(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]

TAFE has announced many FREE courses for 2023

TAFE has announced an array of FREE courses for 2023.

Check out the courses HERE.

People can reskill or upskill with these courses. Fee-free* TAFE is a joint initiative of the Australian and New South Wales Governments, providing tuition-free training places for people wanting to train, retrain or upskill. Fee-free* TAFE is available for people who enrol after 1 December 2022 and commence their course between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023. TAFE NSW will provide more than 300 qualifications from certificates to diplomas that align to the state’s priority industry growth sectors, free of tuition fees for eligible students.

To be eligible for Fee-free* TAFE, people must at the time of enrolment:

  • Live or work in New South Wales.
  • Be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent Australian resident or a humanitarian visa holder.
  • Be aged 15 years or over, and not enrolled at any school.

People from the following groups are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • First Nations people
  • LGBTIQ+ community
  • Veterans
  • Job seekers
  • Young people
  • Unpaid carers
  • Women interested in non-traditional fields
  • People living with a disability
  • People who are eligible for certain visa sub classes
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

(Eligibility criteria may apply for some selected certificates and diplomas.)

Australia’s richest 1% gained 10 times more wealth in past decade than the bottom 50%

Australia’s richest 1% gained 10 times more wealth in past decade than the bottom 50%

A new Oxfam report has found that the richest 1% of Australians accumulated 10 times more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population in the past decade, as cost-of-living pressures bite and global inequality spikes.

Published just as political and business leaders gather in the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, Oxfam’s report Survival of the Richest shows how extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years.

You can read the full report HERE.

Water safety lessons for Active Kids vacation care participants

Water safety lessons for Active Kids vacation care participants

In response to the high rate of drownings in Australia, Lismore’s sports centre, GSAC, is offering free water safety lessons to children participating in the Active Kids vacation care program.

Over the summer holidays GSAC staff saw a need for water safety lessons when several children from the Active Kids vacation care program could not swim 25 metres unassisted, a requirement to participate in the obstacle course activity.

The children who could not swim the distance were offered free water safety lessons by the GSAC Swimsations team. The lessons are designed to build skills and confidence in the water.

Lismore City Council General Manager John Walker said ensuring children within our community can learn to swim is very important.

“With the disruptions local families have faced over the past two years from COVID-19 and the natural disaster, it is great to see initiatives like this teaching vital skills to our young people,” he said.

The Federal Government estimate that more than 12 million swimming lessons were missed across Australia throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Life Saving Australia has reported 39 drownings this summer alone, nine of which are aged 0-17.

The GSAC Learn to Swim team is working hard to make up for lost time. Attendance numbers are on the rise, with 711 attendees currently enrolled in lessons.

Swimsations at GSAC is a fully accredited swim school with qualified and well-trained staff who teach people of all ages. The water safety program is based on NSW Department of Education and Royal Life Saving Australia benchmarks.

There has never been a better time to teach your kids to swim. For more information on the GSAC Swimsations program, go to www.gsac.net.au or call 6625 5370.

Photo: Swimsations instructor with a child from the Active Kids vacation care program

Family Centre has new programs

Family Centre has new programs

The Family Centre has new programs coming up in the Northern Rivers.

Circle of Security Parenting
Tuesdays 7 February –21 March 2023, 10am–12pm

A course for parents of children 0–5yrs. The course shows parents/carers how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened. Parents/carers will learn how to understand their child’s emotional world by learning to read emotional needs, support their child’s ability to manage emotions and enhance the development of their child’s self-esteem. Parents will also learn to honour their own innate wisdom and fulfil their desire for their child to be secure.
7 x 2hour sessions.

The Family Centre, Tweed Heads South 

No Scaredy Cats – Online
Thursdays 16 February – 2 March 2023, 10am–12.30pm

A course to support parents/carers to reduce anxiety and build resilience in children aged 2–12 years old. The course will cover how anxiety develops, how parents/caregivers can take a preventative role in the development of anxiety problems, and how parents/caregivers can support children to develop skills to reduce anxiety and build resilience. 3 x 2.5hour sessions.

