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(generated from captions) man I cured, sha toe, shatto, This Program is Captioned Live. Tonight, as the battle for
the Blue Mountains rages, are two youths arrested over arson. Cutting it fine, pictures emerge of some close calls. The ACT's same-sex marriage bill gets some fine-tuning before tomorrow's debate. If Mr Abbott wants to over turn it, well, so be it, but we will be married.And the ACT, one of the pace setters in the latest comparison of State economies.

Good evening, welcome to ABC News, I'm Virginia Haussegger. The NSW bushfire crisis is set to worsen, with authorities predicting potentially catastrophic conditions on Wednesday. An 11-year-old boy has been charge charged with lighting one fire near the town of Port Stephens last week, while a 15-year-old teenager is also expected to be charged with arson. At least 1500 firefighters have been on active duty today. More than 60 fires are burning across NSW with 118,000 hectares already scorched. A huge amount of resources have been deployed. More than 80 aircraft, including helicopters, waterbombers and planes, and almost 350 fire trucks. The biggest concern is still near Lithgow on the western side of the Blue Mountains, where more than 300 firefighters have been battling the flames. Trevor Bormann reports.By the light of a burnt orange moon, firefighters defended the mountains without major property losses over night. The opportunity to leave some townships has long passed. These evacuees from three nights ago were cutting it fine. Early morning light revealed the Blue Mountains bathed in white. Of the more than 60 fires burning in NSW, 12 of them are uncontained. Emergency coordinators are most concerned about two huge outbreaks - one near Mount Victoria and another near Bilpin. The fires are close together, and the fear is they'll join. We are talking hundreds of kilometres of fire edge, and each of them, every metre they have success on, every kilometre they have success on, is better than none.In the town of Bilpin, Scott Jeffrey and his family were packing for a quickest escape. We are just going to play it by ear. We are packed ready to go.Police have been door-knocking here. Their advice is for residents to leave early while the highway down towards Sydney is still open. Jerry Fisher won't be going. I'm all right, yeah, I'm feeling okay. Like I said, everything is green. I've been here for 40 years. Never been burned out.South of Sydney, crews are still struggling to get the upper hand on a fire in the Southern Highlands. This is when the blaze first caught hold, filmed by firefighters themselves. Green vegetation burning as fierce ly as other bush. The new out look is for Wednesday to bring the most dangerous fire conditions. That's when northerly winds with gusts of up to 100km/h sweep in ahead of a cold front. ABC reporter Kumi Taguchi has been monitoring the Mount Victoria and State mines fires at the western end of the Blue Mountains. A short time ago, I asked her for an update on that area. What you really get a sense of is just how much effort is going into manage these fires. We had a briefing, quite an exclusive briefing, actually, from the Blue Mountains coordinator there, he was saying that this is incredibly difficult to manage, obviously it's all about just trying to make sure the fire doesn't spread any further. As we have been hearing for the last few these fires cannot be put out, it's a matter of making sure they don't spread. 30 fire trucks in the ground today, 4 helicopters, water bombing aircraft over our heads all day, filling up from local dams. Residents are basically saying use the water on my property. So much of a community effort to try and make sure that these fires don't spread any more, when those conditions worsen on Wednesday.On the conditions, Kumi, it has been a slightly better day than many expected. Has that been good for the containment work?Without a doubt. The RFS, to quote them, said it has been a really big gift, meaning they have been able to get in and do a lot of work. What is interesting, Virginia, is that levels of the work that have to be done, standing next to the control command centre, which is a truck, we could hear constantly throughout the afternoon this radio chatter, humidity levels, rain, where the next minute needs to be focused on, where the next helicopter needs to be directed to. This is a minute-by-minute operation, and that gift of today of the weather not being as hot, the afternoon winds which generally do pick up in the afternoon, didn't pick up. What that did mean is that they could get in and keep that fire in place. They could - what they need to do is put in containment lines first, then they can back-burn. So it is a step by step process to even start to try and contain that fire.And how are the residents coping? How are they kneeling about the fire threat - feeling about the fire threat in the days to come?I spoke to one resident who lived here since the 70s. This is the worst he has ever seen it, because of the multiple fire threat - you have the State Mine Fire, Mount Victoria to its west and then south east of that, Springwood, which, when you look on a map seems relatively far away, but it's not. At the crow flies you are looking at 15/20km away. So it's hard not to see those three fires as one threat in this region. TheStill very difficult times ahead - Kumi, thank you very much for your time. Thanks, Virginia. Kumi Taguchi there. For the past few days, bushfire smoke has shrouded Canberra, but it's much worse in Sydney where there has been a huge surge of people seeking medical report - Sophie Scott.The view from space showed just how much of Sydney was swa lowed up by thick smoke.

In Sydney's west, severe asthma meant a quiet day inside for Jedd and Jack and their mum. Definitely the coughing, with the asthma - the smoke, it's brought up especially mine.The choking smoke masked landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and caused people to seek to medical help. Ambulance said there is a definite increase in ambulance callouts for people with breathing problems and smoke-related problems.The very young and very old are being urged to stay indoors. It's not just lung problems - on a hazy day like this, the number of people having a fatal heart attack or stroke can increase by 5%.As the fires and their coverage stretch into days, it's expected not only those who have lost homes or are fighting the fires will be left traumatised. People will be affected not just physically by the bushfires, the air pollution and burns, etc, but they will also suffer some trauma.For those needing emotional support, you can call...

These won't be the last warnings this week, with air quality expected to be poor for at least the next few days. The ACT Government is making some last-minute changes to its same-sex marriage bill, to give it a better chance of surviving a High Court challenge. The territory is set to become the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise same sex marriage when laws are passed in the Legislative Assembly tomorrow. Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples are already planning their Canberra weddings. We are planning a wedding. Before the - before any High Court decision comes out. So, if it Mr Abbott wants to overturn it, so be it, we will be married. I've been with my partner for 16 years, we have raised four children together. One of the things that the marriage equality bill will do is give us the opportunity to legally and formally recognise our relationship. But the ACT Government is still fine-tuning the bill, after receiving visits in danger of being defeated in the High Court. We could have continued on the path without amendments. What we have chosen to do is inclusive of the opinions of those who fought long and hard for this social change, and to include and address some of their concerns.After feedback from con city constitutional law experts - institutional law experts and interstate MPs the name of the bill has been changed to make it clear the laws apply to same-sex marriage. At this stage, it will not apply to people who identify as either male or female and who are seeking to marry. We regret that that change is being made.Everything possible needed to be done to make sure that the ACT same-sex marriage bill is as strong as possible to withhold a High Court challenge.But the bill isn't only facing Opposition from the Commonwealth - leaders of 7 of Canberra's religious faiths are presenting a uniteed front against the bill. The traditional understanding of marriage, as between a man and a woman, is to the good of the society.
individual, the family, and society. Religious leaders say the bill should be subject to community consultation. Mosley most, ABC News, Canberra.

The Abbott Government says it won't bow to what it calls politically correct language for describing asylum seekers. For several years the Coalition has been calling people who arrive by boat illegals, now the Minister has instructed his department to adopt the term instead of the current phrase, irregular arrivals. The Opposition says the Government is unhelpfully politicising the problem.People have entered Australia illegally by boat, have come illegally by boat. I never said it is illegal to claim asylum. It refers to their mode of entry. I'm going to call a spade a spate. It is really important that we are careful about what language we use, and that we depoliticise this area of policy.The Minister says he will also continue to call people in detention detainees, rather than "clients receiving services". The Royal Commission into child sexual abuse heard the YMCA didn't properly check the background of a childcare worker who went on to abuse 12 boys in Sydney's south. The inquiry was told former YMCA worker, Jonathan Lord, had lied about why he'd left an American summer camp. Philippa McDonald reports. A month before Jonathan Lord was employed by the YMCA as a childcare worker, he'd been dismissed for questionable behaviour at a US summer camp. Jonathan Lord was reported to have been found by staff alone - that is, without another adult present - in a cabin with the lights off and emerging from the bathroom with a boy.The YMCA never checked with Lord's previous employer and took him at his word regarding career ambitions. Jonathan Lord met most of the 12 boys he sexually assaulted through his childcare work in Sydney's south. One of the Victoria's mothers, a single parent, employed Lord as a babysitter on weekends. I would pay him $100 for the day. I now know that Jonathan indecently assaulted the very first time he baby sat him.When she found out his son, referred to as AO, had been abused...

The mother of AO has told the Commission her son has received extensive counselling at a Children's Hospital and he now believes he's a hero because he disclosed his abuse. The YMCA's lawyer acknowledged...

The organisation's CEO is
likely to give evidence later this week - Philippa McDonald, ABC News, Sydney.

