Abbotsford Bridge Night works to start

Motorists are advised night closures on Abbotsford Bridge at Curlwaa will commence on Monday 20 September.

Night closures will start Monday 20 September for five weeks, weather permitting, to reattach and rebalance the lift span, retuning the bridge to normal operation. During this work, Abbotsford Bridge will be closed to traffic from Sunday to Thursday nights between 9pm and 6am, weather permitting.

The bridge lift span will continue to be out of operation and will reopen to maritime vessels from Saturday 23 October, weather permitting. Vessels will still be able to access under the bridge trusses while work is carried out, however, larger vessels should consider postponing their journey.

During night closures, traffic will be detoured via George Chaffey Bridge in Mildura, adding an additional 40 minutes to journeys.

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

NSW Government Business Grant Program

The NSW Government’s Business Grant Program aims to provide businesses with short-term financial support to alleviate cashflow constraints while trading is restricted.

Grants of up to $15,000 are available to eligible businesses. These grants will help businesses for the first three weeks of restrictions.

In order to account for the impacts of both the 2021 NSW and Victorian stay at home directions, the eligibility criteria for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Grants includes specific options for Southern Border businesses to demonstrate their decline in turnover.

Southern Border businesses and not-for-profits that have been impacted by the restrictions will be eligible to apply for a grant if, among other things, they experienced a decline in turnover of 30 per cent or more due to Public Health Order over a minimum two-week period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, or the same period in 2020, or the two week period immediately prior to restrictions (i.e. 12–25 June 2021 inclusive) or the two-week period immediately before the Victorian Stay at Home Directions commenced (13 May-26 May 2021).

For more information on this Grant and how to apply, constituents can visit: www.service.nsw.gov.au/2021-covid-19-business-grant-guidelines.

The Business Grant closes on 13 September 2021.

In addition to the Business Grant, the government has introduced further support measures to help businesses through the current COVID-19 outbreak. While the below measures do not have specific eligibility criteria available for Southern Border businesses, they will still support eligible businesses within Wentworth Shire. These include:

  • The 2021 COVID-19 JobSaver Payment, providing additional financial support to eligible businesses across New South Wales, from week four of restrictions. Employing businesses will receive payments equivalent to 40 per cent of their weekly payroll, with a minimum payment of $1,500 per week and a maximum payment of $100,000 per week. Non-employing businesses will receive $1,000 per week. Businesses that are eligible for the Business Grant may also be eligible for JobSaver.
  • 2021 Micro-business COVID-19 Support Grant, providing financial support to micro-businesses or sole traders with an annual turnover of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000, who have been impacted by the 2021 COVID-19 restrictions. Eligible businesses will receive $1,500 a fortnight while stay-at-home-orders are in place, without the need to re-apply.
  • Payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent or greater decline in turnover, as well as payroll tax deferrals and interest-free repayment plans.
  • Protections for commercial and retail tenants, and incentives for landlords to reduce the rent of impacted tenants. Landlords will not be able to lock out or evict impacted tenants without first negotiating rent with consideration to the National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct. There are also land tax concessions and grants available for eligible commercial landlords who provide their tenant’s rent relief.
  • A $5.1 million mental health package to support people impacted by the crisis. This is in addition to the existing mental health response to COVID-19 the Government has provided. Resources and counselling services provided by Beyond Blue, Lifeline and the Mental Health Line at 1800 011 511, offers valuable support for business owners and their employees during these challenging times.

More information about this package is available at https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-businesses.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we urge constituents to visit Service NSW for updates at: www.service.nsw.gov.au. For tailored information relating to specific circumstances, constituents can contact the Service NSW Business Concierge by calling 13 77 88 or book a call at: https://mybusiness.service.nsw.gov.au/concierge.

Please be assured the Government will continually review the need for targeted support to help keep businesses in business and ensure the State’s economy remains strong and resilient.

Wentworth Shire to come out of lockdown, NSW roadmap to COVID-19 freedom released

Wentworth Shire and other parts of regional NSW currently deemed low risk and which have seen zero COVID cases for at least 14 days will emerge from lockdown at 12:01am Saturday 11 September, but will continue to operate under restrictions to ensure the safety of regional communities.

For more information go to https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/lockdown-lifted-parts-of-regional-nsw

Meanwhile across NSW stay-at-home orders for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be lifted from the Monday after NSW passes the 70 per cent double vaccination target, under the roadmap to freedom.

