of underemployed Australians surged by 603,300 to 1.8million Participation rate plunged by an unprecedented 2.4 percentage points to 63.5 per cent Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 'With the exception of Target, Wesfarmers' retail businesses are well-positioned to respond to the changes in consumer behaviour and competition associated with this disruption.' As well as crippling a number of beloved high street stalwarts, the coronavirus crisis has left thousands of Australians unemployed. The jobless rate soared from 5.2 per cent in March, before the shutdowns of non-essential businesses, to 6.2 per cent in April. This is the highest rate since September 2015 as a record 600,000 Australians either lost their job or gave up looking for one. A similar number had their hours cut, leaving Australia with a record underemployment rate. Unemployment is above the levels of the global financial crisis a decade ago, following the closure of pubs, clubs, gyms and cinemas to slow the spread of coronavirus. Sonia Kruger (pictured) showcases designs during the Jean Paul Gaultier x Target show during Melbourne Fashion Festival on March 9 2016 A spokeswoman for Target told Daily Mail Australia: 'During this difficult time, we are committed to supporting our team. 'Across the Kmart Group we have made a significant effort to avoid store closures and retain our people and for impacted store team members we have the benefit of time to help find alternative employment opportunities. 'All team members in Target stores scheduled for conversion to Kmart will be offered the opportunity to join the growing Kmart team.' She said that staff who works in stores which are closing will be offered jobs at Kmart, Catch, Bunnings and Officeworks. 'We believe that Target has a future as a leading retailer in Australia and we know it is loved by so many,' she added. Kmart (pictured, the Broadway store in Sydney on March 22) is popular for its low-priced homewares 'But a number of actions are required to ensure it is fit for purpose in a competitive, challenging and dynamic market, including a smaller number of stores and a stronger online business.' Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud has called for a consumer boycott after Wesfarmers announced the closure or conversion of its Target outlets. Mr Littleproud accused major companies of turning their backs on regional Australia. 'It just goes to show they don't give a rat's about us,' he told reporters in Toowoomba. 'Australians should vote with their wallets and not go near them.' He said corporations should be showing social conscience during the coronavirus crisis. Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud (pictured on May 14) has called for a consumer boycott saying Wesfarmers 'make billions out of Australians' 'They make a lot of money. They make billions out of Australians,' Mr Littleproud said. 'If they want to turn their back on the most vulnerable, it just goes to show that corporate Australia has lost its way morally.' Labor leader Anthony Albanese said shunning businesses could hurt workers. 'I'm not sure what a boycott of Wesfarmers means except people not going into stores and further job losses,' he told reporters in Sydney. 'I am not sure what Mr Littleproud's comments would result in and how that would be constructive.' Mr Littleproud signalled he would escalate his boycott calls if shops closed in his electorate. 'I'll be saying to everyone don't shop at these stores,' he said. 'Go and shop at those outlets that are prepared to support not just metropolitan Australians but regional Australians.' The agriculture minister also pointed the finger at supermarkets and telcos for hurting regional communities.
Glamorous equestrian rider accused of trying to drive a rape victim to self harm - Daily Mail
A glamorous equestrian rider accused of trying to get a rape victim to suicide has walked into a Melbourne court smiling hand-in hand with the alleged rapist.
