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Ballina News

Death of birds in Ballina remains unknown

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Magpies and Currawongs are dying in Ballina from an unknown cause
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Death of birds in Ballina remains unknown

 

By Sarah Waters

A large number of deceased birds are being found around Ballina, but the cause of their death is still a mystery.

Veterinarian Dr Bree Talbot from Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital (BBWH) said about 15 birds, including magpies, currawongs and pigeons were brought into the hospital last week.

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The birds were found around the same location on Tamar St, Crane St, and Martin St in Ballina.

“The birds are appearing deceased in people’s gardens and one or two in school grounds,” Dr Talbot said.

“We don’t know what it is, but we’re working with the Australian Wildlife Registry (based out of Taronga Zoo) and sending all of the birds to them to figure out what could potentially be going on,” she said.

Dr Talbot said it could take up to two weeks before the cause is known by the time testing is completed.

Magpies and Currawongs are dying in Ballina from an unknown cause

Magpies and Currawongs are dying in Ballina from an unknown cause

It is also unusual for birds to suddenly die in a large number at once.

“There’s usually a disease outbreak, poisoning (from bate) or some kind of pesticide that people put on their gardens,” she said.

“But the birds that we are seeing here aren’t normally the kind that eat bate and it’s not the usual signs of poisoning that we’re seeing.”

Magpies can be vulnerable to a disease known as black and white syndrome which causes paralysis, but that disease had been ruled out at this stage.

Dr Talbot said if people see birds sitting lower in the tree or acting quiet, which isn’t considered normal behaviour, to let Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital on 1300 945 354 or a local wildlife rescue group know.

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is a disease surveillance clinic, which works with The Australian Registry of Wildlife Health.

The clinic reports all their unusual or interesting cases to The Australian Registry of Wildlife Health each month to help improve Australia’s ability to detect and diagnose endemic, emerging and exotic diseases of wildlife.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Ballina News

Ballina Bound: 2025 State Championships Heading to Northern Rivers

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The 2025 Bowls NSW State Championships
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Ballina Bound: 2025 State Championships Heading to Northern Rivers

 

Bowls NSW is thrilled to announce Ballina as the host of the 2025 and 2027 State Championships. The Northern Rivers Region will welcome over 900 competitors to the area, with Cherry Street Sports, Club Lennox Sports and Alstonville Bowls Club securing the venue hosting rights.

Bowls NSW CEO Tim Rowe is thrilled to bring the State Championships to another regional hub after the success of the 2024 event in Dubbo.

“We have made a concerted effort to adjust the way we deliver our major events with a stronger focus on regional areas of NSW. An event like this delivers over $1.5m in economic impact to a community and it is important that we look to support regional Australia by moving these events to areas that will benefit significantly from them. These locations have so much to offer, and I am certain that the Northern Rivers Region in March is an ideal location given the weather and holiday destination that this area is known to be. What a great excuse for our players to bring their friends and families away for a few days in the region. I should also note the incredible state of the greens in this region and the facilities that the clubs here offer. I congratulate the clubs from this region on how they have presented themselves. We have no doubt that 2025 and 2027 will take the delivery of our State Championships to the next level.”

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Cherry Street Sports will be the main host venue for the 2025 State Championships, and Club CEO Tere Sheehan cannot wait for the opportunity.

“We are immensely proud to have been awarded the Bowls NSW State Championships for both 2025 and 2027. This recognition allows us to represent our region and showcase our top-notch facilities to the entire state. Our Profit-for-Purpose business model is centered on giving back to our community, and by hosting this prestigious event, we continue to support the foundational values of our club.”

The 2025 State Championships will attract thousands of players and spectators to the Ballina area over a 16-day period, including some of the best bowlers in Australia and the world. Mayor of Ballina Shire Council Sharon Cadwallader is excited at the opportunity of bringing a major sporting event like the State Championships to the Region.

“Hosting the 2025 and 2027 Bowls NSW State Championships is a monumental achievement for the Ballina Shire and highlights our region’s capacity to bring together top-tier sporting events that showcase our exceptional facilities and hospitality. This is not just a win for the bowlers but for the entire community as it brings significant economic and social benefits. We are thrilled to provide a scenic backdrop and a warm welcome to all participants and their families. The Ballina Coast and Hinterland Region is ready to make these championships a memorable experience for everyone involved.”

The 2025 Bowls NSW State Championships will start on Tuesday 25 March 2025 and continue until Wednesday 9 April 2025.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Alstonville News

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

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A koala being treated at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore
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Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

 

By Sarah Waters

Koalas are becoming an increasingly rare sight in NSW and the one organisation that is dedicated solely to their care in the Northern Rivers is desperately trying to keep operating as normal.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, operated by Friends of the Koala, has made an urgent plea for financial support.

