Key infrastructure and services in the Northern Rivers region, include Communications, Transport, Education and Training, Hospitals, Aged care, and Shopping. If you know of other services or infrastructure that should be included here, please email us at info@rdanorthernrivers.org.au or phone 02 6622 4011.

Communications

Broadband internet

Construction of the National Broadband Network commenced in 2014.  Many parts of the region are connected through Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster connections. The rollout of fibre is well underway with many connected or under construction. Details of the latest roll-out plans and coverage maps are available from the NBN Co website. Broadband internet is available from a variety of service providers in the Northern Rivers. NBN Co offers a Broadband Service Locator tool that provides information about internet service providers by street address. For more information about broadband services, the Australian Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy offers an FAQ page and a freecall helpline on weekdays from 8.30am – 5.00pm. Tel: 1800 883 488.

Mobile telecommunications

In recent years the major mobile phone carriers have extended their coverage to between 94% – 99% of the Australian population. However, reception varies from area to area within the Northern Rivers. Information about the availability of mobile phone reception at specific locations is available online on each of the mobile phone carriers’ websites:

Telecommunications Carriers

Transport

Transport infrastructure in the region includes three domestic airports and access to an international airport, and road and rail freight links.

Airports

The region is well serviced with multiple flights in and out on a daily basis.

  • Domestic airports are located at Grafton, Ballina and Lismore.
  • The Coolangatta International and Domestic airport is located just over the border at Coolangatta.
  • Coffs Harbour Airport to the south of the region has multiple operators.

Ports

  • Yamba is home to a National Sea Port. It offers safe access and docking facilities and is subject to international customs procedures.

Rail

  • The main Sydney to Brisbane rail line passes through Grafton, Casino and Kyogle. This line carries freight and the XPT which services the area twice daily. Casino is planned as a major intermodal terminal for the region.

Road

  • The Pacific Highway is the main road route from Sydney to Brisbane. The highway passes through Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Ballina and up to Tweed Heads. The final section of the Pacific Highway Upgrade, Woolgoolga to Ballina, is currently under construction. It is expected to be completed in 2020.
  • An alternative route from Grafton is the Summerland Way to Casino and Bruxner Highway to Lismore and down to Ballina, or to continue on the Summerland Way through Kyogle and Mt Lindsay or Lions Road to Brisbane.
  • From Grafton the Gwydir Highway connects to the tablelands town of Glenn Innes and is the major connecting road between the coast and the tablelands.

Public Transport

  • Transport information pages are listed in the Telstra yellow pages phone book or online at Yellow pages.
  • The Going Places website managed by Social Futures and funded by the seven Northern Rivers regional councils provides contact information, links to timetables and transport services.

Car Pooling

Northern Rivers Carpool is an alternative way to get around for people using a free, online service for anyone who wants to save money, meet new people and reduce their carbon footprint while travelling to work or study.

Education and Training

The Northern Rivers has a wide range of educational institutions. These include 52 High Schools, 176 Primary Schools, 9 campuses of the North Coast Institute of TAFE and 2 Campuses of the Southern Cross University, (with it’s primary base in Lismore and a further site at Coffs Harbour). This wide range of facilities is extended by the up to 30 cultural educational organisations in the region that provide specialist training in the arts, crafts, theatre and film. The region has over 50,000 students enrolled in the diverse range of institutions. Students come from across the country to study at the many centres of excellence that are available in the region. Some of the region’s educational institutions are becoming more commercially orientated, pursuing a range of business partnerships, raising important funds for projects and staff that would not otherwise be available. This page includes information about the region’s university, TAFE, other adult education and schools.

Southern Cross University

Southern Cross University is a vibrant, contemporary Australian university with campuses at the Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour. The University operates The Hotel School Sydney in partnership with Mulpha Australia and in 2014 has expanded its operations with a new Sydney branch campus. The University welcomes students from more than 50 countries throughout the world and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in an inspiring and supportive learning environment. Degrees are delivered across a range of disciplines, and are designed in consultation with industry. Southern Cross is a research intensive university, achieving the rating of ‘well above world standard’ in six research areas in the Excellence in Research for Australia national report 2012. Information is available at www.scu.edu.au, email futurestudent@scu.edu.au or via phone: 1800 626 481

North Coast TAFE NSW

The North Coast TAFE NSW has 15 campuses (8 are in the Northern Rivers) delivering quality vocational education and training to approximately 45,000 students each year (2010 figures). High student satisfaction rates and more flexible course options make the North Coast TAFE an increasingly attractive place to study. The North Coast TAFE works closely with education partners in both schools and universities. These links facilitate a diverse range of opportunities to structure educational qualifications. The TAFE has a proven record of being responsive to and meeting the specific needs of business and industry. The North Coast TAFE is a quality endorsed training organisation participating in a nationally recognised periodic review process. All campuses offer a wide range of high quality vocational courses, with each campus offering specialist knowledge and training.

