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Breakfast with the Butchers embraces country life at Casino Beef Week
Breakfast with the Butchers embraces country life at Casino Beef Week

10 April 2024, 10:00 PM

Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers. This year's event is set to surpass all expectations, encapsulating the essence of country life in a morning filled with fun, food, and festivity.Thanks to the generous support of The MJ Smith Group, our 2024 Major Sponsor, the annual Free Community Breakfast will offer attendees a delightful taste of the local life with complimentary sausage or steak sandwiches, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit, generously donated by Woolworths Casino. This partnership exemplifies The MJ Smith Group's deep commitment to the local community, showcasing a shared passion for uniting and enriching our region.Brody Lisha, President of Casino Beef Week, expressed his enthusiasm about the event: "We are overjoyed to have The MJ Smith Group as our Major Sponsor this year. Their dedication to the community mirrors our mission to celebrate our country life and bring people together. This event is more than just a breakfast; it's a showcase of what makes our community so vibrant and unique."The event will feature an impressive display of machinery, allowing attendees to witness the remarkable work of The MJ Smith Group firsthand. "Seeing the machinery up close is a testament to the innovation and hard work that drives our local industries. It's an honor to highlight this aspect of our community at the event," said Lisha.Adding to the excitement, the annual Richmond Dairies Cow Pat Lotto, presented by Bently Community Preschool, returns with a larger prize pool thanks to Richmond Dairies and Macdonalds Pharmacy. "The Cow Pat Lotto is a tradition that everyone looks forward to. It's a fun, quirky way to engage with the community while supporting a great cause," Lisha remarked.Butchers from the region will compete in the Verto Sausage Competition, aiming for the titles of Best Beef Sausage and Best Gourmet Sausage. Lisha commented, "Our local butchers are incredibly talented, and this competition is a fantastic way to showcase their skills and the quality of our local produce."The day will also feature live entertainment from Sam Handford and the grand finale of the CiCom Busking Championships on the Jack Links Stage. "The talent we have in our community is astounding, and the Jack Links Stage is the perfect platform to showcase it. It's going to be an unforgettable day," Lisha added.Casino Beef Week invites everyone to join in celebrating our country life, embodying the community spirit that makes our region so special. Don't miss this outstanding day of free food, fantastic entertainment, and family-friendly fun.Casino Beef Week runs from May 18 to 26.

Terania Street Bridge to come down at the earliest in June
Terania Street Bridge to come down at the earliest in June

10 April 2024, 9:02 PM

The ongoing saga regarding the Terania Street Bridge looks like it is ending, as Lismore City Council gave an update at last night's April meeting continuation.Councillor (Cr) Bing put forward a question with notice to General Manager Jon Gibbons to provide an update on the bridge's removal.Mr Gibbons's response was:Terania Street viaduct"Council has been verbally advised by TfNSW, the Terania Street viaduct will be open in coming weeks following the installation of traffic calming islands and signage.""The viaduct will remain closed to heavy vehicles. Their section 60 heritage application to remove the viaduct has been submitted and heritage personnel have been on site with the application currently on public exhibition at https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/heritage/apply-for-heritage-approvals-and-permits/stateheritage-register-items/comment-on-applications."Advice has been received the earliest date for removal would likely be sometime in June 2024. In the meantime, pedestrian access has been opened."TfNSW will continue with communicating progress to the community and businesses in the vicinity.Alexandra Parade viaduct"Council has been verbally advised the Alexandra bridge will remain open under 24/7 traffic control for vehicles using the 2.8 metre height clearance lanes following improvements to protect the piers with the 3.5 metre clearance lane remaining closed for the foreseeable future.""Council have been requested to undertake the necessary lease and licence arrangements to enable the nearby crossing to be opened as an alternate route for vehicles exceeding 2.8 metres in height.Winterton Parade and Union Street viaducts Council has been advised minor works have been undertaken to ensure safe traffic flow.Crane Street viaduct Remain open. No update.LCCs Chief Operating Officer Brendan Logan added further information that was received since the business papers were printed."Since then, we have had an application from Transport for NSW to occupy land right next to the Terania Street Bridge to set up sites that are going to be just for the bridge removal.""So, there is actually action on the Transport for NSW side and they are taking steps to get set up for removal."No date has been set, but as Mr Gibbons mentioned the earliest would be June 2024, but more likely, it will be in the second half of 2024. With an end in sight, I am sure you can hear the hollers and applause from North Lismore businesses and residents throughout the LGA.

City of Lismore RSL Sub branch ANZAC Day Commemorations 2024
City of Lismore RSL Sub branch ANZAC Day Commemorations 2024

10 April 2024, 7:02 PM

ANZAC Day 2024 is two weeks today. In preparation, the President and Members of the City of Lismore Sub-Branch would like to invite Current Serving, Ex-servicemen and women and members of the public to commemorate ANZAC Day 2024 in Lismore in the following ways: The traditional Dawn Service will be held at the Lismore Cenotaph commencing at 0500 following the March from the “Old Post Office Corner”. Form up for the march at 0450.The Lismore City Bowling Club will host a Breakfast for Sub-branch members, Veterans, and their families on the completion of the Dawn Service. Non-veterans will cost $5.00 per head.A commemoration service will be held at the North Lismore Memorial commencing at 0745hrs.Main March Service and wreath laying. Commence forming up at Browns Creek Car Park at 0830 for the main march along Molesworth Street stepping off at 0900 followed by the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service at the Cenotaph. All Veterans within the area are welcome to join the March and Service. Fundraising is the principal method of income for the sub-Branch, so look out for stands and stalls selling ANZAC badges from this Saturday at:Lismore Square commencing 13/04/24 – 24/04/24Goonellabah Shopping Village 13/04/24 – 24/04/24 Lismore Central 22/04/24 – 24/04/24Workers Sports Club Goonellabah and Bunnings on weekend of 20/04/24 – 21/04/24 & 23rd thanks to members of the 41st Battalion.The Lismore Sub-branch would like to thank you for generous support they have received to date and in advance leading into ANZAC Day.