Relatives of the 11 people killed in Victoria's Kerang rail disaster have expressed disappointment with the coroner's finding handed down today. The coroner made 25 recommendations which focus on improved warning systems as motorists approach level crossings but families of the victims say after six years there are still more questions than answers.With the final chapter of the Kerang inquest now closed, survivors of the train crash sought comfort from each other. Relatives of those who died say the coronial finding itself is of little consolation. Didn't get any satisfaction yet from any investigation that's taken place. And I don't think that we are going to find any satisfaction here because we still have so many questions that are unanswered. I don't think you ever get a conclusion. There's never any closure when something like that happens.Dot Stubbs lost her 13-year-old son, Matthew. We don't feel like anything has changed. We don't - we don't feel like we have achieved anything.The inquest began in 2011 and considered 26 deaths at Victoria level crossings, including the 11 who were killed at Kerang. Today, coroner Jane Hendtlass handed down 25 recommendations. She wants authorities to develop new warning systems as motorists and truck drivers approach railway lines. She also recommended comprehensive training for V Line staff on crisis management and better first aid equipment on carriages.Throughout the inquest the coroner expressed concern with the level of communication between various authorities on that day and the emergency response overall to the Kerang crash. But she said she hasn't made recommendations on those areas because since 2007, there have already been a number of improvements. To to these types of things, has improved gately. OfThe truck driver was acquitted on culpable driving charges in 2009. The family say they never wanted him to go to gaol, but are unhappy that ultimately no-one has been found at fault. America's biggest bank has reportedly agreed to pay a massive 13 billion dollar penalty over its behaviour in the lead-up to the financial crisis in 2007. It's alleged the bank sold mortgaged backed securities that it knew were extremely risky and became toxic assets after the crash. JP Morgan Chase had a reputation for being particularly good at risk-management. More than checks, we have a culture with spine and courage.But at the time that video was released, JP Morgan Chase knew it was in trouble. It's understood the deal with settle all civil claims but the bank could still face possible criminal charges. The mining boom may be cooling, but. WA is still out in front as the cub's top performing State. The ACT's close behind in second place. Home building is helping lift most States, but a new report suggests Australia's housing policies are deep nick the between
divide - deepening the divide between rich and poor.WA's mining riches are acting on other parts of the State's economy. We have got WA with significant momentum and its maintaining that momentum, moving to the housing sector.Population growth and housing are helping the leaders. NT still growing strongly, but coming back to the pack, mining investment is moving to Queensland, the jobs market is holding up recently well in NSW and Victoria, and NSW and Queensland are the State's gaining momentum. Tasmania and SA suffering from the strong Australian Dollar and stagnate populations are lacking the key economy driver. What we have seen over the last quarter is an improvement in the housing sector, so it does look as though that's going to be the big driver.A new report suggests housing won't be helping where it is needed. The very generous tax breaks that Governments currently give to home owners and property investors are actually making it harder for first home buyers to get into the market and it's contributing to the fairly raw deal that Australian renters get.The report says it costs the Government about $36 billion a year or $6,000 a household to support home owners who don't pay capital gains or land taxes. Negative gearing, and capital gains tax discount s help investors to the tune of nearly $7 billion annually, while only some ren teres receive Government rent assistance. I think it will exaggerate the inequalities in income and wealth, not only between rich and poor but between young and old.The report rements winding back tax concessions and introducing a land tax.

To finance now, and the Australian Dollar strengthened again today and is now heading towards 97 US cents. The sharemarket was up too for the fifth day in a row. Here is Alan Kohler.The Australian Dollar started October in the 92s and had a very strong run since then.

On the subject of arguments in Washington, here is a part of the reason America has become so polarised, a chart of the real incomes in the top 1% in the US and the other 99%.

