The Lismore App
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Is WeWatch the new way to be crime informed?
Is WeWatch the new way to be crime informed?

24 May 2024, 10:00 PM

The social media app used to track crime, WeWatch, is being used in Goonellabah, Ballina and Coraki and is looking to gain further traction in the region. Local coordinator Marc Ward has approached the NSW Police Minister, Yasmin Catley, to discuss potential collaboration with the Police force. WeWatch is currently looking for support to launch in Lismore.This week, Marc reports, “WeWatch has had 7533 local downloads since the Goonellabah Community Crime Meeting on March 3rd. Interest via Facebook has also grown, and its members are now over 900.”WeWatch is a Social Media platform. Marc says, “The app functions the same way that any social media group would function. Which is that anyone can post information on it. It's just a community option, where it's not buried by other stuff on social media.”The potential for revealing crime patterns is shown on a night in early May, both in the Facebook group and via the app.  Marc reports, “On the weekend of May 4th, reports on the Facebook WeWatch page showed that roughly one-third of the homes in Silver Gull Drive, East Ballina, were broken into on the same night.”There is concern about crime and a desire to understand what is happening in a community as it occurs. Marc elaborates, “The app was recommended many times on the Facebook posts related to the Silver Gull Dr incidents on the Ballina Crime Reports Facebook page.“During that weekend and 5 days after, the app was downloaded 1100 times; a 400% increase on the previous 7 days. This says to me that the community are actively seeking solutions and view the WeWatch app as a viable option. It's just a matter of revealing it to the wider population.”On that same night, May 4th, a crime wave was occurring in Cumbalum. Below is a screenshot of the WeWatch app flagging these incidents. Marc says, “Most reported as near-miss events with criminals attempting to gain access to property or vehicles but were unsuccessful. Map of the multiple incidents reported on May 4th.“It can't be said that the app prevented these residences becoming victims that night as the WeWatch app is not the only variable however, it is a good visual representation of how criminals will go "door-to-door" and how neighbourhood communication can prevent this type of crime.”The app “pings” when a crime is reported within a kilometre of where you are. Marc suggests that if there is activity in the area, it is a good cautionary action to turn your lights on to ward against unwelcome stealthy visitors.The app not only reports that a crime is taking place but also allows users to post an image of the occurrence.Marc says, “If pictures are going to get posted, they need to be posted of someone actually committing a crime. Well, you can post others, but they will be removed.” An individual running away does not constitute a crime. Imagery displayed from a security camera, may assist in identifying a perpetrator.Even so, we discussed how this could bring about a case of mistaken identity. If someone rang up saying that a photo looked remarkably like another person who was not involved in a crime, or they are being victimised due to an image that had a resemblance, Marc can be contacted to correct the issue.“I haven't really heard of that happening too often. I think there's only one case that I know of. It's pretty easy to speak to someone when you send an email or phone call. What happens is the photo would be removed from the site.”Marc also discusses the consideration of using the app as a potential distraction from a larger crime incident, “A criminal cannot create an alert somewhere as a decoy unless they're physically at the place they're trying to decoy away from. “You sign up with your phone number, so if you wanted to make multiple accounts, you would have to have multiple phones. And there is internal reporting so that if someone was constantly creating false alerts or distractions, they can be reported and removed, and then they can't recreate an account with that phone number.”Marc has reached out to see if the app can help professional law enforcers to formally alert them of criminal activity hot spots. Marc emailed Police Minister Yasmin Catley on Saturday and "Is awaiting a response to the suggestion that we collaborate with police to further develop the app for facilitating communication between police and members of the community."“I have invited the police to meet to discuss the matter as well as scrutinise the app's potential for misuse by perpetrators (which was a main concern brought up at the Ballina meeting).”Marc suggests that possible changes to app functionality for this goal could be: - Customisable alert radius set to the LGA of local law enforcement, rather than the default 1km for residents- A tiered category of reporting to let police know the severity of the incident- Geographical crime data that shows “hot-spot” areas of a locality- Push-notifications to devices for police to directly communicate with residents- Timed alerts to remind residents to lock up at known times of criminal activityWhat the App looks like in the setup phase.The app is currently available for use throughout Australia, but the rollout in this area is being closely monitored for its success. Marc is not an owner or developer of the app. “I'm just a resident, and I work closely with the guys that own the app. It's turned into a bit of a pilot program here for them. So that we can develop a strategy where it can be rolled out in other towns.The app is completely free for users at the moment. Marc says all “running costs are just worn by the company that owns it.” Marc believes, “Our communities have demonstrated they are willing and able to support law enforcement in reducing crime when they are given modern, simple, free and accessible tools to do so. I would love to see some kind of endorsement from police and local politicians to organise a large community meeting in Lismore to bring people together over the issue.”WeWatch have found it beneficial to have a meeting in a location where the app is being rolled out. It allows people to address any concerns, and gives them the opportunity of a voice in the vicinity. As a social media platform - the more people that use it, the bigger benefit it is to users. If anyone is interested in supporting To find out any further developments in Lismore, join the Goonellabah WeWatch Facebook page.To read about what happened at the Goonellabah Meeting in March, click here.

Roadwork around Lismore and Casino this week will cause delays
Roadwork around Lismore and Casino this week will cause delays

24 May 2024, 9:00 PM

Transport for NSW has announced roadworks in the Lismore and Casino areas from tomorrow to carry out road surface repairs and bridge maintenance.To minimise impact to motorists, road repair work starting Sunday, 26 May will be carried out from 6pm to 6am on Bangalow Road, for one kilometre east from Donnans Road. This work is expected to be completed in three nights, weather permitting.Motorists are further advised of changed overnight traffic conditions from next week on Summerland Way for essential bridge maintenance work to be carried out at Irving Bridge, Casino.Work starting Monday 27 May 2024 will be carried out from 7pm to 5am weeknights and is expected to be complete in two weeks, weather permitting.Motorists are also advised of changed overnight traffic conditions from next week on the Bruxner Highway between Dibbs and Ellis streets in Lismore to carry out road surface repairs.Work starting Wednesday, 29 May will be carried out from 6pm to 6am and is expected to be complete in three nights, weather permitting.Single lane closure with stop/slow arrangements and a 40km/h speed limit will be in place at each location during work hours for the safety of motorists and workers.Motorists should allow up to five minutes extra travel time.Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions and follow the directions of signs and traffic control.For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW app, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

Lismore Library opens new community meeting room
Lismore Library opens new community meeting room