Man arrested over Kingscliff home invasion resulting in a man's death
Man arrested over Kingscliff home invasion resulting in a man's death

10 April 2024, 12:28 PM

A man has been arrested following a home invasion at Kingscliff, resulting in the death of a man and another seriously injured.Emergency services responded to a concern for welfare at a home on Oxford Street, Kingscliff, just after 8pm last night (Tuesday 9 April 2024).Officers from Tweed/Byron Police District attended and found a 29-year-old man with a stab wound. He was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics; however, died at the scene.The occupant of the home, a 66-year-old man, was also found suffering significant arm injuries. He was airlifted to Gold Coast University Hospital where he underwent surgery and remains in a stable condition.A crime scene was established at the home and detectives commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident under Strike Force Chams.Following inquiries, a 26-year-old man was arrested at a Kingscliff home about 5.30pm tonight (Wednesday 10 April 2024).He has been taken to Tweed Heads Police Station where he is assisting investigators with their inquiries.As investigations under Strike Force Chams continue, anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

SCU reveals impressive Master Plan for Lismore campus
SCU reveals impressive Master Plan for Lismore campus

10 April 2024, 4:00 AM

Back on March 26, the Lismore App chatted with Southern Cross University (SCU) Vice-Chancellor Tyrone Carlin about the future of the Lismore campus.Professor Carlin talked about creating, revitalising, and re-imagining the Lismore campus by making it an education hub that involved established high schools such as Trinity Catholic College and The Living School, as well as building on the university's strength in research and introducing a new veterinary medicine course.The culmination of extensive consultation, including students and the community, is the release of the SCU Master Plan.What has been revealed is an impressive concept that will bring life and reputation back to the birthplace of SCU. It is hard not to be excited by the opportunities that could develop in the next five to ten years.The new Master Plan sets out a dramatic rethinking of the 75-hectare campus to be known as the Southern Cross Learning Precinct or Gnibi Wandarahn in the local Bundjalung language.Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin said the Master Plan sets a pioneering model for regional university towns.“We have set out to create a vision for a dynamic, multi-faceted hub of research, innovation and community partnerships that will change the way the region interacts with the University forever,” he said.Education and the student experience remain central to the new Learning Precinct, while the other two pillars of the Master Plan are research with impact and engaged communities and partners. The three areas interconnect to envision a new focal point for the region.Some of the proposed elements of the Master Plan include:Campus to operate a zero-carbon economy: net zero by 2035Multiple tenants remain: Trinity Catholic College expanded; The Living School relocated and expanded; provision for future expansionNew student accommodationNew synthetic athletics track and sports precinctPotential art and history collection provisionNew outdoor amphitheatre for cultural and music performancesGreen spaces and natural waterways embracedGoodman Plaza redevelopedBundjalung Place and SCU Hub as public spacesThe potential plans show expanded space for Trinity Catholic College in its current location, and a new space for The Living School to the east of the new synthetic athletics track.There will be new student accommodation built on the southern end of the athletics track, a refurbished Goodman Plaza extension, and the creation of an amphitheatre.As Professor Carlin said, the Master Plan is not a fixed plan, so readers should not think of it as a fait accompli but as a strategic framework that will help SCU create a place of excellence.“The vision will deliver state-of-the-art facilities for research and learning, enterprise zones for regional development, and support the inclusion of vibrant public spaces promoting inclusivity and cultural richness", Professor Carlin said.The Master Plan sets the future direction for the University and its partners. It was developed in conjunction with Terroir (Australia and Denmark) alongside Northern Rivers firm Possible Studio.The realisation of the plan will take several years and will form a basis for investment planning and frameworks, including those involving government funding and participation.We can only hope that Lismore City Council's 'Reimagine Lismore', its vision for Lismore for the next 30 years, will be as aspiring.

Call for Lismore Blood Donors to help health workers save lives
Call for Lismore Blood Donors to help health workers save lives

