Here's what you need to know this morning.
Lightning sparks fire
A dramatic blaze ignited when lightning hit the bell tower of a heritage home in Sydney's inner west during a severe storm overnight.
Thousands of homes and businesses across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Central Coast are without power after the storm.
Five firefighting crews worked to extinguish the blaze and managed to save all of the historic Ashfield residence except for the five-metre bell tower, which was engulfed in flames.
The 1888 home is known as Amesbury. No-one was inside at the time of the blaze.
The State Emergency Service responded to hundreds of calls for flooding and other damage.
Electric bus fleet launched
More than 50 electric buses will be rolled out across Sydney next year as the city's bus fleet transitions to zero emission technology.
Five new buses have been trialled in the inner west over the past 18 months and the first electric buses will be in operation in early 2021.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance wants to convert the entire 8,000 strong bus fleet from diesel to electric vehicles by 2030.
"I would expect other sectors, be it the trucking industry, be it our motor vehicles, even the electrification of ferries, that we start to see the electrification of transport on a mass scale," he said.
Chemical contamination exposure
A person has been taken to hospital and more than a dozen have been decontaminated after a chemical exposure at a manufacturing plant in Sydney's south west.
Firefighters say a small quantity of resin catalyst was accidentally released at the facility on Henry Street at Picton shortly before 5:30am.
Paramedics treated one man at the scene and have taken him to Campbelltown Hospital, while another 17 people were decontaminated as a precaution.
Fire and Rescue NSW is liaising with SafeWork NSW to determine the cause of the exposure.
Retailers want more people in shops
NSW's peak business body says it's time to "even up the playing field" and lift COVID-related restrictions that still apply to retailers, especially in the lead-up to Christmas.
The State Government's "crisis cabinet" meets this morning and Health Minister Brad Hazzard has hinted at the likely further easing of restrictions.
Damien Kelly from Business NSW said under the current rules, retailers must adhere to the one person per 4 square metre rule unless they are a supermarket or a shop that sells mainly food.
"We think it's time in the countdown to Christmas to relax that to one person per 2 square metres to allow them to welcome more people into their stores," he told the ABC.
"Cafes can have one person per 2 square metres but next door's bookshop can't. It's time we think, to recalibrate and make it even right across NSW."
Man falls at Martin Place
A man was seriously injured after falling several metres onto stairs at Martin Place railway station in Sydney last night.
Police said the 34-year-old, who is believed to be homeless, was standing near the railway station's entrance when he fell, injuring his head.
He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to St Vincent's Hospital.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fall, which is not being treated as suspicious.
South-west Sydney patients deserve better: AMA
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called on the NSW Government "to act immediately to adequately resource" hospitals in Sydney's south-west.
It comes after the release of a parliamentary inquiry report which found health services in the region have faced under-funding by successive governments, with residents allocated almost $800 less on average than those in inner Sydney.
The report found lower overall funding and lower numbers of health workers per capita has led to wait times of 500 days for some procedures.
Danielle McMullen from the AMA said patients in Sydney's south-west should be getting the care they deserve.
"Our message is that we're very happy with the outcomes of the inquiry and pleased that this is on the radar, but we need actionable change. It can't just be an inquiry that gets filed into the bottom drawer," she said.ABC