• Community Interagency Meeting

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    Click here to see the latest Port Stephens Community Interagency Meeting Minutes held on Tuesday 12 July 2022

    Our next Community Interagency Meeting is:
    Date - Tuesday 11 October 2022
    Time - 10am-11.30am
    Location - Committee Rooms, Port Stephens Council Raymond Terrace

  • Youth Advisory Action Panel

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    Youth Advisory Action Panel

    Our Youth Advisory Panel (YAAP) provides an opportunity for local young people to contribute to decision-making in Port Stephens. Our YAAP members:

    • help Council find out about important issues for young people and advise how these can be addressed
    • help develop local projects for young people
    • comment on Council plans and strategies
    • represent Council at youth events.

    If you're aged 15 to 25 and you want to make Port Stephens a better place for young people, you're invited to join the YAAP!

    Want to join? Email

  • Our Funded Future

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    Dear all,

    At the Council meeting on the 28 June 2022, Council agreed to move forward with an engagement program to discuss financial sustainability with the community and seek feedback on a number of options to turn around our financial position. This includes reducing service delivery, increasing fees and charges, a special rate variation or investigating new revenue streams – it’s all on the table.

    You may have already read the media release sent out on Wednesday, 29 June 2022 but if not you can view it here.

    This is a really important decision for our community and as you’re part of a key community interest group we wanted to reach out to you and offer a special briefing to enable you and your members to learn more about the project. Please contact us as soon as possible via reply email to arrange a special briefing. We’re happy to join an existing scheduled meeting or arrange a new meeting either face to face or online.

    Alternatively, you’re welcome to join any of the community information events (dates below) where you can learn more and provide feedback.





    Monday, 1 August 2022

    10am to 12pm

    Community face to face drop in information session (West Ward)

    Raymond Terrace

    King Park Function Centre, Raymond Terrace

    Monday, 1 August 2022

    5 to 6:30pm

    Community information session


    Wednesday, 3 August 2022

    10am to 12pm

    Community face to face drop in information session (East Ward)

    Bruce Scott Pavilion, Tomaree Sports Complex, Nelson Bay

    Wednesday, 3 August 2022

    5 to 6:30pm

    Community information session


    Please keep up to date via our website portstephens.nsw.gov.au/our-funded-future as the project progresses.

    Yours sincerely,

    Converse team

  • Free RAT Test Available

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    The NSW Government is providing free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to vulnerable communities. Following the increase in COVID cases, we have received a number of questions from DCJ staff, service providers and clients about this program.

    Below is some helpful information:

    Who is eligible for free RATs?

    Eligible Service Providers can order RATS from DCJ and dispense these to the following priority client groups:

    • 24-hour residential services for homelessness, out-of-home care and youth justice rehabilitation
    • children and young people in out-of-home care, their carers and birth parents
    • vulnerable children and families at risk in child protection, and domestic and family violence
    • social housing tenants supported by community housing provider
    • case management for people receiving homelessness, community corrections and youth justice services
    • Aboriginal communities
    • people with disability including individuals who are immunocompromised and their carers
    • eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders in NSW:
    1. Pensioner Concession card
    2. Commonwealth Seniors Health Care card
    3. Health Care Card (including Low Income Health Care card); or
    4. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange cards.

    Which service providers can order RATs from DCJ?

    All DCJ contracted service providers are eligible to access free RATs and dispense them to any of the priority client groups listed above.

    Service providers not contracted by DCJ can also participate as long as they are a non-government organisation or charity that provides services to the priority groups; and is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

    How can service providers order free RATs?

    Eligible Providers can order RATs online in batches of 300, up to 4 boxes per order, and they can be used for their clients, carers, and their staff. Further information and how to place an order can be found on the DCJ COVID-19 microsite

    We encourage Providers not to wait until they run out of RATs before ordering again.

    Why are clients asking about RATs?

    The free RAT program is widely publicised, and millions of vulnerable people across NSW are eligible.

    People with disability, the immunocompromised and their carers, as well as Concession Card Holders are directed to their nearest DCJ funded (TEI) neighbourhood and community centre. This is a valuable service to the community, but centres can choose to opt out of the program by contacting us.

    Providers are not to apply additional criteria to recipients from the priority client groups, as this may cause confusion among clients.

    What to check before dispensing the RATs?

    Providers can dispense RATs to priority clients they work with. RATs can be dispensed to any person who self-declares they have a disability and their carers. No other criteria checks are required.

    For eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders, providers will need to check their concession card but do not need to record details.

    How many RATs can be given out per person?