09 April 2024, 10:01 PM

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is calling on Lismore locals to support Australia’s healthcare workers who rely on blood and plasma donors to save lives every day. The call comes as hospitals’ use of donated blood reaches the highest level in nearly a decade and coincides with the health services blood drive, which runs until the end of June. To help encourage donors to roll up their sleeves and help healthcare workers do their job of saving lives, Lifeblood has teamed up with Australian designer and artist Lisa Gorman, who has created a limited-edition designer bandage for those who donate between April 8 and May 12. Gorman, who is a former nurse, said she well aware of just how much health workers rely on donated blood and plasma to treat all kinds of medical conditions and emergencies.“Before my career in design, I worked as a nurse in the blood collection department of the kidney transplant unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital,” Gorman said.“Blood donors save lives, it's a very real fact. I've seen it firsthand, in the emergency department and in the operating theatre, litres and litres of blood products flowing into bodies to sustain life that otherwise would not be sustained,” she said.Gorman said her experience as a nurse, where she used blood “many, many times” to treat patients, inspired her to create the bright and bold bandage design. The neon green tartan-print bandage was inspired by her debut art collection Fluorescence – a series of translucent acrylic sculptural works, which explore the elements of warp and weft in textile design, a fascination developed over decades of creating woven textiles.“Many times I've witnessed the surprise outcome of colour combinations during textile design… and more recently, I've explored more around the effect of repetition in pattern making.Not surprisingly, the bandage is awash with colour.“I love colour. Always have. My favourite book is the Pantone book,” said Gorman, who was recently appointed creative director of well-known stationery brand kikki.K. Lifeblood Executive Director of Donor Experience Cath Stone said she hoped Gorman’s signature bold bandage design would encourage more people to come in and donate blood and plasma. “We are incredibly grateful to Lisa for her stunning bandage design, and for highlighting just how much health workers rely on people to come in and donate blood and plasma so they can perform their job of saving lives,” Ms Stone said.“Our health workers are saving lives every day and quite often they are relying on donated blood products to do just that. In fact, one blood donation is needed every 18 seconds in Australia, including for trauma and emergency patients, women in childbirth and people being treated for cancer,” she said.Gorman also hopes her eye-catching bandage design will motivate more Australians to roll up their sleeves, as a new blood donor is needed every 4 minutes in Australia.“That is what the bandage truly represents. It says ‘hey, now that I've caught your attention, why don't you think about going and giving blood too, because that will make you feel better than this snazzy bandage does,” she said.“Blood product donation is a really extraordinary thing when you think about it - an incredible act of giving,” Gorman said.   The Lisa Gorman-designed bandages will be available at Lifeblood donor centres nationwide until May 12.The Lifeblood health services challenge, which encourages as many Lifeblood health services teams to work together to make as many donations as possible in a set time, will run until the end of June.By making an appointment to donate blood, you could help save up to three lives.To book a donation, call 13 14 95, visit lifeblood.com.au, or download the free Donate Blood app.

New 7-Eleven to open Thursday with a team of 17
New 7-Eleven to open Thursday with a team of 17

09 April 2024, 9:01 PM

Lismore’s first 7-Eleven opens tomorrow (Thursday, 11 April) on the old Skimmos site on Union Street, South Lismore, with a team of 17 under the leadership of local Chantelle Keehn. Ms Keehn will be supported by experienced 7-Eleven store manager Mark Halyday as she sets up the store and trains the new local team. This investment is part of 7-Eleven’s focus on providing regional Australians access to career opportunities, and to the same choice and convenience that is available in metropolitan areas. That focus is expected to see the brand continue to grow in regional Australia in the next few years. According to 7-Eleven Area Lead North, Jeff Yerbury, the store team is excited to welcome the community to their new store. “People can grab their favourite products and fill up at any time 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We have food and convenience options including 7-Eleven’s handmade sandwiches, wraps and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, as well as 7-Eleven’s freshly ground Fairtrade Certified coffee, Slurpee including Slurpee No Sugar options and our frozen blended Smoothies, Frappes and Shakes,” Mr Yerbury said. “Our Store Leader Chantelle and her team have been doing an amazing job working to get this store stocked and ready to welcome our customers on opening day.” The store has been built to a bespoke design to suit the location of the store to provide additional safeguards against any future flooding events. In the event of a flood, the team members of the store will be trained to pull down metal shutters to protect the windows, in addition to the usual store shutdown steps, and evacuate safely in line with emergency services advice. In addition to modern design fuel tank systems, the building has mechanisms that trigger to protect the site in the event of a flood. The features of this site are designed with increased flood resistance to help protect the store and the environment.  According to Ms Keehn the team are excited to welcome locals to their new 7-Eleven, which will have fuel, food and convenience ranges, and deliveries of fresh food into the store seven days a week.   The store offers high-quality Mobil fuels and has the My 7-Eleven App, including a fuel price lock feature.   “My 7-Eleven App Fuel Price Lock feature allows our customers to search for the best price at the five closest 7-Eleven stores to their current location, and then to lock that price in to use at any 7-Eleven fuel store in Australia for the next seven days for a maximum saving of 25 cents per litre. As a bonus, the app has loyalty rewards, offers, discounts and can be linked with your Velocity Frequent Flyer card to earn Points,” she said.ASTRONThe Astron service station on Ballina Road, which was labelled United pre-flood, has also re-opened on Ballina Road with new leasees Mani and Sandaap Kaur.Mani and Sandaap are new to the fuel industry, as they make a shift from farming blueberries in Dunoon and going into the retail sector."We were looking for something more secure because getting a loan and money for farm work is very hard. Mani was the driver behind the reopening of Astron."He has always been interested in establishing his own business," Sandaap explained, "He is so ambitious."As the site had been vacant for quite sometime, Mani lodged and enquiry and then step by step the reality of running a petrol station in Lismore started to become a reality.While the fuel is up and running, the items in store is work in progress."We still have coffee and fruit and vegetables to come. We are growing them and we like to sell our own products."(Sandaap behind the counter of the new Astron service station on Ballina Road)"We have no experience with fuel, and we are still learning every day about new things."The Weekend Wrap has reported that since they have been open, Astron has had the cheapest fuel in Lismore for the three types they sell. which is Unleaded 91, U98 and Diesel.Now, Lismore waits for the 7-Eleven fuel prices tomorrow morning to be revealed.