24 May 2024, 8:00 PM

The Lismore Library is excited to announce the opening of its brand-new community meeting room, free for non-profit organisations and community groups.Thanks to disaster relief funding from Create NSW, the dedicated space will be available to host meetings, workshops, presentations and other gatherings.Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said community and non-profit organisations now have the opportunity to use a modern meeting room.“The community meeting room can seat up to 50 people and is equipped with Wi-Fi, projector, screen and whiteboard,” he said.“Importantly, it is accessible to people with disabilities and is centrally located with shops, cafes and covered parking, all conveniently located nearby.“Thank you to the library staff who continue to keep our community front and centre.”Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she appreciates the Lismore Library and its team's efforts and dedication to serving the community.“I know the Lismore Library has done a great job accommodating its special groups, activities and events in its pop-up library spaces,” she said.“It’s wonderful to have this dedicated and well-equipped facility for people to use.“I want to thank Librarian Michael Lewis and the library team for always looking for ways the library can better serve the community. The new Children’s Library has proved to be a winner and I’m sure this space will be well used and much appreciated by the community.“I’m pleased that the NSW Government has provided the funding to make it possible.”Lismore Area Librarian Michael Lewis said the library team were excited to offer this valuable resource to the community.“The new meeting room provides a central location for groups to connect, collaborate and make a difference in our community,” he said.“The Lismore Toy Library is one such group, which will host its toy lending program throughout the coming months.”The Commonwealth and NSW government jointly funded the Lismore Library Meeting and Workshop Space project through the Arts and Culture Essential Community Asset Program (ECAP) as part of the Community Local Infrastructure Recovery Package (CLIRP).The new community meeting room is located at Lismore Central Shopping Centre at 44 Carrington Street, Lismore.Meeting room features:Seating and tables for 50 people.Equipped with Wi-Fi, projector, screen and whiteboards.Accessible to people with disabilities.Centralised location with nearby shops, cafes and covered parking. Reserving the Meeting Room:Reservations for the community meeting room can be made by scanning the QR code at the bottom of this article, online at www.lismore.nsw.gov.au and by searching for a venue or calling the library on 6621 2464.

The Weekend Wrap
The Weekend Wrap

24 May 2024, 7:09 AM

After a cracking weekend for Gemfest last week (apart from the short storm at night), we can expect a return to some wet weather across Saturday and Sunday.Saturday is forecast for 'showers', so will be the worst weather day with 2-10mm expected, while on Sunday 'a shower or two' is the order of the day with 0-2mm on the radar.While there were plenty of events last weekend (why are they all on the same weekend?), there are fewer options this time round, but there is still plenty to see and do.It is the final two days of Casino Beef Week 2024. Tomorrow (Saturday) Beef Week hits its climax with the CBD closed to traffic and a number of big events taking place:Whip Cracking from 10:30am in the CBDFamily Fun Zone between 8am and 1pm on Walker Street in the CBD.Airtime FMX in the CBD at 9am, 11am and 12:30pmStreet Parade at 1:45pm in the CBDBeef Week Rodeo at the showgrounds from 3pm (tickets available here)Then on Sunday:Airtime SFX at 9am, 10:30am and 12pm.Show N Shine Car Show between 8:30am and 1pmThere will be plenty of live music on both days as Casino Beef Week wraps up for another year. Visit the Casino Beef Week website for more information.The Lismore Farmers Markets are back in action tomorrow morning from 7:30am at the showgrounds with fresh fruit and veg, music from Mish Songsmith and Katrina from Koala Gardens will be there to talk about all things koala.The Nimbin Markets make their monthly appearance on Sunday on Cullen Street between 9am and 3pm.The Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens have their Open Day on Sunday between 9:30am and 3pm.There will be nine (9) guided walks that include:9.30am USEFUL PLANTS GARDEN – Andreas10.00 am UNCOMMON PLANTS 1 - Peter10.3Oam HOOP PINE FOREST – Marama 11.00am WILSON’S PARK SPECIES GARDEN - Tim11.30am UNCOMMON PLANTS 2 - Peter 11.30 am HOOP PINE FOREST 2 – Trudi11.30 am RAINFOREST and PALM GULLY – Phil 12.00pm COMMERCIAL USES OF RAINFOREST PLANTS – Ken1pm ENCOUNTERS 2020 GARDEN (Plants collected by Banks) - TraceyBookings are essential for the Guided Walks by emailing [email protected] (Please give a contact number and say which walk and time you’d like).Each walk takes one hour (NB Some walk times overlap), and numbers are limited. The cost is $5 per person, with children free.The NRRRL played all but one round last weekend with Northern United big winners and Marist Brothers suffering at the hands of Bilambil.The Rams will head to Kyogle to turn their fortunes around on Sunday at 2:45pm, while the Dirrawongs have a tough test at home (Crozier Field) against Bilambil at 2:25 on Sunday.Most matches were postponed last weekend for teams in Football Far North Coast. It will be fingers crossed, the rain stays away tomorrow or is only light. Some teams have only played once since the season began in mid-April.There are two matches tonight, Richmond Rovers take on South Lismore tonight at Neilson Park with kick-off at 8pm and Goonellabah travel to Ballina.On Saturday, its Byron Bay v Bangalow and Maclean v Alstonville, while on Sunday, it is Mullumbibmby Brunswick v Lennox Head.The Women's Premier League have not played for three weeks when take to the filed on Sunday.Byron Bay play Alstonville at 12:30pm, Ballina are at home to Richmond Rovers at 2:30pm and Lennox Head take on Bangalow also at 2:30pm.Ballina is still the cheapest place to buy fuel over the weekend apart from those that need diesel, where Lismore, believe it or not, is the cheapest. Most prices have come down this week. Here are the latest prices:E10 is 193.9 at all Lismore CBD E10 locations, 187.9 at The United on Johnstone Street in Casino with the the new Mobil (485 River Street) and the Metro (323 River Street) in Ballina the cheapest at 182.5.Unleaded 91 is 194.9 at the new Astron on Ballina Road, 189.9 at the United and the North Casino Mini Mart in Casino and 184.5 at the new Mobil and the Metro on River Street in Ballina.U95 is 203.9 at the Independent on Wyrallah Road, East Lismore, Northside Liberty and Bakers Corner at North Lismore, 208.9 at the Independent at 169 Canterbury Street, Casino and 195.5 at the new Mobil and the Metro on River Street in Ballina.U98 is 211.9 at the Liberty on Union Street, South Lismore, 210.9 at The United on Johnston Street in Casino and 204.5 at the new Mobil and the Metro on River Street, Ballina.Diesel is 188.9 at the new Astron on Ballina Road and the two independents on Terania Street, North Lismore, 201.9 at the United, the Casino Roadhouse on Johnston Street and the Ampol on Dyraaba Street in Casino and a cheap 189.5 at the Metro in Ballina and the new Mobil at 485 River Street.The new Lismore Podcast series on Solar Energy takes on more significance as both the federal and state governments announce incentives for Australia to manufacture solar batteries in the future and rebates to buy them from November.It is Part 4 on Sunday, with our resident solar expert Mike Haydon from Off The Grid talking about how renters can get solar with no cost and how you can now share electricity with family and friends to lower their power bills.Check out Parts 1, 2 and 3 Podcasts. Part three talks about solar batteries.Have a great weekend!