    For people with disability, the immunocompromised and their carers, it is recommended that they be given 8 RATs per month per person. This is only a guide, as it may vary due to personal circumstances, such as more than one carer per week.

    For eligible Commonwealth Concession Card holders they are entitled to up to 10 RATs per person for the three-month supply.

    Why did we receive a box of RATs we didn’t order?

    In mid-July neighbourhood and community centres received an additional box of 300 RATs so they are prepared for any extra requests for RATs. This can be dispensed to priority clients, including those who ‘walk up’ to request RATs, and meet the above criteria.

    Please email capabilityandpractice@dcj.nsw.gov.au to find out more information

  • Young Carer Busary Program Open Now

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    Applications are open now!

    The Young Carer Bursary Program supports young carers to continue with their education. The program offers 1000 bursaries of $3000 each year to assist with education needs and resources.

    Applications for the 2023 Young Carers Bursary are now open and will close at 5pm Tuesday 19th September (AEST).

    To apply you must login to your account and complete your application on line.

    There are many ways to access the internet:

    • at your place of study (school, TAFE, University)
    • public libraries
    • free wi-fi spots at shopping centres and other major outlets

    Need support to assist you with the application:

    • approach a teacher
    • support worker
    • counsellor
    • young carer coordinator
    • friend or family member

    For more information about young carers and eligibility for the bursary please visit the Young Carers Network website.

    The Carer Gateway also offers assistance to young carers and their families by way of advice, services, support and respite. Please contact them on 1800 422 737 to register.

    Young Carers Team | Carers Australia

  • Laptop Grants

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    Laptop grants for high school students! Do you have students in your community that require a laptop for school but need financial support to make it happen?
    🙋 Yes, then read on.

    The Variety We Learn Grant, provides high school students living in financial hardship with a laptop to encourage their educational goals.

    Applications open Monday 25th July - Wednesday 24 August at 5pm.

    Can you please share our Variety We Learn Grant with your LGA through your newsletter, website or social media? Click here to forward this email to a colleague who looks after community communications in your council.

    This is a highly sought-after grant, we're reaching out to you early to give you the opportunity to share the information with your community to read the guidelines, and allow families to get their applications ready, and not miss out!


    The Variety We Learn Grant opens from the 25th July to the 24th of August at 5pm and supports families with children who attend full-time high school (years 7 -12) or tertiary education (TAFE or other educational institutions) throughout NSW and the ACT and are 18 years and under.

    When Lismore student Giaan was entering Year 10 and required a new laptop, she came to her mum with the only possible solution, she had no choice but to leave school and get a job.

    As a single mother, Wendy was struggling with mortgage repayments and household bills, a new laptop was out of reach.

    Giaan's was told about Variety's grants and applied for an education grant. Her application was successful and she was able to get a new laptop and continue her education goals.

    The We Learn Grant will provide a laptop and laptop sleeve that has been pre-selected. The laptop is an Acer TMB311-32, please click here for the brochure and all device specifications.

    Please share the information about the Variety We Learn Grant with your community and specifically kids and families that are in need of support. Together, we can ensure that all kids can stay connected.

    If you have any questions about how Variety might be able to support your school or students, please reach out to us.

    Applications open Monday 25th July - Wednesday 24 August at 5pm.



    Liz Gearing

    Head of Kids Support
    Variety - The Children's Charity NSW/ACT

    P.S. we are here to help kids aged 0 - 18 in a variety of ways (pun intended) if you would like to have a look at the full range of support Variety is currently offering please head to our website.

  • Karauh Hub 2022

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    The Karuah hub playgroup is run by the team at Firstchance and led by our specialist Early Childhood Intervention Educators, providing local families with:

    • A community-led, playgroup for 2 hours per week during school terms
    • A Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist to support children and families
    • Individual support to parents/carers

    Click Here to find out more additional information

  • NSW Government Services

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    NSW Government Services will be available At Tanilba Bay on the Tuesday the 23rd of August 2022 from 9:00am – 3:00pm

    Read this flyer to find out more information

  • Healthy Workplace Programs

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    Free Healthy Workplaces Program (facilitated by the Community Management Advisory Project & supported by DCJ funding) for TEI funded local services, commencing 10 Aug 2022.

    The program consists of four sessions.

    The first two sessions will be held via “Teams on Line” (Microsoft – MS Teams) from 10 am to 1 pm on 10 Aug 22.

    Click Here to find further details and requirements for the sessions

  • Intro to Peer Support

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    Find out about what peer support is, how it works and how you can be the best peer supporter!

    Click HERE for more information