Showing posts with label Northern Rivers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Northern Rivers. Show all posts

Friday, 29 May 2020

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Scotty From Marketing's pet National COVID-19 Coordination Commission recommend lifting the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium in place across the NSW Northern Rivers region?

"Nev Power: The Prime Minister 'rang me ... and said your country needs you.' "  [Financial Review, 3 April 2020]

On 20 March 2020 Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison created the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) to “ coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic” and “advise the Prime Minister on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response”.

This is a list of NCCC commission members and key staff for the period 23 March to 22 September 2020 with remuneration for their services where known:

Neville Power, Deputy Chairman of Strike Energy Ltd an oil and gas exploration company – remuneration by PM&C contract $294,079.50. Power has announced he is temporarily stepping aside from his position at Strike Energy to avoid perceptions of conflict of interest. However, he appears to be retaining 12,612,885 fully paid Strike Energy shares (worth in the vicinity of $2.4 milllion) & options on 6 million more held by his own Myube discretionary investment trust.

Deputy Chairman
David Thodey, Chairman CSIRO – paid expenses only

Greg Combet, consultant, Chairman of IFM Investors and Industry Super Australia - remuneration by PM&C contract $118,800
Jane Halton, board member ANZ, Clayton Utz, Crown Resorts, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, US Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation and
chairman of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, COTA, Crown Sydney and Vault Systems - remuneration by PM&C contract $118,800
Paul Little, property developer, Chairman and Founder of the Little Group, Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and Skalata Ventures - remuneration by PM&C contract $108,000 for 2 days per week
Catherine Tanna, Managing Director of EnergyAustralia, board member Reserve Bank of Australia and Business Council of Australia – remuneration by PM&C contract $54,000 for 1 day per week

Key Staff
Peter Harris, public policy adviser, CEO of NCCC – remuneration N/K
Executive Assistant to Chairman NCCC – remuneration by PM&C contract $73,000 paid into the same Myube discretionary investment trust as the remuneration received by NCCC Chairman.

Andrew N. Liveris, special advisor to NCCC, board member IBM, Worley Parsons, Saudi Aramco, on advisory board of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and NEOM, controversial former Chairman & CEO of Dow Chemical and Trump supporter– remuneration N/K

For the more than $885,479 in taxpayer dollars spent on this commission over a six month period, Australia gets a website of sorts along with a Twitter account NCCCgovau and, what is shaping up to be a lack of transparency and accountability concerning advice this commission gives behind closed doors to government.

According to The Guardian on 21 May 2020:

A leaked draft report by a manufacturing taskforce advising the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) recommends the Morrison government make sweeping changes to “create the market” for gas and build fossil fuel infrastructure that would operate for decades.

Its vision includes Canberra underwriting an increased national gas supply, government agencies partnering with companies to accelerate development of new fields such as the Northern Territory’s vast Beetaloo Basin, and states introducing subsidy schemes for gas-fired power plants.

It says the federal government should help develop gas pipelines between eastern states and the north, and potentially a $6bn trans-Australian pipeline between the east and west, by either taking an equity position, minority share or underwriting investments.

The taskforce, headed by….Saudi Aramco board member Andrew Liveris, positions lower-cost gas as the answer to building a transformed manufacturing sector that it says could support at least 85,000 direct jobs, and hundreds of thousands more indirectly.

But it does not consider alternatives to gas, or what happens if greenhouse gas emissions are cut as promised under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Gas is usually described as having half the emissions of coal when burned, though recent studies have suggested it could be more.

The Liveris report does not mention climate change, Australia’s emissions reduction targets or the financial risk, flagged by institutions in Australia and overseas, of investing in fossil fuel as emissions are cut.

While several assessments have found renewable energy backed by storage is now the cheapest option for new electricity generation, the report says gas is “key to driving down electricity cost and improving investment in globally competitive advanced industry”.

Its focus is consistent with the NCCC chairman, Nev Power, a former Fortescue Metals chief and current board member at gas company Strike Energy, who has said in interviews that cheap gas would be critical to Australia’s future. Gas has been strongly backed by the prime minister, Scott Morrison, and the energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, who has argued for a gas-fired recovery from the pandemic.