Finally! Terania Street Bridge to come down
Finally! Terania Street Bridge to come down

23 May 2024, 10:51 PM

It has been a very long eight months for residents and businesses in North Lismore and those who use Terania Street regularly, but finally, a date has been set to begin the demolition of the historic old wooden bridge.Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin has been advised the demolition works will start in July."After staying on the case with the NSW Government and relative departments, I have been advised the demolition works for Terania St bridge in North Lismore will begin in July," Ms Saffin said. "The Heritage Council and Transport for NSW have approved the demolition. This has been a really tough time for local residents and businesses." "I will continue to update the community when I have more information."When asked why Transport for NSW will go ahead with speed bumps and other traffic calming measures, Ms Saffin was told that it will take some time to pull down the bridge and they want it open for businesses and locals in the interim.The next item on Ms Saffin's Terania Street agenda is establishing an exact time frame for sharing with the community.The issue started in September 2023 when Transport for NSW closed the bridge for four weeks before reopening to light vehicles in late October 2023.Another overheight vehicle hit the bridge in January 2024, necessitating the closure of one lane. Then, on February 8, due to safety concerns, the bridge was closed in both directions once again. Initially, the Lismore App was told that due to its heritage listing, the removal process could take 2-5 years. However, commonsense has prevailed, with Heritage NSW and Transport for NSW fast-tracking the process for the good of the community, albeit under some pressure from all levels of government.

Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens Open Day this Sunday
Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens Open Day this Sunday

23 May 2024, 10:00 PM

This Sunday, the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens will hold an Open Day as part of a celebration of botanic gardens across Australia and New Zealand.The theme is "More than garden....Protecting our plants and landscapes"The theme reflects the fact that botanic gardens and arboreta are not only nice places to visit — they also conduct ecological research, safeguard plant diversity through living collections and seed banks and educate and empower communities in environmental sustainability.Botanic gardens are known as vital green spaces of social, cultural and heritage value within communities, but are also increasingly being recognised as the frontline in tackling the biggest challenges facing our future — biodiversity loss, adaptation to a changing climate, food security and pest and disease management.The native plant nursery is open from 9.30am till 12pm with great advice and sales of healthy local rainforest plants. There will be guided walks, self-guided walks, a cake and coffee stall, card and book sales, educational displays and children's activities.The Guided Walks start at 9.30am with the following schedule: 9.30am USEFUL PLANTS GARDEN – Andreas10.00 am UNCOMMON PLANTS 1 - Peter 10.3Oam HOOP PINE FOREST – Marama 11.00am WILSON’S PARK SPECIES GARDEN - Tim 11.30am UNCOMMON PLANTS 2 - Peter 11.30 am HOOP PINE FOREST 2 – Trudi11.30 am RAINFOREST and PALM GULLY – Phil 12.00pm COMMERCIAL USES OF RAINFOREST PLANTS – Ken1pm ENCOUNTERS 2020 GARDEN (Plants collected by Banks) - TraceyBookings are essential for the Guided Walks by emailing [email protected] (Please give a contact number and say which walk and time you’d like). Each walk takes one hour (NB Some walk times overlap) and numbers limited.The cost $5 per person, children are free. It is cash only as the Botanic Gardens do not have card facilities.Participants are asked to meet at the Visitor’s Centre 10 minutes before your walk. You are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes and a hat. LISMORE RAINFOREST BOTANIC GARDENS OPEN DAY    Sunday, 26th May, 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. Taking place at 313 Wyrallah Road, East Lismore.

Summerland Bank reveals its new flood-tech designs
Summerland Bank reveals its new flood-tech designs

23 May 2024, 9:00 PM

Summerland Bank has recently reopened its doors, revealing a newly refurbished look. The design and works completed in the facility are a great example of how to rethink fit-outs in flood prone areas. The result is a testament to communication, collaboration and innovation in the Lismore CBD.The 2022 floods came to the (old) ceiling of the bank foyer, and as the story goes, water inundated areas that were never subject to prior floods. John Williams, the Summerland Bank CEO says, “We lost a lot of infrastructure here, electricals, we lost the lift, fire systems, the security systems, we had a data centre out the back which was a metre and a half under water and mud.”The blue line above indicates the height of the 2022 flood watersWith the decision to clean up and rebuild, the team at Summerland Bank decided not to rush into a quick renovation. After two years of working remotely with Covid, the choice was made to hold off from permanent habitation and take some time for a redesign that would see them through future flooding. That has taken another two years to come to fruition.“We are not hoping that we will never have another flood, but fully expecting that we would flood again,” says John, “The idea is to be able to get back to work quickly with minimal fuss to service, operations and stability after flooding - that was paramount. The nature of the business has changed, also. Since Covid, having staff that are able to work remotely has helped to minimise interruption to services when the floods hit.Summerland Bank's operations now embrace this flexibility, so a whole of business approach was applied to the design process. New office including foldable furniture and easy to clean surfaces.Local businesses, Barker Architects and Bennett Construction worked on the rebuild. Luke Barker, Director and Principal Architect on the project, said, “The drive behind it was to have as minimal impact on banking as possible knowing that it's going to be affected by flood waters again.   “The difficulty was to find an aesthetic balance with the materials because you can find waterproof materials, but to match them with the look of a bank and try and make it look nice for an office was a challenge. We did a whole bunch of samples and testing on-site with Bennett's and came up with a finish that the client was happy with that also had the waterproofing.”Epoxy floor, waterproof render on the walls, durable finishes and easy access electrics are deliberate features.Luke described it as a “very collaborative process.” John was intrinsically involved and outlined some of the features that have been incorporated “We considered everything from staff safety and air quality to being able to replace certain items easily. All electrics are able to be accessed for testing and replacing. We ensured all the fixtures were easy to clean, designed the furniture and kitchen cupboards with water resistant material.“The floors are epoxy, and all the desks are made from waterproof laminate and are able to be folded up so we can move them easily. We have holes in the floor - drains. This is to let the water in. We don't want to build, what's called hydrostatic pressure where, as the water rises, it lifts the building. Inconspicuous drains on the floor are all that indicate the method of water ingress and egress.“The drains are filled with foam at the moment (for fire safety). We punch the foam out, and when the water comes into the room, it can drain out because underneath here, we've got a 20 car underground car park. From there, the water can be pumped back out into the river when the flood subsides.”Summerland Bank prides itself on its community centric ethos and links to the region that has allowed it to build to the place it is now.  John says, “Our look is actually symbolic of the rivers, the streams and tributaries as well as the roads connecting the Northern Rivers.” John recognises that there are mixed feelings about the river, but says, “The river is actually the lifeblood of the Northern Rivers region. All of the rivers. It's part of who we are. So we decided we are going to bring it into our brand.”Many of the features and decorations in the foyer reflect the curved flow of the inspiration. They lend it a business-like yet welcoming vibe, and they are dual purpose. “The wave-like blue panels are sound attenuating material, as are the orange floating discs. In a building like this with hard floors and hard walls, you get this noisy environment. And these things do a fantastic job while reflecting the Summerland brand.”Luke was very happy with the results, “We are thrilled with the outcome, as it beautifully showcases the coexistence of resilience, aesthetics and functionality, even in a flood-prone environment.”John said, "I am delighted with the modern and welcoming building renovations. The use of flood-resistant materials and moveable furnishings demonstrates Summerland’s commitment to a long-term presence in the Lismore CBD, enabling us to quickly resume operations after a flood. Feedback from both customers and staff has been positive. Our customers and fellow business owners have praised the design's aesthetics and its effectiveness in reducing rebuilding and clean-up costs in the event of another flood."If you would like to learn more about Summerland Banks rebuild and/or business, call 1300 728 728 during business hours. You can also speak to Luke at Barker Architects on 0404 644 776.