North Coast TAFE Campuses are located in Ballina, Casino, Grafton, Kingscliff, Lismore, Maclean, Murwillumbah and Wollongbar.

  • Contact 1300 628 233

Other Adult Education

Community Colleges

Byron Bay English Language School

Byron School of Art, located in Mullumbimby

Conservation and Environment Groups

SAE (Sound and Audio Engineering) College Corporate World Headquarters (Byron Bay) – 6639 6000 North Coast New Apprenticeships Centre Lismore – 6621 5987 New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (Forster to Tweed Heads) – 1300 138 383

Conservatoriums

  • Lismore – 6621 2266
  • Clarence Valley – 6643 3555

Community Learning and Innovation Centre (CLIC) Inc. – 6680 4221

Hospitals

Public and community healthcare services and hospitals in the northern rivers are managed by the Northern NSW Local Health District on behalf of the NSW Department of Health.
OrganisationPhone
Public Hospitals
Lismore Base Hospital02 6621 8000
Grafton Base Hospital02 6640 2222
Ballina District Hospital02 6686 2111
Bonalbo Hospital02 6665 1203
Byron Central Hospital02 6639 9400
Casino & District Memorial Hospital02 6662 2111
Campbell Hospital, Coraki02 6683 2019
Kyogle Memorial Hospital02 6632 1522
Maclean District Hospital02 6640 0111
Murwillumbah District Hospital02 6672 1822
Nimbin District Hospital02 6689 1400
Urbenville Rural Hospital02 6634 1600
The Tweed Hospital07 5536 1133
Private Hosptials
Ballina Day Surgery02 6681 9999
Lismore Private Day Surgery02 6622 7121
St Vincents Private Hospital (Lismore)02 6621 8411

Job Seekers

Job opportunities in the Northern Rivers are often advertised in the local newspapers, including Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads/Murwillumbah), Northern Star (Lismore), Daily Examiner (Grafton), and in the free community titles published around the region.

Websites

Searching for jobs online is becoming the most popular way to find job opportunities. The following list contains some of the more popular jobsearch sites.

Government sites

  • Australian Jobsearch – tel: 1800 670 914. An Australian Government website where you can register for free to look for jobs throughout Australia.
  • Job Services Australia – tel: 1300 363 079. Job Services Australia is the Australian Government’s national employment services system. For job seekers, it provides you with personalised help to find and keep a job. For employers, Job Services Australia provides a free service to help you find staff to meet your business needs. Job Services Australia recognises that not all job seekers are the same. It has tailored programs, including one-to-one support to help different types of job-seekers enter (or return to) the workforce, including those who have recently lost their job, young people, parents and carers, people over 50, and Aboriginal people.

Non-Government sites

Regional

  • Tursa is a regional, non-government, not-for-profit, independent organisation founded in 1994 out of personal experience of long term unemployment, for the express purpose of addressing unemployment and alleviating disadvantage suffered by people of the region.
  • Nortec Employment & Training provides a range of recruitment services for businesses and jobseekers, including accredited training and traineeship delivery, temporary labour hire staffing as well as permanent no-cost recruitment services.
  • On Q Human Resources helping people in the NSW Northern Rivers and QLD Gold Coast regions change their lives by finding sustainable employment.

National sites include Career One (News Limited), My Career (Fairfax media), Seek and Manpower.

Job Seeker links

Retirement and Aged Care Facilities

Today there are more than two million Australians aged 70 and over, comprising nearly 10 per cent of the population, and this number is expected to double in the next 20 years. As the number of aged people in our community increases, so too does the need to provide them with the care they require. Aged care services are provided through various government funded programs such as:

  • Home and Community Care (HACC) – Providing community care services to frail aged and younger people with disabilities, and their carers
  • Community Aged Care Package (CACP)
  • Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) Package – Providing care in a person’s own home at the level currently provided in a high care residential facility, designed to help frail older Australians to remain living at home.

Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) can help you decide which services you need. They can help you to get residential care or either refer you to community care services or help you to arrange respite care in a residential setting. Your doctor or local hospital can refer you to an ACAT. Information about any of these services is available from Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres, which provide free and confidential information on community aged care, disability and other support services available locally, interstate or anywhere within Australia. You can contact your nearest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre by phoning a national telephone number Freecall™ 1800 052 222*. Anyone can contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre and to date Centres have assisted over 500,000 people.

