south coast - 2ST

“Help the Kelp” – Experts meet to find solutions to local reef health.

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A one-day conference on the future of shallow rocky bays along the east coast will look at ways to 'Help the Kelp'.

Experts, indigenous representatives, and those who make a living from the ocean will discuss what's happening and how things can be fixed as kelp forests that support marine life disappear.

Climate change, ocean warming, over-fishing, and pollution are issues to be examined and ways of dealing with threats to the health of south coast shallow rocky reefs.

Nature Coast Marine Group's Bill Barker said "Maintaining Kelp beds along our coast is important for the local economy and the environment."

He said, "The challenges affecting these reefs are not well understood."

"Less productive bare areas known as urchin barrens appear to be spreading and the kelp forests that underpin the health of the marine environment appear to be declining," he said

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According to Mr Barker "Climate change/ocean warming, historical overfishing of urchin predators and pollution are issues that need to be looked at, along with what can realistically be done to redress the balance."

 "Maintaining ocean health has clear implications for our local community: it is important for the local economy and is needed to sustain the environment for its own sake and for future generations,” he said.

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Bill Barker said, “We hope to see a commitment from the NSW government to support sustained action over the long term with the objective of promoting the health of our reefs into the future, for the benefit of the environment and the local economy."

 Images: Bill Barker & supplied

 

A South Coast sunrise costs a Liverpool man dearly

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Seems everyone wants to see the South Coast, even if they breach lockdown orders.

Another person from a Sydney COVID hotspot has been busted for breaching the stay-at-home orders and speeding after being picked up by Highway Patrol.

The male driver from Liverpool was allegedly clocked doing 107km/h in an 80 zone.

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Police said he was heading to the South Coast to see the sunrise which is not a valid excuse for breaching the public health orders.

He's been hit with a $1,000 PIN, directed to return home immediately and fined $494 for speeding.

Image: Traffic and Highway Patrol Command

Alleged South Coast looter in court

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A man faced court yesterday charged with a range of property and firearm offences after allegedly breaking into houses and stealing property during the bushfires on our South Coast earlier this year.

In the first week of January, South Coast Police commenced an investigation after receiving reports of alleged break, enter and steals occurring in the Malua Bay area while people were evacuated from their homes.

Following extensive inquiries officers from the South Coast Proactive Crime Team executed a search warrant at a property in Mogo about 8am Thursday.

They seized a replica assault rifle (gel blaster), gel blaster ammunition, cannabis, a taser shaped as a baton, electronic goods and homemade mace.

A 37-year-old man was arrested and taken to Batemans Bay Police Station, where he was charged with the following:

- break, enter and steal,

- take and drive conveyance without consent of owner (x2),

- receiving stolen property,

- goods in custody suspected stolen (x2),

- drive vehicle whilst unlicensed (x2),

- acquire firearm subject to prohibition order,

- acquire ammunition subject to prohibition order,

- use prohibited weapon contrary to prohibition order.

The man was refused bail ahead of a court appearance in Batemans Bay Local Court .

Also on Thursday police executed a second search warrant at a property in Mogo, where cannabis was allegedly located and seized.

A 52-year-old man will be issued a future court attendance notice in relation to possession of prohibited drug and will face court at a later date.

Photo: Batemans Bay Courthouse. Source: Google.com

Alleged South Coast looters caught

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Two people have been charged after property alleged to have been stolen during recent bushfires was located on the  South Coast.

About 3pm yesterday, officers from South Coast Police District and the Southern Region Enforcement Squad (RES) executed a search warrant at a home in Narooma, following reports of looting in the South Coast region.

During the search, police located a number of electrical items, which are alleged to have been stolen during recent bushfires. 

Following further inquiries, a 38-year-old man was arrested at a home in Tilba Tilba about 5.45pm yesterday.

A crime scene warrant was executed and during a search of the property, police located and seized several electronic goods believed to have been stolen.

Shortly after, a 31-year-old woman was arrested in Narooma and both were taken to Batemans Bay Police Station.

The man has been charged with two counts of enter building/land with intent to commit indictable offence, two counts of larceny, dispose property – theft serious indictable offence, and possess prohibited drug.

The woman has been charged with two counts of enter building/land with intent to commit indictable offence, two counts of larceny, and two counts of dispose property – theft serious indictable offence.

Police will allege in court that the pair broke into a fire-damaged business in Batemans Bay twice on Wednesday January 8 and stole electronic items.

Both were refused bail to appear at Batemans Bay Local Court today.

Photo: Travis Winks

Baby turtles lose their way in storms

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An influx of Loggerhead Turtle hatchlings  have been found washed up on beaches along the South Coast as a result of the wild weather and rough seas.

Beachgoers are being asked to report any stranded turtles to the South Coast Branch of Australian Seabird Rescue on 0431 282 238.

People should try and stay with the hatchling until a rescuer arrives, or place the baby gently in an opened container or box with a towel or something soft beneath it.

Australian Seabird Rescue advises people not attempt to put turtles back in the water, to keep pets and children away and mininilaise human interaction with the hatchling.

Do not attempt to give it any food or water.

For larger sea turtles, do not attempt to move them as you risk causing injury. 

Loggerhead Turtles are normally found in tropical and temperate waters off the Australian coast, as far south as Jervis Bay, but heavy seas may have forced the youngsters further south.

Photo Australian Seabird Rescue

Bridge opening a South Coast milestone

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The new $274 million Batemans Bay Bridge will be open to traffic as soon as tonight or tomorrow.

The community marked the official opening with a community walk led by local emergency services on Saturday.