Head of NSWRA Mal Lanyon in Lismore this week
Head of NSWRA Mal Lanyon in Lismore this week

23 May 2024, 8:00 PM

The official announcement that NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon was the new head of the NSW Reconstruction Authority (NSWRA) was well-received by all levels of government.Mr Lanyon is no stranger to Lismore, having played an integral role in the days and weeks after the February 2022 big flood as NSW Recovery Coordinator.That experience will help him in his new CEO role, as he told the Lismore App."Yes, I think very much so. I think relationships in the community, and the role of the RA, is to work very closely with councils and community to make sure we are working with them to deliver recovery and reconstruction. And I think having those relationships is very beneficial.""It's also been really useful for me to come back up here now and reimagine exactly what I saw all that time ago to see how much progress and how much positivity there is in the community too."When you have seen Lismore at its worst, then revisit our city two years later, you have a fresh perspective on the flood recovery."It's very much how vibrant the CBD is at the moment compared to when I was last here. There was obviously a number of shops reopening, but I think to actually go through the CBD and see what's happening is fantastic. We had dinner in town last night. There were a lot of people in that restaurant, still a lot of people moving around restaurants on a Wednesday night."Mr Lanyon also noticed the way Lismore businesses have rebuilt their shops and stores."Just the sort of adaptation that has already taken place with businesses. So, where there used to be carpet in there, I think we've gone back to some of the more historic polished concrete on the floor, which to me is fantastic and really taking advantage of the historical parts of the town, that are more flood resilient. And the modular design, so they'll have cabinets that can be rolled out.""These are just really sensible changes. I think that reflects, probably, the environment, but then really allows people to say they have some confidence back in their business."It has been about six weeks since Mal Lanyon started in his new role. What have you noticed, and what improvements can be made?"I think one of the things for the community, obviously, is that it has taken time, and we're acutely aware of the fact that the community are going through a very difficult phase. There are still a lot of people that are out of homes, a lot of people in temporary accommodation, the real need for the Reconstruction Authority to work with some pace, deliver some outcomes and get people back.""I think it's really important to indicate what we are doing is on a scale that is probably unparalleled. This is the third most costly disaster that's happened in Australia. What's important about that? If you think about Cyclone Tracy, which devastated Darwin, it's a fairly easy job to do. You're basically just reconstructing homes as they sit. With Lismore and a lot of the surrounding areas here living in a floodplain, there's been a lot of talk about, do we do buybacks? How do we actually make sure that people are safer? How do we make sure the community goes again?""So, certainly I would wish, I know it's certainly the Reconstruction wish is that we had been able to deliver quicker. But I think it's really important to come from an environment that we make sure that the settings are right and so that we can deliver quickly now."To Mr Lanyon's point on Cyclone Tracy, it took the Darwin Reconstruction Commission three years to rebuild the city. We know the Christchurch earthquake disaster took ten years. Christchurch involved a number of areas being classified as red zones where housing could no longer be built so new construction needed to occur in new areas of the city.When looking at time frames, it appears more certain that the Lismore rebuild will also be around the eight to ten-year mark. You cannot quickly rebuild six hundred homes and the infrastructure that goes with it.As for the Resilient Homes Program, what is the latest update? Will you see more money coming forward in Tranche 2? "I think what's really important at the moment is that we focus on working through that first tranche. So, at pace now, it's about how we actually go through the buybacks and then the raising and retrofits. In terms of the buybacks, we've had 773 offers, of which 623 have been accepted, so we're continuing to work through that process there.""Raising and retrofit, when I spoke to you before about the complexity of the program, making sure that it was designed, you will start to see that at pace. There's about 350 properties that have been probably targeted in the first instance for that program, but in the background, there have been a number of home assessments conducted with the contractor to make sure that homeowners actually have the choice of how they go forward with that program.""Raising is a more timely process than retrofit. You'll certainly see a lot of retrofit start to come forward quite quickly. In the meantime, in terms of preparedness, and it's one of the things that I absolutely understand how the community will be feeling. I think every time it probably rains up here, the community, quite rightly, are anxious about what that's going to look like for the future.""There's a lot of work being done in community preparedness based by the combat agencies like the SES, but certainly in terms of the RA and our responsibility for recovery, how much more forward-leaning we've been. I was very fortunate the first week I was in this role, not fortunate for the communities, but I was able to see flooding in the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley, flooding in the Shoalhaven/Illawarra and just see how much more forward leaning both the emergency services were, and the RA, to actually basically commence recovery simultaneously.""Those activities that seem to take a lot of time up here the first time this happened back in '22, you can really see how much more forward leaning the Reconstruction Authority are now. And that's going to be our real focus. It's going to be about recovery at pace. So, you're quite rightly pointing out that it has taken time to get to this raising and retrofit program. I think that complexity is something that is really important to point out. It's not that we have not wanted to get this going, I think it's about because it's a pioneering program. It's about getting it right. and then delivering it at pace. So, the community will see an increase in the pace of delivery of that program."The Resilient Land Program has moved forward in the past two months with some announcements and another one yesterday?"I think the first couple, with SCU and Mount Pleasant, there was a real concern right across the Northern Rivers that it may have been to Lismore centric. You've seen the one at Byron and today at Richmond Valley. The focus for us is to announce as quickly as we possibly can and start getting that information out there so that the community and those that are affected can really start planning for the future. We want to give options to people".Fairy Hill is about 10kms north of Casino and 40kms from Lismore and is another substantial parcel of land with up to 1,500 blocks available. What kind of people will take that offer up?"The first part we need to do is make sure that the planning is done properly for the infrastructure that supports it, because, as you know, water, sewerage and those sort of things need to be done well. I think it will be attractive to a range of the community. I think there will probably be some people that will get flood-free land and land that's probably a slightly different lifestyle, but within the beautiful places that they like to live. It gives them options, and that's probably the most important thing if you think about the releases so far and the releases still to come; it's going to provide a range of options, particularly for those people in the Resilient Homes program.In terms of affordability, will it be within reach of someone who may have received $500,00 to $550,000 for a buyback?"Part of the focus, and to be honest, part of the challenge with getting this program together and why it's taken some time to get the settings right, is there's a range of factors that need to be considered. You certainly can't over float the market. So, the last thing we want to do is create an artificial price within the market. It then makes housing more unaffordable.""So, if we were to go in and pay too much for land, then put houses on it and had a value that was well in excess of the rest of the market, it over inflates the property values. There's been a lot of work in that space. I would expect the new announcement will certainly be more affordable than some of the other areas. But we're very mindful of making sure that whatever we do is consistent with the buyback. So, what people are getting for their buybacks, and that's really been part of the work, what you're getting for, the buyback is anticipated to pay for the land and for the house. Where there's an adjustment, it's unlikely to be significant and I think there's really been a target to make sure that the impact on those that are affected is as limited as possible."What about the next Lismore announcement? When will we see that happen?"I don't want to pre-empt that one, but I think when I said progressing at pace, I think you can be very confident you'll be hearing something very, very soon."