According to Friends of the Earth Australia the leaked document also suggests lifting the coal seam gas moratorium in New South Wales, which is an issue I’m sure the Northern Rivers region will be keeping a close eye on.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Evidence koalas still living in Iluka area in 2020

A koala in Iluka, December 2017

The Daily Examiner, 18 May 2020:

The words excited and elated aren’t often associated with the discovery of poo, but last week in Iluka they certainly were. 

The devastating impact of bushfires on the koalas across the North Coast has been well documented and teams continue to scour bushland to try to assess the impact on local populations. 

NSW National Parks has been at the forefront of the effort, undertaking bushfire recovery surveys with the help of local Landcare groups and volunteers. 

So when Iluka Landcare volunteer Jeff Thomas found a number of koala scats at the base of red gums in the area between Iluka Bluff Rd and Iluka, he was understandably excited. 

“I couldn’t wait to ring Kay Jeffery, president of the Iluka Landcare group, and tell her and the Landcare team the good news.” 

The find was significant as the area had been regenerated through years of hard work by the group to clear lantana and wattle which had been planted after sand mining ceased on the peninsula. 

“I was so excited when we found the scats, particularly in an area that has been ­restored,” Mr Thomas said. 

“It’s good to see all their hard work paid off.” The discovery was aided by Max, one of NSW National Parks’ canine recruits who has been specially trained to sniff out and find koala scats. 

Ms Jeffery was overjoyed to hear the news, as the Landcare veteran said it was the culmination of a vision. 

“I was absolutely elated to hear that all the hard work and careful planning 24 years ago had resulted in koalas ­inhabiting the site,” she said....

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Northern Rivers homelessness and COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020

Echo NetDaily, 20 May 2020:

A quick look at the Byron Council website will tell you that the average rent in the Shire is $590 or 49 per cent of the average household income of $1,218. 
The comparisons on the page show Sydney’s Woollahra $800 rent being 44 per cent of a $1,814 income and Brighton in Melbourne with rents averaging 42 per cent of the income at $650. Even Brisbane’s Eaton Hills gets a look in with a $510 rent being 39 per cent of a $1,312 income. 

This is cold comfort if you happen to be a single parent whose only income is a Centrelink benefit. You’d definitely not be earning $12k a week, yet you’d be more than likely looking at $500 to $600 a week in rent – unless of course, you ended up homeless because you just couldn’t find something you could afford. 

Our volunteer services such as the Liberation Larder and the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre are currently groaning under the weight of extra homelessness since the start of the pandemic. People who didn’t expect to be here and out of work, are – and the growing number of our own homeless is now making the issue and epidemic in the Byron Shire. 

We know what the volunteers are doing but what is the government doing?..... 

Tamara Smith MP says that the Greens have been working closely with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) through the pandemic with regard to support for rough sleepers and people on the homelessness spectrum in Byron and Ballina Shire’s.... 

Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot says there are more homeless Australians than ever before. ‘On the North Coast we have a massive housing affordability and homelessness crisis, and people receiving Centrelink benefits are the hardest hit. ....

 ‘I have been inundated with requests for assistance and by many locals who have raised their concerns about the impact that this situation will have on our most vulnerable. The impact of Coronavirus threatens to make it even worse’. 

Ms Elliot says that as unemployment increases there’s a real risk that people don’t just lose their job, but also their home.’Housing is now on the frontline of Australian healthcare.’ 

‘Labor welcomed the National Cabinet’s decision to freeze evictions for the next six months for tenants in financial distress due to the impact of Coronavirus. We have consistently said that no one should lose their home, whether they own it or rent it, because of the virus. This will help.’  

‘As winter approaches and the Centrelink lines get longer, the charities that help the homeless and most vulnerable are suffering the perfect storm. The volunteer pool for a lot of charities is largely older Australians – most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. 

‘Most of these are smaller community-based charities that fill local needs. That loss places greater strain on other remaining services as the demand for help grows and grows. 

‘That’s why this extra support and assistance for providers of food and emergency relief and other homelessness services is so important. 