One lane of the bridge will be open to traffic in each direction, with the remaining two lanes two open once the old bridge is removed later this year.

The bridge has been completed months ahead of schedule and Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the opening was an historic moment for Batemans Bay which would improve access along the Princes Highway and reduce traffic delays.

“It is now easier than ever to travel to and access the beautiful South Coast, providing an economic boost to our communities, and delivering a much-needed new link for the entire region,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Work to build the bridge has also contributed to the local economy with the project employing around 1,000 people since major work started in 2019, with nearly half of them local to this area.” 

Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the community walkover was "a great opportunity to celebrate all the hard work that has gone into making this bridge a reality, and the difference it will make for future generations". 

“Replacing the old bridge means emergency services are no longer cut off when the bridge is raised, significantly improving response times during crises,” Mr Constance said.

“I’m also pleased we have been able to get the bridge open with a lane in each direction before the Easter break."

Photo Andrew Constance MP

Civilian employee charged over alleged assault on South Coast

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A New South Wales Police Force civilian employee has been charged over an alleged domestic-related assault on the South Coast last year.

The 54-year-old man, who is attached to a Specialist Command, was arrested on Tuesday following a verbal altercation with a 31-year-old woman.

Police will allege in court that the man assaulted a woman, who was known to him, on the South Coast in late 2020.

He was charged with common assault (DV) and granted conditional bail to appear at Fairfield Local Court tomorrow.

Police said the man is currently suspended with pay and their investigation is ongoing.

Photo: Travis Winks

 

Coastal wind and surf warning for Illawarra to Eden

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The weather bureau has issued a gale warning for the coastline from the Illawarra down south to the Eden Coast.

These conditions will extend into Friday.

The Bureau said beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people are advised to stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas.

 

 

 

Discounts promote a happy new year for seniors

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Older people in the Shoalhaven can start planning a busy new year with the 2021 NSW Seniors Card Directory.

The directory lists the best discounts for Seniors Card holders from thousands of businesses across the state.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock says the directory is full of savings, discounts and ideas that encourage active lifestyles as seniors travel and engage with the community

“We know older people have spent months at home to protect their physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic and now they can unlock the purchasing power of their Seniors Card to plan an exciting 2021," Mrs Hancock said.

The Directories will be available at Service NSW centres, public libraries, local councils and Australia Post outlets across the state from 18 December.

The directory will be available as a digital copy or a physical booklet.

Former world champion Burridge to guide young girl surfers

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As a pioneer in the world of women's surfing, former World Champion Pam Burridge has inspired many young women to take to the waves and water.

And as part of the Her Wave Get her Onboard program, Burridge aims to help more promising young female surfers take the next step into surfing competitions.

Her Mollymook Beach surf school is one of 20 across the state chosen to take part in the program, and Burridge said each one would have a slightly different focus.

"My one is to get recreational surfers into a little bit of competing, so they get some goal setting and that rewarding feeling of really focusing on improving your surfing - not that we're trying to train up world champions or anything, we're just trying to transition to the idea of competing at a recreational level," she said.

And the lessons learnt will have a wider benefit.

"In competition surfing, wave selection and positioning and time management and what you do on those waves are so important, so it's the whole idea of how that looks and so it helps you in your peak position and your wave selection in your every day surfing as well - or it can," Burridge said.

The program was built on the back of stage one of the Roxy and Her Wave “Get Her Onboard” campaign earlier this year, which resulted in 1100 women joining the Roxy and Her Wave community, which included being offered discounted learn to surf lessons through their local participating surf school.

All recipients are female-specific, diverse in design, delivered and driven by passionate nominated leaders within a local Surf School or Boardrider Club.

"We would like to thank all applicants for the time and effort invested in submitting an application under the grants program," said Surfing NSW Programs Manager Claire Ellem.
 
At its essence, Her Wave aims to empower all females through surfing.

It is committed to supporting gender equity, making surfing more inclusive and accessible to all women and girls of all ages and abilities in NSW and works to build a more joyful experience for everyone.
 
A key objective of Her Wave is to grow and nurture female participation in the sport as a collective.

Image: Hannah Jessup, Surfing NSW

 

Goods believed stolen during South Coast bushfires recovered by police.

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Police are appealing for information after property believed to be stolen during recent bushfires was discovered following a search warrant on the south coast.

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About 3pm Friday officers from South Coast Police District and the Southern Region Enforcement Squad executed a search warrant at a home in Narooma, following reports of looting in the South Coast area.

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Police located and seized a number of electrical items believed to be stolen during recent bushfires.

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South Coast Police District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Scott Nelson said police will continue to investigate and act on reports of looting across the South Coast.

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“We have a large police presence in bushfire affected areas – day and night - to provide support to local communities. Part of this support is ensuring that people are not looting,” Detective Inspector Nelson said.

“I want to urge members of the community – if you see something, say something. If you have suspicions at all and wish to report a crime, don’t hesitate – contact police or Crime Stoppers.

“Information provided to police from members of the public can help us identify and take legal action against those who are targeting our most vulnerable communities.”

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Local police numbers have been bolstered by officers from specialist commands to conduct regular patrols throughout bushfire-affected areas.

Inquiries are continuing.

Photos supplied

Latest on South Coast and Highlands roads

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South of Nowra:

Jerrawangala to Tomerong - Turpentine Road is closedNowra Hill to Charleyong - Braidwood Road/Nerriga Road is closed

Around Braidwood:

Braidwood to North Batemans Bay - the Kings Highway is closed Braidwood to Moruya - Araluen Road is closed Braidwood to Cooma - Cooma Road is closed.

