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Richmond Valley Council Australia Day Awards recipients



Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Richmond Valley Council Australia Day Awards recipients

Each year our nation celebrates the achievement and contribution of Australians through the Australian of the Year Awards.

They inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Australia and for us, a better Richmond Valley.

The efforts made by these individuals to excel in sports, to volunteer, to lead, educate or inspire the Richmond Valley community is to be commended.

All nominations were assessed and judged by an Australia Day selection panel consisting of five members of the Richmond Valley community.

The first category is Young Sportsperson of the Year. I would like to call on Mayor Robert Mustow to come forward and announce the winner and to present a gift.

This was a difficult decision to make and we received some wonderful nominations. However, the sporting talent and commitment of this young individual goes far beyond their years. I have the pleasure to announce the Young Sportsperson of the Year Award goes to:

Abbie Yourell

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Abbie Yourell

Abbie is a dedicated young lady who trains hard, swims hard and gives everything to the sport of Open Water Swimming. She loves competing and representing the sport at a local, State and National level.

Abbie started training and competing at swim club when she was four years old. At the age of 10, she started competing in Mini Ocean swims at Yamba and Byron Bay, and also competing for the Evans Head Casino Surf Lifesaving Club at Nipper Carnivals.

Abbie is a keen member of the Evans Head Casino Surf Life Saving Club and has been the Evans Head Casino Niperette of the Year for the past three years for her sporting abilities, volunteering and contribution to the club.

Last year was a long and difficult year for athletes – training was interrupted, events were cancelled, but through it all Abbie has shown tremendous resilience.

In early January of 2021, Abbie competed and came second at the Yamba Ocean Swim in the 12-15 year old girls 2km race and 10th overall female competitor.

After competing at NSW State Open Water 5m race in Sydney in late January, where she did a massive seven minute personal best and finished 11th place, Abbie’s training increased to nine sessions a week to be ready for the rescheduled Swimming Australia National Open Water Championships, which were held on the Sunshine Coast.

Abbie is a quiet but determined young woman who strives to be the best she can be at everything she does. She is a high achiever in all aspects of life and is always striving to improve and help others achieve their goals.

Richmond Valley Council congratulates you. This award is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community.

We will now move on to the Richmond Valley Australia Day Sportsperson of the Year Award.

We only received one nomination in this category, yet it was for a very worthy sportsman. The winner for Sportsperson of the Year is:

Noah King

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Noah King

Noah has been the Casino Cougars most consistent player for the past three seasons. His is dedicated, leads by example and has the respect of his teammates.

Noah is a committed club person who puts his hand up to assist whenever he can. His performance on the field is outstanding and was awarded all major awards for the Casino RSM Cougars in 2021.

Noah was selected in the Northern Rivers Titan Opens Representative Side and was rewarded with a train and trial contract with the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.

Noah is a dedicated and good role model for the Casino RSM Cougars Juniors and is respected by his teammates and opposition.
Richmond Valley Council congratulates you. This award is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community.

Our next award is for Young Volunteer of the Year.

Volunteering at such a young age is a credit to youth in our community. It is generally a thankless service which helps the people in our Valley greatly and contributes in making this area one of the greatest to be part of. The recipient has not only given invaluable time to the community but to those younger than him within the volunteer organisation.

The winner of Young Volunteer of the Year is:

Jacob Yourell

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Jacob Yourell

Jacob is an outstanding young volunteer in all aspects of the Evans Head Casino Surf Life Saving Club. He is an active patrol member, provides water safety at Nippers and carnivals and helps with fundraising.

Jacob has been a member of Evans Head Casino Surf Club since 2007. He began as a Nipper, and then continued to gain his Surf Rescue Certificate and Bronze Medallion and became a patrolling member of the club.

Jacob is a well-mannered, polite, and a respectful young man with great family values.

Jacob has been patrolling now for six seasons and has matured into a highly valued member of his patrol team. He is a strong swimmer, excels on the rescue board and has courage in the surf.

