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Coffs Harbour

CRUCIAL PROGRAM CHANGING LIVES OF REGIONAL PATIENTS IN COFFS HARBOUR

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CRUCIAL PROGRAM CHANGING LIVES OF REGIONAL PATIENTS IN COFFS HARBOUR

4,572 new patients have taken advantage of the increased financial assistance available to people in regional communities who need to travel long distances to receive specialist care.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said in the Mid North Coast Local Health District, 428 new patients have lodged claims under the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) since August 1, when the NSW Government’s $149.5 million funding boost came into effect.

“It is fantastic that as a Government we are able to help reduce the financial burden of regional NSW patients and their families when travelling for treatment,” Mr Singh said.

“The NSW Government has not only increased subsidies for travel and accommodation but there are now tens of thousands more people eligible for the scheme.”

The subsidy for people requiring accommodation has been almost doubled, while the NSW Government has also almost doubled the private vehicle subsidy rate from 22 cents to 40 cents per kilometre for patients who have to travel more than 100 kilometres for care.

As well as receiving more money back, additional patients are now eligible – those attending non-commercial clinical trials, high risk foot clinics, highly specialised publicly funded dental health clinics and ocularists.

Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said the changes are making an enormous difference for people living in our regional and rural communities.

“We know there were people in our regional and rural communities who were not seeking the care they needed because of the high cost of travel and accommodation,” Mrs Taylor said.

“With the increased subsidies now available, many of these people are now receiving life-changing treatment.

“This crucial program is helping to ensure that no matter where you live in NSW, you can access the healthcare you need.”

Armidale couple Pat and Robert Hanson thought they’d have to budget for large travel and accommodation costs when Robert learned he needed cancer treatment in Coffs Harbour.

“When Robert was diagnosed with cancer, it was a very stressful and overwhelming time as Robert’s treatment was going to be in Coffs Harbour, 180km away, and he needed six weeks of radiation treatment,” Mrs Hanson said.

“IPTAAS allowed us to travel and stay in Coffs Harbour for that time without needing Robert to drive back and forth, which was a huge relief. It covered our petrol and our accommodation at the hospital, saving us around $3,000.”

Community-based charity Can Assist provides financial support to cancer patients living in rural and regional areas to help access treatment and care.

“I can’t put into words the weight I see lifted when patients and our volunteers realise what the increase in IPTAAS rebates means for them,” Can Assist Executive Director Emma Phillips said.

The NSW Government is launching a comprehensive awareness campaign to promote the benefits of the expanded scheme, which will include flyers, fact sheets, an updated website and social media posts targeting existing, new and potential patients and their families and carers.

In addition, NSW Health is continuing to review and streamline the IPTAAS application processes to make it easier for patients to lodge claims.

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Coffs Harbour

The Circus is in town and it is action packed

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The Circus is in town and it is action packed

 

By Samantha Elley

Put your expectations away and open your mind to the ‘edge of your seat’ experience you will be in for when you go to see The Circus in Coffs Harbour.

“We are a seventh generation circus family, originally from Germany,” said tour manager and matriarch, Marie Weber.

“We bring acts that have never been seen under the big top in Australia before.

“These include FMX (freestyle) riders, the splitting globe of death, comedians, aerialists and even a human cannonball.”

Patriarch, Harry Weber, has been involved in the circus touring life for the past 40 years and the family are excited to be in Australia.

“We have been touring in New Zealand, South Africa, Korea and other international areas,” said Marie.

That’s no mean feat with a family of eight children who have all grown up with the circus.

“We have performers from all walks of life,” said Marie.

“There are about 40 crew and performers, including those travelling with families.”

Marie said they are all like one big happy family, especially when they have been working so closely together for so long.

“Most of us have been working together for more than 10 years,” she said.

The Circus has just wound up six shows at Lismore Showgrounds and is now heading to Coffs Harbour where they have a giveaway on their Facebook page ‘Weber Bros Entertainment’ for two VIP packages and 10 double passes to their shows.

They will be performing their action packed shows at Coffs Harbour Showground between June 6th – 16th.

Book your tickets at 0452003300 or online at iticket.com.au for two hours of great family entertainment. Prices range from $35 – $85 for adults and $25-$70 for children.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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Coffs Harbour

Mental Health Service Boost in Coffs Harbour with Opening of Medicare Mental Health Centre

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Mental Health Service Boost in Coffs Harbour with Opening of Medicare Mental Health Centre

 

Communities in and around Coffs Harbour will soon benefit from increased mental health support with the opening of a Medicare Mental Health Centre in late June. Healthy North Coast, which delivers the North Coast Primary Health Network program on behalf of the Australian Government, announced today the selection of local not-for-profit organisation Open Minds as the service provider for the new centre.