Online courses are for Ballina, Byron & Tweed Shire residents

 

123 Magic & Emotion Coaching
Wednesdays 15 March–29 March 2023,
10.30am–12.30pmAn evidence-based parenting program for parents/carers with children aged from 2–12 years. The program is facilitated over 3 sessions & supports parents/carers to feel more confident to respond to their children’s behaviours. Parents/carers are provided practical strategies to engage with their child in the process of identifying & managing their own emotions, encouraging positive behaviours & building emotional resilience. 3 x 2hour sessions.The Family Centre, Ballina
Bringing Up Great Kids
Tuesdays 21 February–28 March 2023,
10.30am–12.30pmBringing up Great Kids is a parenting course that promotes and supports respectful, caring and nurturing relationships for children aged 0–12. Parents are encouraged to become more reflective and mindful in their parenting approach. The group involves fun and interactive activities that includes key learnings of brain development, attachment theory, self-care and other useful parenting strategies. 6 x 2hour sessions.The Hub, Ocean Shores Baptist Church

 

Tuning in to Teens
Tuesdays 21 February – 28 March 2023,
5.30pm–7.30pmA course for parents/carers of teenagers 12–17 year olds. Tuning in to Teens aims to help you and your adolescent manage the many emotional challenges of this stage of life. We will explore how to manage your own and your adolescent’s emotions in ways that support you to remain close and keep communicating.By learning these skills, you are less likely to have as much conflict within your family and your teen is more likely to talk to you about the challenging issues they face. 6 x 2hour sessions.

The Family Centre, Tweed Heads South 

 

Family Centre Playgroups

 

Find connection with other parents/carers and children while learning and playing together. Access to useful information regarding parenting, local services and activities.

Playgroups free and are run during NSW school terms.

Tweed Shire – 9.30am–11.30am

Monday – Tweed Heads
Tuesday – Fingal
Wednesday – Tweed Heads South
Thursday – Murwillumbah

Ballina Shire – 10am–12pm

Wednesday – South Golden Beach
Thursday – Ballina

 

Relationship Courses

 

Anger and Emotional Intelligence – Online
Fridays 3 March–17 March 2023, 10am–11.30am

3 day online course for men and women. Content includes: identify what anger is and what it does, what triggers your anger and ways to make it work for you and your relationships. 3 x 1.5hr sessions.

Online courses are for Ballina, Byron & Tweed Shire residents

NEW COURSE
Step Families 101
Wednesday 22 February 2023, 12pm–1pm

Discuss the joys and challenges of your stepfamily with other parents who are in a similar position, and learn some new ways to support the children and each other

Your facilitators are experienced in stepfamily challenges and rewards, and will kick off a discussion about the most important things for the parents to keep in mind to successfully manage their new family.

The Family Centre, Tweed Heads

 

Courses for Women

 

Self Esteem to Empower Women
Tuesday 28 March 2023, 9.30am–3.30pm

A 1 day course that assists women to understand: self-esteem and what influences it, unhelpful thinking and how to challenge negative thinking/self-talk and exploring boundaries in relationships. Through information sessions, practical exercises and group discussions we will also explore how self-care can influence our self-esteem and self-worth.

Nullum House, Murwillumbah

 

Family Centre Information Session

 

Tuesday 7 March 2023, 10am–11am

Find out about:

Our people and where we are located

Our work with children, young people, families, schools & communities

Our community activities and our partners

Everyone is welcome!

Murwillumbah Community Centre

REGISTER HERE

 

The Family Centre Course Program – Term 1 2023

The Family Centre Course Program – Term 1 2023

Parenting Courses

Circle of Security Parenting

Tuesdays 7 February –21 March 2023, 10am–12pm

A course for parents of children 0–5yrs. The course shows parents/carers how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened. Parents/carers will learn how to understand their child’s emotional world by learning to read emotional needs, support their child’s ability to manage emotions and enhance the development of their child’s self-esteem. Parents will also learn to honour their own innate wisdom and fulfil their desire for their child to be secure.
7 x 2hour sessions.

The Family Centre, Tweed Heads South 

No Scaredy Cats – Online

Thursdays 16 February – 2 March 2023, 10am–12.30pm

A course to support parents/carers to reduce anxiety and build resilience in children aged 2–12 years old. The course will cover how anxiety develops, how parents/caregivers can take a preventative role in the development of anxiety problems, and how parents/caregivers can support children to develop skills to reduce anxiety and build resilience. 3 x 2.5hour sessions.

Online courses are for Ballina, Byron & Tweed Shire residents

123 Magic & Emotion Coaching

Wednesdays 15 March–29 March 2023,
10.30am–12.30pm

An evidence-based parenting program for parents/carers with children aged from 2–12 years. The program is facilitated over 3 sessions & supports parents/carers to feel more confident to respond to their children’s behaviours. Parents/carers are provided practical strategies to engage with their child in the process of identifying & managing their own emotions, encouraging positive behaviours & building emotional resilience. 3 x 2hour sessions.

