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

Sunday, 8 December 2019

The North Coast Public Health Unit is urging people in Yamba NSW to look out for measles symptoms, after a resident contracted the infectious disease

Northern NSW Health District, community announcement, 6 December 2019:

Measles on the NSW North Coast – Yamba

The North Coast Public Health Unit is urging people in Yamba to look out for measles symptoms, after a resident contracted the infectious disease.
People who visited the following areas on these dates may have been exposed:
  • Thursday 28 November, Friday 29 November, Monday 2 December or Tuesday 3 December – anyone who travelled on bus routes 1, 2, or 4 in Yamba
  • Saturday, 30 November – Maclean Golf Course between 8.00am to 1.15pm
  • Saturday, 30 November – Yamba Fair Shopping Centre, including Coles, butchers, newsagent between 2.00pm to 3.00pm
  • Sunday, 1 December – Yamba Bowling Club between 5.30pm to 7.00pm
  • Tuesday, 3 December – Yamba Fair Shopping Centre around 4.00pm.
Acting Director of North Coast Public Health Unit, Greg Bell, said measles is highly infectious among people who are not fully immunised.
“Measles symptoms include fever; sore eyes, a cough, and a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head to the rest of the body,” Mr Bell said.
“Anyone who was in or has visited the locations listed should watch for symptoms until 21 December. These locations pose no ongoing risk to the public.
“It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles.
“If you develop symptoms of measles, please arrange to see your GP and phone ahead to alert them before arriving at the GP clinic.
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease. Vaccination is your best protection against this extremely contagious disease.
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is a safe and highly effective protection against measles, and is available for free for those born during and after 1966 from your GP.
“If you are unsure whether you have had two doses, it is safe to have another dose,” Mr Bell said.
Protecting children from potentially deadly diseases is a key priority for the NSW Government, which has invested approximately $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
For more information on measles, visit: 
[my yellow highlighting]

Monday, 25 November 2019

NSW Northern Rivers bushfire victim: "If only I'd prayed more. Sorry ScoMo"

More than 600 homes have been destroyed by bushfires in NSW this fire season - with 503 of these burnt down in the last two weeks.

Since October six lives have been lost in the fires - two of these in the Clarence Valley.
A Northern Rivers family which lived in one of about 80 houses lost to bushfire in the Nymboida area left highly visible messages in the ashes of their home for that closet climate change denier, Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott 'thoughts & prayers' Morrison.

These images should come as no surprise nor their message:

"No climate catastrophe? F. U. ScoMo"

"Quiet Aussies lead to homes on fire"

"If only I'd prayed more Sorry ScoMo"

"Thoughts & Prayers vs Action!! ScoMo = SloMo"

"Noisy Australian PROUD OF IT!"

One of the characteristics of Northern Rivers communities has always been their willingness to take the fight straight to the those in political power who they believe threaten their families, their way of life and the land on which they live.

The Mackay family demonstrated this after the blaze ripped through Nymboida leaving two of its members with only the clothes on their backs.

*Images found at 7 News.

Map animation of fires in the NSW Northern Rivers region from 2 October to 20 November 2019

Multiple bushfires in the Clarence Valley began in August 2019. 

Sunday, 24 November 2019

In November 2019 NASA tracked smoke from NSW & Qld bushfires as far as the middle of the Pacific Ocean and beyond

NASA’s satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass. Together, NASA instruments detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars. NASA has a fleet of Earth-observing instruments, many of which contribute to our understanding of fire in the Earth system. Satellites in orbit around the poles provide observations of the entire planet several times per day, whereas satellites in a geostationary orbit provide coarse-resolution imagery of fires, smoke and clouds every five to 15 minutes. For more information visit:

Image possibly from 13 November 2019 fires.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

With months to go before the end of NSW bushfire season, there are ways locals can help

The Northern Star, 19 November 2019:

As bushfires continue to ravage communities across NSW, many people are wanting to know how they can assist those impacted by this ongoing disaster. 

While many community groups including sporting and service clubs have stepped up, there are still opportunities for individuals to help in various ways. 

1. Donate money 
There are several charities accepting donations including the Australian Red Cross, the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal (or donate at any Woolworths checkout) or to Vinnies. Make sure you’re giving to a reputable organisation so all the funds go where they’re needed. 

2. Give blood 
The region’s blood banks need more blood and plasma donations. If you can’t afford to give money, then donating blood is a great option. While there are some conditions such as age, this is a great option. Book an appointment by phoning 131495. 

