April 17, 2024

Key events


Good morning and welcome to the rolling news blog. I’m Martin Farrer, here to bring you the best overnight and breaking stories before my colleague picks up the baton shortly.

The New South Wales mulch scandal widens again today with our exclusive story revealing that the material at the centre of the crisis has been found to contain building waste as well as asbestos. The state’s environment watchdog says it found the “foreign materials” when testing mulch made by Greenlife Resource Recovery at the Prospect Highway upgrade in Blacktown. Greenlife said it did not use construction waste in its recycled mulch which was made from “separated waste timber products”.

Julian Assange faces the risk of a “flagrant denial of justice” if tried in the US, his lawyers have told a permission to appeal hearing in London, which could result in the WikiLeaks founder extradited within days if unsuccessful. Edward Fitzgerald KC, representing Assange, also argued that his Australian client could be targeted by US state agencies for “extra-legal attack elimination” if he was extradited. More coming up.

The world of AFL has been rocked by news that Melbourne Demons player Joel Smith has been accused of trafficking or attempted trafficking of cocaine by Sports Integrity Australia. The utility player, who is already suspended after testing positive for cocaine towards the end of last season, was charged last night with three anti-doping rule violations of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code. Meanwhile, the GWS Giants have been rebuked by the ACT government for signing a sponsorship deal with Tabcorp, describing the deal as “deeply disappointing” given mounting evidence of gambling-related harm.

And the environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, has issued a stern warning to the fashion industry to work faster on reducing its environmental impact, saying it’s on a “watchlist” and must sign up to a scheme to create a circular clothing industry by 2030. More on that in a few minutes.

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