Councillors vote on Vision, Nimbin and Free Parking at the Base Hospital
Councillors vote on Vision, Nimbin and Free Parking at the Base Hospital

09 April 2024, 8:02 PM

Last night's April's Lismore City Council meeting had the usual points of order and motions not seconded but appeared relatively tame compared to previous meetings in 2024. Although, it may be that this is now par for the course in every monthly meeting, so it loses its impact.The rescission motion from Councillors (Crs) Ekins (away on approved leave with Cr Hall), Cook and Bird involving last month's motion that Council include community consultation and a feasibility study to consider the viability of establishing a permanent library, art gallery, information centre, and/or additional water storage at 9 Sibley Street, Nimbin was defeated 3 to 6.Once again, the basic argument revolved around community consultation and whether Nimbin's decisions are being made by a few people or by the community as a whole.After acknowledging that the Nimbin community did want to see a library, art gallery, information centre and additional water storage, Cr Bird said, "The issue that we have here is that we just need to let that process play out to see what comes back to us and then we can respond to that process and the recommendations that are put forward as a result of it in its entirety."Cr Gordon said, "I think to rescind that motion tonight is an indication that the individuals may well trump the voice of the community and in my mind, that's just not cricket."Cr Jensen reinforced this point when she said, "I think we need to hear from the whole community, not just a small group."Crs Cook, Guise and Bird voted for the rescission, while Crs Gordon, Colby, Rob, Jensen, Bing and Krieg voted against it.REIMAGINE LISMOREFollowing the Council resolution in February 2024, adjustments have been required to the Reimagine Lismore program. This included:• changes to the Community Engagement Plan• establishment of a Reimagine Lismore Advisory PanelThe Terms of Reference for the Advisory Panel have been drafted, and the engagement plan has been amended to incorporate the new naming of the project, the inclusion of the Advisory Panel and the deletion of the Citizen Assembly.During the debate to adopt the staff recommendation, it was made clear by the majority of councillors that they were not happy with where Lismore's 'Vision' building exercise ended up.Cr Guise said, "This has been a bastardised process." Cr Colby said, "I will support it, but it is clumsy." Cr Bird said, "I am reluctantly in favour."Cr Rob had an issue with building a 30-Year Plan when the Community Strategic Plan is only 10-years. "It is undoable, and it is a waste of money."Cr Cook mentioned the Advisory Panel only has nine members, which is far removed from the thirty-odd that was initially mentioned in the Citizens Assembly.Cr Colby ended up saying, "I’m getting a bit tired of this, and I think it is about time we grew up."The vote went ahead with Crs Colby, Gordon, Guise, Cook, Bing, Bird and Krieg voting for and Crs Rob and Jensen against.OTHER MOTIONSFood Security was a motion raised by Cr Bird last night.The council voted to write a letter to five NSW Government Ministers to get a response to the 'Food Production and Supply in NSW Inquiry and Report', which is said to be May 2024 and that the government works with local councils to develop and implement strategies to improve local food systems and provide appropriate funding.Part of the motion was to also look at food security after a disaster when roads are cut off, and supermarkets run out of many items.It was noted that water security was as important as food security.The Lismore City Council Events Team got a huge pat on the back from councillors as the Events Strategy 2024-2028 was adopted.Cr Gordon said, "Our events have never been in better hands. It is the glue in the social fabric, and every time we have an event, we are better and richer for it."Cr Guise said the Lismore LGA punches above its weight but would like to see more environmentally based events. He also mentioned how the Events Team managed to achieve great results with little or no budget.The man in charge of Events, Tony Duffy mentioned their budget is around $150,000 while other councils with similar populations is around $350,000 per year.Lismore Base Hospital Parking had two items on the agenda.One was to seek state government funding for Stage 2 of the multilevel car park and the other was to explore options to establish a LBH parking Precinct where key medical staff are provided with free parking.It was mentioned that too many staff are being forced to park in two or four hour parking zones working an eight to twelve hour shift and being pinged $129 for a parking ticket while saving lives and treating paetients.The vote was unanimous with Cr Guise out of the room after declaring a conflict of interest because he works for NSW Health.The April meeting concluded at 10:30pm as all the agenda items were not completed, so the meeting will continue at 6pm tomorrow with two confidential items the first on the agenda.

Time for action on a NSW Autism Strategy
Time for action on a NSW Autism Strategy

09 April 2024, 12:16 AM

State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says she welcomes the Australian Government’s recent release of the Draft National Autism Strategy. Ms Saffin says, “It provides the State and Territory governments with the opportunity to engage with the Draft National Autism Strategy. “We need a NSW Autism Strategy and I have had discussions with the relevant Minister in the Minns Labor Government, Kate Washington,” Ms Saffin says.  “I raised the importance of an autism strategy in the NSW Parliament last year. South Australia is way ahead of us. Now we have the Draft National Autism Strategy, we need to seize the momentum and get a New South Wales strategy to break down barriers for autistic children and adults and their families.” Chair of the Northern Rivers Autism Association Micheal Lynch has teamed up with Business NSW Northern Rivers Regional Director Jane Laverty to co-host an Autism@Work business luncheon at the Ballina RSL Auditorium from noon today (Tuesday, 9 April). The event, titled Embracing a Neurodiverse Workforce, celebrates Autism Awareness Month and guest speaker will be former dual-code international for rugby league and rugby union Mat Rogers. Ms Saffin says she will be an apology as she is recovering from Covid. “A panel of speakers for today’s event is sure to discuss the Draft National Autism Strategy,” Ms Saffin says. “It is clear from the draft that the states and territories and Federal Government need to work together because the strategy covers polices across both levels of government. “The states have primary responsibility for the key areas of education, health, justice and housing. “It is the states that have responsibility for pre-schools for example, where children are at critical age for early intervention which can make a huge difference. “This is an opportunity for National Cabinet to tackle the crossover of responsibilities and ensure that this is an effective, properly funded strategy without gaps for people to slip through. “Being in a rural or regional area can add another layer of disadvantage, so it is important that people from this region give their feedback to the national strategy.” For more information on the Draft National Autism Strategy and to give feedback go to:https://engage.dss.gov.au/developing-the-national-autism-strategy/