3. Helping wildlife 
The NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service is accepting donations to help its efforts in supporting displaced and injured wildlife affected by the fires. 

4. First responder 
You can join a local emergency services group as a volunteer. Consider joining your local Rural Fire Service brigade or State Emergency Service unit, while organisations such as the Country Women’s Association and Red Cross have many different opportunities to help communities facing tough times. 

5. Community 
Be a good neighbour. Check on people not only living nearby, but also in your social, sporting and community groups. Take the time to be kind. Make time to boil the kettle and listen. Many people are feeling the effects of the bushfires even if they are not in an area which has been burned. A great example is the Ewingar Rising concert from November 22-24, which has been organised by a wide cross-section of residents to support their burned-out community.

The Daily Examiner, 19 November 2019:

The Lower Clarence Community Choir will present its annual Spring Concert with performances in the Maclean Civic Hall at 2pm on Saturday, November 23 and St James Church, Yamba at 2pm on Sunday, November 24.
The choir and Maclean Music Ensemble have prepared music by Handel, Schubert, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky and Smetana, plus folk songs, popular songs and music from stage shows.
Sister Anne Gallagher will as usual be wielding the baton and the accompanist is again Gwen Berman. The choir and ensemble are fortunate to be led by two such esteemed musicians.
Both the choir and the ensemble have grown in size since last year, largely because the members enjoy making music together.
Proceeds from the performances will go to the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Service, Maclean Hospital Auxiliary and Rural Fire Service; three institutions that serve the local community so generously.
Tickets will cost $15, $12 (concession) and school children are free. Afternoon tea will be available for $4.
For further information, contact the president, Connie de Dassel, on 0409476425.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Nimbin CWA receives gift of fridges and freezers to assist with feeding local & out of town firefighting crews

NSW state MP for Lismore Janelle Saffin, Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Woolworths gave practical support to the firefighting effort in the Nimbin region last week....

The bushfire burning in Nightcap National Park area, east of Nimbin, is now more than 6,200 hectares in size.

According to NSW Rural Fire Service on 19 November 2019 this fire which has been burning for over nine days is still "expected to burn for several weeks or until there is significant rainfall. During this time, the fire may burn close to properties".

Friday, 18 October 2019

Morrison Government accidentally tells us more than it intended about its future plans for more dams?

Eighteen pages of 'talking points' compiled by the Prime Minister's Office were accidentally released to Australian journalists on Monday 14 October 2019.

These talking points predictably blame Labor in a look-over-there-not here manner, continue Scott Morrison's personal war on the poor and vulnerable and refuse to look climate change in the eye.

Interestingly for folks in the NSW Northern Rivers region, these points confirm federal government support for abandoning certain federal/state provisions contained in legislation covering water, environment and biodiversity when it comes to building new dams.

The document also lets the cat of the bag when it reveals a wider purpose behind building a Mole River dam in Tenterfield Shire.

Google Earth snapshot of a section of the Mole River, NSW

The current proposal according the PMO is for a 100,000 megalites dam (basically the size of Karangi Dam in Coffs Habour LGA) which Morrison & Co see as assisting not just Tenterfield Shire but also as potentially useful to southern Queensland (See P.4). Morrison expects this dam to be 'shovel ready' two years from now, in 2021.

Water NSW released an Upper Mole River Dam fact sheet at the same time those errant talking points escaped inot the wild. This has the proposed Mole River dam as between 100 and 200 gigalites (ie., between 100,000 to 200,000 megalitres) and costing est. $355 billion. However, Water NSW does not see this proposed dam being 'shovel ready' until 2024 with dam construction completed sometime between 2026 and 2028.

Morrison's 100,000 megalitre dam would be ample to supply the needs of a NSW shire whose total population is yet to reach 7,000 residents, but is perhaps not entirely adequate to cover the needs of local irrigators into a future which is rapidly heating up and drying out.

So why would this such dam be thought capable of supplying water to southern Queensland and where would the potential additional 100,000 come from?

Water NSW data shows that Mole River catchment annual rainfall was less than 600mm in 13 of the last 18 years and, as Professor Quentin Grafton, water economist, ANU and UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance tells us, at 600mm or less annual precipitation a dam will not fill.

Perhaps the Mole River dam is only meant as a water storage staging post as much of the water capacity is intended to travel elsewhere?

Perhaps Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud are paving the way for a raid on a headwater tributary, the Maryland River, or on the Upper Clarence River itself - in order to forever pipe bulk water to Littleproud's electorate of Maranoa in southern Queensland?

