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Local News

St Florian’s Day accolades for our fire fighting heroes

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St Florian’s Day accolades for our fire fighting heroes

The accolades continue to come in recognition of the heroic and selfless efforts of the region’s fire fighters in the dark days of 2019/20.
Earlier this month, on St Florian’s Day, named after the Patron Saint of Firefighters, the NSW
Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Rob Rogers, handed out a variety of awards, recognising the efforts of groups and individuals who had gone well beyond the level of duty normally expected of them.
This year’s recipients demonstrated extreme acts of bravery in the face of horrific conditions experienced during the 2019/2020 Black Summer bush fires.
COVID-19 restrictions meant the Rural Fire Service was unable to mark this St Florian’s Day with one event to present all recipients with their awards.
On May 4 those who received he highest of honours were presented with their awards while there have been a number of regional events planned in the coming weeks for those receiving other commendations.
Earlier this year Lawrence firefighter, Deputy Captain Scott Campbell was named the Clarence Valley’s Local Hero for 2020 for his efforts during the battle against the bushfire that swept through Nymboida on November 8 and 9, 2019.
For his efforts Mr Campbell received the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.
Here is the full citation.
Deputy Group Captain Scott Campbell
Lawrence Brigade, Clarence Valley, Area North Eastern
On November 8 2019, the Liberation Trail fire impacted numerous properties near the village of Nymboida. As Divisional Commander of the Nymboida Sector, Deputy Group Captain Campbell received advice of a person trapped and responded immediately.
On arrival, Deputy Group Captain Campbell went to the aid of a distressed woman who was in a fire-damaged car in a paddock. After getting her car onto the road, he gave her directions to drive to safety and told her he would get to her husband. He then continued on to a neighbouring property, where he found the woman’s injured husband battling a shed fire.
The resident was surrounded by fire, with spot fires from the main fire front approaching from the southwest under strong winds.
Deputy Group Captain Campbell assisted the resident to fight the fire and prepare the property until he was down to approximately 100 litres of water. With the fire fast approaching and flames more than nine metres high, he made the decision to retreat to a safer area even though the resident refused to leave. After some pleading, and with the fire less than 100 metres from the house, Deputy Group Captain Campbell managed to convince the resident to get in the tanker.
As they were leaving, they drove over a small fallen tree and the vehicle was overrun with fire. With flames at least 12 metres high and fire behind them even higher, Deputy Group Captain Campbell knew their only chance was to keep going. The vehicle sustained significant damage and soon stalled. Eventually, Deputy Group Captain Campbell was able to start the tanker and continue the escape through poor visibility and extreme heat. He successfully manoeuvred the vehicle, the resident and himself to a safe area where an ambulance attended to the injured resident.
Deputy Group Captain Campbell demonstrated exceptional fortitude, bravery and acts of courage during this perilous life-threatening situation.
Deputy Group Captain Scott Campbell is a worthy recipient of the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.
In addition the Commissioner recognised the service of many other firefighters during the 2019/20 summer. Here is a list of the people and units in the North East of NSW the Commissioner recognised.
Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation Individual Senior Deputy captain Harold Gibson
Trenayr Brigade, Clarence Valley
During the 2018 and 2019/20 bushfires Senior Deputy Captain Harold Gibson proved to be an outstanding asset to the district.
He demonstrated stamina, commitment and dedication in taking on a wide range of duties day after day as a fire fighter, divisional commander and in communications support.
Deputy Captain Evan Delaforce, Tucabia Brigade
Deputy captain Evan Delaforce joined the Tucabia Brigade in 2005 and has served in a number of roles in that time. He is recognised as one of the most active members in the Clarence Valley. He continually displays selfless acts where his juggles his home and work life to make himself available to attend incident call-outs, campaign fires and out-of-area deployments.
Senior Deputy Captain Walter Murray, Mount Ramornie Brigade