North Coast residents urged to boost their immunity by getting their flu vaccination
North Coast residents urged to boost their immunity by getting their flu vaccination

08 April 2024, 11:00 PM

Healthy North Coast is reminding local residents to book in for a flu shot this month, to ensure they boost their immunity leading into the winter flu season.While flu can circulate at any time, it's more likely to occur between April and September, during the colder months of the year.A yearly flu shot is recommended for everyone aged six months and over, and the vaccine can often be given with other vaccines, including COVID-19.In 2020 and 2021 there were historically low levels of flu across the North Coast as a result of COVID- 19 restrictions, however in 2022 and 2023 there was a resurgence due to the reopening of international borders, with cases peaking in June each year. In June 2023, there were around 1,800 notifications of influenza (all strains) in Northern NSW and Mid North Coast local health districts.Healthy North Coast CEO Monika Wheeler is urging the community to think now about their options for receiving a flu shot:“Last year, many in our community left it too late, with particularly high numbers of residents suffering from influenza due to the early start to the winter flu season,” Ms Wheeler explained.“The highest level of protection happens in the first 3 to 4 months following vaccination which is why it is so important to receive a flu shot now.”“We are urging North Coast residents to ensure they book in for a flu shot with their GP, local pharmacy, health professional or Aboriginal Medical Service as soon as possible,” Ms Wheeler added.Local GP, Dr Debra King, emphasised the importance of keeping up to date with vaccinations:“Not only does getting vaccinated against influenza protect you from the debilitating effects of the flu, it also plays a crucial role in keeping our hospitals and health services from becoming overwhelmed.“Vaccination is a simple yet powerful tool in safeguarding our communities' health and preventing unnecessary hospitalisations."FREE flu vaccines are available for those considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza including:children six months to under five yearspeople 65 and overAboriginal people from six months of agepregnant womenthose with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease.There are some simple precautions you can take to minimise the risk of catching the flu and passing it on including:staying at home if you are sick and avoiding close contact with other peoplewearing a mask in indoor spaces if you are unable to physically distancesneezing into your elbow instead of your handswashing your hands thoroughly and often.  For further advice on how to protect yourself and loved ones this flu this season visit health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza.You can also find your nearest vaccination clinic by using the Service Finder at healthdirect.gov.au.

New report unveils income gap in rental market with Byron leading the way
New report unveils income gap in rental market with Byron leading the way

08 April 2024, 10:02 PM

A recent study titled "Unaffordable Australia: The Surprising Income You Need to Rent Comfortably" has unveiled the significant income gap renters face in Australia's most sought-after suburbs. Compiled by MCG Quantity Surveyors, the report sheds light on the top 10 suburb areas across Australian capital cities and states where the disparity between current incomes and what is necessary to afford rent comfortably is most pronounced. The rate considered affordable is 30% of someone's income.Not surprisingly, Byron Bay has the largest renter gap to income in Australia. The data shows that 60% of income is required to rent in Byron and that an income of $3,805 per week is required to rent comfortably.In regional NSW, you only had to look at properties stretching north of Byron Bay to find the rest of the Top 10, places like Banora Point (near Tweed) 55%, Kingscliff/Fingal Head 51%, Brunswick Heads/Ocean Shores 49%, Pottsville 48%, Tweed Heads (52%) and even Ballina is at number 6 (53%).Mike Mortlock, Managing Director of MCG Quantity Surveyors, comments on the report's findings, "This study reveals the harsh reality many Australians face—a reality where the dream of living in a prime location is increasingly out of reach due to the widening gap between wages and rental prices.""The report not only highlights the top 10 affected suburbs but also delves into the broader implications of this gap on local economies. "When a significant portion of a household's income is dedicated to rent, there's less available for other expenditures. This isn't just a problem for renters; it's a challenge for the entire local economy," Mike adds.For Lismore (the state electoral division), the percentage is not much better.The average income from the 2021 Census from the Australian Bureau of Statistics was $1,202, and the average weekly rent was $300, which represents nearly 25% of income.Some assumptions have to be made on weekly income in 2024, but let's say a 10% increase over 3 years, so $1,322 and looking at rental properties, the average is around $550 per week. This represents about 42% of weekly income.Local real estate owner Andrew Gordon (R Gordon and Son) told the Lismore App that there is a lack of supply."When did you last see a block of units built in Lismore? During the flood, we lost 140 rental properties, and we have not replaced them," Mr Gordon said."There is an element of our population that is low socio-economic, so they usually rent as they are not in a position to buy, and investors are not buying investment properties. I believe it is generational. The younger generation wants to own their own home and then go on holiday and enjoy life, not buy an investment property.""Then you have the cost of owning an investment property. This has increased greatly in the last couple of years through interest rate rises, insurance has doubled, and maintenance costs have increased. Investors want to get a return on their investment, so prices go up. They are not in it to go backwards."Back to Mike Mortlock.With an emphasis on the critical need for affordable housing solutions, Mike urges policymakers and industry stakeholders to consider the report's findings as a call to action. "We need innovative solutions to bridge this affordability gap. It's imperative for the sustainability of our communities and the overall health of our economy," he asserts.

