(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
Experiences of Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers

Experiences of Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers

The University of Sydney’s Centre for Rural Health recently published their findings from work carried out after the 2017 floods on the experiences and impacts of flooding for people with disability and carers.

The research team is presenting the findings at an online seminar on 18 August and everyone is welcome to join them online.

‘Exposure to Risk and Experiences of River Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers of NSW’ presented by Dr Jodie Bailie, This seminar will be streamed via Zoom Date: Thursday 18 August 2022 Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm AEST


The severity and frequency of weather-related disasters are likely to increase because of a warming climate. Catastrophic flooding occurred in the Northern Rivers, NSW in 2017 and again in 2022, exacerbating existing social inequalities. For people with disability and carers the impact can be especially profound.

In this session we explore the exposure to risk, experiences and mental health impacts for people with disability and carers six-months after river flooding in 2017. After the presentation there will be time for discussion


New grant opportunities, coming soon!

New grant opportunities, coming soon!

Support for children with disability or developmental concerns
The National Early Childhood Program for children with disability or developmental concerns (NECP) aims to support young children (aged 0 to 8 years) with newly identified disability or emerging developmental concerns and their parents and carers.

Support and connection for young children with disability or developmental concerns
This grant will aim to increase children’s readiness for educational environments, and provide opportunities for children to socialise with peers and their siblings in a supported environment.

Examples of activities expected under the grant include, but are not limited to:

  • supported playgroups
  • facilitated group stories and imaginative play times
  • facilitated group art and music programs.

Support and connection for parents and carers of young children with disability or developmental concerns
This grant will aim to build parents capacity to support their child’s development through facilitated group information sessions or workshops. This will give families the opportunity to learn from and connect with evidence-based information, family-focused strategies and peers with similar experiences.

Funding of up to $6.9 million over 3 years is available for each of these grants.
It is preferable each grant will fund one provider or consortia to deliver activities across Australia. Applicants may apply for one or both grants.

These open competitive grants will open in early August 2022 for 4 weeks.

Free rapid antigen tests for people with disability

Free rapid antigen tests for people with disability

People with disability and their carers are now eligible for free rapid antigen tests (RATs) as recently announced by the NSW Government.

How to order your supply

If you are a charity or non-government organisation, and registered with the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), you can order your free supply online via the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). Your organisation does not need to be funded or contracted by DCJ, and you can order 300-1200 tests.

People with disability and their carers will be able to collect RATs from their not-for-profit disability provider and neighbourhood and community centres.

DCJ is also providing RATs to Neighbourhood and Community Centres contracted under their Targeted Earlier Intervention program.

Please see DCJ’s website for more information.

Tweed, Byron and Ballina Community Transport Volunteer Drivers Wanted

Tweed, Byron and Ballina Community Transport Volunteer Drivers Wanted

Do you get on well with people?  If yes, you may be the perfect volunteer for the Community Transport team. All our volunteers receive training and support and are reimbursed for expenses related to their service.

Individual Transport

Volunteer Drivers work on a rostered basis, assisting individuals to get to medical and other important appointments. There is a fleet of comfortable, late model vehicles, some of which are modified for wheelchair access.  All volunteer drivers receive a full orientation to the vehicle they would drive.

Some volunteers drive their own vehicle, for which they are reimbursed on a per km basis to assist with vehicle costs.  Own car drivers must have a late model vehicle, with air conditioning and comprehensive car insurance.

For more information call: 1800 875 895 or Web:       www.community-transport.org.au

ATAGI recommends fourth winter COVID-19 booster

ATAGI recommends fourth winter COVID-19 booster

ATAGI recommends an additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine to increase vaccine protection before winter for selected population groups who are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and who have received their primary vaccination and first booster dose. These groups are:

• Adults aged 65 years and older

• Residents of aged care or disability care facilities

• People aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise (as defined in the  ATAGI statement on the use of a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised)

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older.

More information is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/news/atagi-statement-on-recommendations-on-a-winter-booster-dose-of-covid-19-vaccine

Northcott Ballina Service Update

Northcott Ballina Service Update

Northcott are continuing to operate NDIS services in Ballina and Northern Rivers. We are still supporting customers with in home and community supports and we still have our day program running for those over the age of 18 from 9am – 3pm Monday – Friday in Ballina. Therapy is also continuing however we do have a waitlist for some of the disciplines.