To ease the burden on its members, Evans Head Casino SLSC has a structure of voluntary patrols throughout the season and top of his normal patrols, Jacob committed to a third of those patrols, including a good part of Christmas Day, amassing 69 hours of patrol.
On patrol, Jacob is always looking at being engaged in the water, communicating effectively with his Patrol Captain and other team members.

He has a sense of wanting to give back to Nippers and regularly provides water safety to ensure their activities are not only safe, but fun for all involved.

Despite having many of his own personal barriers, Jacob’s steadfast commitment to the success of Evans Head Casino Surf Life Saving Club is apparent to all members, and he is a valued asset to the Surf Club and the community he lives in.

Richmond Valley Council congratulates you on your nomination, which is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community.

Our next award is for Volunteer of the Year

Again, this was a difficult category and these individuals have contributed significantly to the community through volunteering. The amount of time and effort these individuals put in across a wide variety of needs is astonishing. You are all worthy of this award. The winner for Volunteer of the Year is:

Dorothy Sullivan

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Dorothy Sullivan

Dorothy is a long standing and highly motivated local volunteer with a drive and capacity to help and support other organisations and local formal and informal groups. Dorothy’s volunteering commitment is to be commended as it spans more than 50 years in the Richmond Valley.

For the past eight years Dorothy has been a volunteer at the Casino Historical Society, where she is the Bulletin Editor and administrator of the Facebook page promoting the museum.

Along with her many volunteer hours on the roster she also fundraises through raffles and barbecues, as well as researching history.

Dorothy has written three books, two family and one published on The Mayors of Casino from 1880 to present, which resides in the museum.

Dorothy has had many volunteer roles over the 50+ years, including P&C committees, school canteens, Casino Show Society, of which she is a life member, the Anglican Op Show for more than 30 years, Westpac Rescue Helicopter for 10 years, Casino Beef Week for more than 30 years and Friends of Windara for more than 20 years.

She assists organisations in a wide variety of ways, including administration of Facebook pages for Casino and District Historical Society, Northern Rivers Military Museum and Good Old Days in and Around Casino.

Dorothy is a highly respected, reliable, hardworking, and trusted member of the community.

Richmond Valley Council congratulates you on your nomination, which is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community.

Our next award is for Young Citizen of the Year.

This person, although young, has shown leadership and commitment to our country. Their achievements are outstanding and beyond their years. This person is an amazing representative for our youth in rural NSW and looks to have an amazing career ahead of them. The winner for Young Citizen of the Year is:

Isabella Ennever

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Isabella Ennever

Isabella has exhibited excellence and outstanding dedications to her passions of education, gender equality, community involvement and STEM over many years.

She has been an enthusiastic representative of the Richmond Valley through sporting, cultural and science pursuits. After overcoming many personal hardships, Isabella’s perseverance and continued application to her educational goals and aspirations should be acknowledged and recognised.

Isabella has been recognised locally through the Southern Cross University Deputy Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence and the Casino High School’s P&C Student of the Year Award.
Her academic success eventuated in her obtaining the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship with the Public Education Foundation, a scholarship with the Harding Miller Education Foundation, a scholarship with the Youth of the Streets Foundation and, most recently, a Susan and Isaac Wakil Scholarship.

Her academic awards illustrate her hard work, but also demonstrates the many available pathways for other young rural people to fulfil their potential.

Isabella has been a positive ambassador for the Richmond Valley through participation in the National Youth Science Forum and Professor Henry Messel International Science School, providing a role model to encourage other young, rural individuals to strive for excellence in education. Within these prestigious programs, Isabella has represented the Richmond Valley with integrity and excellence.

Through adversity and challenges, Isabella has excelled in many facets of her adolescent life, proving her endurance and determination to achieve her goals. She demonstrates the resilient, adaptable character of the Richmond Valley and shares the community values central to the organisations she is involved in.

Richmond Valley Council congratulates you on your nomination, which is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community.

Our last but by no means least award to be presented is Citizen of the Year.

