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Local News

Northern Rivers Rural Scholars Represent the Next Generation of Leaders

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DEAN CHAPMAN - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

Northern Rivers Rural Scholars Represent the Next Generation of Leaders

 

In a significant investment in the future of rural and regional communities, the RAS Foundation has selected a record 91 students for its 2024 Rural Scholarship program, including three scholars from the Northern Rivers region.

About the Scholarship Program

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Now in its 14th year, the RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship program provides financial support to tertiary education students who are shaping the future of regional NSW by pursuing careers within rural or regional communities. This year, a record $516,000 will be distributed among the scholarship recipients to help ease the financial burdens associated with higher education, such as relocation costs, study expenses, and the inability to work consistently due to study commitments or placements.

Statement from the Foundation Manager

Cecilia Logan, Foundation Manager, expressed the Charity’s privilege in supporting the next generation of rural and regional leaders. “This year’s applicants are outstanding ambassadors for their communities and have the potential to create a positive and lasting impact in the regional sector through their chosen career paths,” she said. Logan highlighted the significant financial burden that pursuing higher education poses, especially for students from regional areas, and emphasized the program’s goal to ensure these students have access to the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts.

Scholars from Northern Rivers

  • Jacob Brentnall – Casino: Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine
  • Dean Chapman – Fine Flower: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
  • Indigo Kesztler – Lismore: Bachelor of Dental Science

Lismore local Indigo Kesztler, studying dental science, aims to address the large healthcare gap in rural and remote communities, particularly in oral health. “There is a large healthcare gap in rural and remote communities within Australia, especially when it comes to education, affordability and long waiting lists associated with seeking public dental care. Once completing my studies, I hope to continue my work in rural areas and provide support to Indigenous communities and those who face barriers when it comes to accessing oral health care,” Kesztler said. The scholarship has alleviated the financial pressure associated with her degree, allowing her to focus more on her studies.

Financial Support

The RAS Foundation awards up to $6000 to full-time Rural Scholarship recipients and up to $3000 for part-time students, made possible through the generosity of donors like The Snow Foundation and UNE Foundation. Over its 17-year history, the RAS Foundation has invested over $9 million into rural and regional NSW through education and community grant programs, providing over 900 scholarships to students across Australia, including targeted scholarships for careers in regional journalism and the Australian wine industry.

Future Applications

Applications for the 2025 RASF Rural Scholarship will open on July 1, 2024, and close on September 22, 2024. The scholarship program is open to students across NSW and the ACT who are currently enrolled or applying for study in an accredited tertiary course at an Australian university, college, or TAFE, with no age or degree type restrictions.

The RAS Foundation continues to support rural scholars, ensuring they have the resources needed to pursue their academic and career aspirations, contributing to the strength and vitality of regional communities.

For more information, please visit www.rasf.org.au.

Meet the Northern Rivers Rural Scholars.

JACOB BRENTNALL
Casino
Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine
University of New South Wales

JACOB BRENTNALL - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

JACOB BRENTNALL

Jacob is a fifth-year medical student studying at the University of New South Wales Rural Clinical Campus in Port Macquarie. His interests include anaesthetics, pain medicine, and general practice and he recently completed his Honours research project in acute pain management following hip fractures. Originally from the Northern Rivers, Jacob relocated to the Mid North Coast to study medicine with a strong passion for the rural and regional lifestyle and aspires to work in areas facing medical workforce shortages throughout his career.

DEAN CHAPMAN
Fine Flower
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Flexible First Year)
University of Wollongong

DEAN CHAPMAN - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

DEAN CHAPMAN

Dean is excited to start his undergraduate Engineering degree at the University of Wollongong in 2024. A degree in engineering appeals to him as it will allow him to work on projects that improve the quality of life for many people. He has grown up on his family beef cattle property located at Fine Flower in the Northern Rivers where his family has been producing Australian beef for over 45 years. He enjoys exercising and keeping fit and his favourite sport is water polo but when on the farm, the best job is mustering cattle on the horses.

INDIGO KESZTLER
Lismore
Bachelor of Dental Science
Charles Sturt University

INDIGO KESZTLER - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

INDIGO KESZTLER

Indigo is currently in her fourth year studying dentistry at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Growing up in a small regional town in the Northern Rivers has highlighted the importance and need for supportive healthcare environments. Indigo recognises that costs often create a huge barrier for individuals in rural areas, leading to avoidance rather than prevention. She aspires to make a positive impact in rural communities through preventative care and the improvement of oral health literacy through education.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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The Beauty of the Sugar Industry

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Harwood Sugar Mill Mural

The Beauty of the Sugar Industry

 

A recently completed mural at the entry to the 150-year-old Harwood Sugar Mill is stopping traffic and creating excitement in the little village with the oldest Australian owned sugar mill.