‘Both the State and Federal Governments must continue to provide support and assistance for those most vulnerable in our community.’ 

This would appear to be different just south of Byron. State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she had been assured that the majority of people in their homeless community have been accommodated. ‘Many are in hotels and motels. It is wonderful for people to have a roof over their heads as being isolated in lockdown brings many challenges,’ said Ms Saffin. ‘I worry about accessing services that people need during these times such as GPs and health-related ones, that can be hard to access for people who are homeless at the best of times. 

‘The NSW Treasury has published a document titled Supporting NSW, and in the Communities and Families section, it specifies three key areas of funding under the heading, A Roof Over Heads.

‘I have written to NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward and asked him if he could provide a breakdown of this, at least for my Lismore Electorate.’.....

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Mosquitoes likely to remain a health hazard this winter

In January 1991 Ross River Fever became a notifiable disease in New South Wales and in that first year the Northern NSW local health district recorded 11 cases.

Up to the end of April in 2020 Northern NSW has recorded 156 cases. Only the Hunter New England local heath district is recording a higher figure at 183 cases.

By contrast Barmah Forest Virus, another notifiable disease, has only been recorded 25 times so far this year.

However, both are mosquito borne infections that are worth doing our best to avoid.

NSW Health advises:

To protect against mosquitoes and reduce the risk of diseases they transmit:
  • Cover-up with a loose-fitting long sleeved shirt and long pants when outside
  •  Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin
  •  Take special care during peak mosquito biting hours, especially around dawn and dusk
  •  Remove potential mosquito breeding sites from around the home and screen windows and doors
  •  Take extra precautions when travelling or camping in areas with a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
  • For more detailed information on reducing the risk of mosquito bites at home and while travelling see the Mosquitoes are a Health Hazard fact sheet. This also includes more information on mosquito repellents.
As the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a 70% chance of wetter than average weather from July to September & warmer than average temperatures for coastal New South Wales in June to August this year, it is possible that infected mosquitoes will still be aound this winter so being aware of the mosquito load in your garden is advisable..

At the end of April Stratford Virus was detected in mosquitoes trapped in Yamba at the mouth of the Clarence River. This virus is not notifiable in New South Wales and infection usually presents as a mild fever with associated joint pain and lethagy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Bundjalung elder Michael Ryan wins in NSW Land & Environment Court over North Lismore Plateau development application

Map showing AHIMs registered sites of Aboriginal cultural heritage value located at the southern end of the North Lismore Plateau land release site. Source: Converge Community and Heritage 2012 ‘North Lismore Plateau NSW Cultural Heritage Assessment 12043C/2012’ Figure 46 page 77
Lismore City Council, "North Lismore Plateau Urban Release Area", 2015

ABC News, 15 May 2020:

A major residential development underway on the New South Wales north coast is now in jeopardy after successful court action by a local Indigenous elder.

The Land and Environment Court has now ruled that approval of the development application was invalid, because no species impact statement was done.

Mr Ryan said he wept with joy when he heard the news.

"I didn't think we had any chance to win it, it was like a David and Goliath fairytale come true and we knocked them for six," he said.

"My old people told me a long time ago to protect this mountain with everything I had.

"This whole mountain is sacred, it's a story from the Dreaming … you can see in the landscape from the air the sleeping lizard."

Mr Ryan was assisted by veteran local activist Al Oshlack, from the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network.

He said the case hinged on whether a species impact statement (SIS) should have been done for a site which is home to the threatened white-eared monarch and eastern long-eared bat.

"When they put in a development application, and it's going to have a significant impact on endangered species, it was up to the developer to attach the SIS with the development application," Mr Oshlack said.

"But then it became the [Lismore City] council's fault, because the council should have said that 'we can't accept lodging of this DA because it's not in the proper form'."

'They just rubber-stamped it'

The development application was approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel in October 2018.

Mr Oshlack said he tried to raise his concerns at the time.

"They just rubber-stamped it," he said.

"During the hearing I yelled at them that we would be taking it to court and then [they] threw me out."…..

