News in 5: Man charged over Sydney sexual assault of young girl; John McEnroe's swipe at Serena Williams; Aus lead poisoning fears.

-With AAP

1. Man charged over Sydney sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl.

A man has been charged over the sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl at a dance studio in Sydney’s south.

The 54-year-old man was arrested by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad on Sunday afternoon, after being deemed fit by doctors to leave hospital where he had been under guard.

It’s alleged he physically and sexually assaulted the girl in the toilet of a dance studio in Kogarah earlier this month.

He has been charged with 11 offences, including aggravated kidnapping, sexual intercourse with a child under 10, choking a person, using a child to make child abuse material, and two counts of aggravated act of indecency being filmed.

Some of the 11 charges relate to the assault of two men who confronted the man.

Police said he was taken to hospital after the alleged November 15 sexual assault and stayed there in Corrective Services custody while being treated until doctors deemed him fit.

He was taken to Maroubra Police Station on Sunday and was charged.

The man is due to appear by video link at Waverley Local Court on Monday.

2. I could still challenge Serena: McEnroe.

He turns 60 in February but John McEnroe still believes he could challenge women’s great Serena Williams on a tennis court.

Not that he wants to.

Before he was US president, Donald Trump once famously offered McEnroe $US1 million to play either Serena or Venus Williams in a match to rival the 1973 battle-of-the-sexes showdown when Billie-Jean King beat Bobby Riggs.


He said no and continues to.

“It’s not something I ever wanted to do, honestly, but it’s something that I’m always asked,” McEnroe told the Nine Networks’ 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

“I don’t know why I’m the guy. Why doesn’t he ask someone else? Go ask any of the other players, whoever the hell it is.

“It’s always me that somehow, it’s like I’m the one.

“It started in Australia 20 years ago because Serena and Venus when they were, I think, 18 and 19 or whatever said ‘we can play with the guys and beat the guys’.

But remaining competitive enough to beat the likes of Australia’s two-time grand slam finalist Mark Philippoussis on the seniors tour, McEnroe still believes he could give the Williams sisters a run for their money.

“The short answer is, as of this moment, if I trained properly and worked hard, I still believe that I could do it,” said the seven-times grand slam champion and former world No.1.

“I’m not going to say (I couldn’t). I’m getting closer to not being sure.”

McEnroe’s teaser comes a year after he caused a major stir in the women’s ranks by saying the Williams sisters – who boast 30 singles majors between them – would struggle to crack the world’s top 700 in men’s tennis.

3. Health warning issued for Australian households.


Australian households are being advised to run their taps for at least 30 seconds in the morning amid fears of lead poisoning.

EnHealth, a standing committee representing federal, state and territory health departments, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Health, issued an alert in July but it has not been wifely publicised until now.

Lead is rarely used in Australian water pipes, but it is common in a “range of plumbing products” such as brass fittings.

“These products are widely used in drinking water systems in homes, buildings and associated water supply points, such as drinking water fountains. Some older homes and buildings may still have old copper pipes with lead-based solder,” the alert said.

Lead can dissolve into drinking water from some brass plumping fittings, “particularly where water has been sitting in contact with these brass plumbing products for long periods.”

Hot water systems and rainwater systems may result in more dissolved metals in water, compared with cold water systems.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most studies show that exposure to lead-contaminated water alone would not be likely to elevate blood lead levels in most adults.

However, risk will vary depending on the individual, the circumstances, and the amount of water consumed.

“For example, infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water may be at a higher risk because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size,” the alert said.

The enHealth alert provided “good practice” measures to reduce their potential lead exposure. Tips include using water from cold taps only for drinking and cooking, flushing cold water taps for about 30 seconds first thing in the morning to draw fresh water, flushing cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for about two to three minutes after long periods of non-use, such as return from holidays and choosing plumping products that have low lead content or are lead free.

EnHealth said there is no need for households to have their water tested for lead. The recommendation is to follow the good practice measures above.

4. Teen injured with blow dart in NSW Hunter.


A teenage girl has undergone surgery after she was allegedly attacked with a makeshift blow dart in the NSW Hunter region.

The 15-year-old girl was walking with friends along Wollombi Road in Cessnock on Saturday night when a vehicle stopped and a youth allegedly discharged an object.

Police will allege she was struck in the face with a makeshift blow dart.

A 17-year-old male has been arrested and remains in custody.

5. Local adoption findings to be released.

The number of Australian children and young people who are unable to live with their parents could fill the Sydney Cricket Ground, but one per cent of them can expect to be adopted.

The findings of a national inquiry into local adoption will be released in Canberra on Monday.

The Inquiry into Local Adoption report, Breaking Barriers: A National Adoption Framework for Australia’s Children, was first announced in March and invited people in the community to make submissions or attend hearings in order to express their view.

Adopt Change chief executive Renee Carter says Monday’s findings will ensure the issue is brought out into the open.

She said close to 50,000 are living in out-of-home care across the country and only 315 children were adopted in 2017.

That’s less than one per cent.

“Providing these children with safety, nurture and stability is vital,” Ms Carter said.

“We need to ensure that from legislation through to the front line we remove any unnecessary barriers to permanency.”

Federal MP Julia Banks will launch the findings at an Adopt Change event at Canberra’s Parliament House, after tabling them in parliament earlier on Monday.