The Family Centre, Ballina

Bringing Up Great Kids

Tuesdays 21 February–28 March 2023,
10.30am–12.30pm

Bringing up Great Kids is a parenting course that promotes and supports respectful, caring and nurturing relationships for children aged 0–12. Parents are encouraged to become more reflective and mindful in their parenting approach. The group involves fun and interactive activities that includes key learnings of brain development, attachment theory, self-care and other useful parenting strategies. 6 x 2hour sessions.

The Hub, Ocean Shores Baptist Church

Tuning in to Teens

Tuesdays 21 February – 28 March 2023,
5.30pm–7.30pm

A course for parents/carers of teenagers 12–17 year olds. Tuning in to Teens aims to help you and your adolescent manage the many emotional challenges of this stage of life. We will explore how to manage your own and your adolescent’s emotions in ways that support you to remain close and keep communicating.

By learning these skills, you are less likely to have as much conflict within your family and your teen is more likely to talk to you about the challenging issues they face. 6 x 2hour sessions.

The Family Centre, Tweed Heads South 

 

Family Centre Playgroups

Find connection with other parents/carers and children while learning and playing together. Access to useful information regarding parenting, local services and activities.

Playgroups free and are run during NSW school terms.

Tweed Shire – 9.30am–11.30am

Monday – Tweed Heads
Tuesday – Fingal
Wednesday – Tweed Heads South
Thursday – Murwillumbah

Ballina Shire – 10am–12pm

Wednesday – South Golden Beach
Thursday – Ballina

Relationship Courses

Anger and Emotional Intelligence – Online
Fridays 3 March–17 March 2023, 10am–11.30am

3 day online course for men and women. Content includes: identify what anger is and what it does, what triggers your anger and ways to make it work for you and your relationships. 3 x 1.5hr sessions.

Online courses are for Ballina, Byron & Tweed Shire residents

NEW COURSE
Step Families 101
Wednesday 22 February 2023, 12pm–1pm

Discuss the joys and challenges of your stepfamily with other parents who are in a similar position, and learn some new ways to support the children and each other

Your facilitators are experienced in stepfamily challenges and rewards, and will kick off a discussion about the most important things for the parents to keep in mind to successfully manage their new family.

The Family Centre, Tweed Heads

Courses for Women

Self Esteem to Empower Women
Tuesday 28 March 2023, 9.30am–3.30pm

A 1 day course that assists women to understand: self-esteem and what influences it, unhelpful thinking and how to challenge negative thinking/self-talk and exploring boundaries in relationships. Through information sessions, practical exercises and group discussions we will also explore how self-care can influence our self-esteem and self-worth.

Nullum House, Murwillumbah

Family Centre Information Session

Tuesday 7 March 2023, 10am–11am

Find out about:

Our people and where we are located

Our work with children, young people, families, schools & communities

Our community activities and our partners

Everyone is welcome!

Murwillumbah Community Centre

REGISTER HERE

BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL

For further information on any of our courses please call
9am–12.30pm Monday–Friday
(07) 5524 8711 or go to www.thefamilycentre.org.au

Indexation fails to deliver the real increase people need

Indexation fails to deliver the real increase people need

The Australian Council of Social Service is calling for a real increase to income support payments, arguing that routine indexation is simply not enough.

On January 1 each year income support payments including Youth Allowance and Austudy are adjusted for inflation.

ACOSS believes the federal government must deliver a significant real increase to Youth Allowance and JobSeeker rather than holding them at well-below poverty levels.

“The routine indexation of payments on January 1 does not deliver the real increase that so many people desperately need,” said ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

“Income support payments were woefully inadequate before the prices of food, rent, medicines, energy and other essentials sky-rocketed and they will still be totally insufficient after indexation.”

In the last twelve months, rents have risen by about 18 per cent, energy bills by about 20 per cent and food by about nine per cent. Rent assistance remains just $75.80 per week for a single adult.

Dr Goldie said working age income support payments should be lifted to at least $73 a day and rent assistance should be lifted by 50 per cent.

“Youth Allowance and Austudy payments are only indexed once a year and are even lower than other income supports,” she said.

“Even with 6.1 per cent indexation, Youth Allowance will increase by $16.20 per week to $281.40 for a single person living away from home. That’s just $40.20 a day.

“There are more than three million people living in poverty in Australia and this Christmas one in five of us were struggling to afford food.

“As one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, it is unconscionable that we continue to refuse to end poverty, but will proceed with billions in tax cuts for the wealthiest who already have more than enough.

“The federal government must take action to change this by lifting income support payments to at least $73 a day in the May Budget.”

Holiday entertainment

Holiday entertainment

Summer holiday entertainment at the Goonellabah Library and Lismore Pop-Up Library

With the excitement of Christmas and New Year’s Eve now in the rear view, the challenge of keeping the kids busy during the school holidays begins.