New Greens Bridge officially opens
New Greens Bridge officially opens

23 May 2024, 6:58 AM

Nimbin has been on a roll recently with completed flood restoration work. The first was the second section of Nimbin Road, known as Km4, and now the recently completed $4.5 million Greens Bridge, just outside of Nimbin.Greens Bridge was officially opened today, marking the conclusion of a substantial enhancement initiative designed to improve road transportation. Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg officially opened the newly constructed Greens Bridge on Stoney Chute Road, a project funded by $4,395,000 from the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Bridges Program and $140,000 from Council. The project provided employment opportunities to more than 30 local subcontractors, suppliers and workers during construction. The original bridge, constructed in 1930, had undergone multiple significant repairs over the years and its deteriorating condition meant it required a complete replacement due to safety concerns. The aged wooden bridge has been replaced with a modern concrete structure spanning 38-metres across Goolmangar Creek. Designed with bored pier foundations, the new bridge ensures unobstructed clearance and boasts a deck height elevated by 1.2 metres compared to its predecessor. This will help mitigate risks of inundation, like those experienced during the 2022 flooding event. Following completion of the new connection, the old bridge was demolished by Quickway Constructions Pty Ltd, and the creek banks also underwent rehabilitation works. The project also includes the installation of a new Flood Monitoring Station. Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said: “This bridge is a vital link between Kyogle and Nimbin, ensuring our farmers can get their produce to market and improving connectivity across our Local Government Area. “Importantly, we've 'built back better' by enhancing the bridge's resilience to flooding through raising the deck level. “Our commitment to strategic enhancements underscores our dedication to sustainable and durable infrastructure. This project not only strengthens the bridge but also symbolises progress toward a more robust and connected region. “The local community is delighted to have this new infrastructure in place. It stands as a testament to collaborative efforts and provides tangible benefits for residents and businesses alike,” he said. NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said: “The NSW Labor Government is committed to supporting rural councils to invest in their road networks, creating jobs and bolstering productivity while maintaining vital connections within regional communities. “It is also great to witness Lismore's bridge and road infrastructure being fortified against potential floods and fires. “While the previous timber bridge served its purpose over the years, its repeated repairs signaled the need for a change. “With the new concrete Greens Bridge, the community gains better safety and connectivity during emergencies, as well as improved reliability for heavy vehicle traffic, leading to enhanced transport efficiencies” State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said: “It is great to be in Nimbin for yet another opening of a key road project. “And it is great to see a new ‘built back better’ Greens Bridge so that locals and tourists can have better access. It just makes life a wee bit easier all round. “Bridges, roads, culverts and infrastructure are so important to country communities and any improvement, especially a more modern and durable bridge, is a cause for celebration.”

New Resilient Lands location announced north of Casino for up to 1500 houses
New Resilient Lands location announced north of Casino for up to 1500 houses

23 May 2024, 5:30 AM

Up to 1500 flood-resilient homes could be developed at the Summerland Estate at Fairy Hill, just north of Casino, thanks to $245,000 in funding from the NSW Government’s $100-million Resilient Lands Program.The NSW Government will provide the funding to Richmond Valley Council to complete important infrastructure investigations and technical reports to support the planning and delivery of the project.The area was identified in Council’s Housing Strategy because it sits well above the floodplain, allowing for flood-resilient homes to be constructed, bringing people, jobs and growth to the region.Fairy Hill is about 10kms north of Casino and 40kms west of Lismore.It follows the recent announcement of 400 lots in East Lismore and up to 50 new households in the Mount Pleasant Estate, Goonellabah, and funding for Byron Shire Council to complete strategic planning for the Saddle Road development at Brunswick Heads.The Resilient Lands Program will accelerate the delivery of new land and housing options, linking with the $700-million Resilient Homes Program, to give flood-impacted homeowners a pathway to move to a safer location.The Resilient Homes Program and Resilient Lands Program is being delivered by the NSW Reconstruction Authority to help communities across the Northern Rivers in their recovery.For more information, visit NSW Reconstruction Authority.Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said, “This development is a win-win for the community and the local council.“Not only does it help unlock flood-resilient land for people to move off the floodplain, but it also helps the council and state government deliver on its promise of more homes for our growing population.”Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said, “We are working with Richmond Valley Council as part of our strong commitment to addressing the ongoing and long-term recovery needs of the community. “This investment will allow the council to complete important infrastructure investigations on land above the flood plain for the Northern Rivers community.“Unlocking flood-resilient land gives people affected by the 2022 floods a wider range of relocation and housing opportunities, and demonstrates that we are with them for the long-term.”Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin said, “Flood-affected communities across the Northern Rivers region have been waiting for safer land and housing options to be identified.“Through Richmond Valley Council’s strategic planning initiative, up to 1500 homes may be developed at the Summerland Estate, which will give people real hope and opportunities.“The Community Leaders Forum (seven mayors and six State and Federal MPs) early on adopted the principle of equity in recovery for the entire region affected by the 2022 floods.“This Casino area announcement under the Resilient Lands Program is further proof that we are putting this important principle into action.”Richmond Valley Mayor Cr Robert Mustow said, “It’s exciting times in the Richmond Valley with plans for new jobs and more houses on flood-free land and at more affordable prices compared to many areas across the Northern Rivers.“This funding under the Reconstruction Authority’s Resilient Lands Program is welcomed and will enable us to progress the investigation work needed to complement the Summerland Estate proponent’s plans for 1500 new housing lots on the Summerland Way just north-west of Casino. This further investigation work aims to build the confidence in both levels of government to support investment in the necessary supporting infrastructure.“The Richmond Valley community is bouncing back from multiple natural disasters and is poised to take on a regional leadership role by securing the infrastructure investment that will enable housing and industrial growth to contribute to easing the housing crisis across the Northern Rivers.”Member for Clarence Richie Williamson said, “This funding is very welcome news and will allow flood-impacted individuals and families further options to relocate and build an affordable home on flood-free land in what is a magnificent part of the Northern Rivers.“It gives people some certainty and confidence moving forward after what has been a very difficult period.“I thank Richmond Valley Council for working constructively with the NSW Government and the Reconstruction Authority on identifying the housing lots, and look forward to plans progressing as quickly as possible.”

