West of the Range Tour
The Kyogle News February 03
Rhonda & I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a prosperous
2003 and trust that a joyous and relaxing festive season was had by all.
West of the Range Tour
I will be conducting interviews West of the Range on Wednesday 12 February at
Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo, Urbenville, Legume, Woodenbong, Grevillia and Wiangaree.
Anyone wishing to meet with me, please contact me office for further details.
I wish to advise that I recently launched my new website. The address is
www.thomasgeorge.com.au. The site obtains copies of press releases and newspaper
articles, such as this, Parliament speeches, an online survey and much more. I
trust the constituents of the Lismore Electorate will find this to be a useful
resource. Any feedback on this site would be welcome.
Australia Day - West of the Range
Once again I was pleased to attend and participate in the Australia Day
activities held in Bonalbo. This was a great opportunity join with the community
and celebrate. I believe Australia Day provides an opportunity to highlight and
recognise achievements of individuals and organisations. It is also an occasion
to reflect and appreciate our wonderful country; Australia.
I had the opportunity last week to be part of a National Party tour of the
drought-affected areas of western NSW. During the weeklong expedition we visited
Orange, Dubbo, Moree, Walgett, Bourke, Cobar, Hay and many places in between.
This was an excellent chance to see first-hand the devastation to these rural
areas and speak with Councils, Rural Land Protection Boards, farmers and
business people. This trip confirmed my biggest fear that within weeks we will
run out of surface and usable water for stock and domestic use.
The Coalition recently announced that should it win government in NSW it would
give hospitals back to their communities by appointing local and district
Hospitals Boards. The Coalition will abolish the current 17 Area Health Service
Boards and replace them with local boards that would be far more knowledgeable
of local needs. Administration and jobs within each area health service will
remain in place to service the local and district hospital boards, instead of
one all powerful area health service board. Within the Lismore electorate, a
Hospital Board would operate for Lismore Base Hospital and Clarence-Richmond
(comprising of Bonalbo, Casino, Kyogle, Nimbin & Urbenville). A Coalition
Government would call for nominations for the Boards by advertising in local
areas. It would be a condition that being appointed to a Board would be
honorary. Local community representatives with links to non-government
organisations and expertise in financial, legal or other relevant fields would
A Liberal/National Coalition Government will usher in a new era of water
management which is more inclusive, equitable and scientifically rigorous. Key
elements of the policy include;
Delivering a comprehensive water property right;
Respecting the recommendations of local stakeholders;
Basing future reform on sound science;
Transparently assessing the environmental, economic and social impacts of
Government policies before they are implemented; and
Delivering appropriate structural adjustment assistance where future water
We will also:
Work with local stakeholders to develop regional solutions to water
management, based on a whole of catchment assessment;
Develop structural adjustment packages to manage the negative effects of
proposed water reforms, based on the socio-economic impact assessments;
Explore system savings and market-based schemes as an alternative to future
Increase the effective representation of water users on Water Management
Committees by limiting voting rights to community representatives and ensuring
that community representatives live in the area to which plans apply;
Refocus the Department of Land and Water Conservation to one of advice and
assistance rather than the policing role forced upon it by Labor.
I was pleased to be advised recently of funding made available under the School
Maintenance Program 2002/03. This work was due to commence during the summer
holidays. Some local schools to benefit are:
Bonalbo Central $11,000 fir grounds erosion and to repair trip hazards
Kyogle Public $61,000 for a retaining wall