Monika Wheeler, CEO of Healthy North Coast, emphasised the importance of accessible mental health services. “It is estimated that 43% of Australians will experience mental health distress at some point in their lives. It is vitally important we have a range of mental health services that are easily accessed in times of need,” she stated.

The new centre will offer free, walk-in mental health services with no appointments or referrals necessary. This model is designed to provide immediate and tailored support to individuals in need. Wheeler highlighted the success of a similar initiative: “Our Lismore Centre, also run by Open Minds, opened in 2022 and has delivered over 9,000 sessions and supported more than 1,000 people. We’re confident that the Coffs Harbour Centre will be a welcome addition for residents looking for a tailored experience and connection to the right support for them and their circumstances, which are different for everyone.”

Rik Barker, General Manager of Integrated Mental Health Services (NSW) at Open Minds, welcomed the announcement. “We look forward to opening the doors in Coffs and delivering a quality mental health service, improving the wellbeing of people on the Mid North Coast,” he said.

Key Features of the New Centre

  • Staffing: The centre will be staffed by mental health and allied health professionals available to visitors based on their level of need. There will also be a Social and Emotional Wellbeing Worker for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, in partnership with Galambila Aboriginal Health Service.
  • Location and Hours: The centre will be co-located with the Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre in Block B of the Community Village, 22 Earl Street, Coffs Harbour. Initial hours of operation will be 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, with provisions for targeted/appointment-based services for up to four hours on Saturdays.
  • Accessibility: Residents can visit the centre without prior appointments, and services are free of charge.

Wheeler explained the community’s enthusiastic response to the new centre, noting its welcoming space and easy accessibility. She also encouraged those unable to visit in person to utilize the free Head to Health service by calling 1800 595 212 for phone-based support.

Additional Information

  • Crisis Services: The Medicare Mental Health Centres are not intended for crisis or emergency services. For urgent support, individuals should contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 or the Mental Health Access Line at 1800 011 511. For immediate help or if at risk of harm, calling 000 is advised.

For more information and updates, visit here.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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Coffs Harbour

LOCAL CONCRETE GIRDERS MAKE THEIR WAY UP THE HIGHWAY FOR BYPASS

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LOCAL CONCRETE GIRDERS MAKE THEIR WAY UP THE HIGHWAY FOR BYPASS

 

The Coffs Coast community will soon see locally-produced concrete girders making the trip from Macksville to Coffs Harbour where they will form part of 15 of the 17 bridges on the Coffs Harbour Bypass alignment.

Transport for NSW Director Region North Anna Zycki said the project team is working with Australian Precast Solutions, which is casting the massive 260 Super T girders, which measure from 18 metres to 35 metres long and weigh up to 90 tonnes.

“This demonstrates our commitment to investing in local businesses and local jobs,” Ms Zycki said.

“The ongoing program of work from the Coffs Harbour Bypass has ensured longevity for the 65 staff already employed at the precast yard, with further opportunities for an additional ten casuals in the future.”

Ms Zycki also said the girder movements will cause occasional delays for some road users and urged motorists to be extra mindful when sharing the road with these oversize loads.

“Each girder is classified as an Over Size, Over Mass (OSOM) load and will be escorted to site with a pilot vehicle,” Ms Zycki said.

“To minimise impacts, only approved heavy vehicle haulage routes will be used and deliveries will be made during off-peak periods, where possible.

“When driving near these vehicles, be mindful that they take up more space and are unable to stop quickly. Please remember to ACT – be aware, use caution and allow more time to get to your destination,” Ms Zycki said.

Doug Nimmo, Precast Superintendent from Australian Precast Solutions said the bypass is providing a great boost for local companies.

“We’ve worked with Transport for NSW for many years, helping deliver structural elements for the Pacific Highway duplication including for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade a few years ago,” Mr Nimmo said.

“We’re pleased they keep coming back to us and we’re delighted to be part of the team that’s bringing the long-awaited bypass to Coffs Harbour.”

The Australian and NSW Government are funding the 14 kilometre Coffs Harbour Bypass. When complete, the project will save motorists 12 minutes travel time, bypass up to 12 sets of traffic lights and remove thousands of vehicles from the Coffs Harbour CBD.

More information about the bypass is available here.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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