The Goonellabah Library and the Lismore Pop-Up Library have developed a jam-packed holiday program to keep kids busy and entertained. The program features great shows from nationally recognised entertainers and workshops to teach kids new skills.

The program runs throughout January and includes:

  • Wednesday, 11 January – Big Screen Gaming – 2.30pm at Goonellabah Library.
  • Thursday, 12 January – Sand Art – 10.30am at Lismore Pop-Up Library.
  • Friday, 13 January – Song Writing Workshop – 2pm at Goonellabah Library.
  • Monday, 16 January – Astronomy – 2pm at Goonellabah Library.
  • Tuesday, 17 January – Gravitrax – 2.30pm at Lismore Pop-Up Library.
  • Wednesday, 18 January – Big Screen Gaming – 2.30pm at Goonellabah Library.
  • Thursday, 19 January – Claymation Magic – 10.30am at Goonellabah Library.
  • Thursday, 19 January – Creating Manga Workshop – 2.30pm at Nimbin Mobile Library.
  • Friday, 20 January – Circus Arts – 2pm at Goonellabah Library.
  • Monday, 23 January – Storytelling Workshop – 2.30pm at Lismore Pop-Up Library.
  • Tuesday, 24 January – Show-Offs Drama Workshop, presented by Madeleine West – 2pm at Goonellabah Library.
  • Wednesday, 25 January – Paddle Pop Cats – 2pm at Lismore Pop-Up Library.
  • Wednesday, 25 January – Big Screen Gaming – 2.30pm at Goonellabah Library.

The program has a great mix of activities and entertainment designed to suit kids of all ages. It is proudly supported by the Office of Regional Youth through their NSW Holiday Break Program.

Activities will take place between the Goonellabah Library at 27 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah and the Lismore Pop-Up Library at 146 Molesworth Street, Lismore.

All activities are free, however bookings are essential. For more information and to book click here.

New report reveals soaring demand for community services from increased cost of living

New report reveals soaring demand for community services from increased cost of living

Community services including homelessness, mental health and family violence organisations are facing soaring demand this Christmas due to the cost-of-living crisis, continuous disasters and the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, a new report has found.

The report Helping people in need during a cost-of-living crisis, based on the Australian Community Sector Survey undertaken by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney for ACOSS and the State and Territory Councils of Social Service, and supported by Bendigo Bank, found that only three per cent of the 1,470 organisations surveyed said their main service can always meet demand.

In 2020, when the Coronavirus Supplement was in place, that figure was 19 per cent, before dropping to six per cent in 2021 after the Supplement was withdrawn by the Federal Government.

Housing and homelessness services are particularly stretched. Not a single one of the 180 services in the survey said they could ‘always’ meet demand and as many as one in 10 said they could never meet demand.

Some 66 per cent of organisations reported increased demand in 2022, including 85 per cent of those delivering financial, legal and emergency support; and 80 per cent of those delivering domestic and family violence services.

One CEO of a child and youth service in Victoria said: “In almost thirty years in community service provision, I have never experienced a more challenging environment.”

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of service providers reported increased poverty and disadvantage among their clients and 64 per cent reported that clients’ needs were increasingly complex.

The increased demand and complexity of need has put extra pressure on community service staff, with 54 per cent of organisations reporting their main service is affected by staff burnout.

This was especially high among domestic and family violence services where 81 per cent reported staff exhaustion.

Many organisations are struggling to recruit and retain staff, with 40 per cent reporting their main service is unable to find enough staff and 36 per cent struggling to find volunteers.

Only one in eight said they receive enough funding to meet community demand.

One frontline worker at a family services organisation in Queensland said: “We are underfunded and understaffed to meet the increasing needs.”

ACOSS Deputy CEO Edwina MacDonald said the report laid bare the shocking impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

“It is clear that community services are experiencing something unprecedented. Intensifying financial pressures on top of disasters are really affecting people and overly straining providers this Christmas,” she said.

“As people increasingly search for help, services face higher operational costs and staff shortages, further limiting their ability to assist their communities.

“Government relies on our sector to serve the public interest on its behalf. It is therefore vital that it properly fund services and invest in service sector staff who have been doing an incredible job in tough circumstances.

“People across the country know just how hard-working, resilient and committed our sector has been during three, long years of pandemic, disasters and economic turmoil.

“But the challenges of demand, complexity of need, poverty and disadvantage, combined with the past decade of chronic underfunding, are pushing community services beyond breaking point, and that cannot be tolerated,.

“If our sector is to support everyone seeking help, then strengthening our workforce and suitably funding essential services is crucial.”

