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Local News

St Florian’s Day accolades for our fire fighting heroes

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

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

Veteran nurse debunks claims Tweed Hospital is ‘Falling over in a screaming heap.’

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Veteran nurse debunks claims Tweed Hospital is ‘Falling over in a screaming heap.’

Veteran nurse debunks claims Tweed Hospital is ‘Falling over in a screaming heap.’

Speaking to The Northern Rivers Times on the condition of anonymity, an experienced nurse at Tweed Hospital has moved to counter some media claims the hospital is falling apart.

The nurse said the belief “Tweed Hospital has no Covid diagnosis equipment” is simply not true with Rapid Antigen Tests continuing this week for patients.  Hospital staff were also being tested at Tweed hospital.

“They still do ‘rapids’, definitely, and the results are back in half an hour,” the nurse said.

The nurse was concerned media hype did not tell the everyday story of life on hospital wards, which the nurse said were generally well-staffed and if quiet, saw some nurses redeployed to other wards.  The nurse said it was not unusual to have staff shortages anyway at this time of year or staff doing paid overtime.

“Hospital administration is still allowing people to go on annual leave, if it was in dire straits, why aren’t all the hierarchy back, they would be back if it was so bad.”

“A & E (Accident and Emergency) is certainly stretched with Covid admissions who should be staying home .. but it certainly isn’t falling apart.”

The nurse said managers and nurse unions have had ‘plenty of time’ to prepare for covid emergencies like now, including ensuring fit-testing of N95 or P2 respirators, mandatory for all frontline staff and an area lagging at Tweed Hospital.

“They could’ve planned better for this,” the nurse observed, “ .. it should’ve been done earlier.”

The experienced nurse was quick to add that negative commentary was not helpful for staff morale at a time like this.

“What we need to do is boost people up, encourage them to keep going, that we will get through this.  It’s all too easy to criticise,” the veteran nurse said.

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Business News NSW Northern Rivers

RENT RELIEF CONTINUES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

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RENT RELIEF CONTINUES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

RENT RELIEF CONTINUES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Small businesses who are still doing it tough across the State will continue to benefit from rent relief until 13 January 2022, ensuring ongoing support for small businesses over the Christmas and New Year’s Period.
Treasurer Matt Kean said as the economic recovery continues, many small businesses are still not back at their pre-COVID turnover and rent is still one of their biggest fixed costs.

“Small business is the engine room of our economy and as we recover from the pandemic we need to make sure we leave no one behind and support impacted businesses as they continue to recover,” Mr Kean said.
“Continuing rent relief measures for impacted small businesses will provide a necessary buffer to allow businesses time to get back on their feet and begin to thrive again.”

The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 rent relief provisions will continue for eligible businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million, a more targeted level of support from the previous turnover threshold of $50 million.
Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said landlords will still be required to negotiate rent relief with eligible commercial and retail tenants that are experiencing a turnover decline of 30 per cent or more.

“Lockdown may be over but there are still small businesses, particularly in our CBDs, that are facing a slower recovery and are continuing to do it tough,” Mr Tudehope said.

“As the State continues to transition out of lockdown, 97 per cent of NSW businesses will retain access to COVID-19 rent relief provisions if they continue to experience a significant decline in turnover.”

Small commercial and retail tenants that would have continued to meet the eligibility criteria for JobSaver or the Micro-business Grant, after ending on 30 November, will remain eligible for rent relief negotiations with their landlords.
Under the Regulation, landlords are required to negotiate rent relief having regard to National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct. As a starting point, rent relief should be proportionate with eligible tenant’s decline in turnover, with at least 50 per cent in the form a waiver, and the balance a deferral.
Landlords can access the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund, which currently provides small commercial or retail landlords with a monthly grant up to the value of any rental relief provided, to a maximum of $3,000 per month per property.
Alternatively, land tax relief is available for eligible commercial landowners who have reduced their tenants’ rent due to COVID-19, between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021. The reduction in land tax payable is the lesser of:

  • the amount of rent reduction provided to an eligible tenant for any period between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, or
  • 100 per cent of the land tax attributable to the parcel of land leased to that tenant.

For more information on rent relief visit: Commercial leases https://www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au/get-help/covid-19/commercial-leases-and-covid-19-faqs
For more information on COVID-19 assistance for commercial and residential landlords visit: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-businesses/covid-19-assistance-commercial-and-residential-landlords

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Health News

Pharmacists ready with Moderna boosters but services must be sustainable

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The Northern Rivers own newspaper

Pharmacists ready with Moderna boosters but services must be sustainable

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement that Moderna’s SPIKEVAX vaccine has been provisionally approved as a booster dose for Australians aged 18 years and above.

Yesterday, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) confirmed that a second vaccine will be available for the National Booster Program.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, acknowledged further enablement of the pharmacist workforce.

“With the National Booster Program well underway, this move is timely – one that provides Australians with greater vaccine choice in the lead up to early 2022 when the majority of the population becomes eligible for their booster dose.

“This announcement, coupled with Monday’s provisional approval of Pfizer for Australians aged 5-11 years, marks a week of significant progress in the pandemic response and PSA commends the Government’s approach to making these decisions.

“This development now means that the potential number of pharmacists offering booster vaccinations across Australia has more than doubled, accounting for those already participating in the Moderna program.

“However, it is imperative that pharmacists are paid fairly, and at least equally to other providers, otherwise the provision of this critical service is not sustainable. With 2.3 million children becoming eligible for vaccination, extra consultation time will be required to undertake appropriate assessment and consenting, placing further strain on service sustainability.

“Pharmacists have already administered over 2.5 million vaccinations to Australians, and as mass vaccination hubs continue to downscale their operations over the coming months, pharmacists will become an even more critical part of the vaccination strategy,” he said.

PSA is dedicated to supporting Australian pharmacist immunisers through the National Booster Program and will continue to work closely with the TGA and ATAGI to ensure pharmacists are equipped with the most up-to-date advice regarding vaccine safety and effectiveness.

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