A glamorous equestrian rider accused of trying to get a rape victim to suicide has walked into a Melbourne court smiling hand-in hand with the alleged rapist. Alexandra McDonough, 29, of Dromana, is the long-time girlfriend of would-be Olympian rider Callum Buczak, 28, who has pleaded not guilty to raping the woman. Both have been charged by Melbourne detectives amid allegations they tried to intimidate and stalk Buczak's alleged victim in the weeks before and following the alleged sex attack. Alexandra McDonough, 29, of Dromana, is the long-time girlfriend of would-be Olympian rider Callum Buczak, 28, and a champion rider in her own right Alexandra McDonough, 29, of Dromana, walks hand-in-hand into a Melbourne court with her long-time boyfriend Callum Buczak, 28, who is an accused rapist Alexandra McDonough and would-be Olympian rider Callum Buczak gaze into each other's eyes in a photo posted on social media Although both were not present at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court for a short filing hearing on Friday, the pair were spotted happily walking into the court house about an hour later. Court documents released to The Age in October revealed police claim the rape happened on a property at Frankston on February 28, 2019 with Buczak charged after a five-month Victoria Police sex crimes investigation. On Friday, the court was told police allege between February 14 and March 2, McDonough stalked the victim by using several Instagram profiles to 'surreptitiously trace (her) online activity'. Police further claimed Buczak's girlfriend sent the information she had compiled back to him 'with the intention of causing mental harm to the victim including self-harm, or of arousing apprehension or fear in the victim for her own safety or safety of another person'. McDonough faces a swag of charges for allegations she perverted the course of justice and stalked the victim. Among the allegations is a claim she provided a magistrate with false information during an intervention order application taken out against her by the woman. Police also claim McDonough dishonestly reported that she had been assaulted by the victim and interfered with a civil proceeding against her boyfriend. In a post on her Facebook page in February, McDonough wined about not being able to attend riding events with her alleged rapist boyfriend. 'It is so, so unfair that I cant have my partner and my teammate at events with me. Especially driving alone, running two horses alone and in such a high risk sport,' she wrote. Detectives claim Buczak was behind his girlfriend's alleged offending and had encouraged her to do his bidding. Court documents state McDonough sent Buczak screen shots of his alleged victim's online activity and he encouraged her to send him information on the woman's travel plans. Alexandra McDonough is accused of helping her boyfriend Callum Buczak intimidate a woman who alleges he raped her Alexandra McDonough remains committed to Callum Buczak, who has been accused of raping a woman last year At one stage, he allegedly asked her to provide intelligence on his victim's graduation schedule under the intention of causing her to self harm, police claimed. The alleged victim's father is also alleged to have been harassed by the couple. Mr Buczak's barrister Damian Sheales said the couple would strongly defend the charges. 'Some of these charges are frankly absurd,' he told the court on Friday. Earlier this year, Buczak, from Pakenham Upper, was committed to stand trial in the County Court of Victoria after pleading not guilty to raping the woman. Alexandra McDonough laughs with Callum Buczak as they approach the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Friday Alexandra McDonough and Callum Buczak are accused of trying to drive his alleged rape victim to self-harm Callum Buczak is a champion equestrian rider and an accused rapist Both remain free in the community on bail and have been ordered to return to the Melbourne Magistrates Court in July. A 24-year-old Belgrave woman and a 24-year-old Clyde man have also both been charged with stalking and other offences allegedly committed between March and April 2019. While the alleged rape did not happen at an official equestrian event, Buczak's 2019 charge has reportedly prompted calls for him to be barred from the competitive sport until the matter has been resolved. Equestrian Australia later moved to suspend his membership, with his alleged victim withdrawing from competitions. Buczak took to social media to proclaim his innocence. 'The allegations made against me are strongly denied and shall be vehemently opposed,' he posted at the time. The 28-year-old continues to run a popular equestrian eventing business. Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.
Batlow house fire that killed twins Aisha and Lailani labelled an accident by police - Daily Mail
Three-year-olds Aisha and Lailani died after their home was engulfed in the blaze in Batlow, in southern New South Wales, around 11am on Monday.
