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Northern Rivers Local News

Social and affordable rental housing: time for all levels of government to invest in this transformational social infrastructure

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

Social and affordable rental housing: time for all levels of government to invest in this transformational social infrastructure

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) applauds the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan’s break through call for all levels of government to invest in social and affordable rental housing. The Plan recognises that ‘well-maintained and designed social housing provides many community benefits, supporting individual and societal wellbeing and productivity, and reducing costs in health and justice services’ and recommends the design and implementation of programs to increase supply’.

“Infrastructure Australia is to be commended for the focus on social infrastructure in this plan. Too often Australian governments have viewed social and affordable rental housing investment solely as an impost and overlooked its positive impacts, not just for the individual who gets a home but for other service budgets.” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO. “Only last week, for example the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) published research showing that helping ex-prisoners through social housing typically cuts re-offending and saves the tax payer thousands of dollars.”

She pointed out that, “Social housing as a proportion of Australia’s total dwellings has steadily declined to 4.2%, way below the OECD country average of 7.1%.” While some recent state initiatives will slow the decline in certain parts of the country, to address the current national shortfall and meet future demand she said, “Australia needs to be adding at least 20,000 social and affordable rental homes every year. That is do-able but it needs the Federal Government as an active participant too; they’re the ones with the fiscal fire power.”

“Coming hard on the heels of the recent OECD endorsement for social housing investment, these new recommendations are especially powerful” said Ms Hayhurst. “Here we have two highly respected economic planning bodies both supporting the case that adequate social rental provision is a vital part of a balanced housing system. By all means let’s look at how to make the market work more smoothly, but that will never provide an affordable solution for the lowest income Australians”.

Andrew Hannan, CHIA’s chair also welcomed the Plan and praised Infrastructure Australia’s engagement with stakeholders during its production. “We’re delighted to see the community housing sector recognised in the Plan as being key to delivering new social and affordable rental homes for Australians locked out of the private rental market, or home ownership. Our members have demonstrated the capability, capacity and financial sophistication to deliver thousands of additional dwellings in recent years. But an ongoing national funding program that brings certainty and attracts the big institutional investors is needed”. He noted that CHIA’s Pre-Budget Submission had proposed a cost-effective funding model that leveraged the existing NHFIC arrangements, and could make a major dent in Australia’s social and affordable housing shortage.

He went on to say “the Federal Government has recently launched an Inquiry on Housing Affordability and Supply. The committee must put the undersupply of social and affordable rental housing front and centre of their deliberations. Social and affordable rental housing can be a haven for women escaping violence, provide stability to help people recover from illness and act as a springboard into home ownership. The community housing industry is ready to lead in delivering the national program Australia badly needs”

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Clarence Valley News

Second death in custody at new jail

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Clarence Correctional Centre

Second death in custody at new jail

By Tim Howard

A 29-year-old inmate has died at Clarence Correctional Centre on June, the second man to die in custody at the jail in the past six weeks.
The man, identified as Dictor Mayen Dongrin, was due to front Coffs Harbour Local Court the following day on two charges of common assault, one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two of stalking and intimidation. 
A spokesperson for the jail operator Serco said Mr Dongrin was found unresponsive in a medical holding room by staff around 1.30pm and was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly after.
Serco, Corrective Services NSW and NSW Police were investigating the incident.
All deaths in custody are subject to a coronial inquest.
Mr Dongrin was also involved in a apprehended domestic violence hearing with another family member
The court has ceased all proceedings involving Mr Dongrin because of his death.
The spokesperson said Serco extends its condolences to the family and friends of the man.

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Coffs Harbour News

FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL AT COFFS HARBOUR

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FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL Coffs Harbour Education Campus

FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL

The Big Bonanza festival, to be held for the first time on the Coffs Coast in November, will now be even bigger thanks to $200,000 in funding from the NSW Government.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said he is pleased the Festival organiser, Gig Big, has received this significant support from the Regional Events Acceleration Fund.

FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL Coffs Harbour Education Campus

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, The Big Bonanza festival director Ben Lewis and Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Paul Amos at today’s announcement at CHEC playing fields.

“The Big Bonanza is a two-day music, comedy and food festival to be held at Coffs Harbour Education Campus playing fields on 4 and 5 November,” Mr Singh said.

“The funding will help with the staging of this live entertainment extravaganza – in particular securing the headline music and comedy artists including Wolfmother, You Am I, Dave Hughes and Judith Lucy, and for temporary event infrastructure which will improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disability.

“The Big Bonanza is anticipated to be a major drawcard for Coffs Coast locals and visitors, which will help to boost our local economy.”

Mr Singh said the Regional Events Acceleration Fund is supporting the growth of existing regional events and attracting new major domestic and international events.

Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Councillor Paul Amos said: “Not only does Coffs have the Big Banana, but now we have The Big Bonanza coming to our world-class CHEC in November this year. This is yet another flagship event for the Coffs Coast and another feather in our cap adding more colour to the year-round events calendar.

“We know how to stage big events and our community knows how to have a great time, bring on The Big Bonanza,” Cr Amos said.

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Northern Rivers Local News

Oasis Park Development Halted

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Oasis Park plan

Oasis Park Development Halted

 

Story by Lara Leahy

 

Plans were submitted for an extreme sports facility to be built at Carool to go with an existing DA for health retreat style accommodation.  Last week, Tweed Shire Council voted to refuse the Development Application for the park.

 

The initial DA for 35 cabins, and 5 rooms, also include a 4-bedroom site management house and attached granny flat has not yet been issued with a construction certificate.  The latest DA is for indoor and outdoor facilities for sports including motocross, mountain biking, skateboarding as well as gym and trampolining facilities spread over 18,902m2. Between the proposals, there was confusion as per the use of the facilities and how much would service the patrons vs public use.

 

There are 11 reasons council gave to turn the new development down.  Included in which is incomplete information on stormwater management, bushfire risk research as well as risk to potential existing indigenous heritage.  Inadequate infrastructure, such as sewerage, electricity, and car parking were also cited as concerns.

 

Issues regarding noise and light that would see up to 60 patrons visiting a day and up to 200 over 4 annual events were not addressed by the submission.  It was unclear how much of the clientele was to be from public use as opposed to visiting patrons.

 

A large concern was raised in regarding its visual amenity, with two large block sheds at the peak of the development, breaking up the sight lines of the surrounding hills.  The large amount of concrete, asphalt and exposed earthworks were also not considered to be in keeping with the “picturesque hills of Carool.”

 

One of the two sheds were over the height limit stipulated by council, causing interest for the airspace above the shed.  “The application was referred to the Gold Coast Airport Authority as the site has a ground level above the relevant Obstacle Limitation Surface Contour and therefore the development would breach this plane. The Gold Coast Airport Authority advised a full assessment would be required.”

 

Other incomplete information included traffic studies as well as flora and fauna impact contributing to the hesitancy to provide support for the development. Public concern was also considered when 18 of the 21 public responses received in regard to the development found to have objections to the proposal.

 

Two options were presented to council, to refuse the DA or to present them with an opportunity to provide further information.  Due to inconsistencies and inadequacies with the assessment of the works, council officers recommended the first option and refused the DA.  It was found that the “development proposal is not consistent with the Aims of Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 to promote the responsible sustainable management and conservation of Tweed’s natural and environmentally sensitive areas and waterways, visual amenity and scenic routes, built environment, and cultural heritage.”

 

The DA report and associated documentation is available on the Tweed Shire Council website.

 

 

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