Friday 30 July 2021

North Coast news you may have missed this week.......


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday 28 July 2021 that up to 40,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be redirected from the state's rural and regional COVID-19 vaccine supply to help Year 12 students in some of Sydney's worst-affected suburbs get back to school for face-to-face learning.

But with several COVID-19 cases in regional towns, including Coffs Harbour, Orange and the Central Coast, residents reacted cautiously to the announcement. 

"There are frontline health care workers who [still] haven't been vaccinated [in regional areas]," Rural Doctors Association of Australia's CEO Peta Rutherford said. 

"We just say it with warning — if they're moving the vaccines into Sydney, we would expect, should there be an outbreak, that the Premier is prepared to move Sydney vaccines to a rural town if required." 

On the Mid North Coast, the mayor of Nambucca Heads, Rhonda Hoban, said despite no COVID-19 cases so far, there were a lot of vulnerable people in the community still waiting to be vaccinated. 

"We've got three times the state average of people over the age of 65, a high Indigenous population and a significantly higher than average number of people who suffer chronic health conditions," Councillor Hoban said. 

"The real issue has been that we've had close to 18 months and we still don't have enough vaccines. 

“If there was an outbreak in the Nambucca Valley and they rushed Pfizer here, immunity is not immediate.” 

Similar concerns were held by the Mayor of Lake Macquarie Kay Fraser, who said regional NSW was being treated like Sydney's "poorer cousin". 

“I have a real issue with it," she said. 

“If it’s going to come out of the Hunter region or some of those regional areas out at Orange, where there is COVID-19, I’m really concerned.”  [ABC News, 29 July 2021]


Twenty-four 24 brand new homes funded by a $4.1 million grant by the NSW Government - 12 two-bedroom and 12 single-bedroom - are to be built in South Grafton for disadvantaged families in partnership with North Coast Community Housing.

Work is expected to begin on the Bimble Ave site in South Grafton early in 2021, following council approval.

North Coast Community Housing CEO John McKenna said the project would help alleviate housing stress by providing a significant boost to housing options in Grafton.

The mixed tenure development is aimed at addressing three issues in the current housing market by offering six of the units for sale, nine units at an affordable rent for key workers and nine units for those most in need of social housing,” Mr McKenna said.” [DailyTelegraph, 28 July 2021]


Details of the fines issued to 26 year-old George Thompson who breached the Greater Sydney lockdown by flying to Ballina on 14 July 2021 before being driven across the NSW-Qld border where allegedly he used someone else's details to check into venues around Brisbane…..

July 26: Mr Thompson was fined $4,000 for failing to comply with a border direction, $4,000 for providing false information and $1,300 for failing to comply with a direction from an emergency officer. Ms Gray was fined $4,000 failing to comply with a border direction.” [Daily Mail, 29 July 2021]


News Corp in Australia is hedging its bets when it comes to 'anti-vaxx' sentiment now the NSW Delta Variant Outbreak really starts to bite


The Guardian, 29 July 2021:

The Daily Telegraph has ended Alan Jones’s regular column amid controversy about his Covid-19 commentary, including calling the NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant a village idiot on his Sky News program.

There has been apparent tension inside News Corp Australia between the anti-lockdown Sky After Dark commentators like Jones and Andrew Bolt and the Holt Street newspapers, which have been promoting vaccination and criticising the “freedom” protest in Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph editor Ben English told Jones he was dropping his column because it didn’t “resonate” with readers.

Jones, 80, says he doesn’t believe his columns don’t resonate with readers.

If the argument has been it’s not resonating, I don’t have to defend myself,” Jones told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Have a look at Sky News YouTube, Sky News Facebook and Alan Jones Facebook and you can see. The same column that I write for the Tele goes up on my Facebook page.

The public can check it for themselves. 35 years at top of the radio - and I don’t resonate with the public? Honestly.”

Asked about Jones’s attacks on Chant, the NSW health minister Brad Hazzard told reporters at a press conference that a lot of people “don’t base their decisions in science, or evidence”.

All I will say is we are in a one-in-100-year pandemic,” he said. “The community need to understand the decisions are taken as best as possible on the basis of evidence and science to keep us safe.”

Jones’s final Telegraph column last week criticised Australia’s response to Covid-19, which he argues is no worse than the flu for healthy people.

On Monday on Sky News, Jones launched an attack on Chant, calling her “dumb” and “out of touch”. “How many villages are missing their idiot?” he said.