A horrific house fire that killed twin girls has been ruled an accident by police after the sisters playfully locked themselves inside the home moments before it went up in flames. Three-year-olds Aisha and Lailani died after their home caught fire in Batlow, in southern New South Wales, about 11am on Monday. Their mother Tanyka Ford, 29, had caught the girls playing with a pillow that had caught alight from a log fire inside the home. As Ms Ford took the pillow outside to the front yard to extinguish it, the girls locked the door behind her. The mother along with her five-year-old son Dominic, were then forced to watch their home catch alight - with the twins still inside. On Thursday, Superintendent Bob Noble said the deaths had been accidental - despite vile trolls making 'unhelpful' speculations about the cause. The trolls' slurs - which are too upsetting to be published - are mostly aimed at the girls' mother, who fought desperately to rescue her children from the fire. Three-year-olds Aisha and Lailani died after their home was engulfed in the blaze in Batlow, around 11am on Monday The fire is believed to have started from a wood fire and by the time firefighters arrived and forced their way inside the home, it was too late to save the girls 'I'm as comfortable as I can be that it's been a tragic accident or unfortunate happenstance that in many other instances probably wouldn't have resulted in such catastrophic outcomes,' he told reporters on Thursday. Superintendent Noble urged people to reconsider what they're posting online and to put themselves in the 'shoes' of the mother. 'Well, I have got advice for them, but they are not taking advice. Those kind of people they like to hear their own opinions,' he said. 'Just imagine if you were the mum suffering this bereavement. Whether she was doing things that these other people think she shouldn't have been doing, she is bashing herself up anyway. 'She probably will second guess herself for the rest of her life. Try imagining walking in her shoes and see if you still think the same thing. 'Some will and that is their prerogative. It doesn't make them right.' At the time of the tragedy, Ms Ford had tried to break through the window but suffered cuts to her arms. Firefighters managed to force their way into the property, but it was too late to save the toddlers. 'Mummy's beautiful babies. I miss you more than words can describe right now I'm absolutely gutted and hate myself for not being able to help more,' Ms Ford said. 'I don't know how I will ever be able to comprehend how this could have happened please let this be a terrible mistake please tell me my babies okay. 'The pain is unbearable.' The twins' aunt, Tammy Dubois, lives in the same small town and says she is constantly reminded by the tragedy. 'Every time I walk out, I see it. Looking out my window, I see it, everywhere I look, I see it and it breaks my heart again,' she told The Daily Advertiser. The twins had been playing with a pillow that had caught alight from a log fire while their mother went outside to extinguish it 'It just doesn't seem like this is real life. It's like something from a movie or something, you can't believe it's happened. I just feel numb inside.' Ms Dubois said the girls were found holding hands after the house fire. 'There must have been something else burning in the front room, Tanyka was screaming at them to unlock the door but they didn't, the poor darlings would have been scared,' she told The Daily Telegraph. 'The girls couldn't speak, they had their own special language, they adored each other, they were found in the front room huddled holding each other's hand.' A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family and has so far raised more than $14,000. Aisha and Lailani, three, died when raging flames engulfed their family's housing commission home in Batlow, in southern NSW 'My sister tragically lost her three-year-old twin daughters in a house fire, which claimed not only the lives of these two young children but also their home and belongings,' the twins' uncle Levi wrote. 'Her son has lost all the belongings including toys and clothing Losing everything is hard enough without having to worry about financials. 'Anything no matter how small would be appreciated.' Detectives are continuing their investigation and are hoping to speak more with the immediate family. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family in the wake of the shocking tragedy
Australia records six new coronavirus cases almost a week after lockdown measures were eased - Daily Mail
New South Wales recorded two new cases on Wednesday while all but one of Victoria's four new cases at linked to Cedar Meats abattoir in Melbourne