Senior Deputy Captain Walter Murray joined the Mount Ramornie Brigade in 1986 and has served in his current role since 2012. During the 2019/20 fire season he was one of the most prominent volunteers who dedicated a significant amount of his time assisting with the fire fighting effort.
He was instrumental in identifying and implementing containment strategies at a number of fires.
Captain Michael Rogan, Grafton City
Captain Michael ‘Mick’ Rogan joined Grafton City Brigade in 2008 and has been its Captain since 2019. He demonstrated an exceptional amount of reliability, commitment and dedication by consistently offering to help when asked to assist. He has also been very active as a mentor and leader to brigade members, setting a great example attending out of area events and motor vehicle accidents.
Group Captain David Tucker Bonalbo Brigade
On Friday, December 6, 2019 Group Captain David Tucker was defending his property at Baryulgil from the Washpool fire. He learned the Bangala Creek fire had crossed the Clarence River, threatening the village of Bonalbo. He left the fire at his property and travelled 70km to Bonalbo. As group captain for the area, he knew he was needed and took control of the fire fighting operations to defend the village.
Commissioner’s Certificate of Commendation
Unit
Ewingar Brigade, Clarence Valley
The efforts of the Ewingar Brigade fighting the Long Gully Fire from September 22, 2019, demonstrated the members’ hard-working and resourceful nature. Several brigade members were among those who experienced significant losses, but they continued to fight fires in the region after the Long Gully Fire threat eased.
Far North Coast Brigades
The 55 members of the Far North Coast brigades deployed to Cobargo in southern NSW in January 2020, were so affected by what they saw, when they returned home, they raised more than $40,000 to assist those affected communities and committee members returned to Cobargo to help in the recovery.
Lower North Coast Brigades
The 2019/20 fire season began in early August for Lower North Coast brigade. It culminated on November 8, 2019, in some of the most severe fires seen in the region with 64 houses destroyed in Nambucca and 67 in Kempsey. The severe conditions that summer ensured these brigades were active into the next year.
Northern Rivers Brigades Busby’s Flat/Rappville Fires
The actions of the NSW RFS and other emergency services personnel during the fires of October 7 and 8 at Busby’s Flat and Rappville went well above and beyond what is expected of them. The intense pressure these firefighters worked under was above the experience ever witnessed before by the most seasoned firefighters involved.
Northern Rivers Brigades Kyogle
The Tabulam, Mallanganee, Bonalbo and Old Bonalbo brigades on the afternoon of February 12, 2019 fought a fire which started near Yellow Creek. They successfully defended the Jubullum Village. The fire in subsequent days destroyed many properties further to the north and west, but no properties were lost on that first day.
Clarence Valley Fire Control Centre Group Captain – Group 1, Trenayr, Coaldale and Copmanhurst brigades
Group Captain John Page and his crew’s bravery, skill and commitment were credited with saving lives and property during the October 8 Busby’s Flat fire. Using local knowledge the firefighters recognised two local people, Gwen Hyde and Robert Lindsay, were not accounted for. For more than two days Captain Page assisted police in the search for them.
Commissioner’s Unit Citation for Service
Far North Coast Strike Team
The Far North Coast Strike Team crew’s deployment to the October 8 Busby Flat/Rappville fires resulted in an extraordinary day of heroic action. Overall the crews demonstrated initiative and leadership qualities of the highest order.
Gulmarrad Brigade
As one of the most active brigade in the Clarence Valley, the Gulmarrad Brigade supplied an exceptional number of crews and showed remarkable stamina and commitment during the 2019/20 fire season, both within the Clarence Valley and to out-of-area deployments.
Tyringham Brigade
The Clarence Valley, New England and Northern Tablelands Local Government areas were adversely impacted by fire from July 2019 to January 2020.
During this bush fire emergency, members of the Tyringham Brigade demonstrated exceptional stamina and commitment in the effort to protect lives and property.
To read the full transcripts of the citations, an e-book is available at: https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/st-florians-day-2021 .

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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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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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