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A decline in donations and available funding has threatened the hospital’s ability to operate effectively.

The hospital is specifically designed for the medical treatment of koalas and is the only wildlife hospital in NSW licensed to vaccinate all treated koalas against Chlamydia – the number one cause of death for koalas in the Northern Rivers.

General manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers said more than 350 Koalas are treated at the hospital each year.

“From July last year we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in koalas coming in, versus the year before,” Ms Everaers said.

“It will continue to increase as the threats to koalas are increasing with climate change, natural disasters, habitat being destroyed causing more koalas on the road, which leads to car hits, dog attacks and more diseases due to stress.

“So that’s obviously concerning, and it has been really, really busy for our volunteers rescuing and caring for them,” she said.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital was formed in 2019 and is part of the wider Friends of the Koala (FOK) organisation.

The FOK organisation receives government grants for certain projects including a recent grant to vaccinate 300 koalas against chlamydia.

But no government money is received for the operational cost of the koala hospital.

General Manager of Friends of the Koala and Northern Rivers Koala Hospital Silva Everaers

General Manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers

Half a million dollars needs to be raised by Friends of the Koala each year to cover the hospital’s annual operating expenses.

It is set up with diagnostic and treatment tools including ultrasounds, x-rays, a blood bank, as well as surgical and pathology equipment to provide specialised 24/7 veterinary care to koalas.

Until more funds become available the hospital may not be able to continue in its current capacity.

Ms Everaers said the priority was to keep the hospital funded and veterinary staff paid.

“That really is where the research and the magic happens,” she said.

“We work with over 300 volunteers, who do an absolutely incredible job rescuing and rehabilitating the koalas treated in our hospital, and because of that we are able to keep operational costs really, really low.

“But we can’t do it without financial support, in the end, there’s medicine, veterinary staff, the equipment we need, research facilities – it’s not free.”

Friends of the Koala have set up a special donation drive, appealing to the public’s generosity to help keep the hospital in operation and maintain their high standards of care.

Anyone with a heart for wildlife, including business owners and philanthropists, can become a ‘Friend of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital’ at: friendsofthekoala.org or support by donating to the organisation.

Friends of the Koala are a grassroots organisation with more than 35 years of experience working on critical, on-the-ground activities to conserve habitat and protect koalas individually and as a species.

It originated as a charity focused on planting trees but has evolved into a multifaceted organisation that also provides 24/7 koala rescue, medical treatment, research, advocacy and community education.

Friends of the Koala has successfully rehabilitated and released over 2000 koalas back into the wild since its inception.

The Northern Rivers is home to one of the last significant, genetically diverse koala populations.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Ballina News

Federal Budget 2024/25: Implications for Ballina Shire

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Sharon Cadwallader Federal Budget Ballina
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Federal Budget 2024/25: Implications for Ballina Shire

 

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader of Ballina Shire Council offered insights into the Federal Budget 2024/25 and its potential impact on the local community.

Acknowledging the significant commitment of $27.7 billion towards various national projects, Mayor Cadwallader underscored the importance of initiatives targeting cost-of-living relief, education, and healthcare for community well-being. However, she expressed a desire for increased infrastructure spending specifically directed to regional areas.

“We appreciate measures aimed at supporting low and middle-income Australians, but Ballina Shire Council advocates for more infrastructure investment in regional Australia,” Mayor Cadwallader emphasised.

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Key highlights from the Federal Budget 2024/25 that are anticipated to benefit Ballina Shire and the Northern Rivers region include:

  1. Infrastructure Investment: Allocation of $40 million for regional airports and community Wi-Fi initiatives.
  2. Roads to Recovery Program: Progressive increase to $1 billion per year, along with additional funding for the Black Spot Program.
  3. Cost-of-Living Relief Measures: Including energy rebates, tax cuts, and debt relief for tertiary students.
  4. Support for Small Businesses: Funding totalling $290 million, with extensions to the instant asset write-off scheme and support for small business owners’ well-being.
  5. Healthcare Investment: $227 million for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics and regional healthcare support.
  6. Housing Initiatives: Allocation of $6.2 billion to housing programs, aiming to address housing challenges and support new home construction and renters.

“While these allocations present opportunities for our region’s development, we await further details on funding distribution to Ballina Shire,” Mayor Cadwallader noted. “With our population growing, it’s crucial that infrastructure keeps pace to support evolving community needs.”

“We hope for infrastructure investment directed towards Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, crucial for our local economy, given its significant passenger traffic and anticipated growth,” Mayor Cadwallader added.

She also highlighted the importance of addressing housing challenges amidst ongoing pressures faced by the construction industry and home builders.

For more information on the Federal Budget 2024/25, visit here

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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