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WALCHA FARMER APPOINTED NEW DROUGHT CO-ORDINATOR

Walcha’s Jock Laurie has been appointed the state’s new drought co-ordinator. He will work alongside his predecessor, Pip Job, in leading the second phase of the Government’s emergency drought response. Mr Laurie’s time in the industry, spanning decades. “I’ve been involved with agri-polictics for about 15 years in some pretty senior roles and I’ve held this role as Land and Water Commissioner for about six years.” He hopes to improve water access and management. “A lot of issues that other people are seeing, I’m seeing first hand and in many ways that make it, well it doesn’t make it easier, but it certainly gives me a very good understanding of those issues.” NOTE: AUDIO IN PARTS ONLY

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TENDERS SOUGHT TO SECURE MURRURUNDI WATER

Murrurundi is inching closer to having a secure water supply, with tenders now being sought for a pipeline to run from Scone. The town has been facing level-six water restrictions since July, with the local dam nearly empty. Bores have been drilled to give some short term relief, but all will be resolved once the town is connected to the Glenbawn Dam supply. Applications for the 40-kilometre pipeline from Scone to Murrurundi close mid-February, with work to begin soon after. NOTE: FILE VISION ONLY

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BILBIES BACK IN PILLIGA STATE FOREST

A native Aussie animal has made its return to the wild, for the first time in New South Wales in a century. Thirty bilbies have  been released into the Pilliga forest into a specially fenced, predator-free area. They’ll have 5,800 hectares of space to roam free. It’s all part of the state government’s Saving Our Species project to see 13 regionally-extinct mammals return to the wild. NOTE: VISION ONLY

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HIGH-SPEED ROLLOVER NEAR WARIALDA

A 56-year-old man was flown to Tamworth Base Hospital Wednesday afternoon following a high-speed rollover. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called to the Gwidyr Highway outside Warialda before 1 o’clock. He was treated on the scene by paramedics for multiple injuries, before being flown to Tamworth.

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DINOSAUR JAW BONE UNEARTHED IN WESTERN NSW

History has been unearthed at an opal mine near Lightning Ridge. A jaw bone fragment of a dinosaur believed to be more than 100-million years old has been found preserved in opal. UNE Palaeontologist, Dr Phil Bell led the team who made the discovery of the Weewarrasaurus pobeni. The ancient herbivorous reptile was said to walk on two legs, and was about the size of a kelpie dog. It’s the first new dinosaur to be named in New South Wales in nearly a century.

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TWO PROJECTS APPROVED FOR FEDERAL DROUGHT FUNDING

The improvement in quality of the region’s cattle grids is the first project Tamworth Regional Council will embark upon, after being approved to use federal drought funding. Bulk water-filling stations will also be installed in six of the city’s surrounding villages, as well as an additional facility in Tamworth. The new stations will be similar to the one already in place on Lockheed Street. Council says it will help with filling rain-water tanks and providing drinking water for stock.

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ROADWORK DROP-IN SESSIONS

Work on Tamworth’s Manilla Road is moving along, but it’s expected there will soon be significant disruptions to local traffic. The busy section of road near the Jewry Street intersection is being upgraded to introduce a dual carriageway. Locals are being encouraged to attend one of two drop-in sessions being held this week to ask questions about how they’ll be impacted. “Engineers and council staff will be there for anybody who would like some information about what those traffic changes will mean.” Sessions will be held at the intersection Thursday night and Friday morning.

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