Find more information at northcott.com.au/location/ballina/ or phone 1800 818 286

Contact: Kelly Anderson, Area Manager, [email protected]


Supporting NDIS participants affected by floods and severe weather

Supporting NDIS participants affected by floods and severe weather

The NDIS is encouraging Participants affected by floods and severe weather to contact the NDIS National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110.  Please press “5” for help with flood-related issues. NDIS is prioritising all calls from participants affected by severe weather events.

Click here for information on urgent repairs or replacement of Assistive Technology.

In an emergency, you should always call 000. For your own safety, please follow the advice from your local emergency services. For the latest updates in your region, including evacuation orders, visit the NSW SES website.

There is also a list of state based resources on the NDIS in your state page.

Advice for providers – for any provider specific queries, please email [email protected]. In the event of an emergency or disaster, always follow the local advice for your state or territory.

All NDIA offices remain closed in NSW.

Social Futures is the NDIA Partner in the Community delivering Local Area Coordination (LAC) in Northern NSW (and other parts of the State). The Social Futures LAC team is working alongside the NDIA to contact and support Participants impacted by the Northern NSW Floods. If you usually plan with a Social Futures LAC, you can contact our Participant Hotline on 1800 522 679 for information and assistance.

Support for carers affected by floods: Carer Gateway

Support for carers affected by floods: Carer Gateway

Support for carers during this time

Many carers across NSW are being affected by floods in their region, adding additional challenges to their caring role. During this time of heightened stress and concern it is important to remind carers of the services and support available to them, through Carer Gateway.

Carer Gateway offers a range of practical and emotional support, including tailored support packages, emergency respite, counselling and much more.

Our Digital Access Points (DAPs) are also available for carers to access Carer Gateway’s website, as well as other relevant websites such as Service NSW and Services Australia. DAPs are located at one of the following PCYC clubs (if not closed due to flooding): Grafton, Muswellbrook, Tweed Heads, Moree, Armidale, Tamworth and Kempsey.

If you are a carer remember that Carer Gateway is here for you so you can continue to be there for the person you care for. Call 1800 422 737 or visit www.carergateway.gov.au to find out how we can assist you during this time.

Please note that road closures and phone line issues may mean that some service provision is limited.

Mid North Coast Jobs Fair looking for Aged Care and Disability Providers

Mid North Coast Jobs Fair looking for Aged Care and Disability Providers

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is hosting two Mid North Coast Jobs Fairs with employers from the Aged Care, Disability Services, and Children’s Education and Care sectors and they are looking for Aged Care & Disability Providers to host a booth.

The event will give your organisation the opportunity to connect with job seekers and recruit for roles that you currently have available and there is no charge to your organisation to participate. You can choose to host a booth at one or both events.

The date and location details are as follows:

 • Tuesday, 29th March at the C.ex Coffs, 2-6 Vernon Street, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450

• Thursday, 31St March at the Panthers Port Macquarie, 1 Bay Street, Port Macquarie NSW 2444

If your organisation would like to host a booth at either or both of these events:

1. please RSVP via email to [email protected] by COB Friday 25th February; and

2. complete and return the relevant Registration Pack/s (refer attached – please complete both Part A – the role profiles and Part B – the exhibitor information table) by COB Thursday 3rd March. If your organisation would like to attend both events, please complete both Registration Packs separately.

We have a limited number of booths available due to COVID-19 restrictions so will allocate booths in order of receipt of RSVPs and Registration Packs.

 About the day:

Exhibitors will have access to set up booths from 9:30am and must be ready to start the event at 10:15am.

At 10:15am exhibitors will be briefed on housekeeping and emergency procedures.

The expo will open at 10:30am.

To comply with COVID-19 social distancing requirements and ensure all job seekers have the opportunity to meet with all exhibitors, we will run the day in two sessions. Job seekers will be brought into the expo during the following periods:

10:30am – 12:00pm   Group 1

12:00pm – 1:00pm   Lunch Break

1:00pm – 2:30pm   Group 2

If you have any queries or would like to discuss arrangements for the event further, please email us at [email protected]  or call Lorraine Cornell 0473220508

Peak Bodies call for national assistive technology program for older people with disability

Peak Bodies call for national assistive technology program for older people with disability

The Federal Government needs to end age discrimination in disability support and provide older Australians living with a disability – that are excluded from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – equal access to assistive technology, say over 60 organisations in the ageing, disability and health sectors. Full details here


Would you like to contribute to the future of our Byron Shire?

