Local News

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Arts and Regional Youth, Ben Franklin (L), toured the Clarence Valley last week with Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and visited several locations including the Grafton Regional Gallery. Also pictured is Grafton Regional Gallery Director Niomi Sands. Image: Contributed

Minister tours the Clarence Valley

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis welcomed the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Arts and Regional Youth, Ben Franklin to the Clarence Valley last week as he toured the region to see and hear firsthand accounts of the positive initiatives key community organisations are implementing to support residents.

After visiting Acmena Juvenile Justice Centre, the Minister met with youth leaders at the New School of Arts Neighbourhood Centre in South Grafton and spoke with them about the grassroots programs they are rolling out to engage and support young people.

One of these programs is Changing Lanes, Changing Lives, a youth driven, community garage project which uses vehicles as tools to engage and mentor young people who feel disconnected or need support and guidance in a particular area of their lives.

Mr Franklin was also pleased to hear the team have just secured a new shed in South Grafton to run the program, providing a much larger meeting space.

The Minister also visited Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation and the First 2000 Days Child and Family Wellbeing hub at Gurehlgam in Grafton, which is a collaboration between the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD), Healthy North Coast through its primary health network program, Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation and Tresillian Family Care Centres.

Speaking with the Minster, Mr Gulaptis said the hub is a great example of local agencies working in partnership to allow Clarence Valley families to receive the best possible start to life.

The services available include antenatal classes, supported playgroups, parent groups, drop-in services, and various programs to help parents who may be experiencing challenges in the early years.

By bringing these services together under one roof, Clarence Valley families will be able to access a much broader range of support services to help them give their children the best start in life.

The hub is located at 18-26 Victoria Street, Grafton and open for drop-in visits between 9am – 1pm, Monday to Friday.

Families seeking support can also call 1800 316 410.

The Minister also visited the Grafton Regional Gallery so he could see firsthand the benefits of the NSW Government’s $7.6 million investment in the refurbished gallery.

The multi-million-dollar expansion a new, larger main gallery which is a piece of art in itself, new workshops and exhibition spaces, a new cafe and better storage to protect its valuable collections from flooding.

Mr Franklin said the tour of the Clarence Valley was his best regional tour to date, and he enjoyed the opportunities to meet and speak with locals.