Story & photo - Robin Osborne

Well known Northern Rivers painter David Lane has maintained a tradition now lasting 35 years and has opened the studio doors to his annual pre-Christmas exhibition of new works.

The space is part of the Tintenbar property where he and wife Maureen [a health service executive and former Ballina Shire councillor] have raised a family and created a garden from heaven.

David’s distinctive work graces the walls of many local homes and businesses, including the professional practices of doctors, lawyers and accountants. His bold, unmistakable renderings of the area’s beaches, cliffs, rock formations, and rainforests never fail to get admiring attention.

The City of Lismore will get its long-awaited new art gallery as part of the ‘Lismore Quadrangle’ project that has received federal funding worth $2.85 million.

The grant through the Australian Government’s Stronger Regions Fund was announced by the federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan, and welcomed by Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell.

Cr Dowell said Council’s contribution would be funded by $120,000 from the Lismore Quadrangle Pledge Campaign, $300,000 from the sale of the existing building, $126,800 in other public donations, a $110,000 Arts NSW grant, and $500,000 donated by a private foundation.

The Quadrangle, which includes the present Northern Rivers Conservatorium and Lismore branch of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library, is one of five projects on the Northern Rivers that will share in more than $12 million in funding.

Saying that society cannot “arrest” its way out of the sweeping ‘ice’ epidemic, the MP for the federal seat of Page, which covers much of the Northern Rivers, has welcomed the Turnbull government’s response to the national taskforce on the highly addictive and harmful drug.

Ice’, also known as ‘crystal meth’, is a crystalline form of the drug methamphetamine. It can cause paranoia and hallucinations, and is often associated with violence, increasing the ‘fight or flight’ reaction that can make people respond more aggressively to situations where they feel threatened 

The Nationals’ Kevin Hogan said the taskforce, and now the government, had picked up one of the points that came out of a recent crisis forum held in Lismore.

Ice is playing havoc in many regional communities, including ours,” he said, stressing that “local problems need local solutions”, an approach sanctioned in the $300M funding package.

Rod Wellington, SARRAH CEO

In what could be one of the most cost efficient of health investments, the organisation Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) is seeking $7 million in Federal Government research funding that could save the health budget more than $175 million per year.

The call follows the release of a new report, The impact of allied health professionals in improving outcomes and reducing the cost of treating diabetes, osteoarthritis and stroke, which evaluated the economic impact of eight allied health interventions for people with these common health conditions.

The Australian Financial Review (19 November 2015) reported comments made by two former Treasury Secretaries about the state of Australia's public service. Recent redundancies and increased outsourcing have left the Department short of senior management expertise and there has been a general loss of corporate knowledge. Dr Parkinson noted that junior staff are missing out being properly mentored, "Becoming an effective policy advisor requires learning by doing under the guidance of experienced hands - an apprenticeship if you will".

The slash and burn approach of the Abbott years has similarly affected primary health care and training. The philosophy of the Liberal / National coalition is to reduce the Public Service and the direct provision of services by government. Fostering a competitive market is their preferred mechanism for delivering health and social services.