Nominees in this category lead from in front and are evidently passionate about the place they live and we, as a community thank them. This was an extremely difficult decision to make and this year there are two winners. The first winner of Citizen of the Year is:

Michael Pontefract

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Michael Pontefract

Michael gives unselfishly to the community through many organisations in the Richmond Valley. He is someone who embodies community values, spirit and civic pride.

This award is to recognise Michael’s long-term and sustained commitment to the communities he has lived in over the past 40 years and, in particular, the communities of Casino and Evans Head for the past 15 years.

Last year was Michael’s 40th year as an active patrolling lifesaver. Michael is a trainer and assessor across all awards within surf life saving and 2021 was Michael’s 30th year as a Training Officer and 32nd year as an assessor. He is as passionate today about providing quality training, particularly power craft, as what he was when he first started.
For the past eight years Michael has been the Captain of Evans Head Casino Surf Life Saving Club. He is a member of the Surf Life Saving Far North Coast Board of Education, a position he has retained for 15 years.

He is the only Rescue Jet Ski workplace trainer and assessor north of Woolgoolga, training every operator in the region from Yamba to Kingscliff.

For the past nine years Michael has been the Carnival and Competition Coordinator for Casino Swimming Club and before this was treasurer for seven years.

Michael is also the Coordinator and Treasurer of the Charcoal Inn Charity Club, a role he has undertaken for the past 14 years.

Michael has been recognised over the past three years as the Far North Coast Life Saver of the Year, Facilitator of the Year and the prestigious President’s Medal. He was most recently recognised as Surf Life Saving’s NSW Patrol Captain of the Year.

Michael is someone who embodies what community service is all about and lives these principles and values every day. Ultimately, he ensures everybody feels included, has a role to play and feels like they belong.

Richmond Valley Council congratulates you. This award is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community. Your can-do attitude, professionalism and commitment to the people of the Richmond Valley makes you a worthy recipient of the Richmond Valley Citizen of the Year.

The second winner for Citizen of the Year is:

Patrick Power

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Patrick Power

Pat has given outstanding service to the community of Casino as a school teacher, serving as a medical officer for Casino Rugby for 43 years, acting as a mentor for young players, supporting the Casino Women’s Rugby team, as well as also playing rugby for many years.

In 1978, Pat began as a project officer with the then Casino Youth Group at the El Gronda Theatre site. This operated after school hours and Pat was working full time as a school teacher at Casino Public School at the time.
As a teacher at Casino Public School, Pat introduced junior rugby to the sporting curriculum and coached the team for seven years. He was an educational leader in personal development and a curriculum innovator. Pat was playing rugby for Casino at the time and continued to play for many years.

In 1980 Pat introduced the award for the Casino Junior Rugby Player of the Year, that award still exists, and Pat presents the trophy each year at the Casino Rugby Union Club end of year presentations. Pat still encourages young men to rise above themselves in giving back to the community.

For his service to the club in Casino, Pat was honored with a testimonial dinner in 2010.

Pat has also been a fundraiser for the Heart Foundation, St Vincent’s De Paul and the Red Shield Appeal.

Pat has given numerous motivational talks to younger rugby players and has taken a great interest in their personal development and character training, encouraging them to be the best player they can be and as a result, many young players – both male and female – have gone on to represent the Far North Coast. Pat is proud of the young men and women he has mentored and still attends all home games of the club.

Richmond Valley Council congratulates you. This award is recognition of your invaluable contribution to our community. Your can-do attitude, professionalism and commitment to the people of the Richmond Valley makes you a worthy recipient of the Richmond Valley Citizen of the Year.

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards recipients

We would like to acknowledge all the wonderful nominees who we received as part of the Richmond Valley Australia Day Awards and ask as your name is called to please come up and accept your certificates.