Two local governments in Littleproud's electorate are lobbying hard for permission to pipe Clarence River water to their areas and, after all the Mole River is approximately 79kms as the crow flies from the headwaters of the Clarence River as well as less than 57kms in a direct line from Stanthorpe in Maranoa.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

The real reasons behind the push to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment

Whenever local government areas within the Murray-Darling Basin decide to renew their almost perpetual lobbying of federal and state governments for consent to dam and divert one or more rivers within the Clarence River catchment they usually have a hidden agenda accompanying their public call for fresh water for inland towns during times of water scarcity.
It has never been about needing water for towns which might run out of water by late 2020. Any new dam couldn’t even be ‘shovel ready’ in less than two to three years, while rushing construction would take a similar time period to complete and filling a dam would take more than three years on top of that – if it could be achieved at all in an Australian climate which has been drying for the last sixty years.
What these councils are really seeking is the means to grow their own local businesses and expand their own regional economies at the expense of Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City current and future businesses and regional economies.
One of the mayors openly states that “water is the new currency” - echoing that other sentiment doing the rounds, ‘water is the new gold’.
Take these latest water raiding schemes……….
According to Daily News in Warwick Qld, Southern Downs Council has a wish list for growth; Councillor Marika McNichol said the council had a wish list of significant infrastructure projects that would shape, steer and secure the region’s future.“This is an ambitious list of projects, but also a list of essential infrastructure projects that will benefit our region and build a sustainable future for the Southern Downs,” Cr McNichol said.“Council has a strong long-term vision for the region which involves major infrastructure projects.”
On its own website this council stated; “Southern Downs Regional Mayor, Tracy Dobie said a number of exciting projects in the Southern Downs were due to commence or be completed, creating employment opportunities, encouraging population growth and stimulating strong economic activity,”
One of those proposed major infrastructure projects to allow economic expansion in this particular local government areas is a “Pipeline diversion of water from the Clarence River in NSW to Tenterfield, Southern Downs, Western Downs and Toowoomba”. This proposal is being submitted to Infrastruture Australia seeking funding to progress the interbasin-interstate water transfer scheme.

Access to water is seen as a key economic driver by Western Downs Regional Council. This includes being a driver of industry and business development as well as optimising tourism growth in the local government area.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio told a journalist that; water is the limiting factor in population growth and food production in this area”. His letter of support for the application to Infrastructure Australia for a dam in the Clarence River catchment reads in part; As chair of Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors … I write to give the strongest of support to your council’s submission to the Australian Infrastructure Audit regarding long-term water security on the Darling Downs and NSW Border Ranges.”

Tenterfield Shire Council’s mayor told The Daily Examiner in Grafton NSW; “I have no problem supporting populations to support industry, but you cannot do it without infrastructure to secure water. These towns need to be supported, and especially where they are looking to expand. (Towns like) Warwick and Toowoomba should have had adequate water supply years ago and now we are playing catch up.” [my yellow highlighting]

Tenterfield Shire Council as part of the Northern New England High Country Regional Economic Development Strategy 2018-2022 supports the position that; “There is potential to dam both the Mole River in the western part of the Region and possibly one or more of the headwater tributaries of the Clarence River for irrigation water and the generation of hydroelectricity.”

Tenterfield’s Mole River proposal was tentatively costed sometime in the 1990s on the basis that private capital would build this dam and lease it back to either local or state government. The current proposal for a Mole River dam (20-40 per cent smaller than the original proposed water storage) is an initial 50/50 split between state and federal government.


The NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government’s State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038 points to a need to Identify investment options in the priority catchments of Gwydir and Macquarie”.

Gwydir Shire Council in its Gwydir Shire Economic Development Strategy 2017-2020 states an aim to; Manage water resources for a growing economy and environmental sustainability” as well as to improve/expand the Shire’s product base which includes the tourism potential of the Gwydir River and Copeton Dam.

The river and dam are seen as part of providing a Strong basis for growing the tourism sector and building visitation to the Shire’s towns and villages” - as well as being seen as “lifestyle advantages of the Shire.”

The development strategy also sees “access to plentiful water” as a prerequisite to growing local businesses and establishing new ones.

