This week I attended the Lismore Flood Recovery Taskforce meeting, almost a year to the day since heavy rains from Cyclone Debbie devastated local businesses and families. I was joined by the Chair of the taskforce - NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs and Kylie Bryden-Smith to review ongoing recovery efforts and continue to plan for the future.
The impacts have been traumatic for many businesses and families but the Lismore community is resilient and we’ve seen business bounce back remarkably.
The NSW Government has been vigilant in its efforts to help business get back on its feet and to bring Lismore back to its best after the disaster. Much has been done but recovery efforts are ongoing to support businesses into the future.
Ms Hobbs’ office has helped businesses access grants and advice, assisted businesses to complete grant application forms, and advocated on behalf of businesses on insurance issues. More than 100 cases of businesses facing insurance-related issues have been referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service for review resulting in some businesses accessing insurance payouts that were initially refused.
The NSW Government provided Category C relief as well as a $1 million disaster recovery package to help businesses clean-up and rebuild. Over and above that, our Business Connect advisors went directly to the flood-affected areas and they have helped more than 300 local businesses restart, recover cash flow, and begin to thrive again.
Last week I had the pleasure of turning the sod on a project to build two new self-contained cottages and lodge to cater for groups and corporate retreats at Nightcap Ridge. The popular boutique eco-accommodation, will receive $150,000 from the Regional Tourism Fund.
Nightcap Ridge, a privately run property, spreads across 67 beautiful acres and continues to draw visitors with its organic produce and wonderful paddock-to-plate experiences, so I am delighted this NSW Government funding will allow them to add to its existing tourism offering.
Key mental health and other organisations have begun working with the NSW Government on a statewide framework to reduce the rate of suicide across NSW.
A community consultation will be held on 29 March at the Lismore Gateway Motel from 10am-12.30pm as part of the project.
Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and the NSW Government wants to make sure that no matter who you are or where you live, that you’re getting the right help at the right time.
No parent, friend, family member or community should have to go through the grief of losing a loved one to suicide, and the NSW Government is committed to optimising and coordinating care and interventions so support reaches those who need it.
An online public survey developed by the Commission is also available to the public and will form a vital part of this work.
For more information on the online survey or the consultation go to www.nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au.
If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800. For mental health services in the Northern Rivers phone NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.