In the lead up to the 150-year celebrations, artist Nitsua, has created an artwork that reflects the blending of the cane growing and milling activities in the Northern Rivers, that exists thanks to the all-Australian partnership between the grower-owned NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative and family-owned Manildra Group.

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The artwork was commissioned by Sunshine Sugar as part of the preparations to celebrate the significant milestone of 150 years continuous manufacturing operation and Australian ownership – all on the same location on the bank of the mighty Clarence River.

As Sunshine Sugar CEO, Mr Chris Connors commented: “Not too many businesses in Australia can say they have achieved such a significant milestone, which is why we are making the effort to celebrate and promote the resilient industry we have here in NSW.”

Sunshine Sugar and the NSW sugar industry have a line-up of community events and activities happening at Harwood (near Yamba) in August. The celebrations with culminate in a massive outdoor community event to be held at the Harwood Cricket Oval on Sunday 25th August.

Find out more at: 150th Harwood Mill Landing Page – Sunshine Sugar

 

For more rural news, click here.

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Kyogle News

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre “Golden Wattle” to Visit Northern Rivers Region

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Golden Wattle

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre “Golden Wattle” to Visit Northern Rivers Region

 

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre, Golden Wattle, is set to visit towns in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, providing easy access to Centrelink, Medicare, National Disability Insurance Scheme, and Department of Veterans’ Affairs services.

Golden Wattle will visit:

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  • Nimbin: Wednesday, 17 July, opposite the neighbourhood centre, Cullen Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Urbenville: Thursday, 18 July, near Captain Cook Park, Urben Street (9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
  • Woodenbong: Friday, 19 July, in front of Woodenbong Hall, Unumgar Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Kyogle: Monday, 22 July and Tuesday, 23 July, in the Kyogle visitor centre car park, Summerland Way (9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Bonalbo: Wednesday, 24 July, in front of Bonalbo Hall, Koreelah Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Tabulam: Thursday, 25 July, opposite the hotel, Court Street (9:30 am to 3:00 pm)

About Mobile Services Centres: Mobile Services Centres are 20-tonne trucks operated by Services Australia staff, providing regional and rural Australians with friendly, face-to-face service and tailored support. On this trip, staff can assist with:

  • Centrelink claims
  • Medicare registrations
  • Accessing online services

Additionally, information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Department of Veterans’ Affairs programs and support services will be available.

For more information, visit the Services Australia website.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Lismore News

Saffin Secures $30,000 Grant for Youth Crime Prevention

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Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with North-Tracks Works Chair Patrick Higgins, Secretary/board member Kevin Bell and Mr Bell’s working dog Maezzie. - Youth Crime Prevention

Saffin Secures $30,000 Grant for Youth Crime Prevention

 

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has successfully secured a $30,000 grant for North-Tracks Works, a Lismore-based organisation dedicated to empowering vulnerable young people. This funding will enable the expansion of their life-changing programs to engage more youth in Goonellabah, Coraki, and Casino.

Ms. Saffin expressed her gratitude to NSW Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley for approving the grant following her advocacy on behalf of North-Tracks Works. She praised the organisation, which operates out of a shed in South Lismore, for its impactful work with young people aged 11 to 18, offering one-on-one support, mentoring, and practical learning opportunities.

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“I previously secured a $44,000 Local Small Commitments Allocation grant to help North-Tracks purchase equipment and materials for skill-building,” Ms. Saffin said. “This additional grant will allow North-Tracks to employ youth workers and expand their proven youth program, which is supported by Richmond Police District Commander Superintendent Scott Tanner.”

Patrick Higgins, Chair of North-Tracks Works and a local real estate agent, thanked Ms. Saffin for her efforts in securing the additional funding from Minister Catley. “We don’t fit in the box for normal funding. Our approach is about creating a sense of belonging and purpose through our skills program and training working dogs. It’s the work with the dogs that bridges the gap,” Mr. Higgins explained.

“At North-Tracks, we spend 10 percent looking back, 10 percent at where you are now, and 80 percent looking forward. We help them chase their dreams and goals,” he added. “Our team has three basic goals: keep them safe and alive, keep them out of jail, and help them move forward to live a full and productive life.”

This funding is set to sustain and expand North-Tracks Works’ impactful initiatives, providing more opportunities for at-risk youth to gain essential skills and find a sense of purpose and for Youth Crime Prevention.

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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