The former 2GB broadcaster also defended the Sydney protesters…..

Thursday 29 July 2021

How does one know that a particular water security solution is probably a bad idea? It is supported by the NSW National Party


Rous County Council is the regional water supply authority providing water in bulk to the Council areas of: Ballina (excluding Wardell); Byron (excluding Mullumbimby); Lismore (excluding Nimbin); and Richmond Valley (excluding land to the west of Coraki). A population of around 100,000 is serviced by this water supply system with the actual area of operations being approximately 3,000 sq kms.

Its constituent councils have at least 83,051 person who are eligible to vote in local government elections.

On the basis that allegedly around 10 per cent of of the district population and, 3 out of a total of 43 councillors in the 4 constituent local government areas, supported further investigation of the now rejected Dunoon Dam proposal, NSW Nationals MLA for Clarence & Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry Chris Gulaptis is yelling about the democratic process.

The Daily Telegraph, 26 July 2021:

ROUS County Council needs to use some common sense in developing its future water strategy according to Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.

Mr Gulaptis, who was also the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry, said he was disappointed the majority of Rous councillors ignored the overwhelming wishes of the community at Wednesday’s extraordinary meeting and abandoned investigations into Dunoon Dam as an option.

Councillors voted 5-3 to keep Dunoon Dam out of the region’s future water strategy and instead tap into groundwater aquifers in Alstonville and Tyagarah, which Mr Gulaptis said the most recent studies showed was very limited.

I applaud councillors Robert Mustow, Sandra Humphrys and Sharon Cadwallader for supporting the wishes of over 11,000 petitioners and written submissions who were in favour of the Dunoon Dam proposal being further investigated,” he said.

The five opposing councillors showed a complete disregard to the community consultation process and the community has every right to lose confidence in them and the democratic process. It quite rightly is a slap in the face to local democracy.

Water is one of the most basic elements we need to survive, and I acknowledge the vision of past Rous councillors who recognised this and purchased land for a dam to secure the water needs for a growing population.

I find it staggering the majority of current councillors are prepared to ignore this longstanding strategy along with disregarding the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the community whose submissions supported investigating the dam as an option.

I acknowledge that desalination, recycling and extraction from the aquifers is an option, but so too is the dam.

I strongly believe all options should all be on the table, including the dam, for investigation to assure the community that Rous has been thorough in arriving at the best option for the region’s future water needs. “It is often said that local government is the government closest to the people. Clearly that is not the case of the five elected councillors in this instance, who are ignoring the will of more than 10,000 constituents.”

Wednesday 28 July 2021

COVID-19 State of Play in New South Wales from 25 -31 July 2021


DAY 40: NSW Health data showed that, as of 8pm Sunday 25 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 2,226 people - inclusive of 8 deaths. There are currently 156 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 44 people in intensive care, 18 of whom require ventilation.

DAY 41: NSW Health data showed that, as of 8pm Monday 26 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 2,237 people - inclusive of 10 deaths. There are currently 169 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 46 people in intensive care, 19 of whom require ventilation.

New South Wales COVID-19 Daily Chart of Reff* by Area for the current Delta Variant Outbreak, as at 27 July 2021: Mike Honey

NOTE: * REFF is the effective viral infection reproduction rate.


DAY 42: as of 8pm Tuesday 27 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 2,414 people - inclusive of 11 deaths. There are currently 165 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 59 people in intensive care, 22 of whom require ventilation.

NSW COVID-19 Outbreak 16 June to 27 July 2021 - infection spread by area: Mike Honey

Interactive Mapping at

NSW Health daily reports can be found at:

DAY 43: as of 8pm Wednesday 28 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 2,653 people - inclusive of 13 deaths. There are currently 182 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 54 people in intensive care, 22 of whom require ventilation.

All of Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, Central Coast and the Blue Mountains, entered a lockdown on June 26, which has been extended for four more weeks until at least August 28.

Public Health Order Restrictions for Greater Sydney and elsewhere in NSW, updated 29 July 2021 at:

DAY 44: as of 8pm Thursday 29 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 2,980 people - inclusive of 13 deaths. There are currently 187 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 58 people in intensive care, 24 of whom require ventilation.

DAY 45: as of 8pm Friday 30 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 3,190 people - inclusive of 13 deaths. There are currently 203 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 53 people in intensive care, 27 of whom require ventilation.


DAY 46: as of 8pm Saturday 31 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 3,427 people - inclusive of 14 deaths. There are currently 222 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 54 people in intensive care, 25 of whom require ventilation.