Related Aged Care Links

Shopping

The region boasts multiple retail facilities, making it possible for people to purchase most goods and services within the region. Major retail facilities are located in Grafton, Ballina, Lismore, Casino, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads. These towns also host a large range of specialty shops. The region’s smaller towns and villages that are dotted through the region are home to a unique variety of enticing specialty shops and retail facilities. Weekend markets occur every weekend somewhere within the region. These markets showcase and sell many of the region’s locally grown and produced foods and craft products. The schedule of the markets are listed below:
MarketWhenPhone
Alstonville MarketsHeld 2nd Sunday at Alstonville showground6628 1568
Aquarius Fair MarketsHeld 3rd & 5th Sundays at Nimbin Community Centre, Cullen St6689 1825
Ballina MarketsHeld 3rd Sunday at Circus ground, Canal road6687 4328
Bangalow Village MarketsHeld 4th Sunday at Bangalow Showground6687 1911
Brunswick Heads MarketsHeld 1st Saturday at Memorial Park6685 1022
Byron Bay Community MarketsHeld 1st Sunday at Butler Street Reserve6680 9703
Evans Head Riverside MarketsHeld 4th Saturday at Recreation Reserve near Silver Sands (except in xmas hols at Stan Payne Oval, Booyong Street)0439 489 631
Lennox Head Lakeside MarketsHeld 2nd & 5th Sundays at Lake Ainsworth Foreshore 6687 0535
Lismore Car Boot MarketsHeld 1st and 3rd Sunday underneath Lismore Shopping Square 6620 7332
Lismore Farmers Markets Held every Saturday 8-12 pm at Lismore Showground6621 5916
Mullumbimby Museum MarketsHeld 3rd Saturday in Stuart Street6684 3370
Rainbow Region Organic Held every Tuesday 8-11 am at Lismore Showground6628 2391
The Channon Craft MarketsHeld every 2nd Sunday at Coronation park, The Channon6688 6433
Tweed Uki MarketsHeld every Saturday at Community Centre Butterfly Bazaar 3rd Sunday, Uki Village Buttery6679 5369
Yamba CommunityHeld 4th Sunday at Yamba Oval (behind Bowling Club)6646 1555
Full list available from 6622 0122

Community Services

The Northern Rivers region embraces many diverse communities, which is a strength but provides challenges. Pockets of traditional farming families intermingle with alternative lifestyle communities, retirees and young travellers on gap years, to name but a few.

Our needs

Some key facts about the Northern Rivers population:

  • almost two-thirds (63%) of the region’s households have a weekly income of less than $1,000, compared with the state average of 54%
  • 2 of our 7 LGAs are in the bottom 12 LGAs on the State’s index of socio-economic disadvantage
  • 20% of us are aged over 65 (compared to the NSW average of 13%) and this figure is set to rise to 30% by 2036
  • in the 2016 census 4% of us identified as Aboriginal, compared to the NSW average of 2.5%
  • 6.5% of us have a disability, requiring a need assistance with daily tasks, compared to 4.9% NSW average
  • according to ACON health, commonly received knowledge is that the region is home to the largest LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex) population outside any metropolitan area in Australia
  • in recent years the Lismore area has become home to a small number of refugees (mostly from the Horn of Africa) which has added a new dimension to our community.

Research conducted in 2010 by the Social Futures (previously NRSDC) found the following issues to be social priorities for the Northern Rivers:

  • ageing,
  • youth,
  • transport,
  • affordable housing, and
  • clients with complex needs.

People and organisations

Across the region numerous government, non-government and not-for-profit organisations provide services aimed at addressing these issues. According to the 2006 Census, 10% of the region’s employees work in community and personal services roles, and many community organisations are reliant (at least in part) on volunteers. These services reflect both the region in general and often the nature of the particular community in which they operate, and include:

  • child care
  • neighbourhood centres
  • youth programs
  • family support
  • homelessness
  • crisis accommodation/refuges
  • anti-violence programs
  • counselling
  • support groups
  • employment and education
  • non-government health
  • community based mental health
  • ageing and disability

Our major centres are dispersed, and community service organisations link together in many ways. A willingness and desire to collaborate is one of the strengths of our community sector. Organisations such as Social Futures work with like-minded organisations across the region formally and informally, on issues of regional importance to improve services. Social Futures publishes a monthly newsletter. You can sign up from the Social Futures homepage.

Community Service Directories

National

National, NSW and Northern Rivers Community Services Links