The roadmap is subject to further fine-tuning and health advice if circumstances change drastically or if cases within a designated area remain too high.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said we are well on the way to hitting the 70 per cent double dose milestone which will allow the state to open up for those who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to get vaccinated – if you have not had both doses of the vaccine by the time we hit the 70 per cent milestone, you will not be able to take advantage of these freedoms,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Government has worked with industry to design this roadmap, which is our biggest incentive to get vaccinated, to reach the 70 per cent target as soon as possible.

“Our roadmap outlines the freedoms that twice vaccinated people will enjoy once we reach 70 per cent double dose which means a meal with loved ones or a drink with friends is just around the corner,” Mr Barilaro said.

Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap.
The freedoms for vaccinated adults will come into effect on the Monday after NSW hits the 70 per cent double dose target and include:

Up to five visitors will be allowed in a home where all adults are vaccinated (not
including children 12 and under).

Up to 20 people can gather in outdoor settings.

Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4sqm inside and one person per 2sqm outside, with standing while drinking permitted outside.

Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4sqm rule (unvaccinated people will continue to only be able to access critical retail).

Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4sqm, capped at five clients per premises.

Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4sqm rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.

Sporting facilities including swimming pools can reopen.

Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can reopen with one person per 4sqm, capped at 5,000 people.

Up to 500 people can attend ticketed and seated outdoor events.

Indoor entertainment and information facilities including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries can reopen with one person per 4sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity.
Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.

Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.

Churches and places of worship to open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing.

Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.

Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.

Carpooling will be permitted.

Non-vaccinated young people aged under 16 will be able to access all outdoor settings but will only be able to visit indoor venues with members of their household.

Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so.

There will be revised guidance on isolation for close and casual contacts who are fully vaccinated, with details to be provided closer to the reopening date.

Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues, including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail and business premises, on planes
and at airports.

Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask when outdoors.

Children aged under 12 will not need to wear a mask indoors.

When NSW hits the 80 per cent double dose target, the government intends to open up further freedoms around international travel, community sport, major events and other areas.

For the latest information visit nsw.gov.au/covid-19

Upgrades continue at Wentworth Aerodrome

Additional works on the Wentworth Aerodrome Upgrade commenced this week after approval from funding body Restart NSW to utilise the project’s savings to upgrade the facility’s secondary runway
These works include the construction, sealing and installation of AGL lighting to the remaining 600m length of runway 17/35 with the capacity for Code 2B aircraft.

Wentworth Aerodrome upgrade update

Council wishes to advise that works are due to commence on Runway 17/35 as part of Stage 3 of the Wentworth Aerodrome Upgrade.

Runway 17/35 will be closed to all traffic as of 7:00am on Thursday 2 September 2021.

Construction works include construction, sealing and the installation of AGL lighting of the secondary runway 17/35 with the capacity for Code 1B aircrafts.

Completion of works is anticipated for January 2022 weather permitting and subject to supply of materials and/or COVID-19 related delays.

Runway 08/26 will remain open with periodic closures where required to accommodate the construction program.

Council will endeavour to keep closures to the minimum where possible.

All aerodrome users must check the Air Services website for the latest information on the operational status of the aerodrome prior to use.

NOTAM C38/21 is available now on the Air Services website for the closure.

For more information contact Trevor Willcock, Aerodrome Manager on 03 5027 5027.

Wentworth Shire Council Donations, Contributions and Grants recipients

Over $24,000.00 has been allocated during the first round of Councils 2021/22 Donations, Contributions and Grants Program.

Successful applicants approved at the August Wentworth Shire Ordinary Council Meeting were

• Wentworth District Rowing Club

• Pooncarie Field Day Group Inc

• Wentworth Military Collection

• Sunraysia Aeromodellers Inc

• Wentworth Rifle Club

• Pomona Public School P&C Association

• Pooncarie Racing Club Inc

The program was established to assist community groups through donations, rate reductions and exemptions, fee waivers, cash grants and in-kind support.

30 August Far West Local Health District COVID-19 update

The Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) reported nine cases of COVID-19 to 8pm last night, bringing the total cases in Far West LHD up to 8pm last night to 79.

Two of today’s new cases are in Broken Hill and seven are in Wilcannia. All cases are in isolation and are being contacted regularly by NSW health staff for health and welfare checks. Follow up investigations and contact tracing is continuing.

FWLHD is calling on anyone who has been in Wilcannia in recent days to get tested regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

Anyone in the community with COVID-19 who is isolating at home is reminded they can call for an ambulance if they are concerned or experience a deterioration in symptoms, including breathlessness and dizziness.

All Far West residents must limit their movements in the community at this time. Anyone in FWLHD who is currently experiencing, or has recently experienced, even mild cold-like symptoms is asked to come forward immediately for testing.