Local Landcare Group unhappy after council destroys years of hard work
Local Landcare Group unhappy after council destroys years of hard work

08 April 2024, 9:03 PM

The Goonellabah Tucki Landcare Group is ropeable after the Lismore City Council Environment and Eco team destroyed two sections of hard work that took years to prepare, clear, and plant.In January, President Doug Blythe and Secretary Shaen Springall won the Environment Award at this year's Australia Day Awards for their work on the 2km Goonellabah Tucki Tucki Creek area over the last ten years.It was mentioned that the group has planted over 30,000 rainforest trees and raised over $50,000 in the last three years. They devote themselves to maintaining and improving the area and have formed strong connections with community groups and schools.Shaen and Doug stood in disbelief recently when they discovered a number of fallen camphor laurel trees in two areas of Tucki Tucki Creek with no regard to the work already completed by the Gonellabah Tucki Landcare Group.The first incident occurred near the Goonellabah dog park.According to Shaen Springall, they had a meeting with the council and had agreed on a plan to make the area safe and create another part in the 2km natural rainforest regeneration."Last year, we were approached by these two homeowners to get rid of the camphor laurels behind their place," Shaen explained.(The dead camphor laurels with the properties in question to the right)Tucki Tucki Creek was being overrun by noxious weeds that are toxic to the environment, such as lantana, privet and camphor laurel trees.Shaen and Doug, along with many other volunteers, have been slowly killing and removing these weeds and planting natural rainforest trees that will improve the environment and, when complete, improve the quality of water along Tucki Tucki Creek.One of those processes is called a camphor conversion."This is where we leave the poisoned camphor to help with regeneration. Birds perch in the branches and drop really good seeds, which aids in regeneration. This means we don't have to spend as much money on buying trees and planting them. The birds give us the trees for free. But if you cut them down, you've lost them."The camphors near the road were hanging over the road, so the group removed them, which was paid for by the Goonellabah Tucki Landcare Group (GTLG) through a $ 10,000 local Land Services grant."We told the owner that we could only afford to remove anything that was hanging towards his house or his yard. So we got an arborist in, and we did what we said we'd do. We explained to him numerous times what was going to happen, that we'd poison them and then they'd stay there, anything of danger would be cut off, so it didn't fall in his yard or on his kids or anything. That's what we did."Shaen explained that both homeowners signed a consent document saying they were happy with the plan and what was going to happen. One owner is ecstatic, while the other owner lodged a complaint to council after the work was done, asking for the removal of the trees."This was never the plan," Shaen explained.Doug Blythe explained the best way to deal with the camphor trees."The reality is that these camphor disintegrates over time. Generally, they can take up to 20 years to totally disintegrate, but they usually disintegrate from the outside in. It's an odd occasion that a big branch will actually come down when it's at this stage here. So usually, when any of these big branches come down, they usually come down just a little bit, a little bit, in little bits, and they usually do almost no damage to the forest coming up underneath them.""It's very rare that a big branch comes charging down with all this weight and stuff. By the time some of this comes down, it's often so rotten that when it hits the ground, it's just poof, there's almost nothing to it. "Due to the complaint, council rang Shaen and said they were going to bring heavy machinery in to fell the trees. An on-site meeting ensued, and an alternate plan was hatched and agreed. The new plan was to access the camphor trees via a landholder's rear concrete laneway, climb the trees, cut off what they needed and winch to a mulcher."This was the agreed way," Shaen said.The result is an excavator has moved into and along the planted regenerative area, demolishing most of the work that the GTLG had been doing.(The right-hand side of the photo shows the height the rainforest trees were before the excavator was brought in)"This was all fully planted. The trees are gone. They've scraped stuff that was in their way onto trees which are there so the trees in there are just flattened and gone," Shaen said, "There was absolutely no need to do any of this.""Prior to us doing anything here this area was just covered in vine. So, everything you see here, this was just a big viney mess.""We've spent $10,000 to get the camphor down. We've spent thousands and thousand on prepping this area. We've had professional bush regenerators (costing $15,000) here for weeks on end, getting rid of the vine. We've paid them out of our money to come here. They've been on this whole site for a year now, working on it. It was so out of control."Shaen, Doug, and the GTLG will now have to spend many more hours and dollars starting the regeneration plan again.Site two of the more recent destruction is along the Birdwing Butterfly Walk, which starts at Kadina Street.According to Shaen, Lismore City Council received a complaint from a neighbour that the camphor laurel trees were dangerous and posed a threat to the public. This point is refuted by Shaen and Doug, who point to a nearby eucalyptus tree on a fence border that is much more likely to drop a big branch than a camphor laurel tree."If there is a big safety issue, it has to be dealt with," Shaen said, "The eucalypts right there are a huge risk. If you walk under them on a really windy day, you're an idiot. If you walk under a big slash pine on a really windy day, you're an idiot because it's going to fall on your head. So, to me, it's about an educational issue. There should be signage, which I've asked for numerous times, saying this is a site that's undergoing regeneration by Tucki Landcare Group. On windy days please stick to the tracks."At this particular part of the 2km regenerative Tucki Tucki Creek program, the rainforest is much more advanced than the dog park."This was a two-year-old regen site roughly, so that's four years of effort there. Two years of growing (the seedlings) and two years of growing in the site, and mountains and mountains of time spent maintaining this. We mostly maintain this all by hand weeding because we wanted to encourage all the native growth that was happening, which there are mountains of, but now it's just mushed under that.""We spent months and months and months on end in here with volunteers weeding this area. We burnt everyone out because they were sick of weeding, that's how much effort we put into getting it to this point. In fact, Doug and I went through here a couple of weeks ago, and we hand-weeded it again, and we said, how good is this? This is the last time we have to do this because it was at a canopy stage and we are never coming near this again. It was at a point where it was about to self-maintain."To reinforce their point, Doug pointed to a site twenty metres away that was a 4-5 year-old regen site.'"This section here had all the dead camphors there, and these people with the low fence complained one time, and the council came under Peter Cannon, and they took these ones down and mulched them all up very carefully. They did minuscule damage to that regen there, to all those little trees, minuscule damage. Look at how tall he left those stumps, which is fine."(The newly fallen site and to the right, the four-year-old established regen site complete with camphor laurels.)In this instance, the Lismore City Council Environment and Eco Team did not attempt to contact Shaen or Doug before cutting the camphor laurels and did not attempt to mulch the fallen trees. The grass surrounding the regen site was not affected in any way.During the felling, if the tree was mulched, this could have been donated to the GTLG, who spend about $12,000 on mulch.The result is a very unhappy group of volunteers who give up nearly every weekend to try and complete this regen program. Now they are questioning whether to go back to that section and start again.The Lismore contacted Lismore City Council for a comment on this situation and received this reply from a Lismore City Council spokesperson:"Council staff held a productive meeting with members of the Tucki Tucki Landcare group late last week to discuss works undertaken at two locations along the Tucki Tucki Reserve."The works were undertaken after concerns a number of dead Camphor Laurel trees, believed to be poisoned, were a safety risk to the community."At the Conifer Street site, Council contracted a qualified arborist to remove the trees with the cut branches left onsite. Unfortunately, this process damaged the ground cover and understory being regenerated by Tucki Tucki Landcare group."After being informed of this, Council moved swiftly to arrange the removal of these cut branches."Council had also previously met with the group to discuss the removal of dead Camphor Laurels near the dog park, reaching an agreement to remove the crowns of the trees to ensure safety. This involved accessing the trees via a neighbouring property. However, due to the size of the machinery required, access was not possible."Instead, Council used one track to access and remove the trees. Unfortunately, due to the high amount of rain later in the week, much of the regenerated ground cover was washed away.0"Lismore City Council remains committed to working with the community to protect and improve our environment."Council has given the Tucki Tucki Landcare group assurances it will be consulted before any future works are undertaken on this public land."Shaen Springall said, "I just want to acknowledge Eber Butron and Don Wilson and the amazing efforts they have gone to to try and resolve these issues we've had. Those guys have gone above and beyond for what they have to do. I just think it's a pity that we meet with them and we come up with a solution, and then it's just ignored. We've got to do something to make sure this doesn't happen again.""Mark Dunphy from Firewheel Rainforest Nursery recently had a walk-through here, and he didn't even look at it all, but he valued what he saw as $2 million worth of work. He said if council had to pay to get professional Bush Regenerators in to do what we do, it would have been $2 million conservatively."The Goonellabah Tucki Landcare Group hopes they are consulted in the future and that the agreed plan is executed making it a win/win for everyone concerned.

