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By Sonia Lal and Savannah Meacham

Another rescue has taken place in flash flooding in New South Wales as wild weather lashes three Australian states.

A person became trapped inside their vehicle in floodwaters in Merriwa in the Hunter region this morning as rivers rose after being inundated with rain.

Merriwa Rescue crews were joined by NSW Police and Ambulance to save the person, sparking another warning for residents not to cross swollen rivers, or enter flood water.

Merriwa Rescue Squad said this was the second rescue this morning.

Acting CHO Charles Pain has confirmed a man in his 40s died inside the Howard Springs facility last night, saying the death was “completely unrelated to COVID”.

“That is clearly being investigated and I think at the moment it would be inappropriate to say anything more,” he said.

Acting Northern Territory CHO Charles Pain confirmed no new cases had been found in Binjari, however he said some people had concerningly left the community, which was in a hard lockdown.

Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said about eight residents from Binjari left the town “late yesterday under the cover of darkness”.

He said the escapees walked through a backtrack and got to Katherine before they were caught.

Six adults were each given $5024 fines.

Mr Chalker said compliance from people in Binjari had been solid by the majority, urging anyone who neeed anything such as food to make contact with police and government staff on the ground.

Four of the 37 cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Territory are now in hospital, none are in intensive care.

Mr Gunner said the Northern Territory’s public service vaccination rate was at 98 per cent following the first deadline for the vaccine mandate.

He said around 400 public servants’ employment was ending due to their vaccination status.

“A small number of these are frontline roles that will be filled with new hires, but overall, there will be a reduction in the public service of about 300 positions,” he said.

He said the reduction in public service staff numbers was a saving to the budget wage bill of about $30 million a year.

“This means that we can revise and improve the public service wages offer that’s currently on the table,” he said.

“This morning, I have written to all members of the public service with a new four-year wages policy.

It is a $4000 lump sum bonus in the first year and an annual $2000 bonus for the remaining three years.”

Northern Territory town Robinson River will come out of lockdown immediately and will instead transition to a lockout, Mr Gunner has announced.

“A lockout means fully vaccinated residents are able to move about the community freely while wearing a mask and must stay within the Robinson River area, which includes the surrounding home lands,” he said.

The Chief Minister said it was expected that Robinson River would have restrictions until December 1.

He said the high vaccination and testing rates in the community had made the difference to get the town out of lockdown.

“Robinson River has shown all Territorians how a lockdown can be done and won in the remote community,” he said.

Meanwhile, the lockdown in Greater Katherine has been extended for a further 48 hours to 6pm Wednesday.

Mr Gunner said wastewater test results indicated further cases of COVID-19 were likely to be found in Katherine.

A ban on people not vaccinated against COVID-19 arriving to the Northern Territory has today taken effect, while rapid antigen tests are now being required for people arriving from red zones.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said some delays were expected at the airport due to the new change.

“It’s the first day, so some teething problems are to be expected,” he said.

The Northern Territory has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, including an international repatriation.

The other two are from Katherine – a 33-year-old mother of a primary school student.

Her child has tested negative twice so far.

The second case in Katherine is a 67-year-old man.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner is now providing an COVID-19 update.

Follow along in the livestream at the top of this blog.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2021


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