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Northern Rivers & Rural News

New medical scholarship to address shortages of rural doctors in Australia

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Federal Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payments

New medical scholarship to address shortages of rural doctors in Australia

RHONDDA AND MARGARET WILLIAMS SCHOLARSHIP FOR RURAL MEDICINE WILL BENEFIT MEDICAL STUDENTS FROM RURAL AND REGIONAL AREAS

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently reported that around 20 per cent of Australia’s rural population is unable to see a GP due to the scarcity of doctors around them. At the same time, almost 60 per cent admitted they had no access to specialists in their region.
This situation not only impacts people’s quality of life but their health outcomes. On average, Australians living in rural and remote areas have shorter lives, higher levels of disease and injury and poorer access to health services than people living in metropolitan areas.
That’s why the newly-established – and high-value – medical scholarship available to students at the University of Wollongong (UOW) is a welcome solution to the ongoing issue of shortages of rural doctors in Australia.
The Rhondda and Margaret Williams Scholarship for Rural Medicine has been established by a generous philanthropic gift from Rhondda Williams, in memory of her late mother Margaret Williams, to support applicants from rural and regional areas in their goal of becoming a doctor and serving their rural communities.
“I wanted to create an opportunity to give someone a leg up the way my mother Margaret did for me. I was the first in my family to attend university and this was made possible by the support of my mother and a commonwealth scholarship,” Rhondda said.
For Associate Professor David Garne, Director of Community, Primary, Remote and Rural in UOW’s School of Medicine, the University’s focus on training doctors in regional and rural medicine can be positive for entire communities.
“Having more doctors in rural, remote areas of Australia means that people not only have the care they need but also trustworthy doctors who become part of their communities. This grant will support countless students into the future while also boosting the health of entire regions.”
Rhondda Williams believes that the scholarship will address the real needs of people living in rural communities by helping to train the best medical staff to treat them.
UOW Graduate Medicine’s mission has always been to close the gaps between regional and metropolitan Australia to make access to patient-centric and cost-effective health care a fundamental right, not a privilege – available to patients in all geographic settings.
Currently, 60 per cent of UOW medical graduates end up working outside capital cities and 27 per cent work in a designated rural setting, which is an outstanding result. To understand what it means to practise medicine in remote communities, all UOW students spend significant time undertaking short- and long-term clinical placements in rural hospitals, primary care and community health facilities.
The Rhondda and Margaret Williams Scholarship for Rural Medicine will provide significant financial support to eligible UOW medical students, allowing them to focus on studies and their ultimate goal – becoming patient-centred doctors serving their local communities.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

NSW ABORIGINAL BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE LAUNCHES

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NSW ABORIGINAL BUSINESS

NSW ABORIGINAL BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE LAUNCHES

Leading Aboriginal businesses have gathered to identify priorities for Closing the Gap implementation at the NSW Government’s inaugural NSW Aboriginal Business Roundtable.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin said the commencement of regular Roundtables with the Aboriginal business community reflected the importance of economic opportunity as part of the NSW Government’s Closing the Gap agenda.

“NSW is the only state to have a specific, additional priority reform on Employment, Business Growth and Economic Prosperity,” he said.

“We recognise that in addition to their economic contribution, Aboriginal businesses are important vehicles for self-determination and better social and educational outcomes, and we want to develop an investment environment they can succeed in,” he said.

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the event recognised the important role of Aboriginal businesses, as well as their diversity.

“I look forward to further hearing from Aboriginal businesses from across different sectors as we discuss how to better involve them in NSW Government work.

“Central to this is our Aboriginal Procurement Policy, which makes it easier for Government agencies to consider an Aboriginal business when procuring goods and services and will also see more jobs created and more opportunities for Aboriginal businesses,” he said.

The MC for the Roundtable is distinguished journalist and author Stan Grant, who noted the importance of consultative processes that enable Aboriginal organisations to identify priority areas for government action.

“As MC, I’m looking forward to connecting the voices of Aboriginal business leaders with NSW Government, particularly in the context of planning a COVID-19 recovery.”

Founder, Director and Program Manager of Aboriginal owned ICT delivery and consultancy firm Patonga Projects Brett Chamberlain said he was looking forward to working with the government and Aboriginal peak bodies on Closing the Gap actions to drive change in communities.

“We’re particularly interested in supporting digital inclusion and improved access to data, and the Roundtable is a chance for government to listen to and act on our feedback while growing relationships with the Aboriginal business sector,” he said.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

INTERNATIONAL BORDER OPENING RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSW AG WORKFORCE

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INTERNATIONAL BORDER OPENING RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSW AG WORKFORCE

INTERNATIONAL BORDER OPENING RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSW AG WORKFORCE

Primary producers will have their labour shortage pressures reduced with the NSW Government set to make it quicker and easier for foreign agricultural workers to safely start working on farms, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.

From 1 November, the NSW Government will remove quarantine requirements and caps for overseas arrivals who the Commonwealth Government recognises as fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine.

“The welcoming of fully vaccinated overseas travelers into NSW is a fantastic opportunity to bolster the state’s agricultural workforce which has been decimated by the COVID-induced border closures,” Mr Marshall said.

“Forecasts show this crop will tip 16.08 million tonnes, and it is critical farmers have the workforce they need to bring that in.

“By the NSW Government removing quarantine requirements, it clears further financial and logistical barriers for the ag industry to bring in foreign workers to help keep our supermarkets shelves stocked as they have all through the pandemic.”

Further advice about testing requirements will be provided in the coming days.

Mr Marshall said this was further good news for the state’s primary producers as they look to acquire the necessary workforce ahead of another record harvest.

“Just yesterday, we announced more than 4,500 Department of Regional NSW staff would be entitled to a week’s Harvest Leave,” Mr Marshall said.

“While there is no short-term fix to the COVID-exacerbated workforce shortage, these two announcements in as many days will go a long way to alleviating labour pressures through a bumper harvest.”

To further assist industry overcome the labour shortage, the NSW Government has:

· Aided the arrival of 2,500 overseas agricultural workers;
· Provided $3.8 million in hotel quarantine subsidies for those workers;
· Spearheaded the Ag Workers’ Code; and
· Launched the ‘Help Harvest NSW’ website to connect agriculture employers with out of work Australians.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

Blueberry farmer fined for water pollution

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Blueberry farmer fined for water pollution

Blueberry farmer fined for water pollution

A blueberry grower in the Mid North Coast town of Woolgoolga has been fined $7,500 for alleged water pollution.

During an inspection of the farm, officers from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) found pesticides being used close to a waterway, and poor storage of chemicals which had allowed the pesticides to enter the water.

The EPA also issued an Official Caution to the grower for failing to keep adequate pesticide application records.

EPA Acting Director Regulatory Operations Janet Sparrow said pesticides can be dangerous and lead to negative human health impacts and wildlife death, if not managed properly.

“Pesticide misuse and poor management can cause serious environmental impacts, such as contaminated water habitats and soil,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Regular exposure to contaminated environments can also lead to greater risks of negative health effects for communities.”

The EPA issued a clean-up notice to the grower requiring immediate clean-up and disposal of the used pesticide containers on the property.

The EPA will continue to monitor compliance with environmental regulations at farms in the area.
“It’s critical that pesticides are used responsibly on farms to protect community and environment health, including aquatic wildlife,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Keeping up-to-date records is legally required because it helps track how pesticides are used, and can prevent pollution.”

Members of the public are encouraged to report any pollution incidents to Enviro Line on 131 555.
For more information on pesticide usage in NSW visit the EPA website.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

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