Almost 80 stakeholders – including mayors, public servants, representatives of community and service organisations – packed the Fountain Room at Lismore City Hall on Thursday 30 January for the launch of the Northern Rivers Regional Social Plan 2013-2016.
The Plan was created by a partnership between Regional Development Australia – Northern Rivers and Northern Rivers Social Development Council, with involvement from more than 1,200 community members. The plan, which is based largely on the needs identified in the Northern Rivers Regional Profile (RDA-NR), is understood to be the first of its kind in Australia.
The Plan provides a roadmap for tackling some of the tough social issues that affect every day lives in the region, ranging from limited public transport options and high levels of unemployment, to the social exclusion of many Aboriginal people and those in our communities who live with disabilities.
In his official launch speech, Member for Page Kevin Hogan MP recognised the many agencies in the region who already have programs, services and other mechanisms that are working towards achieving good regional outcomes. He also praised Lismore City Council for its leadership in mapping the linkages between the community and social development programs in its own community strategic plan and the Regional Social Plan, to show how their work aligns with the regional framework.
In describing the purpose of the plan, outgoing CEO Katrina Luckie said, “the plan consolidates much of the work already done by local councils and community services organisations. It provides a single point of reference to guide program development, service delivery and social inclusion outcomes.”
Mr Hogan also said it was significant to note that the plan has already attracted partners to support its implementation as their input will be absolutely vital to its success. He finished by encouraging other organisations who wish to get involved in the delivery of the plan to step forward and ensure that the plan’s desired outcomes are achieved.
Guests were entertained by local electronica band Tralala Blip – which comprises members with various [dis]abilities and Eli Pietens read his poem Sameside, with which he won the writing competition during the consultation process and is published in the plan.