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NSW Breaking News

‘Opening up’ regions must be done safely



Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

‘Opening up’ regions must be done safely

By Janelle Saffin MP
State Member for Lismore

LAST month, I joined forces with four other NSW MPs representing the Northern Rivers to ask the NSW Government to protect our region from a predicted big influx of Sydneysiders when the State capital reaches the Government’s 70-per cent double vaccination target before we can.
Coming together with one voice for the communities we represent, The Nationals’ Chris Gulaptis (Clarence), Geoff Provest (Tweed) and Ben Franklin MLC, together with myself and The Greens’ Tamara Smith (Ballina) wrote to Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro about our concerns. Both Ms Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro have since resigned and are leaving politics.
We asked to adjust the roadmap to factor in regional and rural circumstances to prevent us being swamped by visitors prematurely, and in a win for us here, non-essential travel from Greater Sydney to the North Coast now will be restricted until a higher safety target of 80 per cent is reached.
It should be remembered that regional and rural New South Wales supported Sydney during its darkest hours this winter when the Government redirected some of our vaccine supply to metropolitan students sitting their HSC.
The vaccination rollout was prioritised to Sydney and from last week eligibility for all Covid-19 vaccines was opened up to all people over the age of 12. Vaccine availability is slowly improving here in our region, and not before time.
It is now our turn. We need more vaccines and more time. We have been left out of all considerations and should not have to fight so hard to get taken notice of. It took all MPs, even those in the Government, to come together to say ‘what about us here in regional and rural NSW?’ It is not all about Sydney.
I was part of a similar cross-party collaboration which secured a border zone between Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland, tested recently by some positive Covid-19 cases leaking into our region, and resultant snap lockdowns in Byron Shire and Tweed Shire LGAs (lifted at time of writing) and in Kyogle and Lismore City LGA, and the town of Casino (now in place until 11 October).
These lockdowns really hurt local businesses, families and local councils’ operations.
The filming of reality TV productions, with large casts and crews from Sydney, is inappropriate for our region at this time.
These production companies had a corporate social responsibility to Byron and Tweed shire residents to ensure that their employees adhered to permit restrictions under Covid-safe plans.
I also wrote to the Deputy Premier, in his then capacity as Minister for Regional NSW, requesting a detailed road map for opening up from Covid-19 restrictions that is more particularised to the circumstances and challenges being faced by local communities in regional areas.
The thinking behind having this road map is that hopefully it will provide much more clarity, and if implemented well, gradually replace the need to go in and out of lockdown.
However, we need to know that opening up will not mean open slather; putting our local government areas at any undue risk or disadvantage.
We need the NSW Government to be more transparent about how many residents of Greater Sydney are being issued with permits to travel to the North Coast, whether they are fully vaccinated and why they are coming.
How many others might have slipped through the net, exposing the regions to Covid outbreaks and clusters?
Subsequently, Mr Barilaro held several Zoom hook-ups with regional MPs and I believe he and other senior ministers were starting to listen to our concerns, which are shared by locally-based medical professionals and the broader community.
I pledged to work with the NSW Government to keep our communities safe and healthy, and for government financial support measures to reach struggling local businesses and individuals, particularly as the Federal Government soon will withdraw such support.

NSW Breaking News





NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News


Australian Defence Force (ADF) reservists and their civilian employers across Australia have been recognised for their contribution to Defence capability through the 2022 Prince of Wales Awards.

Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Andrew Hastie MP, said the awards are an opportunity to thank reservists and their employers, who actively support them, through funding to undertake training and professional development.

“The ADF Reserve have made a vital contribution to Defence’s assistance to the community during the bushfire crisis and the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“Reservists are a critical capability for our nation and their contribution to national security cannot be underestimated.”

Each award is granted on merit, from a competitive field of recipients. Winners will receive up to $8,000 to participate in their chosen professional development activity.

“The Prince of Wales Awards recognise the dedication of our ADF reservists and the valued support they receive from their civilian employers,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“I congratulate the Navy, Army and Air Force reservists who will have the opportunity to develop new skills and undertake additional training beneficial to their civilian careers.”

More information on Defence’s support to ADF reservists and their civilian employers, and the full list of 2022 recipients, is available at

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

NSW latest Covid update as at 30 December




NSW latest Covid update as at 30 December

To Tuesday 28 December 2021 across NSW, 95 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 93.5 per cent have received two doses.

Of the people aged 12 to 15, 81.5 per cent have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 78.1 per cent have received two doses.

The total number of vaccines administered in NSW is now 13,602,370 with 4,355,921 administered by NSW Health to 8pm last night and 9,246,449 administered by the GP network, pharmacies and other providers to 11.59pm on Tuesday 28 December 2021.

NSW Health encourages everyone who is eligible to book into a NSW Health vaccination clinic or another provider without delay through the COVID-19 vaccine clinic finder.

Booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine are now available for people aged 18 and over. We urge people to get their booster dose as soon as they are eligible, to best protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from the ongoing transmission of COVID-19. We also strongly recommend that people aged 12 years and over who are severely immunocompromised have a third primary dose of vaccine from two months after their second dose.

Sadly, NSW Health is today reporting the death of a woman in her 70s from the Central Coast who died at Wyong Hospital. She was a resident of the Hakea Grove Aged Care facility, where she acquired her infection. She was not vaccinated and had underlying health conditions. NSW Health expresses its sincere condolences to her loved ones.