Work has already started on a housing development on the North Lismore Plateau, but the Land and Environment Court has ruled the approval invalid.(ABC North Coast: Bruce MacKenzie)

The development manager for the Winton Property Group, Jim Punch, said the court's decision came as a surprise to the developers……

Mr Ryan has said he will fight any future plans to develop the site, and will seek to have the land's heritage value formally recognised.

The matter will return to the Land and Environment Court later this month, when final orders will be issued.


* A Native Title Claim by Widjabul Wia-bal people was registered with the Federal Court of Australia on 28 August 2013, applicable to the land which is the subject of this Development Control Plan.

* Originally Lismore City Council accepted with regard to the North Lismore Plateau (NLP) "Measures to conserve the habitat and movement corridors of Echidnas, in acknowledgment of the cultural heritage significance of this species. The NLP land was historically used as an “increase site” for Echidnas by the local Aboriginals." See Lismore City Council, "North Lismore Plateau Urban Release Area", 2015.

Friday, 15 May 2020

COVID-19 infections surface again in NSW Northern Rivesr region after almost five weeks virus free

Northern NSW Local Health District, media release, 14 May 2020:

An additional two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last 24 hours in residents of the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD). 

This brings the total cases to 57 as at 8pm Wednesday 13 May. The new cases include one resident who acquired the illness overseas and one resident whose case is still being investigated with regards to the source. 

51 cases in Northern NSW Local Health District are recovered. There are no cases being treated in hospital. 

NNSWLHD cases by likely source of infection: 

Source Total Overseas or interstate acquired 53 
Contact of a confirmed case or in a known cluster 2 
Contact not identified 1 
Under investigation 1 
Total 57 

More information and statistics for Local Government Areas can be found at 

Relaxed gathering restrictions to be handled with care 

As we move to easing some restrictions on public gatherings, dining and outdoor activities from tomorrow, I want to remind our community to take their personal responsibilities seriously. 

It’s good news that we’ll be able to move about more freely and catch up with our friends and family, but we still have an obligation to practice social distancing measures to prevent transmission of this virus. 

As we’ve seen in recent days, the numbers of new cases can vary from day to day, we have certainly not overcome this pandemic. 

Please do your best to keep your 1.5 metre distance from others, keep up frequent hand washing and avoid touching your face or public surfaces where possible. I also encourage everyone to download the COVIDsafe app, to help with contact tracing as we become more mobile. 

It’s also imperative that anyone who is showing flu-like symptoms, however mild, comes forward for testing and stays home while they are unwell. 

Our testing clinics are open seven days a week, and we encourage people to be tested again if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, even if they have had a negative test previously.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

NSW Northern Rivers online cattle sales power on during COVID-19 pandemic

The Northern Star, 5 May 2020, p.2:

Livestock sales at Casino and Tamworth delivered a total of more than $175,000 worth of stock to online bidders last Friday. 

This result was thanks to an increasing number of bids being made online via StockLive during the auctions at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) and the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange (TRLX). 

Blake O’Reilly, from Ray White Livestock Gurya, who purchased on behalf of clients at Casino, has been purchasing via StockLive since before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said there had been a growth in the number of clients watching online. 

“The number of vendors and buyers who are now watching and bidding online at StockLive-partnered auctions has grown significantly since COVID,” he said. 

“Having the online platform working in with the physical auctions strengthens the marketplace and gives a true price for the stock, taking the risk of purchasing. 

“The platform is especially useful for the increased number of sales using ring selling, which gives the purchaser full vision of the livestock being sold.” 

Brad Willis, NRLX Manager, said despite a planned Telstra outage in Casino and Lismore, the auction went ahead successfully, with 360 viewers, 23 registered bidders, 141 bids taken online, and 13 lots sold to numerous buyers. 

StockLive Manager, Libby Hufton, said the number of inquiries from saleyards across all regions continued to grow with more than 15 saleyards using StockLive’s platform. 

“We continue to see the number of buyers and viewers grow each sale we have at these yards. It is a credit to the facility operators, agents and vendors,” she said.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Individual wealth in the NSW Northern Rivers region

Richmond and Page federal electorates in the Northern Rivers region ranked 24th and 112th respectively when it come to net wealth per capita and median net wealth by the end of 2019.

