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Local News

Local Councils Disability Inclusion Action Plan

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Local Councils Disability Inclusion Action Plan

Local Councils Disability Inclusion Action Plan

PEOPLE with disability are enjoying more opportunities for social and economic participation as councils continue to deliver projects and initiatives to create more inclusive and accessible communities.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said the 2019-20 Local Councils Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) Progress Report highlights how NSW Government legislation is driving positive change across the state.

“Living with a disability should not be a barrier to living a full and active life. The projects highlighted in this report are great examples of the work being done across NSW to enhance inclusion and accessibility,” Mr Henskens said.

“All levels of government have a responsibility to improve access in all aspects of society. This report is about providing a snapshot of how our councils are tracking in line with their Disability Inclusion Action Plan.”

Each council has too many points to list, so here are a few highlights on what our local councils are doing:

Ballina Shire Council
• An Access Reference Group meets bi-monthly and provides advice to council on disability access issues.
• Upgraded the Alstonville Aquatic Centre’s amenities block to include compliant accessible change rooms including the provision of an accessible transfer hoist.
• Shared pathway from Ballina CBD to Lennox Head was completed in October 2020.
• Footpath inspections carried out via mobility scooter to identify hazards and access issues.
• Auslan interpreter at council meetings and community consultations as requested.

Byron Shire Council
• Delivered mental health first aid training to 30 council staff members.
• Created a staff working group to support delivery of DIAP actions.
• Partnered with Vision Australia to deliver staff training on Creating Accessible Documents.
• Repaired 77 footpaths and upgraded 22 ramps throughout the shire. Upgraded 14 bus stops under the Bus Stop Accessible Improvement Program accessibility requirements.
• Installed a Hearing Loop in Council Chambers to improve sound quality for people with hearing impairment.

Clarence Valley Council
• Council has an Access Committee that meets once a month.
• Environment, Development & Strategic Planning, Access Committee and Community Development Staff went out to businesses about revitalising the main street scape by ensuring accessibility for all
• The gallery is proactive in presenting and supporting program opportunities for people with disability and the gallery is wheelchair accessible. All our libraries are wheelchair accessible and our programs and events are presented and developed with inclusion and access for all in mind.
• Pippi Beach and Wooli Beach have improved all access areas • MLAK keys given to residents free of charge
• Council is continuing the process of expanding the shared pathway network
• Council will redevelop the main office building in 2020/2021 which will be all accessible for the whole of community. The new design will include a lift.

Kyogle Council
• Included representative imagery of people with disability in Council’s publications.
• Recognised and incorporated disability inclusion requirements as part of Council’s contractor procurement processes through distribution of “The tradies guide to good access”.
• Developed public messages and campaigns highlighting disability inclusion requirements and benefits to the community through the outdoor gym project and pool upgrades.
• In partnership with the Transport Working Group identified options and implemented strategies to improve bus transport services within Kyogle Council area such as putting in new bus shelters in locations identified by the local community.
• Hearing Loop facilities are provided during formal Council Meetings.

Lismore City Council
• Waiving of fees for development applications for accessibility improvements.
• Bi-monthly meetings of the Access and Inclusion Advisory Group to provide advice to Council on disability access and inclusion.
• Continued provision of a hearing loop in the Council Chambers and live-streaming of Council’s ordinary meetings and events. Provision of funding for AUSLAN interpreters for meetings.
• Free hire of an all-terrain beach wheelchair. This wheelchair is available year-round and can be used on all patrolled beaches or suitable walking tracks and can be folded for transportation in any medium-sized vehicle.
• A beachfront entrance and handrail at the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre for accessibility and an automatic wheelchair hoist. There is also lift access to the SWITCH 24-hour gym and a hoist at the Lismore Memorial Baths.

Richmond Valley Council
• Accessible elements included in playground upgrades
• Continuous accessible paths of travel included in new master planning exercises and continue to increase in regular maintenance of current paths
• Further improvements to council’s website to standardise access
• Council also works with ON-Q which is a not for profit organisation, providing Disability Employment Support to enable people to realise their full potential through meaningful employment, with one candidate achieving permanent employment in 2019/2020.
• Council also continued upgrades of the Stan Payne Oval playground area ($80,000) in Evans Head with a new toilet, footpath network, barbecue and picnic shelters, and a disability access ramp to connect the site with the Evan Head Aquatic Centre carpark. Upgrades were carried out to the Stan Payne Oval playground in Evans Head. The works included approximately 60m of replacement footpath linking the nearby sealed carpark with the playground, three new picnic tables, a bench, barbecue area and a new disability access ramp from the carpark.