A number of smaller local roads are closed as well so motorists who need to travel are advised to check before starting their journeys.

The Princes Highway is open from Wollongong to Eden

In the Southern Highlands:
Penrose Road between Bundanoon and Wingello has been reopened.

The following  road closures to all traffic are still in place:

* Kareela Rd at Mundego St, Wingello 

* Teudts Rd, Penrose 

* Viewpoint Rd, Penrose ( two locations)

* Dunlop Ln, Penrose 

* All roads leading into Wingello State Forest

* Meryla Rd, Meryla -  half kilometre north of Bundanoon Ck bridge

* Wombeyan Caves Rd, High Range - intersection of Greenhills Rd ( except for local residents due to fire risk)

The Snowy Mountains Highway remains closed in both directions between the Hume Highway at Mount Adrah, and Adelong. Grahamstown Road and Adelong Road are also closed between the Hume Highway at Tumblong, and Adelong. It's also closed between Talbingo and Coolringdon near Cooma.

Other road closures in the area include:
Wondalga to Rosewood – Wondalga Road is closed.. Tumbarumba to Batlow - Batlow Road is closed.. All roads in the Kosciuszko National Park are closed including:Jindabyne to Khancoban – Alpine Way.. Jindabyne to Charlotte Pass – Kosciuszko Road Paddys River to Khancoban – Swampy Plains Creek Road/Tooma Road/Snow Ridge Road/Goat Ridge Road/Elliott Way. Jingellic Road is closed between Holbrook, Jingellic and Mannus.

The Hume Highway is currently open.

Motorists should be prepared for conditions to change quickly, for roads to close with little or no warning, and to follow the directions of emergency services and traffic crews.

For the latest traffic information, visit www.livetraffic.com, download the Live Traffic NSW app or call 132 701.

Photo: News stock

Mass arrests following alleged South Coast shootings

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Eight people including a senior member of the Nomads Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and two associates have been charged following investigations into several public place shootings, assaults and other criminal activity on the South Coast.

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Following extensive investigations, detectives executed two search warrants at Sunshine Bay and Batehaven, three crime scene warrants at Long Beach, Sunshine Beach and Mogo, and a Firearms Prohibition Order at Malua Bay.

During the searches, Police seized drug paraphernalia, methylamphetamine, Nomads OMCG colours, mobile phones, a laptop and a baton.

Four men will front Batemans Bay Local Court today while a 20-year-old woman has been hit with a number of charges after allegedly resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

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Police also raided cells at a South Coast correctional centre, targeting inmates associated with the Nomads OMCG to disrupt further criminal acts.

16 cells were searched.

Three inmates have been charged after the Cops allegedly found drugs, weapons and tobacco.

Police said their investigations are continuing.

Images: NSW Police Force

Missing man has South Coast links

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A 53-year-old Cootamundra man who hasn't been seen since Thursday November 18 could be on the South Coast.

Police have concerns for the welfare of Shane Lloyd-Jones because of a medical condition and said his disappearance is out of character.

Police said while he lives in the Riverina, he has links to the South Coast.

"While extensive inquiries have been conducted, Shane has not been found," Police said.

Shane is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 175cm-180cm tall with a large build, brown/grey shoulder-length hair and a beard.

Anyone information about his whereabouts can be provided by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Image: NSW Police

No cheap flights to South Coast airports

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Tourist operators on the South Coast, that are still reeling from the impact of bushfires and covid, will again be hit hard, with no incentives for people to fly to the region under the Federal Government’s new tourism package.

Shellharbour and Moruya airports have both been left off the discounted airfare package announced today, with only Merimbula Airport, further south, included.

Federal Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips says people from the South Coast will be given half price airfares to Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia to spend their money, but valuable tourism dollars are not going to flow back into the region under the package.

"The Morrison Government has just completely got it wrong again - ingnoring the South Coast," she said.

"Our tourist operators, our travel agents have been crying out for help, and we find that our airports at Shellharbour and Moruya are not eligble for those flights.

"The real worry with the package they've put toegther is actually that it will encourage local people to go out of the area and spend their money - that's the real worry."

Mrs Phillips says there are hundreds of businesses and thousands of workers whose livelihoods have been impacted by the coronavirus restrictions and the return of international tourism is still a long way off.

She says, in a few weeks’ time, when Job Keeper ends, there is no plan to support the hundreds of businesses that will have to close their doors.

"Travel agents all along the South Coast have been calling out for an extention to job keeper and still the government hasn't announced anything," Mrs Phillips added.

"They need to do something before it's too late."

She said the government should be increasing incentives to encourage people to come and spend their money on the South Coast.

"Our travel agents, local shops and businesses are needing more support through spending as well."

Photo Shellharbour Airport.

 

Planning for an ageing population in the Shoalhaven and South Coast

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The Shoalhaven South Coast could have some of the state's largest aging populations over the next 40 or so years.

The NSW intergenerational report released on Monday says a quarter of the state will be aged 65 or over by 2061 and many coastal areas in the state's south will have aged dependency ratios of 70 percent or over.

The report also says population growth is projected to be as high as 1.1 percent in Shellharbour.

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The 2021-22 NSW Intergenerational Report presents a snapshot of our future State to inform the policies that will continue to make New South Wales the best place to live, work, run a business and raise a family. 

The Report looks forward 40 years to 2061 to understand how the State’s population, economy and finances may change based on global and local trends and current policies.  

The Report examines key long-term challenges associated with an ageing population, a widening fiscal gap between the revenue raised by the government and growing expenditure pressures, and rapid transformation in the economy.

