New national research backs the Northern Rivers community’s call to address the housing crisis in our region, where over 12,000 households are experiencing rental stress and more than 3,000 households are on the social housing waitlist.
The research is contained in a just-released report from the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre and finds more than one million social and affordable homes need to be built across Australia by 2036 just to meet current demand and keep pace with population growth.
Social Futures CEO and President of the NSW Council of Social Service, Tony Davies said the research also revealed the current social and affordable housing shortfall in NSW was 216,400 homes with the shortage particularly acute in the Northern Rivers.
Entrants in the Lismore Young Songwriters Competition this year are in the running to win $11,500 of prizes.
Deb Hall from one of the organising partners Social Futures hopes young people will be encouraged to enter and help fire up their musical careers. “Our two top prizes are valued at almost $4,000 each. The winners will have their songs professionally recorded and receive double passes to Splendour in the Grass and Professional Performer Kits from RØDE,” Ms Hall said.
On 12 April, the People’s Choice Award winner will be selected by the audience at the Finals Showcase, to win a hi-fi system valued at $2,000, a mastered track recording and a Studio Recording Kit.”
Five runners-up prizes include professional quality microphones and paid gigs at Crankfest. All finalists will have access to songwriting masterclasses at Southern Cross University during the year.
The Lismore Young Songwriters Competition is organised and supported by Social Futures and its programs headspace Lismore and The Clubhouse, Southern Cross University and the Northern Rivers Conservatorium. We are also grateful for prizes from sponsors Rockinghorse Studios, SAE Creative Media Institute Byron Bay, Splendour in the Grass, RØDE Microphones, The Audio Room, Crankfest, NORPA and Lismore City Council.
On Tuesday 5 March, Homelessness NSW and the New South Wales Council of Social Service will provide an opportunity for Northern Rivers residents to put their questions about housing to candidates standing for the NSW Elections on 23 March.
The Northern Rivers event, one of just three such events in the state is supported by the Northern Rivers Housing Forum, which is convened by Social Futures.
Housing affordability and homelessness are both at crisis points in Northern NSW, with high rates of rough sleepers (ABS Census 2016) and some of the most unaffordable housing in the world, according to a recent report for North Coast Community Housing.
Residents are very concerned
“Northern rivers residents are rightly concerned about housing and homelessness in our region” says Tony Davies, CEO of Social Futures “and many will be considering what the candidates have to say on the issue to inform their vote.”
Last October, the Northern Rivers Housing Forum event in Lennox Head developed an URGENT action plan to address the housing crisis in the region. Since then, it has been encouraging voters to contact their local candidates and asking what they intend to do about it if elected to represent them on 23 March.
Jacqui Alienaitwe (far right) is a regular commuter from Ballina to Lismore
A local bus devotee is on a quest to change people’s perception about catching public transport just in time for #CarFreeFeb.
Ballina local, Jacqueline Alinaitwe has been catching the new Ballina – Byron – Lismore commuter bus since the trial route began in December 2017 and says it saves her time, money and stress.
“It’s just 40 minutes from Ballina to the centre of Lismore, and though travel by car might be slightly quicker, when you take into account all that you can do on the bus, it actually saves you so much time,” Ms Alinaitwe said.
“You can read a book, catch up on work, and some buses have free Wi-Fi so you can get your social media fix on the bus, giving you more time to spend with your family at home. When I catch the bus I’m not as stressed because I’m not worrying about the journey home, crazy drivers or parking worries, and there are cost savings also,” Ms Alinaitwe said.
Ms Alinaitwe calculated the cost of her weekly bus pass to be almost half the cost of the petrol used when was driving and said she was also saving wear and tear on her own vehicle.
Northern Rivers residents are invited to try alternatives to car travel next week. Seven local bus companies are giving passengers FREE BUS TRAVEL on Thursday 28 February.
“In regional areas, we often we jump in the car and drive where we need to go without thinking” says Tony Davies, Chief Executive of Social Futures, “but sometimes catching the bus is a viable option, and this is the perfect day to find out.”
“For example, contrary to popular myth, more than 50 bus services run to and from LIsmore every day,” he added “and it doesn’t stop there. Car Free Feb is all about raising awareness of other travel options. You can walk, ride, skateboard, scooter or car pool.
“You don’t need to register for free bus travel. Just get on the bus and ride free for the whole day.”
TWO 12-month Premium Spotify subscriptions and THREE $120 credit vouchers for travel with any participating bus company.
Tweed residents are invited to have their transport questions answered at Tweed City Shopping Centre on 28 February from 9am-2pm.
Tony Davies, CEO of Social Futures who is presenting the day in partnership with transport operators and Tweed Council says invites Tweed residents to come and find out about the local public and community transport options.
“While regional areas do experience transport disadvantage in comparison to urban areas, there are options available. Information days like these are a great opportunity to find out about the services that are out there,” Mr Davies said.
“Days like these also provide a valuable chance to speak to the community about their transport needs which can feed into future planning for the region.”