NSW Farmers happy with initial findings into Food & Grocery Code
NSW Farmers happy with initial findings into Food & Grocery Code

08 April 2024, 8:22 PM

Hefty fines for supermarket misbehaviour could soon be on the cards, according to the initial findings of a review into the Food and Grocery Code released yesterday. Former Competition Minister Craig Emerson conceded a “heavy imbalance” in market power existed within the supermarket sector in his interim report handed down today, recommending the Food and Grocery Code be made mandatory with potentially huge fines for its breach. NSW Farmers Vice President Rebecca Reardon said the report’s recommendations around the code could finally set the wheels in motion to address market power misuse by supermarket giants. “For years, grocery giants have had near unfettered ability to use their market power against suppliers, with a lack of accountability or penalties for any unconscionable behaviour impacting the supply chain,” Mrs Reardon said. “Having a mandatory Code of Conduct for our supermarkets and their suppliers with enforceable, meaningful penalties for its breach could make the world of difference when it comes to cracking down on the harmful practices of these super powers.“Anti-competitive activity needs to be stopped in its tracks, and it’s nice to hear the Federal Government step up and admit the current Code is not good enough.”However, Emerson’s failure to back divestiture powers as one of the tools in the toolbox to address harmful behaviour by supermarkets was disappointing, Mrs Reardon said. “Australia has one of the most highly concentrated supermarket sectors in the world, and this lack of competition has enabled these superpowers to behave as they have,” Mrs Reardon said. “We need a number of tools and reforms to address the issues at hand, and we have pointed to divestiture powers as one of these mechanisms that could in fact be very effective in busting supermarkets for unfair behaviour.“Supermarkets have too much power, and too often, they are using it in a way that is hurting farmers and harming families.“This market concentration is the core issue and the elephant in the room, which we need to address if we want to truly change the system.” 

