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News and Reviews

REGIONAL HOUSING TASKFORCE FINDINGS RELEASED

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

REGIONAL HOUSING TASKFORCE FINDINGS RELEASED

An independent report reflecting the community’s experiences of housing and the planning system in regional NSW has been released by the NSW Government.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the Regional Housing Taskforce report details feedback from consultation with more than 500 people across regional NSW.

“The Regional Housing Taskforce’s report gives us a clear picture of the unqiue factors affecting housing in each regional community, and I want to thank every person who took part for their contributions,” Mr Stokes said.

“The report confirms COVID-19 has accelerated an existing trend of people moving from the city to the bush, and this has had an acute impact on regional housing markets.

“The findings tell us what regional communities need to better support their housing needs and I look forward to receiving the taskforce’s detailed recommendations in October.”

Chair of the Regional Housing Taskforce Garry Fielding said the taskforce would now prepare recommendations for the NSW Government to consider in October.

“The communty’s feedback will be used to develop recommendations outlining how the planning system can address housing needs and stimulate supply,” Mr Fielding said.

“I want to thank each person who gave us their time and ideas to help us prepare such a comprehensive report that identifies housing trends, what we’ve heard, detailed findings and the next steps.”

The key issues raised in the findings report include:

· Greater prioritisation on the coordination and delivery of infrastructure to support new homes;
· A need for collaboration between all levels of Government, the housing development industry and the community to develop the right type of housing where people need it;
· Calls to speed up planning processes and reduce duplication, particularly where opportunities to provide housing are time-critical; and
· Demand for more affordable and diverse housing in line with changing demographics, jobs growth, natural disasters, and migration trends.

To review the findings, visit: www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/regional-housing.

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News and Reviews

The library is open online and for Click & Collect ONLY

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Richmond Tweed Regional Library

The library is open online and for Click & Collect ONLY

All Richmond Tweed Regional Library branches and the Mobile Library will be offering free Click & Collect and online services only from 11 October-1 December.
The Research & Family History Centre will remain closed until 1 December.
Library Management’s decision is based on a balance between meeting the requirements of the Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 commencing 11 October, and delivering quality services to library members.
Acting Regional Library Manager Lucy Kinsley said that, “it was a difficult decision to make, but one that provided the most equitable service to our community. This decision will be reviewed if the NSW Public Health Order is changed”.
During this period there will be no access to PCs, face-to-face programs are cancelled, printing services are unavailable, and there is no physical browsing of the collections.
Library members can access the free Click & Collect services by visiting the library website or app and placing reservations on items of their choosing, or alternatively, staff can select items on a particular theme, topic, or genre for you. Contact your local branch to arrange a Staff Selection or book a time to collect your Click & Collect items. The Online library is always open, providing access to thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and more. Details on accessing Click & Collect and the online services are available from www.rtrl.nsw.gov.au or by phone.

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News and Reviews

ROYAL RANDWICK WELCOMES BACK FANS FOR THE EVEREST

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

ROYAL RANDWICK WELCOMES BACK FANS FOR THE EVEREST

The NSW Government has confirmed Royal Randwick will host 5,000 fully vaccinated spectators for The TAB Everest, Saturday 16 October, with the State on track to pass the 70 per cent double dose vaccination target.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said welcoming fully vaccinated racegoers back to the track is only possible thanks to the vigilance of NSW residents during lockdown.

“Getting crowds back at major events is a big part of the NSW Government’s Reopening NSW roadmap, and after months of following the sport from the couch, I know fans are looking forward to cheering on the world’s fastest horses in the flesh,” Mr Barilaro said.

“In NSW we are hitting our vaccination targets ahead of schedule, which means The Everest will be Sydney’s first major sporting event with fans in attendance, as we emerge from lockdown.”

Minister for Better Regulation and Minister responsible for racing Kevin Anderson said the racing industry in NSW stood above the rest when it came to operating in a COVIDSafe way, contributing more than $3.5 billion annually to the NSW economy and acting as a significant employer for almost 14,000 people in metropolitan and regional NSW.

“Spring wouldn’t be spring without The Everest and the prospect of having crowds trackside at Royal Randwick for the world’s richest race on turf is very exciting,” Mr Anderson said.

“The Australian Turf Club brought a proposal to the NSW Government earlier this month to update us on how they will conduct the event in a COVIDSafe way and I know they are eager to welcome fans trackside with open arms.

“The thoroughbred industry stood tall throughout the worst of the pandemic, keeping thousands in work and even more entertained with some sensational racing already taking place this year.”

Australian Turf Club Chief Executive Jamie Barkley said the NSW Government has led the way in seeing vaccination rates substantially increase, allowing Sydney to prepare to open up major events such as The Everest again.