Housing and homelessness crisis gripping the Northern Rivers ‘totally unacceptable’
Housing and homelessness crisis gripping the Northern Rivers ‘totally unacceptable’

22 May 2024, 11:58 PM

The Northern Rivers’ peak local government organisation is urging both the NSW and Commonwealth Governments to do more to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis gripping the region. Chair of the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation (NRJO) Michael Lyon said he was especially devastated by the recent news that Byron Shire had again topped the annual NSW Street Count for rough sleepers. “Secure, affordable housing is a basic human need that is fundamental to the liveability of the Northern Rivers region and wellbeing of its communities,” Chair Lyon said. “It is totally unacceptable for our region to be experiencing the current level of homelessness. “Funding for homelessness services and vital social housing is relatively high in Sydney, while regional funding is manifestly inadequate to meet our needs.   “We need a significant funding commitment from both levels of government as we clearly have the most need and the regional inequity is beyond comprehension,” Chair Lyon said. The NRJO’s submission last year on the Australian Government’s proposed National Housing and Homelessness Plan highlighted how the region’s crisis had been severely exacerbated by extraordinary population growth through the COVID-19 pandemic and devastation wreaked during the 2022 flood disaster. “We’ve stressed to both the NSW and Commonwealth Governments that social housing levels are significantly low in the Northern Rivers, with it only making up between one and four percent of all housing stock in our member councils’ local government areas,” Chair Lyon added. “Adequate social and affordable housing is vital in supporting our most vulnerable people to exit homelessness. “All our region’s community members deserve to be housed, with the support they need to live with dignity,” Chair Lyon said.  One of five strategic regional priorities established by the NRJO is to improve community wellbeing now and into the future. A key goal in delivering on this priority is increased availability, affordability and choice of housing to meet the needs of the current and projected Northern Rivers population. To achieve this, the NRJO and its member councils have committed to partner with relevant government and non-government organisations to support increased access to social housing and homeless and crisis accommodation services across the region. 

New battery strategy will see manufacturing in Australia
New battery strategy will see manufacturing in Australia

22 May 2024, 10:53 PM

The Albanese Government has today released the nation’s first National Battery Strategy, supporting a Future Made in Australia and shoring up our economic resilience and security. The global demand for batteries is set to quadruple by 2030 as the world transitions to net zero, and our Strategy maps a path for Australia to take advantage of this growth to build a thriving battery industry. It identifies four high-value strategic opportunities:Stationary storage - building Energy Storage Systems to firm renewable power generation in the national grid and for communities, businesses and homes.Provide battery active materials to the world by upgrading raw minerals into processed battery components to strengthen battery supply chains.Leveraging our world-leading know-how to build safer and more secure batteries connected to the grid.Building batteries for our transport manufacturing industry, including heavy vehicle manufacturing.Funding for the Strategy was included in last week’s Budget:$523.2 million for the Battery Breakthrough Initiative, administered by ARENA, to promote the development of battery manufacturing capabilities through production incentives targeted at the highest value opportunities in the supply chain.$20.3 million for Building Future Battery Capabilities to incentivise cutting-edge battery research, including support for:Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre to map Australian battery capability and value chains, drive battery innovation and scale-up and deliver best practice guidelines and standards for the battery industry.Powering Australia Industry Growth Centre to develop workforce skills and training. The Budget also includes $1.7 billion for a new Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund, administered by ARENA, to accelerate deployment of innovative technologies and facilities through support for innovation, commercialisation, pilot and demonstration projects in priority sectors including clean energy manufacturing such as batteries. The Strategy is designed to harness our world-leading expertise in battery technology, leverage our natural advantage with critical minerals, and support a Future Made in Australia. It shows how Australia can help diversify global battery supply chains by working collaboratively with key trading partners – to help shore up our economic resilience in our national interest. It also outlines a joined-up approach for industry and government to work together to supercharge our battery manufacturing and help make Australia a renewable energy superpower. It builds on a range of existing Government initiatives to help Australian businesses grow and compete, including the Industry Growth Program, Solar Sunshot, the National Reconstruction Fund and the Critical Minerals Facility. More information on the National Battery Strategy is available here: industry.gov.au/publications/national-battery-strategy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, “We want to make more things here and with global demand for batteries set to quadruple by 2030, Australia must be a player in this field. “Batteries are a critical ingredient in Australia’s clean energy mix. Together with renewable energy, green hydrogen, and critical minerals, we will meet Australia’s emission reduction targets and create a strong clean energy manufacturing industry.”  Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic said, “Australia is a pioneer of battery tech, yet for too long, we’ve sent our ideas offshore and lost the good jobs they create. “A strong battery industry can supercharge our path to net zero and create a Future Made in Australia. “Australia is moving beyond a ‘dig and ship’ economy to become a renewable energy superpower. “It’s inexcusable that we supply half the global supply of lithium but produce less than one percent of the world’s processed battery components. “The global clean energy transition is happening – and we’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Australia to create more well-paid, secure jobs.”

Goonellabah Skatepark set for an exciting upgrade
Goonellabah Skatepark set for an exciting upgrade

22 May 2024, 8:01 PM

The Goonellabah Skatepark is set to get some exciting upgrades, with works scheduled to commence next week. The project will see the introduction of new skate elements, alongside essential maintenance and remediation works to enhance the experience for all users of the facility.The upcoming improvements, funded by the NSW Government as part of the Stronger Country Communities program, aim to provide a more diverse and enjoyable experience for riders of all levels and styles.Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said the upgrades were a win for the growing skating community.“I look forward to seeing the new and improved facilities at the Goonellabah Skate Park, which is already very popular and well-used. These upgrades mean it will continue to be well used into the future,” he said.“I would like to thank our local member Janelle Saffin for her assistance in securing the funding for this project.”The new skate elements, designed by skatepark specialists Trinity Skateparks with input from local enthusiasts include new ramps, manual pad, loading dock and hydrant, flat rail and a slappy kerb. These elements will not only offer new opportunities and challenges, but also cater to the growing number of skate, scooter and BMX riders in the community.In addition to the new obstacles, the upgrade includes drainage improvements and remediation works to address sections of the deteriorated skate floor surface. The remedial works will ensure a smoother riding experience for all users and extend the life of the park. Fresh paint will reinvigorate the facility, making it a more attractive destination for skaters and spectators.State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she had strongly supported Council’s priority project to upgrade the Goonellabah Skate Park under the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.“Young people need outdoor spaces like Goonellabah Skate Park where they can enjoy recreation and time with their friends,” Ms Saffin said. “I’m really pleased that the local skating community has had input into the improvements being made as skaters know best what is required to get the best out of the facility for all levels of ability and all ages.“When I was advocating for this project in September 2022, I said at a time when much of the city’s current infrastructure and natural environment had been heavily impacted by the 2022 floods, this upgrade would create greater community participation and improved mental and physical health for youth.”Council’s Manager Liveable and Active Communities Tony Duffy predicted the skating community would be thrilled once the upgrade of the Goonellabah Skatepark is complete. "The new elements and surface improvements will significantly enhance the facility, providing a safer and more enjoyable space for our local community. We're committed to supporting active lifestyles and creating vibrant recreational spaces for our residents," he said.Work is expected to commence on Wednesday, 29 May and is anticipated to be completed by 12 July, depending on weather. The skatepark will be closed to the public during this time to ensure safety and that the upgrade is completed as quickly as possible.Council appreciates the community’s patience and understanding as these enhancements are undertaken.While the improvements are underway, why not check out some alternative recreational facilities in the area.Caniaba Skatepark in Perradenya Estate is a small concrete skatepark hidden in the corner of Adam Gilchrist Park that is suitable for beginnersNimbin Skatepark in Peace Parkis a well-loved skatepark which features a large “snake run”, mini ramp, bowls and street section which suits beginner, intermediate and advanced ridersWollongbar District Park includes a quarter pipe, rails and ramps to suit beginner and intermediate skatersBangalow Skatepark features a large kidney bowl, double flow bowl with spine and roll through, as well as a street area with obstacles for all skill levelsBallina Skatepark features a large surface with heaps of transitions and three bowls as well as rails, ledges, manual pads, stairs and half pipes, with a scenic view of the RiverJarjumirr Skate Park, Byron Bay  is the recently constructed competition level, all abilities skatepark including a 10ft skate bowl with waterfall, bowl area for beginner to intermediate users and plaza section with granite ledges.For more information about the Goonellabah Skatepark upgrades, please see Your Say page https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/goonellabah-skatepark-upgrade.

