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NSW Breaking News

More questions than answers for HSC teachers

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More questions than answers for HSC teachers
More questions than answers for HSC teachers

More questions than answers for HSC teachers

Teachers affected by the Covid lockdown in the Sydney region are already doing all they can to reassure and ready their students for the HSC exams. But today’s announcement by the NSW Government that HSC students will return to school on August 16 raises more questions than it answers.

The IEU calls for greater clarity as teachers once again adapt to fast-changing, complex circumstances to ensure their students can take on the HSC with confidence.

“How will rapid-antigen testing be administered and how quickly will results be available? Will vaccinations be administered at individual schools? Will the local government areas under the tightest restrictions (including the three announced today) be prioritised?” asked Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam.

The IEU, which represents 32,000 teachers and support staff in the non-government sector throughout NSW and the ACT, anticipates close consultation from NSW Health so the union can support members’ safety and provide them with accurate detail to allay their concerns. “We expect the buffer of time between now and 16 August to be used to iron out every last detail and contingency,” Northam said.

Since January, the IEU has been calling for school staff to be included in priority groups for vaccination. What we foresaw months ago is now absolutely upon us. “We now call for urgent priority access to vaccinations for all teachers, but in particular teachers in the Parramatta, Campbelltown, Georges River, Blacktown and Cumberland local government areas,” Northam said.

“We also call for paid vaccination leave for all school staff as case numbers are still rising and the HSC is rapidly approaching.”

The IEU supports priority vaccination for essential workers, and for school staff to be included in this category. “The health and safety of teachers and support staff is our greatest concern,” Northam said. “Between now and August 16 we will consult with our members and ask that the NSW Government address their concerns.”

Northern Rivers Local News

Ice cream and lollies on hold – Muzza’s Milk Bar Evans Head

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Muzza’s Milk Bar has been closed for deep cleaning. Courtesy Facebook

Ice cream and lollies on hold

By Samantha Elley
Owner of Muzza’s Milk Bar in Evans Head, Caroline Powell was gutted when she found out her business had become a venue of concern, after a positive covid case was detected in Goonellabah last week.
“Unfortunately, NSW Health didn’t get in contact with me until 10.30am, so I did find out over Facebook first, as someone sent me the NSW Health post,” she said.
“It’s pretty hectic, but I’ve been on and off the phone with NSW Health…going through everything that I have to do.”
During the most recent lockdown for the Richmond Valley Muzza’s had been kept busy delivering all types of lollies and sweets to the surrounding areas, a welcome distraction for many.
Many friends and clients have checked in on Caroline and her staff.
“The phone’s been ringing all morning,” she said.
“Customers checking in on me and family members calling.”
Caroline placed a post on Muzza’s Facebook page explaining the situation.
“We are just very thankful that the person checked in via QR code, so we know that they were definitely here,” she wrote.
“We will be closed until further notice as all our staff, including myself, have to get tested and isolate until further notice.”
The next step for Caroline is to do a deep clean of the premises.
“NSW Health has sent me through the paperwork on how to do a Covid Deep Clean,” she said.
“They want me to send it to whoever I get to do the deep clean and they have to wear full PPE.”

Photo
Muzza’s Milk Bar has been closed for deep cleaning. Courtesy Facebook

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

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Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

Stay at home orders will be lifted from midnight tomorrow, Friday 10 September, but the region will continue to operate under tight restrictions to ensure the safety of regional communities.

These restrictions include limiting the number of visitors to the home to 5 people (not including children 12 and under) and up to 20 people at outdoor settings.

Masks will still be required for all indoor public venues, while capacity will be limited at hospitality, retail outlets and gyms to maintain the one person per 4 sqm rule, with specific customer limitations for each industry.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government, saying it was now time for the Queensland Government to follow suit and reinstate a border bubble.

“Today’s announcement is a great win for all the businesses and families out there who have shared their stories of how hard the lockdown has been here in the Tweed – this is your win,” Cr Cherry said.

“It is now time for us to reopen our businesses, for our children to return to school and to celebrate that some of us can now spend time with family.

“But let’s not forget all of those among us that still can’t get to work or see their families because of the great divide that continues to split our community in half at Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.

“I call on the Queensland Government to lift those restrictions and reinstate a border bubble so we can all get back to work and sit down together again as families.”

As a result of the easing of restrictions, Council will open most of its customer-facing facilities in coming days. However, some services remain impacted by staffing shortages as a result of the border closure. Services opening include:

Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre (tip) returns to normal operations for domestic and commercial operations from Saturday 11 September. Tweed JUNKtion Tip Shop remains closed with a reopening date to be confirmed next week.

Tweed Holiday Parks return to normal operations from Saturday 11 September with COVID-Safe restrictions

Customer Service Counters at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads reopen from Monday 13 September

Library branches at Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Kingscliff return to normal opening hours from Monday 13 September

Brett Street CAFE at Tweed Heads returns to normal operating hours from Monday 13 September

Starting Block Café at TRAC Murwillumbah open for takeaway meals from Monday 13 September

Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre at Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and South Tweed to reopen from Monday 13 September on restricted hours

Tweed Regional Museum will return to normal operating hours from Tuesday 14 September

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre will reopen from Wednesday 15 September

Community centres at Banora Point and South Tweed, South Sea Islander Room, Harvard Room, Kingscliff Hall, Canvas and Kettle reopening from Wednesday 15 September

Council-approved community markets, including at Kingscliff, SALT Village, Pottsville, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads may reopen with COVID-safe plans in place.

The next Council meeting on Thursday 16 September will return to normal operations and will be held in the Harvard Room at Tweed Heads Administration Office. Anyone wishing to attend in person must pre-book their seats due to capacity restrictions. The meeting will also be livestreamed. Details on how to book or join the livestream are available on Council’s website.

Essential services including water and kerbside waste collection services continue to operate as normal.

For any queries, the community is encouraged to call our Contact Centre Team on 02 6670 2400, chat to us online or email us on tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au. Any issues can be reported online via our Report a Problem webpage or direct message us on Facebook.

Keep up to date with closures and service impacts on Council’s COVID-19 Emergency Dashboard.

For the latest on regional and rural restrictions, including stay-at-home rules, visit the NSW Government website at nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions.

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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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