There are currently 746 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 63 people in intensive care, 24 of whom require ventilation.

There were 97,201 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 157,758.

NSW recorded 12,226 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

Forty-three COVID-19 cases have been excluded following further investigation, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 166,184.
Northern Rivers COVID Cases







Testing capacity in NSW is currently under enormous pressure and the only people getting a PCR (nose and throat swab) should be those who have COVID-19 symptoms; live in a household with a confirmed COVID-19-positive case; or have otherwise been advised by NSW Health to get tested.

This applies to people who are fully or partially vaccinated, as well as those not vaccinated.

Rapid antigen testing can be an additional precaution that you can take if you are planning to socialise with large groups of people, particularly indoors, or interacting with people who are elderly or have serious health conditions. Information on how to use rapid antigen tests is available on the NSW Government website.

Around a quarter of people exposed to COVID-19 may still develop their infection after seven days. For the subsequent seven-day period, they should exercise caution and avoid high-risk settings and large indoor gatherings, and use a rapid antigen test if coming into contact with vulnerable people.

Of the 12,226 cases reported to 8pm last night, 2,229 are from South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 2,085 are from South Western Sydney LHD, 2,042 are from Western Sydney LHD, 1,767 are from Sydney LHD, 1,310 are from Northern Sydney LHD, 708 are from Hunter New England LHD, 612 are from Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, 291 are from Central Coast LHD, 247 are from Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD, 244 are from Northern NSW LHD, 120 are from Mid North Coast LHD, 107 are from Southern NSW LHD, 73 are from Western NSW LHD, 72 are from Murrumbidgee LHD, eight are from Far West LHD, three are in correctional settings, and 308 are yet to be assigned to an LHD.

If you are directed to get tested for COVID‑19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the self-isolation rules.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative test result.

There are more than 450 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 clinics or contact your GP.
COVID-19 vaccination update
COVID-19 vaccination update




* to 11.59pm 28 December 2021

** Please note: The 12 to 15-year-old vaccination rate has dropped slightly as unvaccinated children move into the 12 to 15-year-old bracket and 16-year-olds move into the 16+ age bracket. This results in small movements in age cohorts.**COVID-19 vaccination doses administered by NSW Health

* notified from 8pm 28 December 2021 to 8pm 29 December 2021

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Local News







The NSW government continues to make life easier for drivers across the State with the latest update to the Park’nPay app.

The Park’nPay app, already supported by the NRMA, has now partnered with Australia’s largest EV charging network Chargefox and parking marketplace Parkhound to provide a single seamless platform for drivers looking to plan their trips.

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said while Park’nPay already made it easier to locate and pay for parking across 10 Local Government Areas these new partnerships took the customer experience to the next level.

“This is a smart solution for a smart State,” Mr Dominello said.

“Now with just a tap of their phone, motorists can easily find and rent a privately owned carpark or search for a charging station convenient to them.

“Alongside the real-time parking availability, money saving pay-as-you-go technology and remote topping-up facility, having all this information accessible in the one place is a big win for the drivers of NSW.”

Minister for Transport and Roads Rob Stokes said the Park’nPay app will connect drivers with more than 18,000 Parkhound hosts, who are renting out their private driveways and parking spaces.

“The Parkhound feature can be used by drivers to find the perfect spot when street parking isn’t available, while giving hosts the chance to make some extra cash when their car spots would otherwise sit empty,” Mr Stokes said

“The NSW Government’s $490 million Electric Vehicle Strategy is leading the nation in the uptake of electric vehicles, and the partnership with Chargefox is a great way for EV drivers to find a parking spot and charge their vehicles at the same time.”

NRMA CEO Membership & Motoring Emma Harrington said: “Technology can play an important role in improving the driving experience for electric vehicle owners and this App supports the work NRMA is doing in making it easier to find charging stations on your journey.”

Parkhound CEO Mike Rosenbaum said he was pleased to collaborate with the NSW Government on this innovative parking solution.

“There are 100,000’s of underutilised driveways and car spaces that sit idle right across the state. Both commuters and local residents can now easily make use of these otherwise wasted spaces via the real-time data in the Park’nPay app. This will significantly ease parking congestion and save drivers from circling the block.”

CEO and Co-Founder of Chargefox Marty Andrews welcomed the opportunity to keep motorists informed about their growing network of NSW charging stations.
“The Collaboration with ParknPay means that motorists will have more visibility about EV charging infrastructure, which has been a barrier to EV uptake in the past. We look forward to adding more station locations to the app in the future as we work towards our goal of a 5,000 plug EV charging network by 2025.”

EV drivers can now locate 130 charging stations with almost 240 plugs across NSW via the map in the app, making it easier to plan trips, compare prices and identify the type of charging plug.

The Park’nPay app has a link which will direct users to Chargefox when it is time to pay.

More than 71,400 people have downloaded the Park’nPay app since its launch, with almost 94 per cent giving it a thumbs up.

For parking, the Park’nPay app is currently available in the following locations: The Rocks​, Liverpool​, Mosman​, Central Coast​, Hunters Hill​, Burwood, The Northern Beaches, Port Stephens​, Willoughby​, Armidale, and Transport for NSW Customer Carparks.

For more information, visit

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