Images: Supplied 

 

Police target four Ds in small Shoalhaven villages

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Police from Strike Force Summer Safe are targeting the Shoalhaven's small villages and local roads as part of the crackdown on people doing the wrong thing.

And they say people breaking the law will be caught, regardless of where they are.

Police are focusing on the Four Ds - drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving to keep the community safe.

Highway Patrol Officers from Traffic South are involved in the strike force, and say their focus is shifting away from the highways and main roads and onto the Shoalhaven's small villages and local roads.

And with police active in small towns they warn anyone breaking the law will be caught - regardless of where they are.

Police are reminding road users to obey the road rules and slow down.

People who get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in their system pose a serious danger to themselves and other road users, and police will be taking all necessary action to stop people engaging in risky behaviour on the roads.

Scholarships to upskill mature-aged students

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A special TAFE NSW scholarship is helping thousands of mature-aged workers on the South Coast find a new job, make a career change, or reskill following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mature Age Workers Scholarships offer fee-free training and personalised career and skills planning sessions.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward says thousands of older workers have already been awarded scholarships, including a Illawarra resident Peter Jose. 

“Age should not be a barrier to reskilling or upskilling and TAFE NSW, Australia’s largest provider of vocational education and training, is perfectly positioned to offer the practical training jobseekers need to re-enter the workforce," Mr Ward said.

“Applications are still open for the scholarships so I would urge locals to see if they’re eligible to appl." 

The NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Dr Geoff Lee MP said that the NSW Government, through TAFE NSW, was committed to ensuring residents had access to world-class training to improve their employability skills in a shifting jobs market. 

Towradgi resident, Peter Jose, 51, was an aged care nurse for 13 years when he decided on a career change during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“I’ve always been a people-person, and with stress high for first responders and frontline workers mid-pandemic, I decided I needed a career change where I could provide a different kind of support,” Mr Jose said.

“Two of my close mates own a hair salon and suggested I try hairdressing. When I enquired about studying the Certificate III in Hairdressing, the team at TAFE NSW told me I was eligible for the Mature Aged Workers Scholarship which made my decision to study an easy one."

To be eligible for a scholarship, students must live in NSW; be an Australian citizen or permanent resident; be 35 years of age or older when commencing training; be unemployed or recently made redundant.

Recipients of the scholarship must enrol in a Certificate II, III or IV qualification under the Smart and Skilled program.

To find out more about the Mature Age Workers Scholarship, visit the website at: www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.   

Photo TAFE NSW

Schoolies flock to Shoalhaven coast

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With the Gold Coast off limits, more schoolies than ever are flocking the Shoalhaven region to celebrate the end of what has been a tumultuous year for HSC students.

Celebrations were held throughout the region over the weekend and are expected to continue over the next two weeks.

While there have been some reports of loud parties and litter, police said the schoolies have been generally well behaved so far.

Nowra Police inspector Ray Stynes says patrols of beach-side areas like Mollymook, Culburra Beach, Callala Beach and Huskisson have been stepped up to ensure our young visitors are adhering to covid safe regulations.

Photo schoolies.com

Severe weather warning Illawarra/South Coast

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A trough lying along the southern and central parts of the New South Wales coast is bringing persistent rain and windy conditions to many areas.

The conditions are expected to ease by the later part of Monday as the trough weakens.

HEAVY RAIN, which will likely cause FLASH FLOODING and RIVERINE FLOODING, is forecast for the Illawarra, South Coast,  before weakening by the later half of Monday.

There is potential for periods of very heavy (torrential) rainfall and life-threatening flash-flooding in those areas during the first half of Monday.

Dry and burn areas of the state are currently particularly vulnerable at the moment, rain run-off into waterways around these areas is likely to be greater than usual and may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks.

This mean flow of debris and landslips are possible during this period.

DAMAGING WINDS averaging up to 70 km/h, with gusts in excess 90 km/h, are possible along the coastal fringe between Wollongong and to the Victorian border.

The damaging winds are expected to ease during the second half of Monday as the trough weakens.

ABNORMALLY HIGH TIDES are expected to continue, with the sea water level exceeding the highest tide of the year.

DAMAGING SURF CONDITIONS, with waves exceeding 5 metres in the surf zone, and may produce significant beach erosion in areas exposed to the east, between the Central Coast and Victorian coastal border.

The surf conditions are expected to ease during the later part of Monday.

A Flood Watch and a number of Flood Warnings have also been issued for this event.

Locations which may be affected include  Wollongong, Nowra, Ulladulla, Eden and Moruya Heads.

Since 9am Wednesday to 5pm Sunday: Approx 200-400mm has fallen over the Central Coast, Sydney, Eastern Blue Mountains, and Illawarra districts.

Photo: BOM

Shoalhaven Crookhaven oyster industry shut down after torrential storms flood rivers and estuaries

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Shoalhaven and South Coast oyster growers are facing financial disaster after torrential rain along the NSW east coast.

Flooding and runoff has pushed dirty water through through the rivers and estuaries where oyster leases are located.

Greenwell Point oyster farmer Anthony Munns is also the co-ordinator of the Shoalhaven and Crookhaven River shellfish quality assurance program.

He was forced to shut the industry down on Saturday as flooding peaked in the Shoalhaven Crookhaven river systems.

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Mr Munns said, " We are buggered for Christmas , we can't sell in the lead-up to Christmas for about the fourth year in a row."

"There is no more harvest of any type  but people wouldn't have been harvesting anyway because it 's just not the right conditions," he said.

