“The Queen is Dead. God Save the King.”

As the end of 2022 approaches Australia is emerging from nearly three years of COVID-19 pandemic, a period which placed  the healthcare profession generally under significant siege. Long hours with few breaks for holidays in an environment severely constrained by the medical regulations of COVID-19 containment affected both patients and doctors well being and the impacts are still being felt. 

The long years of partial indexation of GP rebates and increased expectations from patients and governments is starting to bite. Many older GPs say they have had enough and are going to retire in the near future, while new graduates are no longer attracted to general practice, believing  the demands and expectations are unsustainable and the specialty has been generally devalued and deskilled.

The GP drought will hit hardest in rural and regional areas. The chief executive of the NSW Rural Doctors Network, Richard Colbran has said that, “For every general practitioner that leaves the workforce there will need to be three to replace them to keep up with demand. After COVID-19, floods and bushfires, GPs have never felt a time when the system is in such a perilous state. They are exhausted.”

The Australian government has a fiduciary duty to the nation. It aims to deliver the highest quality and number of medical services at the lowest price. All political parties espouse this principle. For nearly 40 years the government has progressively reduced the proportion of fee for service it will reimburse.

Love for one Night

NORPA production at the Eltham Pub, September 2022


Thank you NORPA for presenting the Lismore district with a theatrical allegory of our story of the last three  years. The well orchestrated.concept of the production began with the audience enjoying a pub meal, followed by a staged theatre production. Groups of friends had gathered around tables at the Eltham Pub, catching up over a meal and a drink or two. Almost seamlessly, performers occupied their own tables and began performing their stories. The hotel itself was the stage upon which stories of love for one night were told. The stories moved between the different sets which were the bar, beer garden and the accomodation rooms on the top floor, as lost love was rekindled and new love found.

It was an inspired concept and worked a treat. At times you were not sure whether you were watching a cast member or just a random punter going for a beer.

The “love stories'' were a mixture of love in all its forms. They ranged from old lovers once spurned, meeting and finding love again, to the unconditional love a parent has for a child which knows no chronological end point. The mother’s voice enquiring of her adult son “so they’ve let you out of rehab for a day trip to Byron'' was said more with hope than ignorance of the inevitable response.


A Southern Cross University led survey will seek the views of flood and landslide-affected Northern Rivers residents about the most effective response and recovery efforts.
The findings will inform the development of improved support systems and policy, with a particular focus on community-led recovery efforts.

The final report can also provide learnings to support increased community resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of natural disasters, according to Dr Hanabeth Luke, the project leader.

Southern Cross has partnered with formal and informal community hubs and recovery centres, including Wardell CORE, Resilient Lismore and the Woodburn Recovery Centre all of which have been an integral part of the response to the Northern Rivers flood events.

Photo: David Lowe - Cloudcatcher Media

NSW Premier promises to ‘rebuild and retrain’ communities for a safer future.

In the corporate world the month of August is known as “reporting season”, the time when companies announce the results of their previous financial year’s trading. August 2022 has earned a special claim to the title through the release of several high-level government reports on diverse matters.

One, reported elsewhere in this magazine, was the report of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

 Another, of particular interest to residents of the Northern Rivers, is the report of the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council (LegCo) Select Committee on The Response to Major Flooding Across New South Wales In 2022. 

Lismore flood 2022 - watercolour pigment with acrylic binder on canvas

Well-known artist Geoff Harvey looked no further than the flooded city of Lismore as inspiration for his entry to this year’s prestigious Wynne Prize, awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture. 

The dramatic work made the final cut – 34 selected from 601 submissions - but in the end was not judged the winner.

Geoff said, ‘I painted this image of the recent floods to help me come to terms with what had just happened to Lismore. My own house was washed away in the surging floodwaters and completely destroyed. Fortunately, no one was hurt as it was vacant at the time.