Rural Education

The Kyogle News November 02

The 2002 Parliamentary session is drawing to a close and debate will be suspended until after the 2003 State Election next year. Many issues still remain unresolved; particularly the status and implementation of Native Vegetation Management Plans, an Exceptional Circumstances Application for drought assistance and the need to change legislation to facilitate mobile coverage in the Bonalbo area.

Rural Education

A NSW Coalition Government will establish a Rural Education Taskforce to review the effectiveness of existing programs aimed at overcoming the pressures faced by teachers and students in non-metropolitan areas. Comprising representatives of teachers, principals and parents from rural schools it will be asked to report on the effectiveness of existing programs and ways they can be improved. This proposal is consistent with the Coalition's view of ensuring that education resources are concentrated where they are most needed - in the State's classrooms. Teachers, students and parents report that a number of existing programs designed to assist in overcoming the types of difficulties faced by rural schools actually miss their mark. Instead of helping teachers and students, many of them end up imposing additional, unnecessary bureaucratic loads upon rural school communities. Others seem to fail to deliver the benefits promised. Every effort needs to be made to ensure that programs designed to improve rural education meet that goal. This Taskforce is an important step in helping that to occur.

Rainwater Tank Rebates

The NSW Liberal/National Coalition has announced that, in Government, it will provide a rebate for the installation of rainwater tanks in country areas of NSW. Residents of Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra (ie the Sydney Water area) are currently provided with a rebate when they install a rainwater tank. Sydney Labor has excluded country residents from this scheme. The Coalition believes that rainwater tanks allow water resources to be utilised more effectively and take pressure off existing water storages. Rainwater tanks will also ensure better utilisation of water once the drought breaks and will allow water supplies in country areas to last longer during extended dry periods. Sydney's water storage is above 65 per cent, and no compulsory water restrictions have been implemented. From 1 July 2003, a Coalition Government will provide rebates to households and businesses in country NSW for the installation of rainwater tanks which increase domestic rainwater storage capacity.

Asthma Friendly Schools Project

I recently joined with the Hon Michael Lee, Asthma Friendly Schools ambassador for the Asthma Foundation of NSW to register St Carthage's School in the project. The guidelines folder and education program curriculum was presented during a special school assembly. An opportunity exists, thanks to the support of Country Energy, for all schools to register and participate in the asthama emergency training sessions taking place over the next couple of weeks. To find out more about the project or to enrol your school, contact Rebecca Stephenson, Program Coordinator, Asthma NSW on (02) 9906 3233 or via email at rstephenson@asthmansw.org.au.

Noxious Weeds

$278,682 has been allocated to the Lismore Electorate for local council authorities; Far North Coast County Council and Tenterfield Shire Council, to assist in noxious weed control for 2002-03. Funding of $195,000 was also provided to the North Coast Noxious Weeds Advisory Committee for regional group project and these committees involve groups of local control authorities.

2002 Premier's Christmas Concert

I am pleased to advise that tickets are available to 2002 Seniors for the Premier's Christmas Concert in Sydney for the performance on Wednesday 11 December at 3pm. Enquiries and tickets can be requested upon contacting my office.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577