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Northern Rivers Local News

Social housing in Australia declines while rents and house prices rise

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Social housing in Australia declines while rents and house prices rise
Social housing in Australia declines while rents and house prices rise

Social housing in Australia declines while rents and house prices rise

New data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  shows the proportion of social housing has declined across Australia at the same time rents and house prices are surging.

From 2014 – 2020, the proportion of social housing households has fallen from 4.6 to 4.2 per cent.

Kate Colvin from Everybody’s Home says that decrease spells major trouble for many Australians living in housing stress,as well as those currently experiencing or on the brink of homelessness.

“Social housing has historically played an important role providinga safe, secure place to call home to those locked out of the private housing market,” Ms Colvin said.

“As more and more people on low to middle incomes are being left behind by rising rents and house prices, the need for social housing in Australia has never been greater. We need the proportion of social housing to grow, not decline.”

“Homes that ordinary families can afford is critical infrastructure for every community. With a home everybody has the ability to live, work and raise their families. But surging prices and low vacancy rates mean a place to call home is increasingly out of reach for many Australians.”

According to June’s CoreLogic report which looked at house price growth for the first four months of 2021, Sydney recorded an extraordinary quarterly growth of 9.3 per cent. In regional NSW, there was a quarterly increase of 7.8 per cent.

There was a 5.5 per cent quarterly increase in house prices in Melbourne, a 6.2 per cent rise in Brisbane and a 7.9 per cent jump in Hobart.

The rental market is also surging, with national rents for all houses increasing by 15.1 per cent and rents for units increasing by 8.1 per cent in the past 12 months.

Further, according to economic modelling, homelessness is projected to surge across Australia by nine per cent this year while housing stress is forecast to increase by 24 per cent.

“We cannot have a situation where house prices rise at close to 10 per cent a quarter in some cases, while social housing declines. That is a recipe for more housing stress, more homelessness and deepening inequality,” Ms Colvin said.

“On the current trajectory, housing stress is only going to worsen for people on low and middle incomes, which is why we need the Federal Government to make an urgent investment in social housing now.”

Health News

Testing numbers up across Northern NSW Local Health District

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Testing numbers up across Northern NSW Local Health District
Testing numbers up across Northern NSW Local Health District

Testing numbers up across Northern NSW Local Health District

Northern NSW Local Health District would like to thank the community for their recent response to calls for testing in the Byron Bay and Ballina areas recently.
“Following advice over the weekend that a positive COVID-19 case had travelled on a flight from Sydney to Ballina, and recent detection of virus fragments in sewage in Byron Bay, we’ve seen a jump in people getting tested at local clinics,” Lynne Weir, Acting Chief Executive, Northern NSW Local Health District said.
“It’s promising to see our community responding to these calls, as it’s so important in the fight to find any cases which may be in our area.
“So far, there have not been any new confirmed cases identified within our District.”
Testing figures show there were 6,857 tests conducted among residents of Northern NSW Local Health District for the week of 18 – 24 July, almost a 50 per cent jump on the previous week when 4,575 tests were conducted.
The 45 passengers and additional crew members on flight VA1139 on 14 July, who were all identified as close contacts of the positive case, were contacted by NSW Health and advised to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of the initial test result.
Daily sewage samples taken from the Byron Bay treatment plant since the detection of viral fragments on 20 July have all returned negative results, as have the other testing sites across the District.
“I encourage anyone who is feeling unwell to come forward for a COVID-19 test as soon as they develop symptoms,’ Ms Weir said.
“Testing and tracing are some of the best tools we have to manage the virus, and if there are cases which we don’t know about, that makes it difficult for our health teams to respond.
“Please don’t wait to get a test, you can find testing clinics open any day of the week.”
Clinic locations and opening hours are listed on the NSW website at COVID-19 testing clinics. There are more than 400 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW.

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Health News

Two new services providing free confidential support for anxiety, stress and low mood

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Healthy North Coast
Healthy North Coast

Two new services providing free confidential support for anxiety, stress and low mood

HEALTHY North Coast, in partnership with Remedy Healthcare, is pleased to announce a new mental health service for the North Coast.

Healthy North Coast CEO Julie Sturgess said that access to free support services for people living with mild mental illness on the North Coast was a priority.

“For people needing support with managing stress or worry, it’s so important that we have services available to provide help when and where needed, so that support can be accessed early,” she said.

“After a competitive tender process, Remedy Healthcare has been contracted to deliver two new programs to support people over 16 to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing, especially people experiencing isolation, and those in rural and remote locations.

“The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in mental health concerns across the world. Now, more than ever, we have to encourage ourselves to seek help.”

Remedy Healthcare is launching the MindStepR and Healing Minds telephone and online services. Both are free, easily accessible, and do not require a referral by a GP or healthcare professional. Delivered by trained mental health coaches, the confidential services use evidence-based techniques that improve mental health and wellbeing.

Remedy Healthcare’s Executive General Manager, Mike Hutton Squire, said both services aimed to reduce psychological distress and improve quality of life by helping people self-manage their mental health and wellbeing.