In Richmond half the individual interviewees had net wealth of $325k or less and in Page half had $175k or less.

The highest indivdual average net wealth was unsurprisingly found in the electorates of Wentworth (Liberal MP Dave Sharma), Warringah (Independent MP Zali Steggall), Bradfield (Liberal MP & Minister Paul Fletcher), North Sydney (Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman), Mackellar (Liberal MP Jason Falinski) and Cook (Liberal MP & Prime Minister Scott Morrison).

The current COVID-19 pandemic is likely to significantly change net wealth across many electorates in this table.

Roy Morgan, 1 May 2020

24 months to December 2019, average 12-month sample, n = 50,431

Personal Net Wealth is calculated by subtracting debt from assets, predominantly equity in owner-occupied homes, plus superannuation.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

North Coast Public Health Unit reminding Northern NSW residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes which remain in high numbers late in the season

Northern NSW Local Health District, media release, 27 April 2020:

The North Coast Public Health Unit is reminding residents of Northern NSW to protect themselves against mosquitoes which remain in high numbers late in the season.
“Mosquitoes have persisted in large numbers through to early autumn, along with the warm weather in recent weeks,” Paul Williamson, Senior Environmental Health Officer, said.
The NSW Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program recently detected Barmah Forest virus and Ross River virus in mosquitoes in the Northern NSW area. Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are common on the north coast and are transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
So far this year, 32 north coast residents have been diagnosed with Barmah Forest virus infection and 153 with Ross River virus infections, which is two and three times the number of infections, respectively, for the same period last year. One hundred and nineteen of these infections have been reported in the last four weeks, which is six times the number reported in the same period last year.
“These infections can cause symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever, and sore and swollen joints. The symptoms usually resolve after several days, but some people may experience these symptoms for weeks or even months,” Mr Williamson said.
Avoiding mosquito bites will be especially important until cooler weather brings an end to the mosquito-breeding season.
Whilst most people are at home due to current movement restrictions, many people are heading outdoors early or late in the day to get some exercise.
“Mosquitoes are very active at these times so protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes when out-and-about.”
Simple steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes include:
  • Cover up as much as possible when outside with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
  • Use an effective insect repellent on exposed skin. Re-apply repellent within a few hours, as protection wears off with perspiration. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET) or Picaridin. Botanical based products (e.g. eucalyptus, citronella etc.) provide only limited periods of protection.
  • Use physical barriers such as netting on prams, cots and play areas for babies. Repellents should not be used on the skin of children under the age of three months.
  • Check the product label of repellents for recommended age of use. Most skin repellents are safe to use for children over the age of 3 months or older. Some formulations are only suitable for children over 12 months.
  • Use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (indoors) and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms or repel mosquitoes from an area.
  • Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
  • Remove and prevent mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as emptying containers that hold water.
“Preventing infection with these viruses depends on avoiding mosquito bites, especially as the mosquitoes have become active after recent rain, warm days and high tides,” Mr Williamson said.
Fact sheets are available from the NSW Health website:
Weekly reports are available during the arbovirus season from the New South Wales Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program:

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Raising money to return Australian east coast rainforests to their former glory

Echo NetDaily, 24 April 2020:

The last few years have been a rolling wave of dire situations: floods that caused local devastation, followed by drought that saw much of the country dry out, compounded by some of Australia’s worst fires. Of course that was all before the current COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

But the rain has come, and while community planting events have had to be cancelled due to the virus, there is still plenty of opportunity to support having a positive influence on the climate.

The Rainforest 4 Foundation has been at the forefront of positive action, including planting rainforest trees to restore fire-devastated rainforests and buying back land in the Daintree.

We’ve purchased four properties this year, one each month’, said Kelvin Davies, founder of the Rainforest 4 Foundation.

We ran a crowd funding campaign in November with Mullumbimby based company We Are Explorers, and that helped to purchase Lot 305, Cypress Road, Cow Bay, Daintree.’

