Struggling with New Year resolutions

AUSSIES are struggling with New Year resolutions, as 28% won’t maintain them beyond January, reveals research from MyFitnessPal. While 70% aimed for healthier lifestyles, including improved sleep, wellbeing, and eating habits, many have abandoned their goals. MyFitnessPal ambassador Luke Hines suggests breaking down resolutions into smaller, achievable steps. Psychologist Leanne Hall advises framing goals as habits for better adherence. 

Forum addresses growing road toll

ON February 22, the NSW Government will host a historic road safety forum, bringing together international and Australian experts, stakeholders, and advocates to address rising road fatalities. Focused on learning from Scandinavian success in reducing road deaths, the forum aims to tackle the increased toll post-COVID-19. With a third of the NSW population in regional areas, two-thirds of fatalities occur there. The Minns Labor Government, active in road safety measures, invites opposition and crossbench members to collaborate in finding effective solutions for reducing road fatalities.

Pharmacy prescribing trial expands

STARTING in 2024, the NSW Government’s pharmacy prescribing trial expands access to prescription medicines for specific skin conditions. Participating pharmacists can provide certain medications without a prescription after a consultation. The trial aims to ease the burden on general practitioners. From late March, pending ethics approval, impetigo and shingles treatments will be included. The initiative, which began with urinary tract infection treatment, has expanded to over 1,100 pharmacies. The skin condition treatment segment of the trial will run for 12 months, benefiting patients and improving timely access to care. More details are available on the NSW Health website.

Most popular baby names 

IN 2023, Isla has been preliminarily declared the most popular girl’s name, tied with 2020 favorite Amelia. Oliver returns to the top spot for boys after a one-year break, having dominated for eight consecutive years until 2022. Charlotte drops to fifth place from last year’s first. Lily reemerges in seventh place, last seen in the top 10 in 2010. New additions include Leo, Henry, Luca, and Hudson. The final rankings will be confirmed in April, with registrations yet to be accounted for. Parents must register births within 60 days for legal identity access to government services.

Support for community events

THE NSW Government’s Open Streets program encourages councils to organize more community events by providing up to $150,000 for street closures. Aimed at easing cost-of-living pressures, the initiative supports free and safe cultural events such as markets, performances, dining, and street parties. Part of the $15M Vibrant Streets package, it aligns with Vibrancy reforms that simplify the event approval process without requiring a Development Application, significantly reducing associated costs. Applications are open from January 29, and funded events must occur by January 2025. Visit the Vibrant Streets Package website for details.

Taxi fare hotline hots up

SINCE the NSW Government mandated Taxi Fare Hotline stickers on all vehicles in September 2023, there has been a notable increase in refunds for passengers receiving unfair taxi fares. From November to January, there were 679 calls and 874 QR code scans compared to 473 and 97 in the previous year. Taxi companies issued 528 refunds in the last five months, comprising over half of all refunds since the hotline’s inception in November 2022. In the 2022-23 financial year, more than 68 million point-to-point trips were recorded in NSW, with 892 refunds issued since the Taxi Fare Hotline launch.

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