Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin has urged far north coast businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness, productivity and safety to register for SafeWork NSW’s Mentor Program.

SafeWork will run the popular free program on the far north coast for the first time in 2018 and is calling for applications from local small businesses and experienced safety experts.

Mr Franklin said the Program was about helping businesses create new and innovative ways to tackle safety.

“It can be difficult for small business owners to find the time to step back from the day-to-day running of their business,” Mr Franklin said. 

“The Mentor Program is about helping small businesses find new solutions to work health and safety, workers compensation, and injury management challenges by pairing them with experienced safety experts. The mentors can suggest innovative solutions to common safety issues which can improve a small business’s competitiveness and productivity.

“I urge experienced safety experts and small businesses on the far north coast that want to create a safety culture at their workplace to apply for the 2018 far north coast Mentor Program.”

The Mentor Program involves a series of site visits, advisory sessions, and workshops. To qualify as a mentee, a business must be a sole trader or employ up to 20 full-time workers or equivalent.

Mentees are also eligible to apply for a $500 rebate after making a safety improvement in their workplace through SafeWork’s Small Business Rebate Program.

The Program is supported by the North Coast Safety Network, as well as Ballina, Murwillumbah, Lismore and Tweed Heads Business Chambers.

Mr Franklin said the far north coast had a strong record of safety leadership withAlstonville-based boat-building business, Sailfish Catamarans last month winning the Excellence in Workplace Health and Safety Culture – small businessaward at the 2017 SafeWork NSW Awards. 

“Sailfish Catamarans has proven itself to be a leader in work health and safety, not just on the far north coast but all of NSW,” he said.

“Next year’s winner could come from this program, so I encourage any small businesses with a commitment to a safe, healthy and productive workplace to apply for the Program.”

SafeWork NSW has produced a special YouTube video for local businesses interested in participating in the program which features interviews with owner of Ballina Concrete Pumping and former mentee, Narelle Besseling and Chair of the North Coast Safety Network, Adam Easton.

Applications for the 2018 far north coast Mentor Program close on 31 December 2017 with the Program to commence in early 2018.

For further information on the SafeWork NSW Far North Coast Mentor Program, visit or call 13 10 50. To view the Mentor Program You Tube video, visit: