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Local News

Emergency work requires changes to rural road grading program

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Richmond Valley Council

Emergency work requires changes to rural road grading program

RICHMOND Valley Council has been forced to suspend its rural gravel road grading maintenance program to allow the concentration of resources to those areas affected by recent flooding events.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said late summer rain and a wetter-than-normal start to autumn had been a challenging period for Richmond Valley motorists, with flooding causing issues across the region’s road network.

Mr Macdonald said the decision to temporarily halt grading works was not taken lightly, however, he said under government funding guidelines, Council had a set period of time to fix flood-damaged roads, which were a higher priority as community safety was paramount.

He said Council crews were facing a number of challenges to complete projects, such as saturated pavements, contractor availability, ability to have material delivered to remote areas, and inclement weather patterns.

He said road maintenance and repairs were prioritised based on risk, which often meant roads carrying higher volumes of traffic were addressed first.

“Our Infrastructure Services team is working hard to resume regular maintenance grading, but right now the key message for people using these roads is to always consider the road’s condition and travel with care,” Mr Macdonald said.

Mr Macdonald said Council’s unsealed road grading program usually adhered to a schedule where roads were graded once or twice a year, or once every two years depending on the traffic volumes.

He said roads condition would be monitored by staff and roads or sections deemed urgent would be graded.

“Safety remains a priority on local roads and in areas where grading remains suspended crews will continue to inspect roads for safety and performance,” Mr Macdonald said.

To assist in this process, local motorists are encouraged to report hazards using the Request Action form on Council’s website, or by calling the 24-hour hotline 6660 0300.

Mr Macdonald said Council recognised that communities appreciated the regular grading program, and apologised for any inconvenience this change may create.

He said the routine program would resume as soon as possible following the completion of emergency works.

“In the current situation, some of our maintenance grading patrols have been diverted to assist in managing priority maintenance projects, however, it will be business as usual once these roads have been repaired,” Mr Macdonald said.

“We urge people who live or travel on affected roads to drive to the conditions.”

Local News

Two charged following separate online grooming investigations

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Two charged following separate online grooming investigations

TWO men have been charged with alleged online grooming offences following separate investigations by Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Unit.

Last month, investigators from Strike Force Trawler began engaging with a man from Goonellabah.
Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child, as well as sent explicit materials.
It will be further alleged that the man arranged to meet the girl for the purpose of a sexual encounter.
Following inquiries, a 60-year-old man was arrested at Lennox Head just after 9am on Monday, September 13.
He was taken to Ballina Police Station, where he was charged with two counts of use carriage service-procure child under 16 years for sexual activity.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Byron Bay Local Court, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Lismore Local Court on Monday, November 8.

Separately, in June, detectives began speaking with an East Lismore man, who believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl – allegedly engaging in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child – before arranging to meet with her.

Following further inquiries, the man was arrested at a South Lismore business about 10.20am on Tuesday, September 14.
A search warrant was then executed at an East Lismore address, where detectives seized an electronic device, which will undergo further forensic examination.

The 62-year-old man was taken to Lismore Police Station, where he was charged with use carriage service to groom under 16 years for sex.

He was refused bail and appeared at Lismore Local Court, where he was granted conditional bail to reappear at the same court on Thursday, November 11.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the arrests should serve as a warning for guardians of young children.

“Police will allege both these men believed they could engage in sexual activity with a young child,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“Parents and guardians should be aware of what their children are doing on the internet and who they are speaking with. They should never arrange to meet with someone they have met online.

“Make sure your children feel comfortable speaking up about anything they have done online.”
Information and educational packages for parents and children are available from ThinkUKnow, a multi-agency program designed to educate and promote cyber safety: https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.
Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Covid breachers in court – Lismore

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By

Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Covid breachers in court

THE Rose Bay father and son that bought Covid-19 to the Northern Rivers, creating a snap lockdown, had their charges read in Lismore Court on Monday.

Zoran, 52, and Kristan, 19, Radovanic did not attend the court mention but their lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned until October.

It is believed they are also asking for a change in the hearing location away from Lismore.

The pair is charged with a host of Covid-19 breaches, including failing to comply and not registering their movement with the QR code, and not wearing a mask on public transport.

Mr Radovanovic travelled from Sydney to Byron Bay back in August with his two teenage sons to allegedly look at property.

They later tested positive to Covid-19 after Mr Radovanovic took ill and presented at Lismore Base Hospital for treatment.

The pair didn’t enter a plea, but the magistrate mentioned they would need to enter a plea at the next mention, scheduled for October 11.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

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Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

Stay at home orders will be lifted from midnight tomorrow, Friday 10 September, but the region will continue to operate under tight restrictions to ensure the safety of regional communities.

These restrictions include limiting the number of visitors to the home to 5 people (not including children 12 and under) and up to 20 people at outdoor settings.

Masks will still be required for all indoor public venues, while capacity will be limited at hospitality, retail outlets and gyms to maintain the one person per 4 sqm rule, with specific customer limitations for each industry.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government, saying it was now time for the Queensland Government to follow suit and reinstate a border bubble.

“Today’s announcement is a great win for all the businesses and families out there who have shared their stories of how hard the lockdown has been here in the Tweed – this is your win,” Cr Cherry said.

“It is now time for us to reopen our businesses, for our children to return to school and to celebrate that some of us can now spend time with family.

“But let’s not forget all of those among us that still can’t get to work or see their families because of the great divide that continues to split our community in half at Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.

“I call on the Queensland Government to lift those restrictions and reinstate a border bubble so we can all get back to work and sit down together again as families.”

As a result of the easing of restrictions, Council will open most of its customer-facing facilities in coming days. However, some services remain impacted by staffing shortages as a result of the border closure. Services opening include:

Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre (tip) returns to normal operations for domestic and commercial operations from Saturday 11 September. Tweed JUNKtion Tip Shop remains closed with a reopening date to be confirmed next week.

Tweed Holiday Parks return to normal operations from Saturday 11 September with COVID-Safe restrictions

Customer Service Counters at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads reopen from Monday 13 September

Library branches at Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Kingscliff return to normal opening hours from Monday 13 September

Brett Street CAFE at Tweed Heads returns to normal operating hours from Monday 13 September

Starting Block Café at TRAC Murwillumbah open for takeaway meals from Monday 13 September

Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre at Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and South Tweed to reopen from Monday 13 September on restricted hours

Tweed Regional Museum will return to normal operating hours from Tuesday 14 September

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre will reopen from Wednesday 15 September

Community centres at Banora Point and South Tweed, South Sea Islander Room, Harvard Room, Kingscliff Hall, Canvas and Kettle reopening from Wednesday 15 September

Council-approved community markets, including at Kingscliff, SALT Village, Pottsville, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads may reopen with COVID-safe plans in place.

The next Council meeting on Thursday 16 September will return to normal operations and will be held in the Harvard Room at Tweed Heads Administration Office. Anyone wishing to attend in person must pre-book their seats due to capacity restrictions. The meeting will also be livestreamed. Details on how to book or join the livestream are available on Council’s website.

Essential services including water and kerbside waste collection services continue to operate as normal.

For any queries, the community is encouraged to call our Contact Centre Team on 02 6670 2400, chat to us online or email us on tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au. Any issues can be reported online via our Report a Problem webpage or direct message us on Facebook.

Keep up to date with closures and service impacts on Council’s COVID-19 Emergency Dashboard.

For the latest on regional and rural restrictions, including stay-at-home rules, visit the NSW Government website at nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions.

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