• Hayden Griffen
• Travis Dhu
• Graeme Rooney
• Teena Redman
• Terry Smith
• Iris Hobbins
• Jackson Whitney
• Mark Scofield and
• Fiona White

Northern Rivers Local News





NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News


Labor Candidate for Page Patrick Deegan today confirmed his support for an increase to the minimum wage for Northern NSW workers.

“The real wages of ordinary Australians are going down under the Morrison-Joyce Government,” Patrick Deegan said.

“Inflation is now steaming ahead at 5.1 per cent. Everything is going up, except for wages.

“That’s why I fully support Anthony Albanese’s call for an increase to the minimum wage, and agree that the minimum wage should go up in line with inflation.

“An increase to the minimum wage of around 5 per cent would equate to just one dollar an hour. It would be a modest increase, but it is desperately needed by many people in Northern NSW who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Patrick Deegan said Northern NSW included some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

“For many people in our region, life on the minimum wage is not an abstract concept. It is their lived reality.

“These are the people who suffer most when governments choose to pursue policies that intentionally drive down wages.

“That’s why so many felt deflated when the Prime Minister claimed an increase to the minimum wage that matched inflation would be ‘incredibly reckless’.

“Let’s get this straight: a small increase to minimum wage would help people to pay for their rent, for their petrol and their food. It would be anything but reckless.”

Patrick Deegan called on Member for Page Kevin Hogan to support low-paid workers in Northern NSW by also backing the call for an increase to the minimum wage.

“Kevin Hogan has been missing in action on the issue of pay and the cost of living. The people of Northern NSW need to know where he stands.”

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2022 Floods

Byron Shire Flood Update – 1:00pm Wednesday 30 March 




NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Byron Shire Flood Update – 1:00pm Wednesday 30 March 


Residents and businesses in many parts of the Byron Shire, especially Byron Bay and Suffolk Park, have been affected by flooding with heavy rainfall across the region overnight.  

Rainfall figures released by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) show Coopers Shoot recorded 319mm of rain to 9am this morning (30 March 2022) with 282mm at Byron Bay. 

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms remains in place. 

Moderate flooding is also possible along the Brunswick River at Mullumbimby and along the Marshalls Creek at Billinudgel early this afternoon.  

All available Council staff are at work, although many have also been impacted by the rain and flooding.   

For links to all the latest information from the SES, BoM and Council go to our Emergency Dashboard. 

Our Facebook page has loads of information as well. 



At 11:30 am, we have 37 reported road closures and a significant number of flood cautions issued across our network in Byron Shire. 

The M1 is closed southbound at Tyagarah. 

Significant flash flooding has been experienced in the Byron town centre and industrial estate. 

The flash flooding experienced in Lawson, Jonson Street and surrounds has been unprecedented. Traffic controls have been in place since early this morning.  

Shirley Street is closed at Kendall Street and Ewingsdale Road is closed near Belongil Bridge at Sunrise Boulevard, police are on the scene. 

We also have a landslip reported at Broken Head Road near the Coast Road and emergency services have been on site this morning. There is another landslip reported at Bangalow Road that remains inaccessible to emergency services. 

Suffolk Park experienced significant flash flooding overnight, a number of roads remain cut off here. 

New Brighton Road is closed near the intersection of Redgate Road. 

The majority of our major hinterland roads remain cut off and inaccessible, with crews unable to further inspect the damage in these areas. We have been advised by locals a new landslip has occurred at Wilsons Creek Road. We will provide updates on this when they come to hand. 

We’ve received reports of a number of trees down, blocking roads across our network, many in areas we are still unable to access. 

Evacuation Centres


The Cavanbah Centre Byron Bay was opened as an Evacuation Centre this morning by the lead agencies (Department of Communities and Justice and Northern Rivers NSW SES). 
We are aware getting to the Cav is a challenge at the moment because of road closures. Check MyRoadInfo to see what roads are open and closed.  

Water and Sewer


All available staff are working on the water and sewer network across the Shire. 

Any urgent problems with water, sewer and drainage should be reported to our Depot staff on 02 6685 9300. 

Non-urgent problems can be reported via Report It on our website. 