Seeing water as a mere commodity these Murray-Darling Basin councils and the federal government are pressuring the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government to such a degree that it is now considering altering planning and water legislation to allow NSW Water to have planning control over dam building and also allowing environmental safeguards to be overridden – in particular removing environmental/biodiversity assessments of proposed dam sites and potentially commencing construction before a cost-benefit analysis has been completed.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Centre-based childcare costs have risen in NSW Northern Rivers region in 2019

According to the federal Dept. of Education's Child Care in Australia report for March quarter 2019, a total of 1,940 Clarence Valley children were enrolled in either centre-based child care, family day care or after school care in the March Quarter 2019. This is a decease in total enrolments on the December 2018 quarter figures.

A further 7,280 children were enrolled in the Richmond Valley region and 4,390 in Tweed Valley. These figures represent an modest increase in enrolments for both Richmond and Tweed valleys.

The average centre-based child care fee per hour in the Clarence Valley was $9.13 (up 11.9% on March 2018), in the Richmond Valley coastal region $9.19 (up 6.3%) and in the hinterland $8.89 (up 6.2%), while the Tweed Valley per hour charge was $9.01 (up 9.5%).

The official fee cap for centre-based childcare is $11.77 per hour and the national average out of school hours care fee is $9.95.

Out of school hours care fees were not recorded for the Clarence Valley as less than 5 children were recorded, but these fees went down in Richmond Valley coast and hinterland as well as in Tweed Valley by -3.9%, -0.3% and -4.6% respectively.

Remembering that Clarence Valley local government area population at the 2016 national census contained over 8,000 children 14 years of age & under and in the December quarter 2018 report there were 1,990 children enrolled in childcare, I find it rather strange that Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan blames the recent price rise on "increased demand" for services when valley enrolment numbers were down by 50 children in January to March 2019.

Friday, 27 September 2019

If anything marks this NSW National Party politician out as a foolish man it is this......

Sometime between 23 and 24 September 2019 NSW Nationals MP for Clarence and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads and InfrastructureChris Gulaptis, told The Daily Examiner that those who want to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment for inter-basin and/or interstate transfer should raise the matter when the Clarence is in flood.

His exact words were; Let’s have that discussion when we’re in a flood”.

A statement which presumes that, with diminishing rainfall and increased evaporation rates being part of both the Clarence Valley's present and its future, drawing water for an additional 236,984 people, their farms and businesses is in anyway feasible even during a passing flood.

This water extraction would be on top of the current draw for the combined population of Clarence Valley LGA and Coff Habour City LGA - 128,198 people, their farms and businesses, as well as water for over 5 million tourists annually.

Indeed this entire article is typical Gulaptis, who more times than not has to be dragged metaphorically kicking and screaming to defend the Clarence Valley from the ignorance and avarice of a Coalition government of which he is a member.

The Daily Examiner, 25 September 2019, p.3:
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has hit back at claims the government is secretly working on a plan to divert coastal rivers inland to drought-stricken rivers out west.
Mr Gulaptis’s comments come after The Guardian reported the NSW government was secretly exploring a plan to turn the state’s coastal rivers inland to provide more water for irrigators and towns in the west of the state.
According to The Guardian, WaterNSW documents obtained under freedom of information show significant work has been done recently on at least four projects involving pumping water from coastal rivers over the Great Dividing Range to replenish western rivers.
The Guardian said the main focus of work has been on turning the headwaters of the Clarence inland via a network of pipes and pumps into headwaters of the Border rivers.
Mr Gulaptis said he hasn’t heard of any plans being put into action.
My discussions with the water minister have been along the vein that they are outdated plans which are not a priority of the government,” he said.
It’s been on the books for a long period of time, and it gets rehashed every time there’s a drought.”
Mr Gulaptis said he would not support any such plans, especially due to the current vulnerability of the North Coast region.
The North Coast isn’t immune to drought – we’re in the grips of one of the worst droughts we’ve ever had and there isn’t any water for us to spare.”
Mr Gulaptis said he believes the plan is a “fanciful idea”.
Let’s have that discussion when we’re in a flood,” he said.
Despite Mr Gulaptis’s denial, The Guardian said the documents showed WaterNSW was discussing some projects with western irrigators last year and that it had commissioned hydrological analysis for some projects this year.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 Satin Bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks

Echo NetDaily,  September 2019:

Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 satin bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks, investigators have revealed.
A Satin Bowerbird. Source: Wikipedia
Investigations conducted by North Coast Local Land Services have confirmed that the bird deaths were caused by the banned insecticide Fenthion.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is now seeking assistance from members of the public in a bid to determine how the poisoning occurred.
As the responsible regulator for pesticide use, the EPA is exploring the possibility that the birds, which are a protected native species, may have been deliberately targeted.
No other bird species is known to have been impacted.
EPA Manager Regional Operations North Coast Benjamin Lewin said the killing of native birds, whether through intentional or reckless pesticide misuse, was a serious offence.
‘We are encouraging anyone with information on these deaths, or anyone who may have seen some activity that could be related to this illegal baiting, to contact the EPA as soon as possible,’ Mr Lewin said.
Fenthion, which was banned from use in 2014 with a phase out period of one year, is a broad-spectrum organophosphorus insecticide.
It is extremely toxic to birds and substantial penalties exist for its possession and use.
The chemical was widely used in the past for insect control on a broad range of fruit crops and for external parasite control on livestock.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Remembering Terania......

ABC News, 17 August 2019:

It has been 40 years since the first images emerged of protesters blocking the path of bulldozers to stop the logging of rainforest at Terania Creek on the New South Wales north coast.

The protest is regarded as a watershed moment in Australia's environmental movement and cited as the first time people physically defended a natural resource.

While the fight to save the rainforest reached its climax in August 1979, the story began several years earlier when a young couple from Melbourne moved to a single-room cabin bordering the rainforest in Terania Creek.

PHOTO: Protesters Falls in Nightcap National Park are named after the demonstrations. (ABC North Coast: Leah White)

Hugh and Nan Nicholson said they were drawn to the incredible beauty of the area and were shocked to learn the following year that the Forestry Commission planed to clear-fell the forest.

"Our involvement was very sudden, very abrupt," Mrs Nicholson said.

"We had no experience, we were very young, but we felt we couldn't let this go, we had to try to do something."

Over the next four years, the Nicholsons said their efforts to halt the logging escalated from writing letters and submissions and lobbying politicians to hosting hundreds of protesters and being at the coalface of the fight.

"We found there were many other young people who had just moved to the area and they also were appalled at the idea of this beautiful forest being flattened," Mrs Nicholson said.

"So we quite quickly got into a group that was going to fight it, and that was the start of years and years of battle."

'Not so peaceful' protest say loggers

While the demonstrators' intentions were "non-violent, peaceful protest", not everybody held to that ideal.

Death threats were made and received by each side.

Even though Hurfords Hardwood had nothing to do with the Terania logging operation, the family's South Lismore mill was burnt to the ground.

The company who held the licence for the coupe at Terania Creek was the Standard Sawmilling Company from Murwillumbah.

John Macgregor-Skinner, the production manager at the time, said the toll from protests put an "astronomical" strain on his workers and family.

"We had tractors sabotaged, people threatened [with] chainsaws, trees spiked, bridges sabotaged and the like," he said.

"From a personal perspective, we received telephone calls to say that my wife was going to get raped, they knew where the kids were going to school and they weren't going to come home tomorrow.

PHOTO: Loggers say protesters sabotaged equipment during the Terania Creek protest. (Supplied: David Kemp)

"That happened on several occasions to the point that we had police protection and I had a direct line to the police inspector.

"Nothing did eventuate, but by gee you don't know."

Mr Macgregor-Skinner said the protest also had a detrimental impact on jobs on the NSW north coast.

"Terania Creek was only a very, very small part of our operations," he said.

"But what eventuated out of Terania Creek closed down the mill."

Mr Macgregor-Skinner estimates 600 jobs were lost in the region when Neville Wran, then New South Wales premier, made the historic 'rainforest decision' in October 1982, removing about 100,000 hectares of forest from timber production.

Legacy of saving the 'big scrub'

Bundjalung woman Rhoda Roberts was only young when the Terania Creek protests took place, but she can remember her late father, Pastor Frank Roberts, talking about the new arrivals who were eager to save the environment.

She said at the time traditional owners were living under the Protection Act.

"We didn't really have a voice. You've got to remember there were curfews, they were taking kids.

PHOTO: Rhoda Roberts remembers her father talking about the significance of the Terania Creek protest. (Supplied)

"People were very frightened, so to have a group of people who arrived on country and were determined to love that environment, from our perspective, was incredibly new."

Ms Roberts said the big scrub, which includes Terania Creek, is a 'storybook' place where knowledge is exchanged among generations.

"I'm indebted now because my children and the coming children … when we travel our territories, we still have a sample of land that we know has been there since time immemorial," she said.

"I pay my greatest respects to everyone who was involved in Terania Creek because you saved country for us, and we are all benefiting from that.".....

Read the full article with more images here.