Morning Buzz: Socceroos to rely on 'Fortress Australia'

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Wednesday, November 15. It’ll be mostly sunny today with temperatures increasing to 25 in the city and rising to 29 in the west. Enjoy your day!

World Cup Qualifier: Socceroos to rely on 'Fortress Australia' against Honduras

The tyranny of distance has long been said to put Australia at a disadvantage in terms of its trading and economic relations with the rest of the world. But in sporting terms, the country's isolation can be a massive benefit, and for no team is this more apparent than for the Socceroos.

In nearly four decades, the national team has been virtually unbeatable at "Fortress Australia", particularly when they play in Sydney, where in recent times they have enjoyed their greatest success.

It was at Stadium Australia nearly three years ago that the Socceroos, led by Ange Postecoglou and Mile Jedinak, won the Asian Cup, the first major silverware won by the national men's team. Read more

7000 school cleaners forced to reapply for their jobs

Arou Akot is among 7000 school cleaners who will need to reapply for their jobs for the first time in 24 years.

The NSW department of Finance Services and Innovation has notified United Voice, the union representing the cleaners, that employment guarantees in place since 1994 "will not be extended in the new contracts from 2018". Read more

Landcom becomes affordable rental housing delivery agency

As the median house price surges past $1 million, increasing competition for rental homes is pushing more people to the city's fringes and beyond in search of affordable rents.

This week, in recognition of the growing problem, the government reassigned its key housing delivery agency, Landcom, to concentrate on this specific market: affordable rental housing. Read more

Salim Mehajer fined after pleading guilty to electoral funding offence

Salim Mehajer has been hit with a fine and a legal bill after pleading guilty to failing to disclose his political donations while he was deputy mayor of the now-defunct Auburn Council.

Lawyers for the colourful property developer had indicated earlier this year that Mr Mehajer intended to fight the charges but the Local Court heard on Tuesday that he had entered a plea of guilty in writing. Read more

Liverpool Council chambers fire possibly sparked by a minor fine

Police have made a breakthrough in the investigation into a fire that caused $20 million in damage to the Liverpool Council chambers seven years ago, revealing that it may have been triggered by someone angry about a minor, council-issued fine.

The Hoxton Park Road building was destroyed just after midnight on August 15, 2010, after one or more persons broke into the building and set it alight using accelerant. Read more

State rejects Lendlease bid to build Sydney Gateway link to airport and port

An unsolicited proposal from property and construction giant Lendlease to build a toll road linking Sydney Airport and Port Botany to the WestConnex motorway has been rejected, leaving the state's roads agency with the task of finding a solution.

The state government is understood to have decided against progressing the bid by Lendlease for the so-called Sydney Gateway through the unsolicited proposals process because the project would have required a large equity contribution or high tolls. Read more via SMH

NRL clubs to be given observer status by International Federation

NRL clubs who are about to be represented on the Australian Rugby League Commission for the first time may also be invited to sit as observers on the International Federation, RLIF chief executive David Collier has revealed.

In a response to comments by South Sydney general manager of football Shane Richardson in Tuesday's Herald that the RLIF never tells Australasian clubs what's going on, Collier said allowing them to sit in on meetings would be considered under constitutional changes currently being examined. Read more via SMH

Fate of Italy, Chile and The Netherlands a World Cup warning to Socceroos

Italy's shock elimination from the 2018 World Cup finals by Sweden on Tuesday morning is a salutary lesson for all in the most competitive sport on the planet: there are no guarantees for anyone.

The Azzurri won the World Cup as recently as 2006 – when they knocked Australia out along the way – and made the final of the European Championships in 2012, although their recent efforts (eliminated in the group stage of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and quarter-finals of the 2016 Euros) suggested that they were not the powerhouse they had been a decade ago. Read more