The Oyster industry relies on tidal movements to bring in fresh sea water to the oyster beds, allowing the oysters to feed and stay healthy.

The recent rainfall has flooded those oyster leases with fresh water full of run-off sediment.

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Mr Munns said " The salinity is just not there, we've got a monitor at Goodnight Island and it's not reading any salinity at all."

"We're at point-five and we're supposed to be at twenty-parts per-thousand, so it's pretty bad at the moment, " he said.

The flood conditions has the potential to not only prevent harvesting for weeks but could also kill thousands of oysters.

Sally Mclean from Jim Wild's Oysters which is also at Greenwell Point said "It takes up to three years for oysters to regrow to market size.

"It's been one thing after another with the industry hit by drought, then bushfires followed by a series of floods and then the covid shutdown which reduced the number of tourists who came to buy our oysters," she said.

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In 2018-2019, the NSW oyster industry produced about 76 million oysters worth $59 million at the farm gate.

The latest flooding will cause a shortage of oysters during the Christmas holiday period across the state and could also affect supply to restaurants during the summer holiday season. 

Images: Jim Wild's Oysters Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Show me the money - Red Cross shows where bushfire funds went

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Eighteen months into the Australian Red Cross grants and recovery program following the devastating Black Summer bushfires, Red Cross has reported that more than 92 per cent of the $242 million raised has been disbursed or spent.

Red Cross National Emergency Services Manager Andrew Coghlan said Australians responded with unparalleled generosity in the face of the widespread losses.

“We have been regularly reporting on how the donations have been used, in line with our commitment to donor transparency,” he said.

“We continue to recognise the strength and resilience of those who endured the worst bushfire season on record.

“We stand with them as they grieve for what was lost, and as they walk the long journey to rebuilding their lives.

“We also recognise the many donors and emergency services workers, including 3,351 Red Cross people, who gave so much to the relief and recovery effort,” Mr Coghlan said.

“Our update shows at June 30 we have given out 13,260 financial assistance grants and continue to support affected communities, with a network of recovery officers in the worst-affected communities.

“Our long experience in disasters shows us that recovery can take a very long time, and well after the cameras and the world’s attention moves on, we remain on the ground, working to support communities’ aspirations.”

The report shows that as of June 30:

  • $242 million was raised
  • $224 million was disbursed or spent
  • The remaining $18 million has been allocated for further grants and an ongoing three-year recovery program
  • 40,107people were assisted with recovery through one on one and group support, training, workshops, information and referrals 
  • 6,085people received 13,260 financial assistance grants 
  • Communities in 46 local government areas in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria are supported by the recovery program.  
  • 5 per cent has been spent on essential administrative support costs. 

image: supplied

South Coast and Illawarra in Top 10 for visitors

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The latest national visitor survey has revealed the Illawarra and South Coast are in the top ten for most visited destinations. 

The survey shows that for the year ending March 2019, Aussies took 109 million overnight trips around the country and spent a record $75 billion, up 14 per cent on the previous year. 

For the 50 most visited destinations, the Illawarra and South Coast have come in as the '9th ranked destination' for day trips.

Image Credit: Maksym Kozlenko [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

South Coast Dairy sold, but brand will live on

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The South Coast Dairy processing plant in Berry is closing down due to financial problems, with 15 part-time and casual employees made redundant on Friday.

However the South Coast Dairy name will survive, despite the company being sold to Australasian Dairies.

An announcement from the Berry Rural Cooperative Society board said milk would continue to be sourced from the South Coast, supporting the local community and farmers, while the range of products would be maintained and even expanded.

Australian Dairies marketing manager Colette Murrells confirmed milk from the South Coast would continue to be collected and processed in the same way, just in Sydney.

“We’re not looking to change anything,” she said.

“We’ve secured all the milk that’s already in the South Coast area, and we’re just going to be transporting it an hour and a half up the road, processing the milk here on Sydney, and then transporting it back down to the community and everyone else in the South Coast region.”

Ms Murrells said Australasian Dairies hoped to build the South Coast brand.

“We’re looking to expand the range, so obviously getting more people to enjoy the South Coast Dairy brand and range of products, but we’re looking at introducing a whole range of different products over time with things like yoghurts,” she said.

“The reason we bought the brand is that we love it ourselves, so we want to keep that heritage moving.”

Image: supplied

South Coast declared 'no go' zone

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Just to add to the pain our businesses are going through, our neighbours in Canberra  are being advised to cross our region off their holiday list.

ACT Chief Minister ANDREW BARR says the South Coast is non-essential travel and to be avoided.. "visiting family and friends outside of the Canberra region has to be carefully considered. And if it is not essential don't do it. This means no holidays on the South Coast this Easter or school holidays."

Photo: Twitter

South Coast evacuation warning

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Communities on the south coast are preparing to evacuate, ahead of possible flooding.

State Emergency Service volunteers and helicopters are preparing to supply towns which may be cut off.

Locations which may be affected include Nowra, Batemans Bay, Eden, Bega, Moruya Heads and Bombala.

The Weather Bureau's Gabrielle Woodhouse says rain is expected to intensify. "So it's going to lead to some fairly hefty rainfall totals and that's going to lead to the risk of river rises and flooding through those districts. Primarily because the catchments are still wet from the rainfall that fell over the last couple of weeks." 

Photo: BOM

South Coast fires - another person charged with fraud

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A third person has been charged following an investigation into bushfire-related fraud on our South Coast.

In March 2020, detectives from South Coast Police District commenced an investigation into a group of people suspected of fraudulently obtaining bushfire assistance payments from a number of charities.

