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Ballina News

Greens Unveil Ambitious Plan for Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

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Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers
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Greens Unveil Ambitious Plan for Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

 

Representatives from the Greens across all levels of government have come together to launch an innovative initiative aimed at financing accessibility upgrades for local beaches.

This initiative comes in response to findings from Accessible Beaches, which indicate that not a single beach in the Northern Rivers region is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The plan was officially introduced at Seven Mile Beach, where Joel Taylor, World Para Surfing Champion and 2023 Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year, joined the Greens for the announcement.

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Abigail Boyd, NSW Greens spokesperson for Disability Rights and Inclusion, emphasised the urgent need for dedicated funding in the upcoming NSW budget to facilitate accessibility upgrades at beaches state-wide. Ms. Boyd advocated for an allocation of $25 million to assist councils in implementing these vital improvements.

Accompanied by Greens candidate for Richmond, Mandy Nolan, Ballina Shire Councillor Kiri Dicker, and Byron Shire Council candidate Elia Hauge, Ms. Boyd conducted an extensive tour of Northern Rivers beaches to assess accessibility firsthand.

In addition to seeking funding at the state level, the Greens are proactively engaging with local councils. Motions will be proposed in both Ballina and Byron Shire Councils to encourage greater disability access to their respective beaches. Furthermore, Mandy Nolan urged the federal Labor government to contribute funding towards this crucial cause.

Addressing the pressing issue, Abigail Boyd underscored the fundamental right of all individuals to access and enjoy the state’s pristine beaches. She criticized the historical neglect from various levels of government, which has resulted in the exclusion of people with disabilities from experiencing these natural wonders.

Mandy Nolan echoed these sentiments, expressing dismay over the lack of accessibility for older individuals and wheelchair users in the Richmond electorate. She called for proactive leadership and tangible solutions to rectify this longstanding issue.

Kiri Dicker emphasized the importance of universal design principles in creating inclusive public spaces, stressing that beach access should be available to all individuals regardless of their physical abilities.

Elia Hauge highlighted the comprehensive nature of accessible beach infrastructure beyond mere ramps or mats. She underscored the need for accessible parking, safe pathways, permanent beach wheelchairs, and adequate facilities to ensure inclusivity for the entire community.

In conclusion, the Greens reiterated their commitment to working across all levels of government to secure funding and accountability measures necessary to make Northern Rivers beaches fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 

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POSTIVE WHITE SPOT DETECTION IN WILD-CAUGHT SCHOOL PRAWNS SOUTH OF BALLINA ALARMING – WILLIAMSON

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Prawn WHITE SPOT DETECTION BALLINA
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POSITIVE WHITE SPOT DETECTION IN WILD-CAUGHT SCHOOL PRAWNS SOUTH OF BALLINA ALARMING – WILLIAMSON

 

The positive detection of large traces of the white spot virus in wild-caught school prawns south of Ballina yesterday is a further blow to the commercial fishing industry across the region with Clarence River estuary fishers already impacted by a two-year biosecurity lockdown, according to Clarence Nationals MP, Richie Williamson.

Mr Williamson said he understood the current discovery of the white spot virus came from routine batch testing of wild-caught school prawns from the inshore ocean area south of Ballina off the Richmond River by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), not from a prawn farm as was the case in the Clarence.

“This is alarming as it is the first confirmed detection of white spot in wild school prawns in NSW directly collected from ocean waters, not associated with a white spot outbreak. It has the potential to wipe-out our local prawn industry,” Mr Williamson said.

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“I’m calling on the NSW Labor Government not to drag its heels on responding to this serious event and provide a support package to commercial fishers in the Ballina and Evans Head region that reflects the gravity of the situation.

“It needs to provide commercial fishers with the same level of support that was provided to those in the Clarence last year.

“The NSW Government was pretty slow to respond to the plight of Clarence commercial fishers who were on their knees last year, so it needs to act more swiftly this time around.

“It is also time for the Federal Labor Government to get serious about biosecurity measures in place to protect our shores from imported prawns.

