The staggering financial impacts of the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic have been totted up by the NSW Auditor-General’s office which has found $7.5 billion was spent by state government agencies on health costs and economic stimulus.
Despite the Federal Government’s claims – trumpeted during the election Campaign – to have successfully shepherded Australia through the pandemic, the NSW Government’s response was largely funded by its borrowings.
The costs do not take into account the huge effects on businesses, personal incomes and other measures related to infections, lockdowns and the like.

Vinnie's shop in Lismore

Lismore City Council launches a discussion paper and consultation process to consider the future of the devastated city and nearby vulnerable locations. Robin Osborne reports…

Coinciding with President Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ strategy, a response to the chaos caused by Donald Trump, Lismore City Council has launched a Building Back Better process to address the devastation of the February-March flooding and to plan for the local government area at large – although not necessarily the floodplain – to survive and even thrive into the future.
Acknowledging that the floods ‘necessitate a complete rethink about how we plan to rebuild a regional city located at the convergence of two rivers’, the land management discussion paper invites public submissions before 10 June 2022, and will incorporate input from public forums on 23 and 25 May at Lismore Heights Sports Club.

‘The aim of this review is to agree on a strategic direction for growth and rebuilding in Lismore and to ensure that in the long-term there is a suitable supply of land available for new and existing businesses and a suitable supply of flood-free residential land,’ the Council advises.

Voting in Australia

Australia is well known around the world for its compulsory voting system and the system is the envy of some countries. But who misses out when it comes to a voice say in the upcoming Australian Federal Government election? And what is the fine for not voting?

If you receive an 'apparent failure to vote' notice, you can: provide a valid and sufficient reason for not voting. tell us that you did vote and provide details. pay a fine of 1 penalty unit at the time of the offence ($137.00) or half this amount ($68.50) if paid before the deadline. 

But if one doesn’t enrol for voting in the first place then there is no fine. And some purposely don’t enrol, no doubt for many reasons, including not trusting the system to represent them etc. Some may just find the process too hard because of lack of access to the internet or not knowing how.

Associate Professor John Stevens

John Stevens is Associate Professor at Southern Cross and Newcastle universities, co-founder and Director of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and  Chair of the Board, Rainforest 4 Foundation 

In a recent conversation, with a dear friend, Gamilaraay educator Professor Bob Morgan, my spirit was lifted when he told me that after 50 + years of struggling for justice and equity for first nations’ people in Australia and overseas that he remains ‘a prisoner of hope’ despite the glacial speed of progress and change.  I am filled with this sentiment following the recent announcement that over 160k hectares of country stretching from Mossman to Cooktown, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park has been handed back to the traditional owners the Eastern Kuku Yalanji.  The traditional owners wept as they celebrated the ‘return of Bubu to Bama’.

couch potatoes

New data released by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that despite the heavy cost of managing injuries associated with physical activity the burden of treating conditions resulting from physical inactivity is hundreds of millions of dollars more.

The AIHW report Economics of sports injury and participation – Preliminary results is aimed at gauging the potential savings through improving injury prevention and management and increasing physical activity across the population.

It found that around three quarters of a billion dollars is spent each year on managing relatively severe injuries associated with inadequate injury prevention and management during physical activity ($764 million in 2018-19).