Foodbank Australia CEO, Brianna Casey, said demand for food relief is now even higher than during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On any given day, over half a million households in Australia are struggling to meet their food needs and 306,000 are receiving assistance from food relief organisations,” she said.

“We know how important it is for people to have access to nutritious food, yet the rising costs of energy, fuel, groceries and rent have put this fundamental need beyond the reach of more and more people with no respite in sight.”

Full Stop Australia Chief Executive Officer, Hayley Foster, said family and sexual violence services are completely overwhelmed and underfunded.

“We’ve seen a shadow pandemic when it comes to family and sexual violence. Never have we seen such overwhelming demand. Indeed, these are the only major crime categories that continue to climb across the country. Yet, many services haven’t seen an increase in funding to meet that demand resulting in a situation where it’s currently chance if victim-survivors get the support they need when they need it.’ she said.

“Right now, many services are so underfunded that they can barely deal with the crises on their doorstep, let alone provide the ongoing support survivors need to heal and recover. It’s simply heartbreaking.”

Financial Rights Legal Centre CEO, Karen Cox, said her organisation has struggled to recruit and retain specialist staff who are equipped to respond to the demand for legal assistance in the midst of numerous climate-related disasters and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Our dedicated insurance and debt lawyers are never able to answer all of the calls that come through on our specialist advice lines. This has been particularly true following the huge loss of property in this year’s unprecedented floods.

“On top of that, more and more people are turning to us for help as the cost-of-living crisis hits hard.”

Key findings: 

  • Only three per cent of survey respondents reported they can always meet demand
  • Two thirds reported increased demand in 2022
  • 61 per cent reported increased poverty and disadvantage among their clients
  • 2 in 5 respondents said waiting times for their service had increased (39 per cent)
  • A third (32 per cent) said their service had turned people away due to lack of capacity
  • 30 per cent reported referring people to other services due to lack of capacity
  • 16 per cent said their main service had to close a waiting list, as it was too long
  • 81 per cent of staff in domestic and family violence services had seen staff exhaustion or burn out in their main service during 2022
  • 63 per cent of survey participants said cost of living pressures had affected the people or communities that their organisation supports.

Media contact: 0419 626 155 

 

View report
GSAC Pool Summer Sunday Sessions

GSAC Pool Summer Sunday Sessions

Splash into GSAC this Sunday for the first of its Summer Sunday Sessions. With the Lismore Memorial Baths still damaged after the February natural disaster, Lismore City Council has extended the GSAC pool’s opening hours to include Sundays.

The pool will be opening on Sunday’s from 10am-2pm starting this Sunday, 18 December. With the following Sunday being Christmas Day, the Sunday sessions will pick back up from Sunday, 1 January and run until Sunday, 19 February.

For more information on opening hours, facilities and programs call GSAC on 6625 5370.

 

 

Pop-up Library Opens in Lismore

Pop-up Library Opens in Lismore

After the popular Lismore Library was destroyed by the February natural disaster, a new temporary Pop-Up Library will open its Molesworth Street doors on Thursday.

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said Council was determined to open a new temporary library while the permanent one in Magellan Street is rebuilt to bring a sense of normality for library users and community.

“We decided to open a temporary library because this service is very popular with our community,” he said.

“I would like to thank the Library staff who have worked extremely hard to make this possible, and especially the many volunteers who have helped to fill the shelves with more than 20,000 donated books.”

The Pop-Up Library at 146 Molesworth Street will provide access to the brand-new community donated collections, computers, printing, and a space to connect, discover and escape.

Lismore Area Librarian Michael Lewis said it was wonderful to have the library back in the CBD.

“This move, with the support of the Lismore City Council and General Manager John Walker strives to support the revitalisation of the Lismore CBD,” he said.

“The Lismore Library has over 20,000 items ready for the reopening. These donations and community support shows the meaning libraries have in their communities and will support the positive recovery for our library and our community.

“The library is a safe space for many, and by opening in the CBD, it will provide accessible services, collections, and programs for all in our community.

The Lismore Pop-Up Library is located at 146 Molesworth Street and is near parking, public facilities and local eateries and shops.

The library will be open 7 days a week at the following times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 
    9.30am – 5pm
  • Thursday
    9.30am – 7pm
  • Saturday
    9am – 1pm
  • Sunday
    1pm – 4pm

With the opening of the new CBD library, Goonellabah Library will have a change of opening hours. From December 1, the Goonellabah Library will be open:

  • Monday – Friday: 9.30am–5pm, closed from 12.30pm to 1.30pm daily.
  • Saturday and Sunday will remain open for the next two weekends. Last day will be Sunday, December 11.