- Written by Robin Osborne
Small ads running in the national press may have big implications for public health, as Robin Osborne reports…
National advertising placed by the Department of Health appears to suggest that the impacts of plain-packaging tobacco legislation on tobacco companies will outweigh the health benefits of making cigarette packs unappealing to present or potential smokers.
Seeking public input to a ‘post implementation review’ on the measure, introduced by Labor’s then-health minister Nicola Roxon, the ad advises that a consultant has been engaged to “inform an analysis of the material impacts of the tobacco plain packaging measure on stakeholders and, where possible, quantify the costs and benefits of the measure.”
To what extent the public – smokers or otherwise - are seen as ‘stakeholders’ is unclear. So is whether lessening the risk of lung cancer through repugnant imagery might qualify as a ‘material impact’.
- Written by Robin Osborne
Long known as the Lismore tip, or even less attractively, the town dump, the facility that manages the city’s wastes is now called the Lismore Recycling and Recovery Centre.
The change is not just in the branding, but in reality, with the well managed facility becoming the envy of many a local Council.
An equally dramatic transformation has taken place at the adjacent Rainforest Botanic Gardens. Here, on a sizeable patch of once unappealing scrub, characterised by weeds, fallen trees, and illegally dumped rubbish, knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers are creating a network of walking paths through regenerated sub-tropical forest.
Such a project was long the dream of Friends of Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens, a group formed well before a site had even been identified. A founder member was plant enthusiast and long-serving retired local GP, the late Calder Chaffey (see separate story).
Today, the gardens are a protected space where representatives of all the unique plant species of our sub-tropical area can be grown in an ecosystem where they will thrive.
- Written by Geoff Walker, Senior Guide, The Friends of Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens
Geoff Walker from the Friends of Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens pays homage to a GP who became a towering figure in North Coast botany.
After graduating from The University of Sydney and working for over forty years as a general practitioner in Sydney and on the South Coast, Dr. Calder Chaffey retired in 1986. For many years, as he and his wife Beryl (also a GP) developed the Dapto Medical Clinic, their limited leisure time had been devoted to their family and the growing of Australian native plants, ferns and orchids.
They planned to spend their final years on 1.5ha of basalt soil in Wollongbar, and as they travelled north for their retirement, their trailer was laden with such potted plants.
His passion for botany was heightened when he cleared the lantana from the large gully on his block, to find hidden rainforest plants then unknown to him.
He told me that they chose Wollongbar because it had the best climate, ideal soil and "was close to a good Base Hospital".
- Written by Staff
The Northern Rivers General Practice Network and GP Speak heartily congratulate long-serving local surgeon and educator Austin Curtin (MBBS, FRACS) on being chosen as Lismore’s Citizen of the Year in the 2015 Australia Day awards.
After being educated in Sydney – a university Blue in Boat, he represented NSW in rowing, nationally and internationally - he trained in surgery there and in Belfast.
He has been in practice as a Surgeon on the North Coast since 1985 when he moved here with his family. He holds surgical appointments to Lismore Base Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and Casino Hospitals.
With a strong commitment to community development, Mr Curtin has a deep interest in the opportunities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians achieving equality in health outcomes.
He currently chairs the NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Rural Health, and was recently elected to the governing council of Southern Cross University, where he was made a Fellow in 2008 and holds an Associate Professorship.
Austin Curtin has a lifelong interest in trauma care, skills that have proved valuable in his role as a Reservist with the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. He performed Army service in Afghanistan in 2014.
Noted Vietnam veteran, Rev Maj (ret) Graeme Davis in the award’s nomination form, “Most wounded soldiers never get to meet face to face the medical team who ‘patches them up’ in an often unfriendly and remote land (I know because I am one such soldier)… it is up to people who survive to speak on their behalf, and say ‘Thank you for saving my life, thank you for giving them a second chance’.”
- Written by Robin Osborne
The chosen 6 hectare site at Ewingsdale, on the approach road to Byron Bay, is being rapidly transformed into the new Byron Central Hospital (BCH), scheduled to be opened by mid-2016.
The enabling and early works stage has included the completion of internal road base preparation, site in-ground drainage, bulk excavation and cut/fill, and installation of temporary site sheds.
More than 15,000 cubic metres of earthworks have been completed, and over 1,500m of stormwater pipe installed to date.
Taking shape is a new facility to replace the smaller hospitals in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, estimated to cost $80M. Its aesthetic design incorporates a range of enviro-friendly features.
Services to be offered will include 24-hour emergency attention, with 14 ED acute treatment spaces; 43 overnight inpatient beds; low-risk maternity services, 20-bed, non-acute mental health unit; X-ray, ultrasound, CT, and OPG (dental imaging); 4-chair dental service, 4-chair chemotherapy unit, and ambulatory care services.
There will be expanded ambulatory clinic space for visiting medical services, allied health and community health clinics, plus co-location of community and allied health.
BCH will have over 2,400 power points and 700 data points, and some 102,000m of communications cabling and 95,000m of power cabling.
The construction contractor, Brookfield Multiplex, has a strong commitment to Aboriginal participation in its workforce, and using local contractors wherever possible.