Following extensive inquiries, police executed search warrants at two homes in Surf Beach on Thursday June 18 and arrested a 47-year-old man and 38-year-old woman.

They were charged and remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, a 45-year-old man was arrested at Batemans Bay Police Station about 10am yesterday .

He's been charged with three counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, three counts of supply prohibited drug and common assault (DV-related).

Police will allege in court that the man attended a disaster recovery centre on three separate occasions in February, claiming to have lost his home and belongings in the Clyde Mountain bushfire.

He then received almost $25,000 in emergency grants after making false claims to charitable organisations.

The man was granted conditional bail and is due to face Batemans Bay Local Court next month.

Inquiries are continuing.

Photo: News stock

South Coast has state's lowest rental vacancies

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Figures released for January show the South Coast has the lowest rental vacancy rate in NSW.

The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales’ (REINSW) Residential Vacancy Rate Report shows that in 2020, the South Coast’s rental vacancy rate slipped from a peak of 4.8 per cent in March to only 0.3 per cent in December 2020.

Federal Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips says  the figures indicate an escalation of the local housing crisis.

 “I have been raising concerns about housing availability on the South Coast for months, and these new figures demonstrate the urgency of the situation,” Mrs Phillips said.

She claims governments at all levels have known about the housing crisis on the NSW South Coast but have not taken urgent enough action to prevent this situation reaching breaking point.

"COVID-19 has shown us new ways of living and working, so many people have taken that opportunity to make a sea change," she said.

"It is wonderful that people are choosing the South Coast as their new home – but what we are seeing unfold is an absolute crisis not just in rental availability, but also in housing affordability more generally.

“Social housing waitlists are out of control and people are telling me they are waiting years for priority housing.

"Governments at all levels need to get serious about addressing this crisis now."

she says the housing crisis on the South Coast is not new.

"The NSW and Federal Governments have known for years that we needed urgent investment in affordable housing, but they have squandered opportunity after opportunity to fix it,” she said.

Mrs Phillips has previously raised concerns that the government’s HomeBuilder program was not targeted appropriately to those who needed housing assistance.

Prior to the budget, she also called on the government to invest in local affordable housing projects like the one in Bomaderry as part of its COVID-19 stimulus response.

“After raising my concerns about this very issue with the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, the reply I received earlier this month was nothing short of disappointing – no real solutions, no real plan,” Mrs Phillips said.

Photo Realestate.com

“Local people can no longer afford to wait – they need action from the government now."

South Coast police nab three alleged looters

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Three people are now before the courts after being charged over alleged offences committed in areas of the South Coast impacted by bushfires.

Officers from South Coast Police District were patrolling the Bangalee area shortly after 5pm on Sunday when they stopped and spoke to a 17-year-old male on Arwon Close.

During a subsequent search of the teen, Police located a screwdriver and bandanna.

The teen was arrested and taken to Nowra Police Station where he was charged with possess housebreaking implements, and possess means disguising face with intent to commit indictable offence.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at a children’s court on Thursday 23 January 2020.

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About 10.30am yesterday, Police were patrolling Pitt Street, North Nowra, when they observed a man acting suspiciously.

Officers stopped and spoke to the man, before conducting a search and allegedly located a knife, a jemmy bar, torches, plyers, military badges, and a debit card.

The 30-year-old man was arrested and taken to Nowra Police Station, where he was charged with possess housebreaking implements, goods in custody, possess knife in public place and outstanding warrants.

He was refused bail will appear via video link at Wollongong Local Court today.

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About 12.30pm yesterday, officers from the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor spoke to a 33-year-old man at Moruya after receiving information he was driving around the area and acting suspiciously.

He was subjected to a roadside breath test, which returned a positive result.

He was arrested and taken to Moruya Police Station, where he allegedly returned a breath analysis reading of 0.257.

He was charged with high-range PCA and entering upon enclosed land without lawful excuse, which relates to an alleged trespass at a property at Wamban.

The Moruya man was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Moruya Local Court on Friday 7 February 2020.

State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, said Police are continuing to conduct patrols to deter opportunistic thieves.

"It’s difficult to comprehend that there are people who would try to profit or benefit at the expense of communities who have already lost so much," Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.

"There are large numbers of Police both local and specialist officers proactively patrolling bushfire-affected areas to prevent and target this absolutely unacceptable and criminal behaviour.

"I urge anyone who sees suspicious or criminal activity to contact police immediately.

"We will act swiftly to put these people before the courts," he said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said anyone who takes advantage of vulnerable bushfire-affected communities should face the full force of the law.

"At a time when we’re seeing unprecedented levels of generosity pour in from every corner of NSW, it’s unthinkable that anyone would seek to exploit those who most need our support," the Minister said.

"They are the lowest of the low and the Government will continue to back our police in their efforts to keep criminals out of communities devastated by fire during these difficult times," he said.

Images: NSW Police

South Coast surfers vie for elite junior program

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Some of the South Coast's best young surfers are expected to be part of Surfing NSW's new Junior High-Performance Program when it starts in December.

However to secure their spots the young surfers will need to do well in key events during November.

The program includes team training camps, digital team catch-ups, guest speakers, wildcard allocations, Lean Performance Gym subscription and an exclusive team uniform.

This program is supported by NSWIS and Surfing Australia, and will provide the state's top junior male and female surfers with the pathway and resources to reach their full potential as surfers and as people.
 
