Live: NSW Now: Coal protesters threatened with jail time after eight days of

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Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Police threaten protesters with jail time

Protesters stop wagons
Activists have stopped coal-laden trains from entering the world’s largest coal terminal, the Port of Newcastle.(Supplied: Blockade Australia )

Police are warning that anyone who continues to protest on the rail network in the NSW Hunter region could be charged and face up to 25 years in prison.

Activists have staged eight days of protests, stopping coal trains from entering the Port of Newcastle.

Seventeen people have been arrested so far, which has led to police establishing a strike force.

Commissioner Mick Fuller said the ongoing protests were placing public safety at risk and endangering the lives of those using the network.

“[Police] stand ready to target anyone engaging in this dangerous and criminal behaviour, and will not hesitate to take the appropriate action,” he said.

Preparing for flood evacuations

A mayor in the state’s Central West says her community is well prepared for major flooding expected to hit the town on Wednesday.

The State Emergency Service (SES) expects up to 800 properties could be evacuated at Forbes when the Lachlan River reaches its peak.

It is predicted to get to 10.65 metres tomorrow, and Mayor Phyllis Miller said residents had faced these conditions before.

“We’re expecting a similar kind of flood as to 2016. This has slowed right up with the releases out of Wyangala being reduced so that’s really important for us that we haven’t got that great push,” she said.

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The Centennial Park of the north-west

The expansion of Rouse Hill park aims to give people in Western Sydney more space for recreation.(Supplied: NSW government)

A park in Sydney’s west will grow by more than a third with the acquisition of private land to be dedicated as a permanent public space.   

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes today confirmed a 25-hectare expansion of Rouse Hill Regional Park as part of the government’s commitment to delivering more public parklands for Sydney’s west.

“Sydney’s north-west is growing and its public parklands must grow with it. I’m delighted to see this major expansion of public space, which helps us achieve our vision of a city within a park,” Mr Stokes said.

“Once the acquisitions of the new public space are complete, Rouse Hill Regional Park will come under the care of Greater Sydney Parklands, who will be tasked with turning it into the Centennial Park of Sydney’s north-west.”

NSW Australians of the year

a woman in goggles in a lab holding up a circuit board
Materials scientists Veena Sahajwalla received recognition for innovating “green steel” technology.(Supplied)

Scientist and inventor Veena Sahajwalla has been named the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year for her innovative work in converting waste into sustainable products.

Last night during the ceremony Professor Sahajwalla was praised for her invention of polymer injection technology, or “green steel”.

Taking out the NSW Senior Australian of the Year was president of the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association Abla Kadous, for her work building support programs for Muslim women and interfaith forums in Western Sydney.

The NSW Young Australian of the Year was presented to 26-year-old Daniel Nour, who founded GP-led mobile medical service Street Side Medics.

Dr Nour works full-time at Royal North Shore Hospital while organising 145 volunteers and four clinics aimed at the state’s most vulnerable communities.

The NSW Local Hero award was presented to 47-year-old Shanna Whan who founded Sober in the Country, which has challenged alcohol addiction in regional NSW.

A portrait of a woman taken in sunset light as she wears a brimmed hat
Shanna Whan from Narrabri, NSW, is the founder of Sober in the Country.(Australian Story: Ben Cheshire)

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