“We have this bizarre situation where there is a control order on the movement of green prawns from one section within NSW, but the control order stops at the nation’s border allowing the importation of raw prawns from white spot infected countries with only ‘batch testing’ occurring.

“Why the Federal Government continues to allow green prawns to be imported into Australia from countries where the disease is endemic beggars belief. We are certainly not on a level playing field.”

Mr Williamson said he understood a new control zone will be established to cover the Richmond and Wilsons rivers, and ocean waters outside the mouth of the Richmond River restricting the movement of green (uncooked) school and king prawns and other decapod crustaceans to minimise risks of spread while further testing and investigations take place to determine if it is related to previous detections in Queensland and NSW.

“What this means for the current Clarence River Control Order already in place and the wider implications remains to be seen, but I will be watching this very closely,” Mr Williamson said.

 

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Wave of advocacy against domestic and family violence that started in Ballina

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Ballina Domestic Violence
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Wave of advocacy against domestic and family violence that started in Ballina

 

By Sarah Waters

Domestic violence is an epidemic in Australia, but past President of The Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond Dave Harmon is drawing support from all corners of the country – and abroad – to tackle the issue head on.

The grim reality of the country’s domestic violence statistics were highlighted last month, following the death of 28-year-old NSW childcare worker Molly Ticehurst, who was killed by her ex-partner.

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She was the 25th women to die from gender-based violence in Australia this year.

The Federal Government has since announced a suite of funding measures to target the escalating crisis, including an investment of $925m over five years to permanently establish the Leaving Violence Payment.

Mr Harmon said there will always be a need to support people escaping domestic and family violence, but he believes preventing it is the long-term solution.

For the past six years, since his friend’s sister was killed by her partner, Mr Harmon has rallied together rotary clubs from across the country to address domestic violence at a grassroots level.

Domestic Violence Ballina

Dave Harmon, front left, has led the ‘Rotary Says NO to Domestic and Family Violence’ campaign

“I just remember sitting there (at the memorial service) thinking this is bloody crazy, what’s going on, what could I do,” he said.

“It was 2018 and I was the incoming president of The Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond and I felt like this was my call to action.”

At a local Rotary club board meeting, Mr Harmon explained he felt as though Rotary needed to connect with the community and what’s relevant in today’s society.

The board all agreed there was probably no cause more relevant than the shocking prevalence of domestic and family violence in Australia.

Rotary formed partnerships with the NSW Police and local agencies in Ballina to discuss their ‘Rotary Says NO to Domestic and Family Violence’ campaign and they all got behind it.

Now in November each year, Mr Harmon coordinates the Domestic and Family Violence Community Walk through Cherry and River Streets in Ballina to raise awareness about the crisis.

Hundreds of people have shown up each year since the walk started in 2019 and it has gone on to become a national – and international – movement.

Last year during 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, 110 events and activities were held by Rotary clubs throughout Australia.

About 1300 Rotary clubs from 16 countries have also followed The Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond and actively participate in the ‘Rotary Says NO to Domestic and Family Violence’ campaign.

Mr Harmon saw the opportunity to take the campaign abroad when he became a Rotary District Governor last year.

He presented the idea that Rotary Zone 8, which includes rotary clubs in Australia, New Zealand and several Pacific Islands, combine together to raise awareness and advocate against domestic and family violence.

“It was fully endorsed by them all,” he said.

“It was the first time in over 40 years that we had a common purpose or cause in our rotary zone.

“That shows you how connected we feel about this cause.”

And, at a local level, Cherry St Sports group have helped to fund 1000 free shirts for the Purple Friday campaign.

The joint initiative between The Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond and Cherry St Sports has seen more than 90 businesses in Ballina, schools, council and sport organisations all wear purple t-shirts with the ‘Rotary Say No to Domestic Violence’ slogan each Friday.