Would you like to contribute to the future of our Byron Shire?

Would you like to contribute to the future of Byron Shire? Nominate to join an Advisory Committee, Management committee or working group by completing the online form. 

Selection criteria

Candidates need to demonstrate:

  • Experience and expertise in a given area.
  • An understanding of the role of Local Government.
  • A commitment to consultative process.
  • An ability to develop and sustain contacts with key individuals and groups in the local community.
  • The ability to effectively listen to and cooperate with community members holding similar or different points of view.

Nominate now

Use the online form to nominate for a committee or working group.

Please read more about the purpose of the group and the selection criteria before completing the form:

Committee members will be decided at the Council Meeting on 24 March, with inductions and the first meetings to start early April 2022.

Nominations close February 27.

Social Isolation and Loneliness online forum

Social Isolation and Loneliness online forum

Want to do more to help those experiencing feelings of social isolation and loneliness? Tweed Valley Clinical Society invites you to join this online Microsoft Teams meeting examining social prescribing, initiatives and interventions and the difference between social isolation and loneliness.

“Social Isolation & Loneliness”, 6:30pm – 8:00 pm Thursday 10 February, Venue: Online via Microsoft Teams

.Download the Healthy North Coast 2022 CPD Calendar 
For more events by Healthy North Coast, download the 2022 CPD calendar and save the dates in your diaries.

Anti-Discrimination New South Wales

Anti-Discrimination New South Wales

Following is the latest news from Anti-Discrimination New South Wales:

Religious Discrimination Bill 2021

Late last year, ADNSW made a submission on the Commonwealth Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. Both Committees are due to report by 4 February 2022.

Although ADNSW welcomes the broad aims of the Bill to provide statutory protection to prohibit discrimination based on religious belief and activity, it is concerned the Bill does not strike the appropriate balance between protecting the human rights of freedom of thought and conscience, religion and belief and the protection of other fundamental human rights and equality before the law.

ADNSW also has concerns about the Bill:

  • overriding state, territory and federal laws
  • creating access to justice issues
  • providing broader exceptions for religious bodies to discriminate
  • limiting qualifying bodies to make conduct rules
  • extending anti-discrimination protections to corporations associated with religious people.

Learn more.

Crimes Amendment (Display of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2021

Earlier this month, ADNSW made a submission on the Crimes Amendment (Display of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2021 to the Standing Committee on Social Issues.

The Bill proposes the new criminal offence of displaying a Nazi symbol by a public act. It further proposes that the offence would not apply if the ADNSW President has granted an exemption on the basis of being satisfied that the public act is to be done reasonably and in good faith for:

  • academic, artistic, scientific or research purposes in the public interest, or
  • other purposes in the public interest, including discussion or debate about and expositions of any act or matter.

Although ADNSW supports the criminalisation of the display of Nazi symbols – noting that such symbols are oppressive, hateful and threatening, not only to the Jewish community but to other minority groups protected under the Anti-Discrimination Act – it has major concerns about the legal, operational and practical implications of the exemption process proposed.

ADNSW is strongly of the view that any defences or exemptions to the criminal provisions are more properly contained within the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) itself and for consideration by the appropriate law enforcement and judicial processes that follow.

ADNSW attends ACYP’s Voices of Change breakfast

In December, members of ADNSW’s Community Engagement team attended the Advocate for Children and Young People’s Voices of Change breakfast.

The event featured an impressive line-up of inspiring guests, including:

  • Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year
  • Shahmin Shabbir, NSW Youth Advisory Council
  • Madison De Rozario, Paralympian
  • Taje Fowler, Regional Youth Taskforce
  • Zara Seidler, The Daily Aus
  • Sam Koslowski, The Daily Aus
  • Grace Rowe.

ADNSW staff made great connections at the event and will soon be engaging with ACYP’s youth group on discrimination matters via a workshop.

COVID-19 vaccinations and anti-discrimination law

Although most premises in NSW are now open to everyone, some premises may make it a condition of entry that you are fully vaccinated. Further information is available on the NSW Government website.