Australia has recorded just six new coronavirus cases overnight, a week after lockdown measures were relaxed across the country. New South Wales recorded two new cases on Wednesday from 9,700 tests conducted. One came from Melbourne while the other is a student from Saint Ignatius' College Riverview, which was closed on Thursday for cleaning. Of the four new cases in Victoria, three from the virus-riddled Cedar Meats abattoir, taking the number linked to the Melbourne site to 106. The fourth case is under investigation. No other states or territories recorded any new cases. Just two new cases were recorded in NSW on Wednesday, almost a week after restrictions were eased. Pictured are diners at the Rio in Summer Hill last Friday The Northern Territory became the second jurisdiction to become coronavirus-free, three weeks after the Australian Capital Territory became the first to achieve the milestone. None of Western Australia's active cases remain in hospital as the state's health department moved away from the term social distancing, which has been replaced by physical distancing. Of the 7,081 patients across Australia since the first ones were recorded on January 25, 6,470 has recovered. Nine of the 511 active cases across Australia remain in hospital. Melburnians flocked to Port Melbourne on Sunday after Premier Daniel Andrews relaxed the state's strict lockdown restrictions Australia's death toll remains at 100. South Australia, which has just recorded just one new infection in the last month, will move to stage two restrictions on June 5. 'I can hear the frustration but we're trying to deal not with one sector but every single sector across the state. It was much easier to put restrictions in place than to ease them equitably and also in a safe manner,' Mr Marshall told ABC Radio this morning. 'This is not something that we've been through before so we want to basically educate people to do the right thing but our primary concern is to keep the people of South Australia safe.' Of the 7,081 patients since the first ones were recorded on January 25, 6470 has recovered It comes as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hinted at easing restrictions on cafes and restaurants in the coming months. 'The government will have more to say in the very near future about what restaurants and cafes will look like in June and July,' she told reporters on Thursday. Ms Berejiklian defended her calls for other states to re-open their borders, insisting it was in the best interests for Australia. 'This isn't personal. This is about doing what we believe is in the best interest of our citizens,' she said. The Northern Territory became the second Australian jurisdiction to become coronavirus-free on Thursday. Pictured are women in Darwin getting their nails done at a salon last Friday Coronavirus restrictions eased * The federal government has announced a three-phase plan to ease off coronavirus restrictions in coming months, with states and territories to determine the exact timings. * Social distancing and hygiene measures retained. * NSW and Queensland public school students will resume full-time classes on May 25 as schools begin to open in Tasmania. In Victoria, prep to Year 2 and Years 11 and 12 return to their classrooms on May 26 with the remaining cohort back from June 9. The ACT has staggered the return of grades up to June 2 while students are already full-time in WA, SA and the NT. * Outdoor gatherings in NSW including recreational activities, cafes, restaurants, clubs and pubs permitted to have a maximum of 10 people while social distancing. Working from home encouraged while public transport changes mean 12 people on two-door buses in Sydney, 32 commuters per train carriage and 245 people on the Manly ferry. Libraries and museums to reopen and regional travel within the state permitted from June 1. * Victorians may have up to five visitors in their homes. Gathering limits relaxed to 10 for outdoor activities including fishing, hiking and golf. Maximum of 10 guests at weddings, 20 at indoor funerals and 30 for outdoor services. From June 1, 20 people allowed inside restaurants, cafes and pubs, increasing to 50 diners from June 22 and 100 in the second half of July. * In Queensland, shopping for non-essential items permitted while up to five members of one household can visit other homes. Up to 10 people allowed to congregate in parks, pools and playgrounds. The Queensland and NSW border could reopen in September. * South Australia has resumed elective surgeries and allowed regional accommodation to reopen. Dining and alcohol-consumption at cafes and restaurants allowed with a 10-person limit. Stage two easing of restrictions will begin on June 5 allowing more customers to be served and cinemas to reopen. * WA has entered phase two of its recovery plan, allowing greater regional travel and encouraging people back to work while cafes, pubs and restaurants may seat up to 20 patrons. Further easing of restrictions expected on June 8. * The Northern Territory has relaxed restrictions on parks, golf, fishing and swimming. Restaurants and bars can reopen with a two-hour limit, with entertainment venues to come. Restricted access to indigenous communities remains in place until at least June 18. * In Tasmania, restaurants and cafes are allowed to seat up to 10 people with the same number allowed to gather for real estate purposes, religious gatherings and weddings. Premier Peter Gutwein is hopeful of making a call to reopen borders in July.
Mother of twins killed in Batlow fire 'hates herself' for failing to save them - Daily Mail
Aisha and Lailani died when flames engulfed their family's housing commission home in Batlow, in southern NSW, after their mother Tanyka Ford, 29, was locked outside.