In fact Rainforest 4 have managed to buy back, or have under contract, six properties in the Daintree since August 2019. They are currently raising the funds to purchase the sixth, Lot 330, Cape Tribulation Road, which is currently under contract. It will cost $25,000, so far they have raised $9,895 and need to raise another $15,105 to complete the purchase.

Rainforest 4 work in partnership with the local Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and transfer the properties they purchase to the Daintree National Park and World Heritage Area….

Closer to home Rainforest 4 are looking to keep planting trees to help rebuild the local rainforests that have been devastated by the recent fires……
Kelvin Davies at Upper Wilsons Creek.
Image supplied.

Only one per cent of the Lowland Subtropical Rainforest remains in this region and Rainforest 4 is aiming to directly support that rainforest by planting and restoring habitat in and near areas that were damaged by the Mt Nardi fires.

Over 5,500 hectares were impacted by the fires in the areas of Terania Creek, Tuntable Creek, Tuntable Falls, Huonbrook, Upper Coopers Creek, Upper Wilsons Creek, Wanganui and surrounds.

For $10 you can support the planting of a tree, including its maintenance for three years. To donate, or to find out more go to Rainforest 4Foundation.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

NSW Northern Rivers COVID-19 cases still slowly growing

COVID-19 cumulative confirmed cases in NSW Northern Rivers Region
  • confirmed COVID-19 cases 16 March 2020
  • confirmed COVID-19 cases 18 March 2020
  • confirmed COVID-19 cases 22 March 2020
  • 7 confirmed COVID-19 cases 23 March 2020
  • 17 confirmed COVID-19 cases 24 March 2020
  • 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases 26 March 2020
  • 25 confirmed COVID-19 cases 27 March 2020
  • 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases 30 March 2020
  • 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases 31 March 2020
  • 42 confirmed COVID-19 cases 1 April 2020 - Kyogle 0 cases, Richmond Valley 0 cases, Ballina 4 cases, Lismore 5 cases, Clarence Valley 8 cases, Tweed 12 cases, Byron Bay 13 cases.
  • 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases 2 April 2020 
  • 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases 3 April 2020
  • 46 confirmed COVID-19 caes 5 April 2020 - Kyogle 0 cases, Richmond Valley 4 cases, Ballina 4 cases, Lismore 5  cases, Clarence Valley 8 cases, Tweed 13 cases, Byron Bay 13 cases.
  • 47 confirmed COVID-19 cases 6 April 2020
  • 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases 7 April 2020
  • 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases 9 April 2020 - Kyogle 0 cases, Richmond Valley 4 cases, Ballina 4 cases, Lismore 5 cases, Clarence Valley 8 cases, Tweed 14 cases, Byron Bay 16 cases.
  • 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases 11 April 2020 
According to The Daily Examiner the virus was first reported in the Byron Bay local government area on March 14, then in the Clarence Valley on March 19, followed between March 22 to 24 by reports of COVID-19 cases in Lismore and Tweed local government areas. The virus then surfaced in Ballina and Richmond local government areas.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Easter 2020 brings $1,000 fines to those found in the NSW Nothern Rivers region breaching COVID-19 travel & social distancing restrictions

NSW Police Public Site - NEWS, excerpts, 11-12 April 2020:

In the early hours of Friday (10 April 2020), officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District attended a home on Bligh Street, South Grafton, following reports of a loud party. On arrival, the attendees scattered and after reminding the occupants of the requirements under the Public Health Act, police issued a noise abatement direction. About 8.30am, police spoke to three men - two of which are the occupants of the Bligh Street home – who were drinking together on the corner of Bligh and Cambridge Streets. The men, aged 18, 25 and 27, were reminded they were breaching the Ministerial Directions, and after the older man began swearing and 25-year-old man refused to go home, they were issued with a $500 fine for offensive language and a $1100 fine for continuing intoxication in a public place respectively. All three men were issued with $1000 PINs and sent home.

About 3pm (Friday 10 April 2020), officers from Richmond Police District were patrolling Lennox Head, when they observed a vehicle parked at Lake Ainsworth. After speaking with the occupants – a man and woman, both aged 29 – it was established they were sightseeing in the area after travelling some 120km from their home at Parkwood, Queensland. The pair was issued with $1000 infringements and directed to go home.