“The free services offer one-on-one assessment, coaching and follow-up sessions. Use of the services is completely confidential and accessible to people living anywhere within the North Coast region in NSW.”

Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the new services would provide much needed and timely support for the people of northern NSW.

“Around one in five people have a mental health concern each year,” Mr Hogan said.

“Over a lifetime, around 50% of people are likely to experience mental health issues.”

This year’s Federal Budget directed $2.3 billion towards improving mental health and suicide prevention in communities across Australia.

MindStepR is an evidence-based, low-intensity, guided self-help service and is designed to run alongside any existing psychological care.

To access MindStepR, call 1800 322 278 or visit www.remedyhealthcare.com.au/mindstep-hnc

Healing Minds is a culturally sensitive adaptation of MindStep specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 16. To access Healing Minds, call 1800 810 255 or visit www.remedyhealthcare.com.au/healing-minds-hnc

If you or someone you care for needs immediate support, please call 000 or:

Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
1800 Respect 1800 737 732
MensLine 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

LOCALS’ CONCERNS ABOUT THE COVID-POSITIVE CASES AT CHINDERAH AS NSW HEALTH CONFIRMS “SEVERAL PEOPLE” ARE ISOLATING IN ORGANISED ACCOMMODATION

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two COVID-19 positive cases detected at the Ampol Northbound Service Station at Chinderah last week were not truck drivers as widely assumed
Two COVID-19 positive cases detected at the Ampol Northbound Service Station at Chinderah last week were not truck drivers as widely assumed

LOCALS’ CONCERNS ABOUT THE COVID-POSITIVE CASES AT CHINDERAH AS NSW HEALTH CONFIRMS “SEVERAL PEOPLE” ARE ISOLATING IN ORGANISED ACCOMMODATION

by Margaret Dekker

There’s mounting concern across the Tweed Valley the two COVID-19 positive cases detected at the Ampol Northbound Service Station at Chinderah last week were not truck drivers as widely assumed.

An initial alert from NSW Health stated the pair had attended the “Chinderah truck stop” overnight.

Tweed Shire Councillor Warren Polglase told The Northern Rivers Times he’s been contacted by a number of people in the Tweed concerned about the identities of the COVID-positive pair and what they were doing at the service station between 8:30pm on Tuesday, July 13 and 7:30am on Wednesday July 14.

“Maybe there’s a bigger issue here than is being let on, and NSW Health is keeping a lid on it until it gets all the test results back,” Cr Polglase said.

Cr Polglase also said of the 40 people contacted by NSW Health for testing, some were from Murwillumbah.  He believes residents of Far North NSW have a right to know if they are at heightened risk.

“If it was mentioned there was an issue or concern, awareness would increase dramatically he said.”

In a statement, Acting Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir said

“There are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, nor any confirmed cases isolating here.

Several people are completing their 14 days of isolation in accommodation arranged by NSW Health with the assistance of NSW Police and the North Coast Public Health Unit, after being identified as close contacts at the Ampol Service Station in Chinderah at the same time as positive COVID-19 cases.

The accommodation has been arranged so that the individuals have suitable accommodation to be able to isolate properly.

These isolation accommodation arrangements provide a secure and supportive environment for these guests.

All guests will undergo the required testing during isolation, and will receive regular wellbeing checks from NSW Health,” the statement by Lynne Weir, A/Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District said.

A spokesperson from NSW Health said owing to privacy, NSW Health does not comment on individual cases and unless there is reason for the community to be concerned, it will not be providing further comment.

But Cr Polglase said the community is concerned.

“People want to know where these people in isolation are, are they in a house next to me?  The state government should be honest and clear in their interpretation as to what is taking place,” Cr Polglase said.

“We basically need to know what is going on from Gladys Berejiklian,” he said.

Cr Polglase said he was particularly concerned given the Tweed Shire’s ageing population who he believed would be on tenterhooks.

Federal Labor member for Richmond Justine Elliot told The Northern Rivers Times “everything” about the handling of this COVID-19 exposure site concerns her.

“Everything about it concerns me, the lack of information about where the infected pair were before they were at the service station, where they went afterwards, we have no answers on that,” Justine Elliot said.

“All the close contacts, have any tested positive, how many are in quarantine, and what are the specifics of the quarantine and is it secure?” she asked.

Justin Elliot described it as a “massive fail” by the NSW Government to provide crucial information to residents of northern NSW and called on the NSW Government to come clean, given the detail provided on other COVID-19 exposure sites in the state.

She said the Tweed’s vulnerable situation also illustrated the need for a dedicated ‘Border Zone’ to better protect the people of northern NSW.

“It is just inexcusable, treating our community with such contempt, I call on Tweed MP Geoff Provest to respond,” Justine Elliot said.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest told The Northern Rivers Times he had spoken to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Wednesday afternoon asking for more detail about the accommodation “several people” are now isolating in after the Chinderah exposure site, and added he was also concerned.

“I will have more details for the public on Thursday morning,” Geoff Provest, Member for Tweed, said.

 

 

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