The devastated mother of twin three-year-old sisters who burned to death in a house fire says she is in 'unbearable pain' over failing to save them. Aisha and Lailani died when flames engulfed their family's housing commission home in Batlow, in southern NSW, about 11am on Monday. Their mother Tanyka Ford, 29, and five-year-old brother Dominic were forced to watch in horror as the blaze took hold. Ms Ford said she 'hated herself' for being unable to save the toddlers after they deadbolted the door when she stepped outside to extinguish a flaming pillow. Aisha and Lailani died when flames engulfed their family's housing commission home at Batlow, in southern New South Wales, about 11am on Monday Their mother Tanyka Ford, 29, says she is in 'unbearable pain' over failing to save them 'I miss you more than words can describe right now I'm absolutely gutted and hate myself for not being able to help more,' she said. 'I don't know how I will ever be able to comprehend how this could have happened please let this be a terrible mistake please tell me my babies okay.' Ms Ford was still in shock and disbelief that her children, who died from smoke inhalation while holding hands in the front room, were gone. 'Sadly as much as I pray nothing I say or do can bring back my babies,' she said. 'The pain is unbearable.' The blaze began from a wood fire and by the time firefighters arrived and forced their way inside the home, it was too late to save Aisha and Lailani. The girls (pictured with their older brother on Halloween) died from smoke inhalation while holding hands in the front room The little girls (pictured as babies) 'spoke their own language' and couldn't respond to their mother as she tried to get them to unlock the door Police on Tuesday confirmed they would be speaking to both Ms Ford and the girls' father Geoffrey Dubois in relation to the incident. Riverina Police Commander Bob Noble said investigators had already met with Ms Ford on Monday night, who was 'distraught and traumatised'. Special investigators also briefly spoke with Ms Ford's five-year-old son, who stood beside her on the footpath as their home burned. 'We'll have a more in-depth conversation if she's well enough with the mother today - there is the father of these children who we'll be speaking to, and neighbours,' Commander Noble said. Fire and Rescue Superintendent Thomas Freedom said officers would keep 'an open mind' during the early days of the investigation and hope the little boy can provide crucial information. Three-year-old twins Aisha and Lailani (pictured) were killed when their Batlow home caught fire on Tuesday morning As the fire roared to four-metres high first responders tried desperately to rescue the girls, but could not force their way inside the home Emergency services arrived and eventually forced their way inside the home, but it was too late to save Aisha and Lailani 'The mother and the young child that were here at the time will provide information that will be critical to investigators and that's our starting point but I assure you that won't be the end point,' he said. 'It's difficult for investigators to interview young children, particularly in an instance where that young child has lost two siblings.' Commander Noble said: 'What we obviously have is two young children who have died. Obviously the mother of the children was present at the time of the fire, as was an older sibling. 'We need to approach this from an objective point of view and keep all possibilities on the table.' Experts from the NSW State Crime Command arson squad have been at the scene and will be assisting local detectives in their investigation. Police on Tuesday confirmed they would be speaking to both Ms Ford and the girls' father Geoffrey Dubois (pictured together) in relation to the incident The death of the twins (pictured with relative) will be investigated by the police arson squad There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of either parents or any other family member. The girl's aunt Tammy Dubois, 39, said her sister-in-law was screaming at the twins to unlock the door because 'there must have been something else burning in the front room', The Daily Telegraph reported. 'The girls couldn't speak, they had their own special language, they adored each other, they were found in the front room huddled holding each other's hand,' she said. Aisha and Lailani's shattered family have already raised more than $8,700 through a GoFundMe page for Ms Ford. 'My sister tragically lost her three-year-old twin daughters in a house fire, which claimed not only the lives of these two young children but also their home and belongings,' the twins' uncle Levi wrote. 'Her son has lost all the belongings including toys and clothing Losing everything is hard enough without having to worry about financials. 'Anything no matter how small would be appreciated.' A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the family, while their nanna Michelle Ford posted this collage as a tribute to her granddaughters The girls' mum and dad will both speak with police in the coming days about the ordeal Ms Ford's heartbroken mother Michelle, who lived in the nearby town of Tumut, paid tribute to her grandchildren on Facebook on Monday night. 'RIP nanny's little angels, miss you so much,' Mrs Ford wrote. Ms Ford's aunt Melanie said any donations would help the family, who lost everything in the fire. 'My niece Tanyka Ford lost her beautiful twins in a devastating house fire,' she wrote. 'If anyone can help out with a donation no matter how small it is. Words can't begin to describe her pain and loss right now.' Adding to the difficulties for NSW Police investigators is the danger of entering the home, which is unstable as a result of the fire. The little girls were trapped inside the home as it went up in flames, and could not be saved Police said a small woodfire was understood to be burning inside the home at the time, but it was not known if it had caused the blaze (the house after the fire was extinguished pictured)
COVID-19 South Australia ELIMINATES coronavirus Western Australia declares all hospitals free - Daily Mail
There are no active cases of COVID-19 in SA as of Friday after the state went without any new cases for more than a week.