The team is selected based on results at the NSW State Titles, taking the top eight men and top six women in the Under U18, 16 and 14 age groups, as well as the top seven men and top five woman from the under 12 Woolworths Surfer Groms Series.

The program will consist of two state camps with one three-day camp taking place at the Surfing Australia High-Performance Centre and a one-day camp taking place at URBN Surf in Melbourne. All participants will be provided with filming and imagery from all camps.

2020 Junior High-Performance Program participant Saxon Reber said, “I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to attend the JHPP this year and the benefits I got out of it were terrific in the development; not only my surfing ability but also my confidence, thanks to the amazing staff and program."

Mambo CEO, Paul Cannon, echoed the sentiment.

“We’re excited to see the return of surfing events in NSW and are honoured to support the Junior High-Performance Program, preserving and establishing the next generation of surfing athletes in Australia," he said.

The 2021 / 2022 program includes team training camps, digital team catch-ups, guest speakers, wildcard allocations, Lean Performance Gym subscription, an exclusive team uniform and money-can’t-buy opportunities.
 
The program aligns with the Surfing Australia High-Performance talent pathway with the overarching goal of developing NSW’s top junior and grommet surfers to become the best surfers and people they can be.
 
The program will run from December 2021 until April 2022 and is supported by Mambo, Blackroll, Musashi, Lean Performance Gym, and Ocean and Earth.

Image: Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW 

South Coast traffic update

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Motorists on the  South Coast are now able to travel north on the Princes Highway from Milton.

Traffic is very heavy northbound, north of Lake Tabourie to Tomerong so motorists are advised to take extreme care, follow the directions of emergency services and traffic crews.

The highway may be closed for short periods to allow emergency vehicles through.

The Princes Highway remains closed in the following locations:

  • Between Batemans Bay and Moruya
    • Between Narrabarba and Cann River (Victoria)
    - From Narrabarba, you can travel west on Imlay Road to the Monaro Highway to head north.

The Snowy Mountains Highway is open between Bega and Adaminaby so anyone on the Far South Coast is also able to travel to Canberra or Sydney via the Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma, the Monaro Highway to Canberra and the Hume Highway.

Many other roads remain closed including:

South of Nowra:
• Jerrawangala to Tomerong - Turpentine Road is closed
• Wandandian - Wandean Road is closed between the Princes Highway and Bollerang Road
• Nowra Hill to Charleyong - Braidwood Road/Nerriga Road is closed

Around Braidwood:
• Braidwood to Nelligen - the Kings Highway is closed
• Braidwood to Moruya - Araluen Road is closed
• Braidwood to Cooma - Cooma Road is closed

In and around the Snowy Mountains:
• Tumut to Adaminaby - the Snowy Mountains Highway is closed
• Batlow to Tumbarumba - Batlow Road is closed
• Jindabyne to Khancoban - Alpine Way is closed

A number of smaller local roads are also closed in the South Coast and Snowy Mountains areas, and many roads crossing the New South Wales-Victorian border are also closed, including the Monaro Highway between Rockton and Cann River (Victoria).

For the latest traffic information, visit www.livetraffic.com, download the Live Traffic NSW app or call 132 701.

For the latest public transport information, visit www.transportnsw.info or call 131 500.

Tributes as Shelley Hancock announces plans to quit politics

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Tributes are being paid to South Coast MP Shelley Hancock following her decision on the weekend to stand down as Local Government Minister, ahead of quitting Parliament at the next election in March 2023.

By then she will have served 20 years in State Parliament, which followed 17 years on Shoalhaven City Council 

Local Government NSW President Darriea Turley said Mrs Hancock's experiences was shown in her "deep understanding of the role councils play as the closest level of government to the community".

Cr Turley said Mrs Hancock played a key role in supporting and reforming the local government sector over the past three years.

“Minister Hancock’s capacity and commitment to working collaboratively with the sector was particularly critical in helping to support our communities through the immense challenges of recent times, and she was a key driver behind significant funding support for councils and their communities," Cr Turley said.

She said Mrs Hancock had been particularly active in breaking down the barriers to women serving in all government levels.

"When she became Local Government Minister she continued to break down many of the barriers that can deter women from public life, including long-overdue superannuation for councillors, in line with the rest of the state’s workforce, and access to childcare to enable attendance at council meetings," Cr Turley said.

"She has been tireless in her campaign to increase the number of women in elected roles, even seizing the opportunity of her resignation to call for a better gender balance in Premier Dominic Perrottet’s new cabinet."

In her announcement on the weekend Mrs Hancock said, "Now is the opportunity for the Premier to deliver a new team to take to the March 2023 State Election and it is important that women are central to the new Cabinet.

"It is often difficult being the only woman in the room, or one of a handful, therefore it is essential that women make up a larger part of the Cabinet to provide our views and perspectives - we do after all make up more than 50 per cent of the population."

Mrs Hancock also spoke of her "challenging family circumstances" impacting on her ability to commit the time and energy needed to continue serving as a minister.

"Also, a significant challenge for me has been the departure of Gladys Berejiklian," Mrs Hancock said.

"Gladys’ resignation is a loss for New South Wales and a personal loss for me, and something that I have found difficult to move past."

Ms Berejiklian's replacement, Premier Dominic Perrottet, paid tribute to Mrs Hancock's work and achievements.

“Mrs Hancock has been a strong leader in the NSW parliament, serving as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly prior to being appointed the Minister for Local Government, where she provided valuable service ensuring the continuation of the critical role of local councils during the pandemic and that local government elections proceeded this year," Mr Perrottet said.

However a far more personal tribute came from Kiama MP Gareth Ward.

