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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

Two charged following separate online grooming investigations

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Two charged following separate online grooming investigations

TWO men have been charged with alleged online grooming offences following separate investigations by Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Unit.

Last month, investigators from Strike Force Trawler began engaging with a man from Goonellabah.
Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child, as well as sent explicit materials.
It will be further alleged that the man arranged to meet the girl for the purpose of a sexual encounter.
Following inquiries, a 60-year-old man was arrested at Lennox Head just after 9am on Monday, September 13.
He was taken to Ballina Police Station, where he was charged with two counts of use carriage service-procure child under 16 years for sexual activity.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Byron Bay Local Court, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Lismore Local Court on Monday, November 8.

Separately, in June, detectives began speaking with an East Lismore man, who believed he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl – allegedly engaging in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child – before arranging to meet with her.

Following further inquiries, the man was arrested at a South Lismore business about 10.20am on Tuesday, September 14.
A search warrant was then executed at an East Lismore address, where detectives seized an electronic device, which will undergo further forensic examination.

The 62-year-old man was taken to Lismore Police Station, where he was charged with use carriage service to groom under 16 years for sex.

He was refused bail and appeared at Lismore Local Court, where he was granted conditional bail to reappear at the same court on Thursday, November 11.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the arrests should serve as a warning for guardians of young children.

“Police will allege both these men believed they could engage in sexual activity with a young child,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“Parents and guardians should be aware of what their children are doing on the internet and who they are speaking with. They should never arrange to meet with someone they have met online.

“Make sure your children feel comfortable speaking up about anything they have done online.”
Information and educational packages for parents and children are available from ThinkUKnow, a multi-agency program designed to educate and promote cyber safety: https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.
Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Covid breachers in court – Lismore

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Covid breachers in court

THE Rose Bay father and son that bought Covid-19 to the Northern Rivers, creating a snap lockdown, had their charges read in Lismore Court on Monday.

Zoran, 52, and Kristan, 19, Radovanic did not attend the court mention but their lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned until October.

It is believed they are also asking for a change in the hearing location away from Lismore.

The pair is charged with a host of Covid-19 breaches, including failing to comply and not registering their movement with the QR code, and not wearing a mask on public transport.

Mr Radovanovic travelled from Sydney to Byron Bay back in August with his two teenage sons to allegedly look at property.

They later tested positive to Covid-19 after Mr Radovanovic took ill and presented at Lismore Base Hospital for treatment.

The pair didn’t enter a plea, but the magistrate mentioned they would need to enter a plea at the next mention, scheduled for October 11.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

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Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

Stay at home orders will be lifted from midnight tomorrow, Friday 10 September, but the region will continue to operate under tight restrictions to ensure the safety of regional communities.

These restrictions include limiting the number of visitors to the home to 5 people (not including children 12 and under) and up to 20 people at outdoor settings.

Masks will still be required for all indoor public venues, while capacity will be limited at hospitality, retail outlets and gyms to maintain the one person per 4 sqm rule, with specific customer limitations for each industry.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government, saying it was now time for the Queensland Government to follow suit and reinstate a border bubble.

“Today’s announcement is a great win for all the businesses and families out there who have shared their stories of how hard the lockdown has been here in the Tweed – this is your win,” Cr Cherry said.

“It is now time for us to reopen our businesses, for our children to return to school and to celebrate that some of us can now spend time with family.

“But let’s not forget all of those among us that still can’t get to work or see their families because of the great divide that continues to split our community in half at Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.

“I call on the Queensland Government to lift those restrictions and reinstate a border bubble so we can all get back to work and sit down together again as families.”

As a result of the easing of restrictions, Council will open most of its customer-facing facilities in coming days. However, some services remain impacted by staffing shortages as a result of the border closure. Services opening include:

Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre (tip) returns to normal operations for domestic and commercial operations from Saturday 11 September. Tweed JUNKtion Tip Shop remains closed with a reopening date to be confirmed next week.

Tweed Holiday Parks return to normal operations from Saturday 11 September with COVID-Safe restrictions

Customer Service Counters at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads reopen from Monday 13 September

Library branches at Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Kingscliff return to normal opening hours from Monday 13 September

Brett Street CAFE at Tweed Heads returns to normal operating hours from Monday 13 September

Starting Block Café at TRAC Murwillumbah open for takeaway meals from Monday 13 September

Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre at Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and South Tweed to reopen from Monday 13 September on restricted hours

Tweed Regional Museum will return to normal operating hours from Tuesday 14 September

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre will reopen from Wednesday 15 September

Community centres at Banora Point and South Tweed, South Sea Islander Room, Harvard Room, Kingscliff Hall, Canvas and Kettle reopening from Wednesday 15 September

Council-approved community markets, including at Kingscliff, SALT Village, Pottsville, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads may reopen with COVID-safe plans in place.

The next Council meeting on Thursday 16 September will return to normal operations and will be held in the Harvard Room at Tweed Heads Administration Office. Anyone wishing to attend in person must pre-book their seats due to capacity restrictions. The meeting will also be livestreamed. Details on how to book or join the livestream are available on Council’s website.

Essential services including water and kerbside waste collection services continue to operate as normal.

For any queries, the community is encouraged to call our Contact Centre Team on 02 6670 2400, chat to us online or email us on tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au. Any issues can be reported online via our Report a Problem webpage or direct message us on Facebook.

Keep up to date with closures and service impacts on Council’s COVID-19 Emergency Dashboard.

For the latest on regional and rural restrictions, including stay-at-home rules, visit the NSW Government website at nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions.

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