have made submissions on the Government's plan to remodel the city centre. The plan includes bringing light rail and more residents into the city, while making public spaces, including the lake, more accessible. An updated draft is on display, giving more detail on how the plan would unfold. Growth for the cultural precinct around the theatre centre, how we would accommodate new uses such as the Australia Forum, potentially accommodate new uses into the city, like a city stadium - all of these sites are now identified.The plan will be finalised before the end of the year. The Federal Government has told childcare workers to seek a pay rise through the Fair Work Commission, not a multi-million dollar fund set up by the former Labor Government. Now the union has joined the fight for better wages arguing the overwhelmingly female workforce in the childcare industry is a victim of gender discrimination, as Norman Hermant reports, the bottom line is wages won't be increasing any time soon. For Sara Zappia, this is what makes her job special - providing guidance and encouragement for 3 and 4-year-olds at this full day child care centre. What is not so special, she says, is pay so low she struggles to make a living. It's hard for me to be so mash Nat and be so into my work when I'm not really getting paid for the recognition of what I do.Rachael peters knows that frustration well. After three years in childcare, she's now on the road in sales and merchandising, even with extra training and qualifications in childcare, her pay was still way below what she's making now. I think it's very sad, because I do think the industry is going to lose people that have a passion to keech children. There is little argument that low wages are driving a high staff turn over in childcare centres, but last week, the Government informed centres a $300 million fund set up by the previous Government to boost pay for some childcare workers was under review. The assistant Minister responsible for childcare says that fund was deeply flawed. This is about how you properly secure a lasting wage case - not with a dodgy fund set up in a hurry sorted out with the union mates behind the scenes.The best way to secure a wage inincrease, she says, is through the Fair Work Commission. But for an entire sector hoping for a modest pay rise the wait goes on. A decision is expected to be nearly two years away. The Queensland Government's crackdown on bikies has caused a split in the State's police service. The union says the police executive is exerting undue pressure on rank and file officers, some of whom fear they will be targeted for their part in the campaign.Police spent the weekend keeping watch at bikie clubhouses. The police union says officers are under unnecessary pressure from the service executive, emails to rank and file officers have been leaked to the media. A line from one reads:

This is like a professional football team that needs to be geed up before the main game. That's exactly what this is about. You don't go to a football team and threaten them you will win otherwise you are going to be sacked. You support them in getting the job done.It behoves me as the Commissioner and all of our senior people in the organisation to make sure that they provide that strong leadership that's needed.It's been less than a week since the Government introduced tough new laws. One criminal lawyer says he is prepared to challenge them. A fighting fund is set up to help support the move. Last time I checked it wasn't illegal to drive a Harley-Davidson.In a move to humiliate bikies in gaol, the Government wants to force them to wear pink overalls. They have the tattoos, colours, and we know that asking them - or telling them to wear pink is going to be embarrassing.The police union say some officers will be targeted, and says officers who

Australian tennis player Sam Stosur has missed out on the chance to claim back to back wins on the WTA tour. The 29-year-old appeared in the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, but she went down in straight sets to 22-year-old Romanian Simona Halep. It's the third WTA decider and the first one she's lost. Halep's win shows her potential as a future star of women's tennis. That's it, she's done it. five titleness 2013, so far, for Simona Halep. fantastic run she's having this year. and a fantastic run here in Moscow. comes to a logical conclusion.The season ending tour Championships start tomorrow night in Turkey. But Stosur's next event will be the tournament of champions in Bulgaria next week. Australia's women's soccer team the Matildas have been handed a four nil reality check by the USA. It's the first time the coach has - his former side had the opening chance of the match through Lisa, but the US dominated possession, and struck twice inside the first 14 minutes. siemThe more bad news for the Matildas star player Kyah Simon went down with a knee injury in the second half, still ait whatting the result of scans. The next match is against China in boolg gong next month.To the weather now, and although many of us may not have felt it, Canberra reached a top temperature of 31 at around a quarter to 4 this afternoon. And we had a low of 6 degrees at around sunrise.

Some possible relief around Sydney tomorrow with isolated showers, but still hot with 28 degrees. Before we go, a brief recap of our top story tonight - two of the big Blue Mountains bushfires have flared up again, as firefighters brace for worsening conditions - they are worried the Lithgow blaze could link up with the Mount Victoria fire to create a huge firefront. And that's the latest from the Canberra newsroom. For more ACT news you can follow us online or on Twitter. I'm Virginia Haussegger. I'll be back with a news update in about one hour. Until then, goodnight.

Captions by CSI Australia

Good evening. The bushfires raging across New South Wales have led to the declaration of a state of emergency. The fires are the worst to hit the State in decades and the threat of the they pose is unparalleled according to the Rural Fire Service. More than 60 fires are still burning, and two emergency warnings are in place. At Springwood, one of the communities in the Blue Mountains where 200 homes have already been destroyed, and around Lithgow, further to the west. With temperatures heading toward the mid 30s tomorrow, authorities fear that two of the biggest fires will join up, to form what they're calling a mega fire stretching hundreds of clls. Reporter Matt Peacock has been on the fire front and filed this report.