Drinking water and water for household use 

There is currently no problem with water supply in the Byron Shire and the water is safe to drink and for household use.  

Our water treatment plant at Mullumbimby is still off-line but we have enough water reserved and we have also turned on the emergency connection to the Rous County Council water supply. 

There are no water restrictions but we do ask that people use water sparingly until the flood water recedes and operations return to normal. 


Heavy rain yesterday and overnight is continuing to have an impact on our sewer system and our network is under pressure from the large amount of water flowing into pump stations around the Shire. 

Staff are doing all they can but they can’t get to some sites because of flooding.  Once the rain stops and water subsides we will get to all the affected areas. 


Everyone should stay out of stormwater.  This is the water in the streets and coming up through the drains. 

Stormwater is dirty and often contaminated with sewer run-off and other substances that are harmful to our health.  

For more information about the danger of stormwater go to the NSW Health website. 


Due to the severe weather and issues with access, Byron Resource Recovery Centre, the tip, is closed today. 

Kerbside bins will be collected on your normal bin collection day. There may be some delay to collections if access has been limited due to road closure and flooding. 

Flooding through Byron township has resulted in multiple vehicles getting inundated and large quantities of floating rubbish. This area will be a primary focus for our crews clean-up once water levels drop.


Areas that we have not been able to collect are: 

·        Byron Industrial Estate 

·        Skinners Shoot Road  

·        Shirley Lane   


Flood recovery clean-up is on hold. 


Visit Flood clean up and waste for more information. 

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2022 Floods

Severe Weather Conditions in Ballina Shire – Avoid Unnecessary Travel




NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Severe Weather Conditions in Ballina Shire – Avoid Unnecessary Travel




The Lennox Head Cultural Centre is open today as an evacuation centre for anyone seeking shelter from the severe weather and flash flooding.


Please only travel to the centre if it is safe to do so. If you are currently safe in your home, it is still the best option to stay where you are and stay off the roads if possible.


For emergency help in floods and storms call the SES on 132 500.



Residents are strongly urged to avoid travel today.


The Pacific Highway is closed from Wardell to Tintenbar, between Coolgardie Road and Tamarind Drive. This means the Cumbalum Interchange remains closed as well as the Interchange at West Ballina. River Street in West Ballina is also currently closed due to floodwaters.


The Burns Point Ferry remains CLOSED until further notice.


Due to access and safety restrictions Ballina Shire Council staff cannot inspect and signpost all urban roads. As soon as it is safe to do so our crews will complete inspections and Council will post updates to Please be aware of changing conditions in your local area.



Anyone needing to collect sandbags should lodge a request with SES by calling 132 500.



The Recovery Centre at the Ballina Surf Club remains closed today due to the severe weather. The Recovery Centre will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Flood-impacted residents can still access support by calling the Service NSW hotline on 13 77 88.


Minimise water use

If you hear your toilet gurgling, it is expected during the extreme weather we are currently experiencing.

The current high rainfall and tidal impacts are putting extreme pressure on our pump stations and wastewater network.

Council crews are doing all they can to clear the excess backlog but they’re up against it in the current conditions.

To assist us please minimise your water use such as bathing/showering, washing and toilet flushing.

If residents experience problems with sewage entering their home please contact Council on 1300 864 444.


Bin collection

Council’s Resource Recovery Team will be unable to complete collections today, Wednesday 30 March due to flooding.

Missed collections are expected to be rescheduled for Saturday 2 April 2022. Where safe to do so, residents can leave their bins out for recollection.


Missing bins
If you are in need of a bin replacement, please log a request via the Community Portal on or call 1300 864 444 for our team to log your request.


Waste Management Centre Closed

The Waste Management Centre on Southern Cross Drive is closed today due to staff not being able to access the site. It will reopen tomorrow if it is safe to do so.


Ballina Byron Gateway Airport

Commercial flights have been cancelled today and access roads are flooded. Passengers should not to travel to the airport today and should contact their airline directly for flight information.

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