In the last 7 days community transmission of the predominately Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has grown by 1,201 men, women and children and the NSW COVID-19 death toll has risen by 7 individuals.

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Are artificial reefs a win-win- solution for coastal erosion on parts of the Bryon Coast?


EchoNetDaily, 22 July 2021:

A 2016 investigation into strategies to control coastal erosion commissioned by Byron Shire Council (BSC), recommended as the most economically viable option the construction, in the most vulnerable areas, of an engineered seawall with public walkway. There was the potential addition, at a later stage, of beach nourishment with sand sourced from elsewhere and the construction of groynes.

High tides caused significant erosion of the dunes at Clarkes Beach in Byron Bay. Photo Rosie Lee.

The building of seawalls has been the subject of a controversial court case brought against BSC in recent years. These seawalls were constructed privately in the Belongil area, although with the notable absence of a public walkway.

The report also identifies the majority of these walls as not designed to contemporary engineering standards.

Manfred Street beach after the 2016 storm. Public submissions for five rock wall DAs close on April 20. Photo Paul Spooner

Armoured coastline

Seawalls constitute what are known as an ‘armoured coastline’ and while they are common features in coastal areas around the world, they typically result in the eventual loss of all semblance of a beach in front of them. In addition they defer erosion to adjacent areas; which in the case of the Belongil seawalls is the northern part of the Belongil Spit, already subject to the most intense erosion in the area. The seawalls themselves also undergo severe erosion and require continuous and costly maintenance.

Artifical reefs with salients. Photo supplied

Artificial reefs

There is an alternative strategy that does not appear to have been taken into consideration by BSC. Artificial offshore reefs have the potential not only to protect vulnerable beaches, but to actively promote beach enlargement and growth through sand accretion.

One such reef was constructed offshore off the Narrowneck Spit near Surfers Paradise in 1999, and a second reached completion off the coast of Palm Beach in October 2019.

Constructed with a variety of human-made materials such as geotextile sand containers and concrete or quarried stone, artificial reefs can protect the shoreline though the twin principles of wave refraction and wave diffraction.

Read the full article here.

Over 5,500 reports to NSW Crime Stoppers indicates that the wider Sydney population may not have been amused by that anti-lockdown demonstration


One quick guess as to why people may not have been amused.


EXHIBIT ANSW Health data showed that, as of 8pm Sunday 25 July 2021, the number of locally acquired COVID-19 infections since the 16 June beginning of the Delta Variant Outbreak in NSW now totals 2,237 people - inclusive of 8 deaths


NSW Police reported on Sunday 25 July 2021:

Police have received more than 5,500 reports from members of the public as they continue to investigate yesterday’s protest under Strike Force Seasoned.

A high-visibility policing operation was launched about 12pm yesterday, (Saturday 24 July 2021), to ensure the safety of all protest participants, as well as the wider community and local businesses.

General duties officers from across the Central Metropolitan Region were assisted by specialist police from the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS), ODIN, Police Transport Command, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and the Mounted and Dog Unit.

During the operation, 63 people were arrested.

Thirty-five people – aged between 18 and 69 - were charged with various offences, including assault police officer in execution of duty, resist officer in execution of duty, wilfully obstruct officer in execution of duty and not comply with noticed direction re 7/8/9 – COVID-19.

Of these, 20 were refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today (Sunday 25 July 2021).

Fifteen were granted conditional bail to appear at Downing Centre and Newtown Local Courts at a later date.

Additionally, strike force investigators arrested and charged two men – aged 33 and 36 – overnight. They remain before the courts.

At least 90 Penalty Infringement Notices were also issued for breaches of the public health orders.

Strike Force Seasoned has been established by the Central Metropolitan Region to continue to identify and prosecute protest participants.

Over 5,500 reports have been made to Crime Stoppers and so far, investigators have identified over 200 people.

Investigators are following up every report and have issued two court attendance notice and PINS to 16 people today.

Anyone with information or vision of yesterday’s protest activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers through the online portal or by contacting 1800 333 000. Every single report will be investigated.

Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any public health order or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community by contacting Crime Stoppers: Information is treated in strict confidence.

The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.



Monday 26 July 2021

From Sydney to Ballina and onto the Gold Coast carrying a COVID-19 infection with him


The Daily Telegraph, 25 July 2021:

An airline employee who has since tested positive for Covid-19 transported an infected man from the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, it has been revealed.

Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles said a Qantas flight attendant, who Queensland health authorities reported as a positive case on Friday, drove a man who was infectious from Ballina on July 14.

He said the infected man was now in Queensland but was recorded in New South Wales statistics.

Mr Miles said it is believed the flight attendant caught the virus from the man after he left Sydney.

(The man was) tested on July 12 because they were a close contact,” Mr Miles said.

The details of what happened from then are a bit complicated.”

Mr Miles echoed NSW authorities by saying the man should have been in isolation from that time.

This is notwithstanding the fact Sydney remains in lockdown.

It does appear though there was a lab error in their initial results,” Mr Miles said.

This result returned a negative result for the man and, although he was meant to remain in isolation, he flew to Ballina on July 14 on Virgin flight VA1139.

They were then collected from Ballina airport by the flight attendant that we reported positive in Queensland on Friday,” Mr Miles said.

She picked up that passenger from Ballina airport and drove him back to Queensland.

So it does appear that the flight attended we reported on Friday caught Covid from the passenger on this flight to Ballina.

Both these positive cases have been active in and around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”….

It’s clear that those two people now have been out and about in Brisbane and the Gold Coast since July 14,” Dr Young said…...

He was tested on July 12 following identification of a workplace contact,” Dr McAnulty said.

He said the man initially received a test result from a private lab which returned a false negative.

He was required to isolate for 14 days regardless of the result of that test.

But he flew to Ballina on July 14 before travelling into Queensland, Dr McAnulty said.

Dr McAnulty said authorities were advised the man’s swab was positive on July 20.

He said NSW Health “immediately contacted and interviewed” the man.

He stated he had been isolating since the 10th of July however we know this is not true,” he said.

We’re working with our colleagues in Queensland Health and have referred the matter to NSW Police.”….

Echo NetDaily, article excerpt, 26 July 2021:

Forty-five travellers from Sydney are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 and continue self-isolation on the Northern Rivers after sharing a flight with a confirmed case.

Acting Northern NSW Health District CEO Lynne Weir confirmed Monday the travellers were all supposed to have been self-isolating anyway as they were under public health orders to follow stay-at-home rules applicable in Sydney.

The passengers caught a Virgin flight from Sydney to Ballina on 14 July: flight VA 1139.

NSW Local Government Elections Postponed Yet Again Due To COVID-19 Pandemic - this time until Saturday 4 December 2021


NSW Office of Local Government, media release, 25 July 2021:

Local government elections postponed

Shelley Hancock – Minister for Local Government

The NSW Government today announced a new date for the Local Government elections has been set for Saturday 4 December 2021.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the decision, after extensive consultation with and advice from the NSW Electoral Commission and NSW Health, has been made in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current Public Health Orders impacting Greater Sydney, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Local Government elections until later this year,” Mrs Hancock said.

We have taken this step to postpone the election to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates.”

The NSW Government has worked with the Electoral Commission and NSW Health to implement a comprehensive plan to allow voters to cast their ballot safely in person, by post or online.

iVote (electronic voting) will also be available for the first time in the local council elections and the NSW Government has implemented changes to pre-poll to ensure that voters have 13 days to cast their ballot, reducing congestion on polling day.

The NSW Government has made available a total of $57 million for the elections in 2021, including $37 million to deliver them in a COVID safe way.

In this election, 5.2 million voters will cast their ballots as around 5,000 candidates vie for 1,200 councillor positions across 125 local councils.

Nominations will open on Monday 25 October 2021 and close on Wednesday 3 November 2021.

Prospective candidates can find more information at the Office of Local Government website at

Sunday 25 July 2021

A Virgin flight from Sydney to Ballina on 14 July 2021 has now been added to the NSW exposure list after a passenger tested positive to COVID-19

ABC News, 25 July 2021:

A Virgin flight from Sydney to Ballina has been added to the NSW exposure list after a passenger tested positive to COVID-19.

Anyone who travelled or worked on Virgin Flight VA 1139 on July 14 must get tested and isolate for 14 days from the date of exposure, regardless of the result of the test.[Virgin Flight VA 1139 on 14 July 2021 – Sydney to Ballina, arriving 11.45am]

NSW Health has also asked that anyone who has spent time at the Campsie shopping centre (14-28 Amy Street, Campsie) and any businesses on Haldon Street in Lakemba in the last 14 days be particularly vigilant for symptoms given the number of exposure venues in these locations.

For the complete list of exposure venues, visit the NSW Health website.