South Australia has completely eliminated coronavirus from the state. There are no known active cases of COVID-19 in SA as of Friday after the state went without any new cases for more than a week. A total of 439 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in South Australia but there are no longer any active cases. The Australian Capital Territory is also free of the virus and no new cases have been recorded since April 30. Western Australia has just seven active cases left and hospitals are now coronavirus free after the last person being treated for COVID-19 tested negative on Thursday night. The Royal Adelaide Hospital is treating no COVID-19 patients as there are no active cases in the state as of Friday Despite there being no active cases in her state, SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier (pictured) said people should still practice social distancing Despite there being no active cases in her state, SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said it would be wrong to consider it 'coronavirus-free'. 'COVID-19 is still in the world, we're still getting cases in other states,' Professor Spurrier said. CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,019 New South Wales: 3,071 Victoria: 1,520 Queensland: 1,054 Western Australia: 552 South Australia: 439 Tasmania: 227 Australian Capital Territory: 107 Northern Territory: 29 TOTAL CASES: 6,989 RECOVERED: 6,302 DEAD: 98 'If we relax completely, and we don't keep doing social distancing, once we get a couple of cases it will spread incredibly rapidly. 'We can see that's happened in other countries, so we all have to continue to play our part.' SA Premier Steven Marshall agreed, saying: 'We can't take our foot off the brake, we've got to do everything we can to keep everyone safe in South Australia.' In South Australia, there have been 439 cases of COVID-19, which have resulted in four deaths. Of the 439 infected, 435 have recovered - a recovery rate of 99 per cent. The last COVID-19 patient in a WA hospital was cleared of the disease in Thursday night. WA Premier Mark McGowan said eliminating the disease from hospitals was 'a significant achievement for our state' during a press conference on Friday. 'We have no confirmed COVID-19 patients in our hospitals,' Mr McGowan said, according to ABC News. 'The person who was in ICU up to yesterday remains in hospital, but is no longer positive for COVID-19. We wish that person very well in their recovery.' The COVID clinic at the Royal Perth Hospital. Western Australia has eliminated COVID-19 from all of its hospitals after the last person being treated for the disease recovered on Thursday night There are still seven active COVID-19 cases in WA but they are isolating at home rather than hospitals As of Friday, there have been a total of 554 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in WA, which have resulted in nine deaths. Of the 554 confirmed cases, 538 people have recovered - a total of 97 per cent. The latest case of COVID-19 in WA came on Thursday. In the last week, there have been just three new cases of coronavirus in the state. The ACT has had no active cases of coronavirus since April, becoming the first state or territory to do so. The Northern Territory only has two active cases left as residents returned to pubs and restaurants on Friday. Queensland currently has 22 active coronavirus cases while Tasmania is dealing with 22 instances. Meanwhile, in the more populous Victoria there are 112 active cases. New South Wales, the worst affected state still has 419 active cases of coronavirus. WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) said eliminating the disease from hospitals was 'a significant achievement for our state' during a press conference on Friday