Lismore get into WOW Day to celebrate volunteers
Lismore get into WOW Day to celebrate volunteers

22 May 2024, 6:53 AM

Lismore was alight with orange clothing today as residents celebrated Wear Orange Wednesday, or as the NSW SES like to call it, 'WOW Day'.'WOW Day', is a day where the community comes together to thank SES volunteers across the country.Members from the Lismore SES Unit and the Murwillumbah Unit came together this morning to celebrate with a breakfast before going about their important duties.Sharon Sawyer, Volunteer Engagement Officer NEZ SES said, "Here in the North Eastern Zone (NEZ), our volunteers are members of the local community. They show up day in, day out, to support with extreme weather events, road crash rescues, missing person searches and community engagement activities."(From left, Phil Davidson, Nick Rankine and Sharon Sawyer. Photo: supplied)(Julian Hill, Jesse Egan and Aurelia Hill from the Lismore Unit. Photo: supplied)(Emily Hunter and Fynn Curtis from the Lismore Unit. Photo: supplied)"Over the past 12 months, SES volunteers in NEZ have responded to over 2000 incidents. These incidents range from tarping roofs and rescuing-people from flood water, through to providing incident management support during extreme weather events and supporting our partner emergency services.""Today, on behalf of the NSW SES, I want to say a huge thank you to every single person who gives up their time to serve their community.""What our volunteers do is nothing short of impressive, and as an Operations Readiness Officer, I am so appreciative of the diverse roles they all hold.""We have seen our NSW SES volunteers show up time and time again to assist their community in floods and storms. Our volunteers are capable and ready for whatever they are presented with.""On behalf of NEZ and the NSW SES - I would like to thank our volunteers for their efforts and the remarkable work they do in their communities, and across the whole of NSW."

Nimbin Road recovery part two is complete
Nimbin Road recovery part two is complete

22 May 2024, 2:48 AM

The long-awaited roadwork along two stretches of Nimbin Road has been completed and has been open for about four weeks.Motorists can now enjoy quicker, safer and improved access following the completion of work on the second of two severe landslip sites on Nimbin Road.The road has been open for a few weeks now.The February 2022 severe weather event significantly affected this essential route, isolating the village and causing substantial damage.(There was a huge amount of geotechnical work to stabilise the landslip area on Nimbin Road)Work to complete repairs on the first stretch of road, about 1km from Nimbin, was completed in December last year and now work has wrapped up on the second slip site, about 4km from the village.The engineering and geotechnical requirements of this site required a specialist solution, so Lismore City Council engaged Civil Mining and Construction to carry out the work.(The second landslip site on Nimbin Road, commonly known as Km4)The company started work on the $14.9 million project in early 2023. During the reconstruction of the road, 318 micro piles and 700 concrete blocks were used to create a 160m long retaining structure to stabilise that section of Nimbin Road.These extensive works were carried out under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments.Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said, “The NSW Government is proud to be working with all levels of government to ensure work to restore essential services, like a safer Nimbin Road, is funded and delivered.“Completing the second part of this project will be a relief not only for the people of Nimbin and its surrounds but also for the many tourists who visit the Lismore region year-round.“Janelle Saffin, as Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery, has been a champion not just for her community, but for the rest of the state too.”Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery and Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said, “This project, across two challenging landslip sites, has been an engineering feat requiring clever planning and months of hard work from everyone involved in the construction phase.“Locals who rely on Nimbin Road to go about their daily lives will welcome its reopening as a sign that the Nimbin Valley is coming back stronger from the 2022 floods.“Safety is paramount for all who use this vital link road. Hopefully, we will also see more people visiting Nimbin, which offers so many cultural attractions and ecotourism adventures.” Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said, “Ensuring access to Nimbin was one of Council’s priority projects following the natural disaster as it is essential that our communities are not cut off.“The completion of the works to repair the second landslip is great news for the Nimbin community, in particular, and also the wider community and visitors to the tourist town.“I would like to congratulate Civil Mining and Construction, which worked under tough conditions to get the road repaired while maintaining one traffic lane to allow access to Nimbin.“I would also like to thank the State and Australian governments for funding this important project, as well as our local State Member Janelle Saffin and our Federal Member Kevin Hogan.”

Shaving Helen Maher's head raises over $3000 for Jodie's Inspiration
Shaving Helen Maher's head raises over $3000 for Jodie's Inspiration

22 May 2024, 1:02 AM

Helen Maher shaved her head for friends, colleagues and the local charity, Jodie’s Inspiration. Renate and Michelle, both recovering from Endometrial cancer, were honoured by Helen’s gesture to support their recovery. Helen had raised $3100 at the time of the shave, and there is still time to give to the valiant effort. (Renate, Helen and Michelle - close colleagues.)Helen is a caring, fun grandmother who likes to enjoy life. She couldn't be happier to support her fellow colleagues. Helen spoke about how she felt about seeing Renate and Michelle going through cancer treatments, “It was a very stressful few months in here worrying about the ladies.” Michelle was diagnosed just before Renate and was thankful for the support from her co-workers.“We’re very appreciative of the whole office having got behind myself and Renate. It was a shock when I was diagnosed - a shock to everybody. And because we have so many ladies in the office, it brings it home. It means a lot for Helen to step up. It's not something I could do - my hair took too long to grow back,” Michelle said with a laugh.Renate is very moved by Helen's commitment to supporting them. “It's quite emotional. Normally, I have a lot of words, but I cannot really put it into words. I just think it's absolutely wonderful that she would shave her head. Especially as our hair is so important - that she would do this for us and to acknowledge us - it's loving. It's very loving and very close. And so it's a wonderful thing that she's doing. Absolutely.”Michelle and Renate asked for the money raised to be donated to Jodie's Inspiration - a charity that purchases medical equipment for Lismore's oncology units.(The bidding war commences.)Sitting out the front of their workplace, ready for the chop, Helen says she was “Feeling fine, no problem.” Her dedication was secure. The event was live-streamed as her mother, Jan, helped prepare Helen in front of a crowd of onlookers.There was a bidding war for the first chop - starting at $50, two competed for the duty, and they both decided to share the job at $100 each, bringing the total sum collected at that point to $3100. They had half a head of hair to cut off, and they left a mohawk for Renate to complete the clip. Renate finished her part with a kiss to the top of Helen's close-cropped head!Queue action montageWith the cool wind blowing as winter gets closer, Helen said she didn’t feel the cold, but you could see the shaving cream gave her something to wince about! Huey and Jackson from Chempro next door came out and lent a hand, Huey acting every part the outrageous hairdresser and Jackson, with a shaved head of his own gave some advice on keeping it neat with a close shave.Comments could be heard about, “How amazing” this is, “Beanie collections” and debate on whether to keep the mohawk.Once the shave was complete, Helen said, “It feels good. A bit funny. But that is what it's supposed to feel like, right?”If you would like to donate, please follow this link. Donations will be accepted until the end of May.