On 20 July 2021 Covid-19 fragments were found at Byron Bay sewage treatment plant which serves about 19,000 people in Byron Bay, Wategos, Suffolk Park, Sunrise, and Broken Head.

Country Womens Association at Tabulam providing better facilities to serve the local community in times of disaster


From the Office of NSW Labor MLA for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, media release, 22 July 2021:

How a shower makes a huge difference to a community

BETTER FACILITIES: CWA Tabulam President Vicki Stebbins briefs Janelle Saffin MP and Ben Franklin MLC on the new amenities at their rooms.

STATE Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin has praised CWA Tabulam for their efforts in providing better facilities to serve the local community in times of disaster.

Last Saturday (17 July), Ms Saffin and Ben Franklin MLC inspected the new CWA shower facilities in Tabulam funded under the NSW Government’s 2019 Community Building Partnership Program.

Ms Saffin said the shower will make a big difference.

The CWA told me that during the 2019 bushfires in Tabulam people would turn up to their rooms covered in ash, wanting somewhere to get cleaned up, but the CWA did not have shower facilities,” Ms Saffin said.

That crisis prompted the CWA to apply for this grant.

It is so good to be able to inspect these new facilities that have been built under the Community Building Partnership Program.

I acknowledge the support of Premier Gladys Berejiklian in ensuring the entire cost of the facilities was covered by the funding.

The small CWA Tabulam branch plays a big role in the community, including providing an evacuation centre during disasters such as fires and floods,” Ms Saffin said.

I commend their work and also their initiative in applying for the NSW Government grant that will make a real difference to the support they can offer.”

Nationals Member of the Legislative Council Ben Franklin said it was wonderful to join Ms Saffin and the CWA to celebrate their new shower.

The Black Summer Bushfires were absolutely shattering and I commend the CWA for their outstanding support to the community in their time of need,” Mr Franklin said.

The new shower is a game-changer should we be faced with another disaster like in 2019 and it cannot be underestimated the level of comfort and support this new facility will provide when people need it most.

The NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership is designed to provide funding for positive infrastructure projects and there can be no doubt that CWA Tabulam is an incredibly deserving recipient.”

The world can see evidence of Australia's methane pollution from space


Bloomberg Green, 22 July 2021:

Potent methane plumes have been detected in a key coal mining district in Australia, one of the world’s biggest exporters of the commodity, underscoring the fossil fuel’s role in exacerbating climate change.

Clouds of the invisible greenhouse gas, which is over 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth in its first couple decades in the atmosphere, were spotted near multiple mines last month, an analysis of European Space Agency satellite data by geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS showed.

Methane detected over the Bowen Basin on June 21. Source: Kayrros SAS

Two large clouds of methane were spotted over the Bowen Basin on June 21, and were visible across more than 30 kilometers each. While Kayrros attributes the clouds to the coal sector, the plumes were diffused and could have come from multiple sources.

The leaking of methane into the atmosphere has come under increasing scrutiny as awareness grows over their harmful global warming effects. Scientists view reducing emissions from the fossil fuel industry as one of the cheapest and easiest ways to hold down temperatures in the near term, especially as improving technology makes it easier to identify polluters.

Efforts to curtail coal use have largely focused on the large amount of CO₂ generated when it’s burned, but mining the fuel is also problematic because producers can release methane trapped in underground operations to lower the risk of explosion. The coal sector is forecast to account for about 10% of man-made emissions of the gas by the end of the decade, according to the Global Methane Initiative.

The Bowen Basin is a key producing region for Australia, the world’s top exporter of metallurgical coal used in steel-making. For every ton of coal produced in the region, an average 7.5 kilograms of methane is released, according to Kayrros. That’s 47% higher than the global average in 2018, the geoanalytics company said, citing International Energy Agency data.

When contacted about the larger of the two plumes, Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science said it didn’t receive notice of methane releases in the two days through June 21. Coal mining companies have reporting obligations under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme that is regulated by the federal government, the department said.

Saturday 24 July 2021

Quote of the Week


Scott Morrison is the Billy Joel of Australian politics – a hollow master of pastiche” [The Guardian headline to a Peter Lewis article on 6 July 2021]



Oh what a difference a year and one global pandemic make......

19 July 2020

18 July 2021

Newspoll is an Australian opinion polling brand established in 1985, exclusively published by News Corp’s The Australian newspaper and administered by UK based market research and data analytics group, YouGov. The business name "Newspoll" is registered to Nationwide News Pty Ltd a subsidiary of News Corp.