4 Dubbo Photo News January 3-9, 2019 30TH ANNIVERSARY IN BRIEF NSW Summer drowning toll up on last year THE total number of drowning deaths in NSW this summer stood at 13 at the start of this week, compared to nine during the same period last year, prompting Royal Life Saving to renew its plea for people to take care – particularly around rivers and dams. The nationwide total for the first 30 days of the 2018-19 summer stood at 41, compared to 26 across Australia during the same period 12 months ago. “Males have accounted for 89 per cent of drowning deaths,” Royal Life Saving Society Australia CEO Justin Scarr said. “Many people have underestimated the dangers of inland waterways (including rivers, lakes, and dams) which have claimed more than half (53 per cent) of lives this summer.” Federal Minister for Sport, Bridget Mckenzie, said the number of drownings was unacceptably high and urged Australians to be more vigilant when swimming in the sea, pools and especially rivers and creeks. “In particular, and as someone who grew up in the country, we need to take extra care when swimming in rivers and creeks as there are many hidden dangers to look out for,” Minister Mckenzie (pictured) said. Tough decision to cancel fireworks THE chairman of the Dubbo Fireworks Committee has described the cancellation of Monday night’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Apex Oval as “a challenging decision to make”, but is adamant that public safety had to take first priority. Chairman Peter Judd said on Tuesday that the event’s cancellation was announced soon after severe weather set in at the venue on New Year’s Eve, including damaging winds and thick dust clouds. “It was a challenging decision to make, but at the end of the day, everyone’s safety and enjoyment are our top priority,” Mr Judd said. “Our team is confident that cancelling the event was the right choice. We consulted our on-site emergency services and pyrotechnician, and noted the severe damage that towns further west were experiencing as the storm rolled through. “We understand there is a lot of disappointment, our team feels the same way,” he said, noting that his committee had also received a lot of positive community support for the decision. This was due to be the fifth annual Fireworks Show at Apex Oval, with organisers expecting up to 8000 people to attend. They acknowledged there was “one incident” at the event because of the weather conditions. Damage assessment and the cleanup was continuing on Tuesday and may take several days.
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