Local News

Changed traffic conditions for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

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NSW Northern Rivers Local News & Events

Changed traffic conditions for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions on the Pacific Highway and local roads from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, weather permitting.

There will be no roadwork on the Pacific Highway between Kew and the Queensland border from 6am Friday 25 June to 6am Monday 28 June due to the high traffic volume expected for the school holidays.
From Monday, there will be four days of work next to the Pacific Highway at Coolgardie to carry out vegetation maintenance. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 7am and 3pm.
Also from Monday, there will be up to four days of work on the Pacific Highway between Broadwater and Devils Pulpit to install and remove signage and carry out maintenance and finishing work. Motorists can expect lane closures, traffic control, short stoppages and a reduced speed limit at times between 6am and 6pm.
The northbound U-turn near Swan Bay New Italy Road will be temporarily closed on Monday and Wednesday, with Thursday as a contingency if required. The next available U-turn for northbound motorists is less than two kilometres north near Whites Road.
Further south from Monday, there will be up to four days of work on the Pacific Highway between Harwood and the Pillar Valley to carry out survey monitoring, vegetation maintenance and fencing. Motorists can expect lane and shoulder closures, traffic control, short stoppages and a reduced speed limit at times between 6am and 6pm.

Additional changes to local roads

From Monday, there will be four days of work on Woodburn Evans Head Road, Woodburn to carry out survey monitoring. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
Also from Monday, there will be five days of work on Swan Bay New Italy Road, New Italy to carry out private access work. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
From Thursday, there will be two days of work on the former Pacific Highway, near the Woodburn interchange to carry out private access work. Motorists can expect shoulder closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

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Local News

Changed traffic conditions on Big River Way at South Grafton

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Changed traffic conditions on Big River Way at South Grafton

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions from next week on Big River Way at South Grafton to carry out safety improvement work near Heber Street.

Work will be carried out from Monday 21 June to widen the road shoulder on a 200 metre section of road to allow for improved traffic movements around the intersection.

Work will be carried out from 7am to 6pm on weekdays and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, and is expected to take two weeks to complete, weather permitting.

The northern access to Heber Street will be closed for the duration of the project, with a detour in place during this time.

Traffic control and a reduced speed limit will be in place for the safety of workers and motorists.

Delays of up to five minutes may be experienced and motorists are advised to allow extra travel time, drive to the conditions, and follow the directions of signs and traffic control..

Transport for NSW thanks motorists for their patience during this time.

For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

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Local News

Long awaited good news on the Ag Visa

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Agriculture Minister David Littleproud

Long awaited good news on the Ag Visa

AUSVEG, the peak industry body for the Australian vegetable industry, has welcomed the announcement that the Federal Government will make a new agriculture work visa available to all 10 countries across South-East Asia.

The new visa would provide a wider pool of workers available to Australian agriculture from the UK and the ten ASEAN countries and will help to meet ongoing seasonal workforce gaps that continue through the pandemic.

According to the announcement from Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the new seasonal agricultural worker visa would mirror the existing Seasonal Worker Programme and will add to the pool of workers available to work on Australian farms.

“The horticulture industry has been calling for a dedicated and productive workforce for many years and this morning’s announcement is great news for the sector,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle.

“Growers require access to a productive, reliable and competent workforce and while Working Holiday Makers will always have a role to play within our industry, giving growers and workers a pathway to primarily work on-farm should be seen as a major step froward for the development of the horticulture sector.”

“The ASEAN countries are some of our closest trading partners, so extending the Agriculture Visa to these countries makes economic sense and demonstrates our commitment in helping our regional neighbours.”

“What we need now is timely action to get this visa class up and running so that we can start bringing in workers as soon as possible when borders open up and international workers are able to enter the country.”

“While we await more details around the visa arrangements for this visa class, we understand the new visa will build on the successful Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visas that have proved invaluable to the agriculture sector over the past 12 months.”

“This announcement is a positive development in our industry’s calls for a dedicated labour source to harvest and package fruits and vegetables.”

“We look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that the agriculture-specific visa meets the needs of growing businesses around the country and provides an effective solution to the industry’s growing labour shortages.”

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