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The Northern Rivers Times News Edition 107
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The Northern Rivers Times Rural News Edition 107
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NSW Breaking News

STATE-FIRST STRATEGY TO SECURE FUTURE OF NSW GROUNDWATER

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STATE-FIRST STRATEGY TO SECURE FUTURE OF NSW GROUNDWATER

The NSW Government today released the draft NSW Groundwater Strategy, the state’s first-ever long-term roadmap for the sustainable management of its vast and precious groundwater resources.

Kaia Hodge, Executive Director Water Strategy and Policy for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, said the strategy will be on display until 14 August giving the community an opportunity to have its say.

“Groundwater is essential to the people, businesses and environment of NSW, and this strategy will ensure our communities have the groundwater resources they need into the long-term future,” Ms Hodge said.

“More than 250 regional towns across our state rely on groundwater for their day-to-day water needs.

“Groundwater directly contributes nearly $1 billion to our yearly economy by supporting the agricultural sector and other industries, and groundwater supplies close to 10 per cent of NSW’s drinking water.

“First Nations people and Aboriginal communities also have deep cultural and social connections to groundwater, which plays a key role in their caring for Country.

“This is a vital resource that we need to manage sustainably and protect, especially as we face challenges like a more variable climate, and more pressure on our resources as our towns and cities continue to grow, particularly off the back of the pandemic.”

The draft NSW Groundwater Strategy is a priority action under the NSW Water Strategy and builds on 30 years of world-leading groundwater management, further refining the state’s existing and robust groundwater framework.

Using the latest available science, it will set the strategic direction for groundwater management over the next 20 plus years, putting actions in place to secure its continuing quality and supply.

It will also bolster recognition of Aboriginal people’s rights to access and use groundwater, and for the first time, culturally significant and valuable sites that are groundwater-dependent will be recognised and protected.

“Our state has more than 450 groundwater sources from which more than 3,000 billion litres of water could be extracted for use every year – including for cultural use, critical needs, and town water supply. That’s 1.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water,” Ms Hodge said.

“About 6.5 million hectares, or about eight per cent of the state’s land surface, contains valuable ecosystems which are dependent on groundwater – including many wetlands, springs and lakes that support our unique plant and animal species.

“But some of these sources are becoming more vulnerable, especially as water from rivers becomes scarcer as our climate changes.

“We must act now to future-proof these precious resources, and I urge all members of the community and stakeholders to have their say to help us finalise the strategy.”

The draft NSW Groundwater Strategy will be on display from 5 July to 14 August. As part of the exhibition process there will be webinars held during July.

For more information and to register your attendance visit: https://water.dpie.nsw.gov.au/plans-and-programs/nsw-groundwater-strategy

Health News

FREE FLU SHOTS FOR ALL EXTENDED TO 17 JULY

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FREE FLU SHOTS FOR ALL EXTENDED TO 17 JULY

Free flu shots for NSW residents will be extended until 17 July amid concerns
vaccination rates are still not where they should be.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the latest data shows only one in four children aged
under five has had a flu shot, while the figures are even lower for kids aged five to 15.
“It’s really worrying that just over 18 per cent of children and teenagers have had a flu
jab and for kids aged six months to five years, the figure is 25 per cent,” Mr Hazzard
said.
“These numbers are particularly concerning given in the last month, four times as many
kids have been admitted to Sydney’s two children’s hospitals with flu than with COVID.”
Mr Hazzard urged families to use the school holidays to book in for a free flu shot.
“It only takes a few minutes to get a flu jab but that time could mean the difference
between you or one of your loved ones ending up in ICU so please, book in today,” Mr
Hazzard said.
The uptake of the influenza vaccine in adults is equally worrying, with less than 40 per
cent of 50 to 65 year olds and only 64 per cent of those aged over 65 having a flu jab.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged more people to come forward for their
influenza vaccination to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations.
“More than 1,000 people presented to our EDs with flu-like illness last week and almost
165 were so unwell they were admitted, including very young children,” Dr Chant said.
“Please take advantage of the offer of the free vaccination to protect yourself against
the flu this winter. There is plenty of supply and appointments available at GPs and
pharmacies.”
The low uptake in Sydney’s west and south-west continues to be of concern, so too in
parts of far northern NSW and the State’s central west.

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NSW Breaking News

ABORIGINAL FLAG TO FLY ON SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

ABORIGINAL FLAG TO FLY ON HARBOUR BRIDGE

The Aboriginal flag will fly permanently on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge following NAIDOC week celebrations, completing a commitment made by the NSW Government earlier this year.

“From today, one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks will celebrate our Indigenous people and provide an everyday reminder of our nation’s rich history,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Our nation’s story is rich and enduring and flying the Aboriginal flag permanently above the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a celebration and acknowledgment of that.

“Honouring this commitment is part of our ongoing commitment to recognise the history, culture, excellence and achievements of Aboriginal people and is a fitting end to NAIDOC week 2022.”

The NSW State Flag remains a vital part of our heritage and this will be showcased in a place of prominence as part of the revitalisation of the Macquarie St East precinct redevelopment.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin said the $25 million announced in the NSW Budget to place a permanent third flag pole on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will instead be allocated towards indigenous initiatives.

“This builds on the NSW Government’s commitment to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people across NSW, following a $716 million investment in this year’s Budget to prioritise Closing the Gap initiatives,” Mr Franklin said.

“I am proud to be part of the Government that will permanently fly the Aboriginal flag above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I am happy that a further investment will be made to deliver real outcomes for Aboriginal people across NSW.”

Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward said this is the right decision to ensure the flag can be flown permanently as quickly as possible, whilst recognising the significance of the Aboriginal flag.

“As has been outlined all along, the process of installing a third flagpole high above one of the busiest traffic corridors in Australia was always going to be difficult and this decision ensures the Aboriginal flag can remain permanently,” Mrs Ward.

“The Macquarie Street East precinct redevelopment will now be expanded to include a prominent NSW State flag, which recognises the important and rich history of Macquarie Street to the heritage of NSW.”

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Northern Rivers Local News

Second diphtheria case identified in Northern NSW

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Second diphtheria case identified in Northern NSW

The North Coast Public Health Unit has confirmed a second case of diphtheria of the throat, in a six year old child in Northern NSW.

This child is a close family contact of the first case announced yesterday. The child, who was not vaccinated against diphtheria, is currently being cared for at a Northern NSW Local Health District hospital, where they were admitted as a precaution.

The children’s close contacts have received post exposure prophylaxis, which can include antibiotics and immunisation, to reduce the risk of transmission.

Diphtheria is a contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread mainly through respiratory droplets during close contact with a person who has the bacteria.

While no other cases of throat diphtheria have been reported in NSW since the 1990s, on rare occasions other less serious cases of diphtheria have been reported, mainly involving the skin.

Dr Paul Douglas, Director North Coast Public Health, said the risk to the broader community is low.

“However this is a very serious disease and can be fatal, so families should be alert and review the immunisation status of their children on the Australian Immunisation Register or with their medical provider, to ensure they are update with all vaccinations,” Dr Douglas said.

“Diphtheria is very rare in Australia due to our longstanding childhood immunisation program.

“The diphtheria vaccination is free and readily available from your GP for everyone from six weeks of age. It is important that everyone keeps up to date with their vaccinations.”

Immunisation prevents against severe diphtheria, and is included in the Australian Childhood Immunisation program. In Australia, children are vaccinated at six weeks, four months, six months, 18 months, four years, and at the beginning of high school. In adulthood, diphtheria vaccine is included with tetanus and pertussis vaccines in the DTPa vaccines, which are recommended for adults every 10 years and in pregnancy.

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