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Byron Bay News

New outreach team set to tackle homelessness in Byron

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Assertive Outreach Byron bay

New outreach team set to tackle homelessness in Byron

 

More people sleeping rough in the Byron area will receive the support they need with the NSW Government setting up a $1.3 million Assertive Outreach team to help people experiencing homelessness in the North Coast community.

The recent 2024 Street Count data painted a clear picture of the scale of the homelessness crisis in the region, with a 16 per-cent increase is people sleeping rough in the Byron Shire area.

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Homes NSW has partnered with local service providers Social Futures and Momentum Collective to form the new cross-agency team, delivering intensive case management and outreach patrols to drive down homelessness.

The approach is based on the successful Tweed Assertive Outreach model, which employs staff with expertise in complex case management. The group started the first of its regular Assertive Outreach patrols in the Byron area in March 2024.

Linking people sleeping rough with accommodation and health services is a critical aspect of the Assertive Outreach model. The new team will be trialled for one year and is fully funded by the NSW Government.

The establishment of this new service is in addition to the Government’s $11 million investment in 2023-24 for homelessness services in Northern NSW, which covers the LGAs of Ballina, Byron Shire, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed.

Minister for Homelessness Rose Jackson said:
“Homelessness should never become a repetitive cycle which is why we’ve set up this new team to help more people experiencing homelessness in the region to get back on their feet, connected with appropriate services and accommodation.

“It is heartbreaking that in the latest street count data 348 people were counted sleeping rough in Byron Shire LGA, accounting for the largest number in the state. We know we need to do more to start turning that number around and getting people into homes.

“We will continue to invest and build on programs that are proven to help drive down the numbers of homelessness. The expansion of the Assertive Outreach team is a strong step in the right direction as we continue to build on strengthening crucial homelessness services in the region.”

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said:
“We welcome the extension of the Assertive Outreach Program to Byron. By tailoring personalised plans to meet unique needs, we support access to healthcare, assist with NDIS applications, and connect to vital support services.

“Social Futures has been an integral part of the Tweed Assertive Outreach pilot since 2019, providing intensive case management and support to participants. We are delighted to be part of the team bringing this award-winning program to Byron Shire.”

Momentum Collective CEO Tracey Mackie said:
“Momentum Collective have worked with the Assertive Outreach pilot in Tweed Heads since inception in 2019, seeing a significant reduction of rough sleeping amongst clients we engaged with. One of the biggest outcomes of this model is that it demonstrates a sustaining tenancy rate of over 90% with people who have been rough sleeping through engagement with the program.

“With Byron Bay LGA having the highest number of rough sleepers in NSW following the 2023 Street Count, funding for this collaborative approach in the region will enable Momentum Collective and collaborative partners to build on the success of Assertive Outreach Tweed Heads and provide similar measurable decreases among the rough sleepers of Byron Bay.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity and appreciate the investment in this area from the NSW Government.”

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Electronic Flood Warning Signs and Cameras Installed in Byron Shire

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Flood Warning Signs Byron

Electronic Flood Warning Signs and Cameras Installed in Byron Shire

 

Three sets of automated flood warning signs and cameras have been installed on Main Arm Road, Left Bank Road, and Myocum Road in Byron Shire. These signs, equipped with solar-powered flashing lights, activate when water levels reach a trigger point, providing a crucial warning to drivers about dangerous road conditions.

Katie Hughes, Acting Infrastructure Planning Coordinator, emphasised the importance of these new installations, funded by a $300,000 grant from the NSW Government and the Commonwealth’s Disaster Risk Reduction Fund. “Main Arm Road, Left Bank Road, and Myocum Road are busy rural roads, and during significant wet weather events, drivers are regularly caught out by attempting to drive through flood water in these areas,” Ms. Hughes said.

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“The SES has responded to countless calls to help drivers whose vehicles are stuck in the water, and sadly, some lives have been lost over the years,” she added. “The new lights will automatically come on when water reaches a certain level, indicating the road is closed and the situation is dangerous.”

In addition to the warning lights, cameras have been installed that update images every 15 minutes. These images feed through to the Council’s Emergency Dashboard, allowing people to assess road conditions before traveling.

“People can see the images from the cameras now by visiting the Byron Shire Emergency Dashboard website,” Ms. Hughes said.

This initiative aims to enhance driver safety and reduce the risk of flood-related incidents on these busy rural roads.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Eating, sharing knowledge and ideas…Farmers’ Feast a great success

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Farmers’ Feast

Eating, sharing knowledge and ideas…Farmers’ Feast a great success

 

Byron Shire Council’s Farmers’ Feast, held in collaboration with the Tweed Richmond Organic Producers Organisation in early July was a coming together of taste buds and ideas.

The event was designed to showcase the best of the region’s produce while bringing together organic and regenerative farmers and land managers to share information, stories, and conversation.

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Andrew Cameron, Council’s Agricultural Extension Officer, said that because of the nature of their jobs, farmers don’t often get the opportunity to sit down and talk with other producers.

“Farming can be very hard and isolating, this was the perfect chance to get off farm to connect, share and learn with fellow like-minded farmers whilst feasting on the delicious food grown in our region” Mr Cameron said.

“Importantly it was also the chance for them to talk, get ideas, share information and hear and see what others are doing.

“Our climate and land in this region are so incredible and this coupled with the desire for producers to meet climate change, environmental and food security issues head on, was the foundation for conversations about looking after the land and feeding the community.

“We heard from a diverse range of speakers, from those who paved the way in the early years, to those flying the flag successfully today.

“It was great to hear farmers sharing their stories and learnings but most importantly hearing about their passion, commitment and purpose.

“Many thanks to everyone who took part in the event,” Mr Cameron said.

People in interested in regenerative agriculture and other events like the Farmers Feast can sign up to the Byron Farmers Network via Council’s website.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek both open

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Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek both open

Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek both open

 

Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek are both open and flowing into the ocean.

With last week’s wet weather Tallow Creek opened naturally while Council mechanically opened the mouth of Belongil Creek.

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Council, in accordance with approvals from the NSW Marine Parks Authority and Crown Lands, used an excavator to dig a channel through the sandbar at the mouth of Belongil Creek to release water levels in the catchment due to low level inundation experienced on the floodplain and around the town centre.

Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek are naturally occurring intermittently closed and open lakes and lagoons (ICOLL) which open and closes to the ocean.

ICOLLS are regarded as highly sensitive marine environments and there are strict protocols and rules in place relating to any attempt to artificially open the creeks because of the high risk of fish kills.

Chloe Dowsett, Coastal and Biodiversity Coordinator, said that due to the low-lying and flood prone nature of Byron Bay, when water levels in Belongil Creek (and Tallow Creek) build up and wet weather is forecast the sand at the creek mouth sometimes must be shifted manually,” Ms Dowsett said.

“The sudden rush of creek water to the ocean can rapidly deplete oxygen levels and cause fish kills and we have detailed plans and processes in place to reduce the chances of this happening.

“I am pleased to report that there have been no signs of fish kills which is great news,” Ms Dowsett said.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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