Government’s demerit point return trial rewards regions’ drivers
Government’s demerit point return trial rewards regions’ drivers

21 May 2024, 10:00 PM

Motorists across the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands regions are reaping the reward of their safe driving through the NSW Government’s demerit point return trial. Data broken down by local government area (LGA) shows 43,465 drivers in eight LGAs have seen a demerit point removed from their licence for maintaining a 12-month spotless driving record.The breakdown includes Tweed Shire 14,836 drivers; Clarence 7,810; Byron Shire 6,798; Ballina 5,788; Lismore City 4,855; Richmond Valley 2,147; Kyogle 693; and Tenterfield Shire 538.More than 1.2 million drivers qualified for the demerit point reward for maintaining a clear record during the initial 12-month period up to 16 January 2024.The demerit return trial has been extended for a second year as the NSW Government continues to sharpen its focus on road safety in 2024 amid a rising road toll.State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said, “Earning the removal of a demerit point can mean a lot, especially to motorists who rely on their cars to drive the kids to school or to get to work.“It’s great to see drivers rewarded for their safe driving. Our communities know how important road safety is and this program is driving that message home.“With the demerit point return trial extended for another year, let’s keep the momentum going and ensure we’re focusing on driving safely every day.” NSW Minister for Roads John Graham said, “If you drive for a living then the reward for safe driving could be the difference between ongoing employment and losing your livelihood.“People are used to the stick of enforcement and double demerits, but this is the carrot of reward for good behaviour.“Every demerit point wiped from a licence under this trial is the result of a full 12 months of safe driving by a motorist on NSW roads.”

Registered Nurses to ease GP pressure through new partnering for excellence program
Registered Nurses to ease GP pressure through new partnering for excellence program

21 May 2024, 8:02 PM

The days of going to a medical practice to just see a doctor, may be over. This week, Healthy North Coast is building the capability primary care nurses on the North Coast by launching two programs that aim to support, develop and upskill them in their delivery of quality health care to their communities. Healthy North Coast is partnering with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) in co-sponsoring 13 practices from across the region in the ‘Building Nurse Capacity’ program, and eight nurses in the ‘Transition to Practice Program’ (TPP), after a successful Expression of Interest process. One of those practices is the Lismore Clinic on Molesworth Street, and Brooke Fresan, a registered nurse and TPP student, is one of the nurses involved. “As a new graduate Registered Nurse, I was looking to expand my knowledge and increase my confidence in my new role. I heard about the Transition to Practice Program through Healthy North Coast. The application process was super simple and quick. I have now started the program and I am finding it very helpful in cementing my knowledge. The APNA team running the program have been easy to contact and helpful with any questions I have had.” The Building Nurse Capacity program will support nurses to develop nurse-delivered, team-based models of care – also known as nurse clinics. The Transition to Practice Program will support nurses who have transitioned to primary health care and provide them with additional assistance, including mentoring, exclusive education tools and resources, and networking opportunities. Monika Wheeler, CEO of Healthy North Coast, highlighted the importance of supporting nurses in primary care: “We have so many amazing nurses in our region doing wonderful work in their practices and communities. These sponsorships are helping to build nurse capacity and empower our nurse workforce to work to their top of scope – putting all their knowledge and skills learned to work when they are delivering care to patients. This will ultimately support better health outcomes for North Coast residents. “Nurse-led clinics will also relieve some of the pressure on our GP workforce which has experienced significant strain in recent years. (RN Brooke Fresan at work at Lismore Medical. Photo: supplied)When asked if there will be a mental barrier for people to see a registered nurse instead of a doctor, Ms Wheeler said, "I think that's a really good question. And I think that building up programs like this that promote excellence in nursing is part of really building the profile of all clinicians that are suitably qualified and go through years of training to be the first point of call when you're unwell, and it takes a whole care team.""We talk a lot about multidisciplinary care in primary health care and that's what this program is all about. It's about the whole care team. It's about the GP, it's about the nurse, it's about the allied health professional. It's about services that exist outside of the general practice. We all need different supports at different times. And what this is trying to do is make sure that people have the best primary health care that they can possibly have.""One of the key areas that this will focus on is like diabetes or cardiovascular, and look, it's a whole range of issues because that's what general practice see. They see everything from chronic disease management to dealing with frailty, reducing falls, itches, scratches and bumps and everything in between. There is a plethora of issues that our primary care nurses deal with. And that's part of what we're focused on through these programs is really building up excellence in primary health care. So we know that everyone on the north coast will have an excellent care experience when they go to access a general practice."Karen Booth, President of APNA, who was in Lismore on Tuesday for the program launch, added her enthusiasm in seeing the sponsorships underway on the North Coast: “We know that building capacity in the primary health care nursing workforce has great flow-on effects. Strengthening skills and supporting nurses, especially in nurse-led care, helps to not only support the GP teams that they work with, but also shares the workload and increases access to care for our communities. “We also know that the APNA Transition to Professional Program supports nurses to build their career path and aides recruitment and retention of nurses new to primary health care. APNA is delighted to be partnering with Healthy North Coast on these great new initiatives.” Brooke Fresan explained that her goal for joining primary health care was to build long-lasting therapeutic relationships with her patients."When I was studying, I did a few placements in the hospital, and I just found that it wasn't as supportive as I'd like and I found that primary health care has been really supportive so far, especially with this transition to practice program. It's excellent for support. You've got an extra sounding board, especially while at work."Karen Booth said that roughly 30% of nurses complain they don't get to use all of their skills and that these types of programs have a high retention rate of 92% over the last two to three years."Making sure that we have really well-supported nurses who know how to how to expand the type of work they're doing. And we also know that the retention for nurses who have some educational input who have that support, they stay in the workforce longer."Amanda Moss is one of the TPP mentors, as well as a Practice Manager and Registered Nurse at the Evans Head Medical Centre."Of the two nurses that I mentor currently, one is a very experienced nurse with a background in critical care. The other nurse comes from aged care. Straightaway she said to me, I don't know anything I've come from aged care, which is completely untrue. She knows so much about wound care and pathways involved with aged care. So just giving her some confidence to actually speak up with her decisions.""So far, it's been really successful, I would say with my two mentees that I have."Healthy North Coast and APNA are equally co-sponsoring the successful 2024 TPP students with $8,500 each, with no out-of-pocket expenses for the students, while participating practices in the BNC program will receive $7,500 each in a similar co-sponsorship arrangement.  Overall, the total funding is $331,000 split equally between APNA and Healthy North Coast contributing $165,500 each. New Transition to Practice Program students and Building Nurse Capacity programs will be based throughout the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW regions, and focus on a range of key priority health areas such as cardiovascular health, diabetes, cancer control, mental health and injury prevention and control. 

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