“The Sydney Racing Carnival is one of the biggest events on the spring sporting calendar and The TAB Everest is beamed to 66 countries around the world,” Mr Barkley said.

“The ATC greatly appreciates the support of the NSW Government to make The TAB Everest the first major event back with 5,000 spectators as we emerge from lockdown.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit: nsw.gov.au/covid-19

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News and Reviews

Be prepared for vaping law changes

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Be prepared for vaping law changes

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging GPs to be prepared for changes to vaping laws coming into effect on 1 October.

Under the changes nicotine vaping products, such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine, will be available only by prescription as a smoking cessation tool. People will no longer be able to buy these products or import them from overseas websites without a valid prescription.

GPs can prescribe nicotine vaping products by becoming an Authorised Prescriber (only takes a few minutes and is free), through the Special Access Scheme or providing a prescription for three months’ supply via the Personal Importation Scheme.

The RACGP has produced evidence-based guidance for health professionals to support smoking cessation. The guidance covers the evidence on effectiveness of nicotine vaping products for supporting smoking cessation, their place in therapy and the practicalities of prescribing them. In the absence of an evidence base for how to prescribe these products for therapeutic use, practice points have been developed to minimise risk to prescribers and patients, including:

· nicotine vaping products are currently not approved therapeutic products, and it is valid and reasonable for medical practitioners to opt not to prescribe them

· if prescribing, use the Authorised Prescriber or Special Access Scheme prescribing pathways instead of the Personal Importation Scheme to minimise the risk of the patient receiving imported products that do not meet the TGO 110 requirements. These include requirements on labelling, child-resistant packaging, and the prohibition of other active ingredients beside nicotine

· avoid prescribing free-base nicotine at concentrations over 20mg/mL and limit the quantity of nicotine vaping products per prescription to a maximum of three months’ supply (and align the duration of supply with the timing of follow-up)

· avoid the use of flavours or limit these to just tobacco flavour since flavouring chemicals are not standardised and their safety for inhalation into the lung is not known.

· provide follow up as well as behavioural support.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price encouraged all GPs to familiarise themselves with the changes.

“GPs have a lot on their plate right now but it’s important that they are aware of what these changes to vaping laws mean for them and their patients,” she said.

“Prescriptions for nicotine vaping products are not a first-line treatment for smoking cessation and should only be tried when other measures, such as nicotine replacement therapy with behavioural support, have failed.

“It will be the job of GPs in communities across Australia to apply discretion and judgment when considering the patient’s individual circumstances.

“Those who do have a prescription will be able to obtain nicotine vaping products by filling the prescription via a pharmacy.”

The RACGP President said that there were resources available to help bring GPs up to speed with the changes.

“Any GP keen to learn more about these changes can take part in a webinar organised by Quitline and accredited by the RACGP on 5 October, which includes clinical guidance for nicotine vaping products,” she said.

“The webinar will describe the process for prescribing nicotine vaping products and outline all the clinical considerations involved. I encourage all GPs to sign up and learn about these changes that are coming into effect.

“It’s important that GPs are wary of being pressured into prescribing these nicotine vaping products. The laws governing these products are in place for a reason – the long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’ are unknown and the evidence base for their efficacy as a smoking cessation tool remains uncertain.

“A prescription for these products should only be used as a last resort, vaping is not a risk-free, harmless version of smoking cigarettes. These are addictive and harmful products that can prove fatal if ingested in certain amounts.”

Dr Price also urged people seeking access to nicotine vaping products to be patient and respectful of GPs and practice staff.

“I understand that these changes will take some people by surprise. Please don’t take your frustrations out on GPs, practice managers, nurses, receptionists or administrative workers,” she said.

“They are not the ones who made these rules and GPs will only be able to prescribe these products as a last line treatment for smoking cessation.

“I encourage anyone who smokes or vapes to consult with their GP about quitting and explore the pharmacotherapy and behavioural treatments and supports available. This includes nicotine replacement therapy in the form of a patch, spray, gum or lozenge. There are also several effective drugs that are available such as varenicline, which blocks the pleasure and reward response to smoking, as well as bupropion hydrochloride, which reduces the urge to smoke.

“Many people see quitting as just too difficult but with the right approach, including the support and guidance of a GP and having strong strategies in place, it is possible. It could be the best health decision you ever make.”

Details about the webinar on 5 October and registration can be found here.

The RACGP was selected as one of the recipients of the 2020 World No Tobacco Day awards for our valuable work including the release of new Smoking Cessation Guidelines 2020. Note: The smoking cessation guideline’s conditional recommendation 15 concerning vaping can be found here on the RACGP website.

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