NSW Government looks to expand rice export industry in NRs
NSW Government looks to expand rice export industry in NRs

08 April 2024, 7:47 PM

The NSW Government will introduce a Bill to Parliament in May to develop a new rice export marketing and trade arrangement for the Northern Rivers rice-growing region.At the same time, the NSW Government has committed to retaining rice growers in Southern NSW and will keep existing rice vesting arrangements in place for that region, with a review by 30 June 2029. This will ensure export marketing continuity for Australia’s largest rice-exporting region. These new arrangements will provide new opportunities for NSW agricultural exports – supporting a new emerging rice sector in the Northern Rivers that can contribute to expanding the state’s opportunities in overseas markets. In practice, these changes will mean the Northern Rivers growers will, for the first time, be able to organise their own arrangement for exporting rice and not have to go through the vesting arrangements that binds growers in southern NSW. This aims to cut red tape and costs so the emerging Northern Rivers region can be assisted in developing.The NSW Government’s actions recognise that there are two distinct rice growing regions in NSW and supports the implementation of changes which are considered responsible, appropriate and supportive to the continued development of both rice growing and exporting.The NSW rice industry had an estimated farm gate value of $219 million in 2022-23. Presently around 98 per cent of NSW rice production occurs within the three southern irrigation regions of the Murrumbidgee, Coleambally and Murray.The Bill will include a transitional start date of 1 September 2024 for the Northern Rivers arrangement, which will then occur after the 2024 Northern Rivers rice harvest.These initiatives have been developed by the NSW Government after it was handed a report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), that was initiated by the former Liberal Nationals Government, recommending that the statutory marketing board for rice exports and its sole and exclusive export licence arrangement be removed.The NSW Government has decided not to accept that ABARES recommendation because it wants to support and assist the rice sector to grow sustainably.The Government will, in its Bill, also move to enhance the governance and transparency of the rice marketing arrangements to benefit the sector and growers.The 2023 ABARES Independent Report into NSW Rice Vesting Arrangements and the NSW Government Response is available on the NSW DPI website. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/legislation/list/rice-marketing/review/info-paper/the-nsw-government-response-to-the-abares-independent-report-into-rice-vestingMinister for Agriculture, Minister for Regional NSW, and Minister for Western NSW, Tara Moriarty said, “The NSW Government is committed to creating new business opportunities for the state’s agricultural sector and we are taking action to do that for the rice industry by listening to their needs, cutting red tape and assisting growers expand their export potential.“We are both recognising the needs and value of the established growers in the south and opening up opportunities for the emerging sector in the Northern Rivers.“I want to acknowledge the valuable contributions made by stakeholder organisations and rice growers over the last year, who outlined what they thought was working, what wasn’t and how the Government could renew their export potential.”Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she is delighted at Minister Moriarty’s announcement as it is a major win for our rice growers here on the Northern Rivers."I have been lobbying on behalf of those growers for several years now, and I am excited by the export potential the new marketing and trade arrangements will offer the industry."NSW RICE INDUSTRYThe NSW rice industry had an estimated farm gate value of $219 million in 2022-23 (DPI estimate) with an average farm gate value of $186 million over the past ten years.The NSW rice industry is located across two separate regions of the State:Southern rice region: Roughly 97% to 99% of NSW rice production occurs within the three irrigation regions of the Murrumbidgee, Coleambally and Murray.Northern rice region: A smaller quantity of rice is grown mainly within the Richmond Valley near Casino and Lismore and the Tweed Valley further North.Australian (effectively NSW – as NSW makes up about 99% of national production) rice exports averaged $263 million over the past 10 financial years, ranging from $34 million in 2020-21 to $402 million in 2014-15. Rice exports are highly variable and predominantly influenced by water availability and the price of alternative crops, all of which determine supply.Key Australian rice export markets include but are not limited to the following:Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon)Japan, South Korea, TaiwanPNG, Solomon Islands, other Pacific nationsNew Zealand

Mongoose charges two more teenagers with break and enter and pursuit
Mongoose charges two more teenagers with break and enter and pursuit

08 April 2024, 2:50 AM

Two teens will appear in court today charged following an alleged break and enter and pursuit in the States Northern Rivers Region. Operation Regional Mongoose North was established to target property offences, including vehicle thefts and break and enter offences, throughout Richmond, Tweed Byron and Coffs Clarence Police Districts.Officers attached to Richmond Police District commenced an investigation following reports of a break and enter at a home on Taylor Avenue, Goonellabah, between 12am and 1.30am on Sunday (7 April 2024).Police were told a red Honda Civic was allegedly stolen from the location. About 2.25am, officers received another report of an alleged break and enter in Calnan Crescent, Cumbalum, where the Honda was seen leaving. The Honda was later seen on the Bruxner Highway, Woolongbar, and allegedly failed to stop when directed by officers and a pursuit was initiated. The pursuit travelled through the townships of Woolongbar, Lindendale, Lismore and Woodburn, covering over approximately 50km, before road spikes were successfully deployed and the came to a stop on Cedar Street, Woodburn. The two male occupants exited the vehicle and after a short foot pursuit, they were arrested in the town drain. The two boys, aged 14 and 15, were taken to Lismore Police Station.The younger boy was charged with aggravated break and enter commit serious indictable offence, take & drive conveyance without consent of owner and police pursuit - not stop - drive at speed.The older boy was charged with aggravated break and enter commit serious indictable offence and be carried in conveyance taken without consent of owner.They were both refused bail to appear before a children’s court today (Monday 8 April 2024).

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