Ballina Domestic Violence

The Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond run a community event with Ballina Shire Council to help combat Domestic and Family Violence, from left, retired Detective Sergeant Damian Loone, CEO of Cherry St Sports Tere Sheehan, Ballina Shire Mayor Sharon Cadwallader and Rotarians David and Robyn Harmon

Mr Harmon said it kept the issue of domestic and family violence in the spotlight, so women felt seen, heard and supported.

“Some of the discussions that have happened in our town in Ballina have been very, very powerful,” he said.

“A local hairdresser here in town, who wore the purple t-shirt, had a couple of women come in one day and discussed them being current victims of family violence.

“They hadn’t told anyone before.”

Despite the groundswell of support for the campaign here, and abroad, Mr Harmon said stamping out domestic violence won’t happen overnight.

He maintains the focus needs to be on preventing misogynistic behaviours and changing current attitudes.

“I use the analogy of the drunk driving laws that came in, in the late 1970s in New South Wales.

“It took 20 to 30 years of increased penalties and campaigning to educate our community about drunk driving.

“Today, if you see someone getting into a car drunk most of us will either ring the police or do something about it.

“We also need to step up and call it out when we see disrespectful behaviour happening towards a family member, a friend or when we’re out socially.

“But prevention is the long-term way out of this.”

Mr Harmon and his wife Robyn have helped to introduce Love Bites, a Respectful Relationships Education Program for young people into local schools.

It equips young people with the knowledge about communicating mindfully, warning signs of abusive behaviour, power in relationships and responding to concerns as bystanders.

If you need support or assistance with domestic and family violence call: 1800 RESPECT or visit 1800respect.org.au

 

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Experience the Joy of Creativity at the TOGETHER Arts & Community Wellbeing Day

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Experience the Joy of Creativity at the TOGETHER Arts & Community Wellbeing Day

 

Mark your calendars for an enriching day of arts and culture at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery (NRCG) this May.

The NRCG, in collaboration with artist and educator Claudie Frock and the Ballina Shire Council Community Recovery Team, is excited to present the TOGETHER Arts & Community Wellbeing Day.

This special event is scheduled for Saturday, 11 May 2024, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and is set to transform the NRCG & Ignite Studios creative precinct into a vibrant hub of artistic and cultural activities.

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Event Highlights:

  • Natural Fibre Weaving: Join Tania Marlowe and Deb Cole from Jugan Dandii for a session of gentle natural fibre weaving.
  • Pop Up Play Space: Experience the fun with Roundabout Theatre’s Lollipop Ladies in a colourful game’s installation in the NRCG green space.
  • Collective Collage Workshop: Dive into a creative collage-making session with Claudie Frock & Mia Zapata.
  • Inclusive Gallery Movement Tours: Move and groove through the gallery with dancer and performance artist Katie Cooper-Wares in the DANCE THE ART tour.
  • Youth Virtual Reality and Digital Storytelling Workshops: Engage with cutting-edge technology in art workshops led by Sean Spencer from Social Futures Computer Clubhouse.

TOGETHER is designed as a free, fun, and accessible event where community members of all ages can engage with some of the region’s most imaginative artists and facilitators. This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals and families to explore their creativity, connect with others, and enjoy a playful day in the heart of Ballina.

Accessibility and Additional Information:

  • Auslan Interpretation: The event will include Auslan interpretation to ensure accessibility.
  • Wheelchair Accessibility: The venue is fully accessible by wheelchair.
  • Sensory Friendly Space: A quiet space will be available for those who might need a break from the sensory stimulation.
  • No Bookings Required: There is no need to book in advance. Feel free to turn up and participate in any of the creative sessions that interest you.

This program is supported by both the Australian Government and NSW Government through the Community Recovery Program and represents a key arts and cultural initiative of the Ballina Shire Council.

For any accessibility queries or further information, please contact Ella Millard at Ella.Millard@ballina.nsw.gov.au.

Join us for a day of creativity and community spirit at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery & Ignite Studios Creative precinct located at the corner of Cherry St and Crane St, Ballina. Come along, and let’s create and connect TOGETHER!

 

For more entertainment news, click here.

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