The public are advised of venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Anyone who attended any of the following venues listed on the specified dates and times (all CST) are casual contacts (unless they have been contacted by NSW Health as close contacts) and must get tested and isolate until a negative test result is received.

  • Pepes Milk Bar Broken Hill, 142 Patton Street on Sunday, 22 August 2021 – 11:55am to 12:55pm.
  • Coles Broken Hill on Sunday, 15 August – 10.25am to 10.50am; Friday, 20 August – 10.25am to 11.25am.
  • Ivanhoe Petrol Station on Monday, 16 August – 12.40pm to 12.55pm.
  • Woolworths Broken Hill on Thursday, 19 August – 11.30am to 1pm; Wednesday, 18 August – 2pm to 4pm; Saturday, 14 August – 11.35am to 11.50am.
  • Axel’s Pet Supplies, 229 Oxide Street on Friday, 20 August – 9.45am to 9.55am.
  • Broken Hill Gourmet Meat, Corner Gossan and Blende Streets on Friday, 20 August – 11.45am to 11.55am.
  • Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse, 4-5 Village Shopping Centre on Friday, 20 August – 9.30am to 9.40am.
  • Liquorland, Broken Hill on Friday, 20 August – 10.25am to 11.25am.
  • Wilcannia Roadhouse Grahams Motel on Saturday, 14 August – 9am to 9.10am.

For a full list of locations, including close and casual contact venues, public transport routes or changes to previously reported venues, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/nsw-covid-19-case-locations

The FWLHD has increased testing capacity in the District, including in Wilcannia and Broken Hill.

A COVID-19 testing clinic is operating at Wilcannia Oval (entry from Myer Street) from 9am to 4pm daily.

A pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic is operating at the Alma Oval in Broken Hill, from 8am to 4pm this week. The Alma Oval clinic can accommodate drive through tests.

A COVID-19 drive through testing clinic is operating at Memorial Oval in Broken Hill from 8am to 5pm, seven days a week. Everyone is asked to enter via Williams Street and exit via Warnock Street (left turn only).

FWLHD has standing COVID-19 plans and procedures in place, which are being continuously enhanced to ensure the safe isolation of positive COVID-19 cases in the far west region. Some individuals will need to be isolated in places other than their place of residence to ensure the safety of the person concerned and that of the community. FWLHD is working closely with intergovernmental agencies and partners to develop further capacity in Wilcannia and Broken Hill, as well as other locations across the District.

A COVID Community Response Team has been established to ensure the continual monitoring and evaluation of isolated patients to provide a safe and timely coordinated health and welfare response.

The FWLHD can also confirm, the Wilcannia Health Service has a transport ventilator available for staff to use for invasive ventilation support for an unwell COVID-19 positive patient. The clinical staff have the capability to actively and safely support the patient with this ventilator or use a BiPap breathing support unit, whilst the patient is being transported to Broken Hill or a larger hospital for advanced medical care.

A medical officer is also currently on site at Wilcannia Health Service to assist staff in responding to the health care needs of the community, particularly anyone presenting with COVID-19 and related illnesses.

There are more than 460 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week.

To find your nearest clinic visit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or contact your GP.

Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Susan Nichols encourages community to vaccinate against COVID-19

We can all play our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and help life return to normal, says Wentworth Shire Council Mayor Susan Nichols.

In response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak NSW needs to reach 80% double vaccination rate to get back to enjoying the things we love.

“The people of Wentworth Shire are no strangers to rolling up their sleeves when a friend or a neighbour needs a hand,” Cr Nichols said.

“Now is the time for people to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated against COVID-19, to help protect themselves, their loved ones and our communities and get life here in our Shire back to normal.”

Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will give you around 90% protection against hospitalisation and death, and significantly reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others.

Everyone 18+ can book a vaccination appointment. Vaccination bookings can be made through the Far West Local Health District on 1800 602 001 or Wentworth Pharmacy on 03 5027 3121.

Coomealla Health Aboriginal Corporation (CHAC) is also able to provide vaccinations to residents who meet eligibility criteria. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members aged 16-59 are eligible, as are non-Indigenous people age 40-59 and essential workers.

You can check your eligibility at www.health.gov.au or by calling CHAC’s Wentworth Clinic on 03 5002 9029 or their Dareton clinic on 03 5027 4824.

Children 12-15 years with an underlying medical condition, or who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are now eligible to get vaccinated.

16-18 year olds will be eligible to get vaccinated from 30 August.If you’ve already had your first AstraZeneca shot, the time you need to wait before getting your second shot has now also been shortened to 4 to 8 weeks.

Vaccination advice has been updated because of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

The option for a 12 week wait between doses is still available.

For more information go to https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility?lang=en