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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

Changed traffic conditions for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

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NSW Northern Rivers Local News & Events

Changed traffic conditions for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions on the Pacific Highway and local roads from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, weather permitting.

There will be no roadwork on the Pacific Highway between Kew and the Queensland border from 6am Friday 25 June to 6am Monday 28 June due to the high traffic volume expected for the school holidays.
From Monday, there will be four days of work next to the Pacific Highway at Coolgardie to carry out vegetation maintenance. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 7am and 3pm.
Also from Monday, there will be up to four days of work on the Pacific Highway between Broadwater and Devils Pulpit to install and remove signage and carry out maintenance and finishing work. Motorists can expect lane closures, traffic control, short stoppages and a reduced speed limit at times between 6am and 6pm.
The northbound U-turn near Swan Bay New Italy Road will be temporarily closed on Monday and Wednesday, with Thursday as a contingency if required. The next available U-turn for northbound motorists is less than two kilometres north near Whites Road.
Further south from Monday, there will be up to four days of work on the Pacific Highway between Harwood and the Pillar Valley to carry out survey monitoring, vegetation maintenance and fencing. Motorists can expect lane and shoulder closures, traffic control, short stoppages and a reduced speed limit at times between 6am and 6pm.

Additional changes to local roads

From Monday, there will be four days of work on Woodburn Evans Head Road, Woodburn to carry out survey monitoring. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
Also from Monday, there will be five days of work on Swan Bay New Italy Road, New Italy to carry out private access work. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
From Thursday, there will be two days of work on the former Pacific Highway, near the Woodburn interchange to carry out private access work. Motorists can expect shoulder closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

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Local News

Changed traffic conditions on Big River Way at South Grafton

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Changed traffic conditions on Big River Way at South Grafton

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions from next week on Big River Way at South Grafton to carry out safety improvement work near Heber Street.

Work will be carried out from Monday 21 June to widen the road shoulder on a 200 metre section of road to allow for improved traffic movements around the intersection.

Work will be carried out from 7am to 6pm on weekdays and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, and is expected to take two weeks to complete, weather permitting.

The northern access to Heber Street will be closed for the duration of the project, with a detour in place during this time.

Traffic control and a reduced speed limit will be in place for the safety of workers and motorists.

Delays of up to five minutes may be experienced and motorists are advised to allow extra travel time, drive to the conditions, and follow the directions of signs and traffic control..

Transport for NSW thanks motorists for their patience during this time.

For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

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Local News

Long awaited good news on the Ag Visa

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Agriculture Minister David Littleproud

Long awaited good news on the Ag Visa

AUSVEG, the peak industry body for the Australian vegetable industry, has welcomed the announcement that the Federal Government will make a new agriculture work visa available to all 10 countries across South-East Asia.

The new visa would provide a wider pool of workers available to Australian agriculture from the UK and the ten ASEAN countries and will help to meet ongoing seasonal workforce gaps that continue through the pandemic.

According to the announcement from Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the new seasonal agricultural worker visa would mirror the existing Seasonal Worker Programme and will add to the pool of workers available to work on Australian farms.

“The horticulture industry has been calling for a dedicated and productive workforce for many years and this morning’s announcement is great news for the sector,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle.

“Growers require access to a productive, reliable and competent workforce and while Working Holiday Makers will always have a role to play within our industry, giving growers and workers a pathway to primarily work on-farm should be seen as a major step froward for the development of the horticulture sector.”

“The ASEAN countries are some of our closest trading partners, so extending the Agriculture Visa to these countries makes economic sense and demonstrates our commitment in helping our regional neighbours.”

“What we need now is timely action to get this visa class up and running so that we can start bringing in workers as soon as possible when borders open up and international workers are able to enter the country.”

“While we await more details around the visa arrangements for this visa class, we understand the new visa will build on the successful Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visas that have proved invaluable to the agriculture sector over the past 12 months.”

“This announcement is a positive development in our industry’s calls for a dedicated labour source to harvest and package fruits and vegetables.”

“We look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that the agriculture-specific visa meets the needs of growing businesses around the country and provides an effective solution to the industry’s growing labour shortages.”

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