Police from Coffs/Clarence Police District stopped a vehicle on the Macleay Valley Way at Bellimbopinni about 11pm on Friday (10 April 2020). Officers spoke to the driver, a 55-year-old man, and established he didn’t have a reasonable excuse to have left the house. The man told officers he was going to visit family and wasn’t deterred by the ministerial directions. He was issued a PIN for not comply with noticed direction in relation to section 7/8/9 – COVID 19.

Officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District attended the remote village of Sandon yesterday (Saturday 11 April 2020), following reports holidaymakers had made their way to the area for Easter. Police spoke with a 53-year-old man and his 51-year-old wife, who said they had been in the area for more than two weeks. Following inquiries, officers established they had only arrived two days prior. The couple was issued with $1000 PINs and directed to return to the Lennox Head property. Another couple and their two children were also spoken to at another home and given warnings before being directed to return to their Petersham home.

Just before midday (Saturday 11 April 2020), officers from Tweed/Byron Police District responded to the concern for welfare of a woman slumped over a steering wheel of a vehicle parked on Johnson Street, Byron Bay. Police assisted the 45-year-old woman from the car, during which, they located ice and drug paraphernalia. During a subsequent search of her handbag, officers located cards under the names of various people, $1850 cash, drug ledgers and a knife. Inquiries revealed the Tabulum woman had also recently travelled to Queensland. She was taken to Byron Bay Police Station and charged with possess prohibited drug, goods in personal custody suspected being stolen, and possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit. She was issued with a $1000 PIN before being granted conditional bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on Monday 15 June 2020.

Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District attended a holiday apartment on Lawson Street, Byron Bay, about 2.30pm (Saturday 11 April 2020), after reports of parties being held at the location. Police spoke with a 33-year-old man, who told them he booked the room to self-isolate but had invited people over to visit. The other two people – a 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman – had travelled from Clunes for the gathering. All three were issued $1000 PINs, while inquiries are continuing into the accommodation provider

Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District stopped a vehicle on Burringbar St, Mullumbimby, about 4pm, and spoke to the four occupants – a 16-year-old boy, two 17-year-old girls, and the 18-year-old male driver. The P-plate driver returned a positive roadside breath test and received a fine for special-range drink driving. During a search of the vehicle, police located cannabis and issued cannabis cautions to the man and one of the 17-year-old girls. The group were not able to provide a reasonable excuse for being out, and checks revealed three of the four had previously been given warnings for the same. They were issued $1000 PINs, while the 17-year-old girl was given a warning under the Public Health Act.

About 7.30pm (Saturday 11 April 2020), officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District conducting proactive checks stopped at a house on Bent Street, South Grafton. A 30-year-old man was spoken to, who stated he was at the house visiting friends. He became verbally abusive when police notified him that he was in breach of Ministerial Directions and was subsequently issued a $1000 PIN.

Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District were called to Terranora Road, Banora Point, just after 10.30pm (Thursday 9 April 2020), following reports of the concern for the welfare of a man wandering around on the road. On arrival, police located the man rambling incoherently in the front yard of a home. Checks revealed the man was in breach of his bail conditions and was allegedly in possession of a leather glove and a staff card in someone else’s name. After being unable to provide a reasonable explanation for being away from his home and having been warned previously, he was issued with a $1000 PIN, before being taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with goods in personal custody suspected being stolen. He has been refused bail and will next appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on Tuesday (14 April 2020).

Officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District stopped an 18-year-old man who was walking with two others and holding a case of beer on Cambridge Street, South Grafton, yesterday (Friday 10 April 2020). Police will allege the man had been given a previous warning about the Public Health Act and failed to provide a reasonable excuse for being away from home. He was issued a $1000 PIN.

About 1pm (Thursday 2 April 2020), officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District were called to a home on Halls Road, Coffs Harbour, following reports of multiple people at the location who do no reside there. Whilst police were there a man, who was issued a ministerial direction the day before, arrived at the location with no reasonable excuse to be there. He was subsequently issued a $1000 PIN and given a move on direction.