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Byron Bay News

HOW TAFE NSW BALLINA IS HELPING FUTURE PROOF NORTHERN RIVERS NURSING WORKFORCE

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HOW TAFE NSW BALLINA IS HELPING FUTURE PROOF NORTHERN RIVERS NURSING WORKFORCE

 

The national peak body for nurses has highlighted the important role TAFE NSW Ballina is playing to address a skills shortage in the Northern Rivers region and helping future-proof the local nursing workforce.

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) said there was never a more important time to invest in the future of nursing, saying training providers like TAFE NSW were critical.

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Research by Health Workforce Australia found that due to an ageing workforce and growing population, there could be a national shortfall of 100,000 nurses by 2025.

APNA CEO Ken Griffith described TAFE NSW Ballina’s role in training the next generation as a “positive sign for Australia’s health”.

“It’s essential that nurses entering the health system are trained well and can have the opportunity to develop their skills where we need them most, particularly in primary health care and in rural and remote settings,” Mr Griffin said.

“The increased interest in studying nursing at TAFE NSW is a positive sign for Australia’s health.

“We know that nursing is a fulfilling career. The role that Enrolled Nurses play in the health care system is vital and this will only grow over the coming years.”

The NSW Government is investing $3 million over the next three years to upgrade nurse training facilities at TAFE NSW campuses across the state.

Brett Swalling is one of many TAFE NSW Ballina graduates armed with the practical skills and work experience to make a running start into his nursing career. Brett graduated with a Diploma of Nursing in 2023 and now works as an enrolled nurse at Lismore Base Hospital, one of only 10% of Australian men in enrolled nursing. He is advocating for more young men to choose a career in health.

“Nursing is a great lifelong career that can take you anywhere and you meet so many new people. TAFE NSW offers practical, hands-on learning, and the teachers are so supportive. I want to help remove the stigma for men in nursing and I encourage more men to consider it as an incredibly rewarding career path.

“Through my placements during the course, about the complex issues faced by our ageing population and the practical skills to help me hit the ground running. Since graduating, I’m continuing to learn so much now working in orthopedics and acting as a leader and a mentor to other graduates coming through.

“There’s many opportunities for future leaders – like many industries, nursing is about knowing your personal strengths and finding a pathway that will fulfil your skills,” Brett said.

Data from Economy ID reveals the Health Care and Social Assistance workforce is the largest industry by employment in the Ballina Shire, generating over 4,000 jobs in 2022/2023.

TAFE NSW Nursing Lead Dr Zach Byfield said TAFE NSW worked closely with health providers and organisations such as APRA to help ensure TAFE NSW was keeping pace with workforce needs.

“We meet regularly with all our industry partners to come up with new and innovative ways to keep learners in communities and create a constant pipeline of new nurses,” Dr Byfield said.

“Nurses are an indispensable part of the healthcare system, as was again highlighted during the pandemic and TAFE NSW is committed to continue training the nursing workforce of the future.”

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Byron Bay News

Electronic Flood Warning Signs and Cameras Installed in Byron Shire

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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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Byron Bay News

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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