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) does not cover discrimination based on vaccination status unless a disability prevents you from getting a COVID-19 vaccination and you have evidence of this such as a medical exemption.

If you are a person with disability and believe you have been treated unfairly because you can’t get vaccinated, you may be able to make a complaint of disability discrimination. If you make a complaint on this basis, you will need to advise us of your disability and how it prevents you from getting vaccinated.



Have you had your energy supply disconnected?

Have you had your energy supply disconnected?

Sometimes bills are forgotten, mail stays in the letterbox or you just can’t afford to pay your electricity or gas bill. You may face disconnection of your energy supply or worse have already been disconnected. Contact your provider straight away to find out how to stop the disconnection or get reconnected.

If you cannot come to an agreement with your provider, call us.

We are the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON), a free, fair and independent complaints-handling service for all electricity and gas customers in NSW, and some water customers.

Ask your provider…

  1. For an extension, or to set up a payment plan. Be realistic and only agree to a payment plan you can afford. Your provider must offer at least two payment plans within 12 months on request.
  2. To be transferred to an affordability program for longer term support, if you are experiencing ongoing difficulties
  3. If fees for disconnection and/or reconnection can be waived considering your circumstances.

Electricity must be reconnected within two business days of your request, and gas within five business days.

Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA)

If you’re struggling to pay your current household energy bill because of a short-term financial crisis or emergency, such as unexpected medical bills, or reduced income due to COVID-19, you could be eligible for the NSW Government’s EAPA vouchers.

Vouchers are worth $50 and are sent electronically to your energy retailer. The number you receive will depend on your circumstances. Contact an EAPA provider service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/energy-accounts-payment-assistance-eapa-scheme or call Service NSW on 1377 88 to apply.

You cannot be disconnected if…

  • You make payments towards an agreed payment plan
  • You owe less than $300 and have committed to a payment plan
  • Your home is registered as having life support equipment
  • It’s before 8am or after 3pm
  • It’s a Friday, weekend, or the day before/of a public holiday
  • If you have arranged an appointment for Energy Account Payment Assistance

Water restriction

Your water provider may restrict your supply if you have an unpaid bill however, it must give you notice first.

For further information about disconnections and restriction of supply, read our factsheet on disconnections.

How to get in touch with us

Freecall: 1800 246 545* Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm

Freepost: Reply Paid 86550 Sydney South NSW 1234

Interpreter: 131 450

TTY/Voice: 133 677

Online: ewon.com.au

* If you are calling from a mobile phone, let us know and we will call you back.

Tweed Access and Inclusion Plan Community Consultation

Tweed Access and Inclusion Plan Community Consultation

Tweed Shire Council is updating the Tweed Access and Inclusion Plan – Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan that guides their work to improve access and inclusion for everyone over the next four years.

Council has launched a survey asking community what they think would help make the Tweed more inclusive and supportive of people with disability to participate and achieve their goals.

The Survey is available online on Your Say Tweed  and as an interactive Easy Read pdf (attached). This can be filled out digitally and emailed, or printed and completed as a hardcopy and posted to Council.

Anyone with an interest in disability access and inclusion in the Tweed is invited to participate and in particular,

• people with lived experience of disability

• people with a physical or mental health condition who have additional needs

• carers, family and friends of people with a disability or health condition

• disability service workers and organisations who provide direct support and who advocate for people living with a disability

• residential aged care providers and advocates for older Australians.

Please help to encourage members of the Tweed community to take part, by:

1. Sharing the information below and attached to your staff and networks operating or residing in the Tweed Shire;

2. Printing the attached Poster and Easy Read survey and displaying in your public reception area;

3. Contacting Gabby Arthur at [email protected] or phoning on 02 6670 2276,  to request a hardcopy pack of Posters (A4 & A3 size) and Easy Read Surveys to be sent to your organisation.

The Survey will be open until 25 January 2022. 

All feedback received will help Council to identify measures that remove existing access barriers and improve inclusion for all.  These may be about improving community attitudes and behaviours, the design and construction of our physical environment, access to employment and Council’s systems and services.

Click here to read the current Tweed Access and Inclusion Plan

Click here to read the current Tweed Access and Inclusion Plan – Easy English Version