The big news stories for NSW in 2020.
BUSHFIRES: There's no end in sight to the deadly bushfires, devastating drought and dwindling water supplies in NSW as catastrophic conditions roll into 2020. The fires that claimed eight lives and destroyed more than 700 homes before Christmas, whipped up to fast-running infernos along the state's south coast as the clock ticked over to the new year. Less than a week in, the death toll has risen to 19, including three firefighters, almost 1500 homes have been lost and almost five million hectares have burned from the Queensland border down to the Victorian border. Exhausted firefighters have welcomed relief crews from interstate and overseas along with federal government millions for air tankers and 3000 army reservists as the country prays for rain and demands action on climate change.
ICAC: NSW Labor is bracing for the Independent Commission Against Corruption's findings from its inquiry into donations to the party. The anti-corruption watchdog has been investigating whether Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo was the true source of $100,000 said to be donated by 12 people at a Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in 2015. As a property developer, Mr Huang was banned from making political donations to NSW parties. The inquiry has already prompted the resignation of NSW Labor boss Kaila Murnain, after she said she'd been told in 2016 about a potentially illegal donation from Mr Huang.
WILLIAM TYRRELL: An inquest into William's 2014 disappearance continues in 2020. The inquest has already been told by counsel assisting the coroner Gerald Craddock SC that the boy was likely taken by car by a "sneaky, complex" abductor. William was three when he vanished while playing in the garden of his foster grandmother's home at Kendall on the mid-north coast. The inquest has heard from police, local residents and one-time person of interest Bill Spedding, who told reporters the scrutiny he endured has had a devastating impact. He has always denied any involvement.
Australian Associated Press