"Next to my own mum, Shelley Hancock is the most incredible and extraordinary woman I know," Mr Ward said.

"She is one of the very few people who I have met on my journey in politics who I love, respect and admire."

On the same day as Mrs Hancock announced her plans to leave State Parliament at the next election, Arts Minister and former Shoalhaven-based MLC Don Harwin said he would also be vacating the Ministry and stepping down from Parliament at the next election.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Unwanted and illegal firearms handed in making Shoalhaven and South Coast communities safer

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More than 140 illegal, unregistered and unwanted firearms have been surrendered to Southern Region Police during the National Firearms Amnesty which began on July 1st.

The aim of the amnesty is to reduce the number of unregistered firearms in our homes and communities, making our streets safer.

In New South Wales, the amnesty allows for,

  • Firearms or firearm-related articles to be registered, supplied, or surrendered to a participating firearm dealer without fear of prosecution.
  • Firearms or firearm-related articles to be surrendered to a police station without fear of prosecution.
  • Prohibited weapons to be surrendered to a participating firearms dealer or police station without fear of prosecution.

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Southern Region Police Commander Superintendent Greg Moore said, "It is in everyone's interest to get illegal or unregistered weapons handed in and out of harm's way".

"Since the first of July just in the South Coast Police District, we've had 140 firearms handed in so that's great to see, but we'd like to see that continue because we know there's more out there,"  he said.

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Superintendent Moore is urging people to ensure weapons are stored legally and securely to, "avoid those firearms ending up on our streets in the hands of dangerous people."

Images; NSW Police & Crimestoppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update: Missing children found

 

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UPDATE:

Two children missing from Sydney’s east this morning, have been located safe and well.

About 9am (Thursday 1 April 2021), members of the public recognised the man and two children from media reports and contacted Triple Zero (000), after seeing them walking towards Panania Railway Station.

Officers from Bankstown Police Area Command attended and located the trio.

The man has been taken to hospital for assessment and the children will be reunited with family.

Police would like to thank the media and the community for their assistance.

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The NSW Police Force is seeking urgent public assistance from South Coast residents to help locate two children missing from Sydney’s east who may be bound for Melbourne..

Just before 2.30am this morning, Bowie and Basten Dowlut, aged four and 10 respectively, were at a home on Carthona Avenue, Darling Point, with their parents.

Despite strong protestations from the children’s mother, their father, Dennis Dowlut, aged 47, packed the family into a white 2014 SsangYong Actyon SUV, with NSW registration DLF-43A, expressing an intention to travel to Melbourne.

About 3am, their mother was forced from the vehicle at Alexandria and notified police.

Dennis is described as being of Mauritian background with an olive complexion, about 180cm tall, of slim build, and balding. He was last seen wearing black pants, a white t-shirt, khaki puffer jacket, and a red beanie.

Four-year-old Bowie is described as having an olive complexion, long brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing white pyjamas with pink unicorn symbols.

Ten-year-old Basten is described as having an olive complexion, short brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing white pyjama pants, a white t-shirt, and black puffer jacket.

There are extreme concerns for the safety of the children, and as such police are asking the public to be on alert, not approach but report any sightings of this man, or vehicle to Triple Zero (000).

Water tests clear the way for Boneyard reopening

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Kiama Council has reopened The Boneyard at Bombo Headland after water quality checks gave the popular beach the all clear.

Council closed the beach last month after an overflow from a nearby Sydney Water wastewater pipeline.

Sydney Water completed repairs to the pipeline and cleaned the area last week.

Council then conducted water quality tests, with results falling within public health guidelines.

Residents and visitors are reminded to avoid swimming at beaches and rockpools immediately after heavy rain.

Image: Kiama Council

Weather pressure eases on South Coast

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Severe weather is no longer occurring in the South Coast district and the warning for this district is CANCELLED.

Meantime a low pressure trough lying along the New South Wales coast is generating widespread and persistent rain in many eastern districts, along with windy conditions.

Most areas will see the heaviest rain during the next 24 hours, however some places are forecast to experience periods of heavy rain through to Monday or Tuesday.

VERY HEAVY RAINFALL, likely leading to FLASH FLOODING, presents a SERIOUS RISK to the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Sydney Metropolitan, Illawarra, and parts of the Central Tablelands.

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The focus of heavy rain during the next 6 to 12 hours is expected to be the eastern Hunter, Sydney Metropolitan, eastern Central Tablelands, and Illawarra districts.

In these areas, there may be periods of INTENSE RAINFALL, potentially leading to LIFE THREATENING flash flooding.

Roads are likely to be cut off by water, and there will be an increased risk of landslips during this period.

DAMAGING WINDS, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with gusts exceeding 90 km/h are possible over parts of the southern ranges above 1200 metre, including the ACT, today.

Locations which may be affected include Wollongong, Nowra, Bowral and Katoomba.

World record chasing kitesurfer South Coast detour

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A man attempting the longest kitesurfing journey in the world from northern New South Wales to Melbourne has been the subject of a search by Marine Rescue on our South Coast.

An alert was raised for Brian Kiss von Soly after his location tracker failed off Ulladulla early last night.

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His Queensland based support team alerted authorities with concerns for his welfare when his tracker failed to update after 6.23pm yesterday.

Marine Rescue Ulladulla answered the call but it turns out he got himself to shore and has spent the night at Manyana Beach.

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The 36-year-old set off on his record-breaking quest on December 28 last year.

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He unofficially broke the existing world record last month when he reached Werri Beach.

Images: adventures_of_brian_ Instagram and sharegarmin