Last Thursday’s announcement regarding restrictions is not the news we as a community were wanting to hear, however, it is not surprising given the recent state COVID case numbers and a concerning number of cases affecting nearby regional areas. The safety of our community must remain our focus at this time.

Lockdown restrictions extended

Last Thursday, the NSW government announced an extension of current COVID restrictions in place in regional NSW.

The restrictions affecting the Narrabri Shire and wider NSW regions that were set to expire on Saturday, August 28 have been extended to midnight, Friday, September 10.

This news is extremely disappointing as we are all keen to see our shire and areas within the NSW region which have maintained compliance, freed of some of the harsher restrictions that are currently in place for the areas of concern.

However, we must remain positive, not become complacent, and take these circumstances and use them to our advantage by increasing our vaccination rates and continue to prove our ongoing vigilance.

This can only further reiterate that our shire is worthy of reprieve and allow us to get back to some level of ‘normality’ for individuals, families, and businesses sooner rather than later.

I again thank the community for their ongoing compliance and patience with the current situation.

I have been and will continue to advocate that our shire be one of the first local government areas to have the current level of restrictions lifted.

NSW Health sewage testing

The Narrabri Sewage Treatment Plant was tested for traces of COVID on Tuesday, August 24.

I am pleased to announce the testing results have come back negative.

Council will maintain contact with the NSW Health Sewage Surveillance team as we have done for the duration of the pandemic.

Ideally, I would like to see regular testing of all sewage treatment plants in the shire, however, I understand this is not a viable option at this point in time due to the testing process requiring specialist laboratories and there being a limited number of these.

I will continue to push for regular and shire-wide testing.

Again, I urge any interested members of the community to seek out the dedicated NSW Health web-site on the Sewage Surveillance program which contains excellent information and more in-depth details on how the program is operating.

Shire vaccination update

I have been fielding vaccination enquiries from across the community.

One of these enquiries has been from Aboriginal elders in Narrabri who were provided the opportunity to receive their first jab on August 26.

This vaccination opportunity was arranged by local members of the Aboriginal community and council was pleased to be able to provide the Narrabri Aquatic Centre multi-purpose room for these vaccinations to be administered.

Council will continue to contact relevant authorities and health departments regarding any plans to conduct mass vaccinations in the shire.

We are also working on being prepared to offer any assistance that may be required to make this happen immediately from investigating suitable venues to drafting traffic management plans for suitable venues.

We are also prepared to offer any council resources that may be required to facilitate such an event such as portable signage, traffic cones, and safety barriers.

We will continue to update the community on any advances in this regard.

Please continue to make vaccination bookings with our local healthcare providers who are leading the charge in delivering vaccination opportunities.

Please be patient with our healthcare professionals who are all working long hours in providing this service while maintaining their usual medical and healthcare services.

Supporting local business

I encourage the community to continue their strong support of local businesses where they can.

A lot of smaller, locally owned businesses have done an excellent job in responding to changing their business models to now provide home delivery services, contactless transactions, and have increased their online presence – we really do have a business savvy community who need our continuing support.

Ron Campbell, Mayor, Narrabri Shire Council

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