2004/2005 State Budget

The Kyogle News July 04

This month the Carr Government handed down another State Budget that again disappointingly had very little for our electorate. Parliament is in recess now until 31 August.

2004/2005 State Budget

It was hoped the recent State Budget would have provided the Labor Government with the opportunity to reverse its decision to close the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail line, the closure of Business Enterprise Centres as well as the vendor/land tax charges. Whilst I am pleased to see confirmation of funds for the rebuilding of Richmond Clinic, $4m to conclude works at Kyogle Hospital, funds for the Wiangaree Bridge project, as well as a mention of new works for Lismore in the overall TAFE allocation, there is not a significant recognition of the funds being ripped from our area. There are indications that other minor works/projects may be covered however more specific details will be available in the coming weeks, when portfolio analysis' are provided to Members.

Primex 2004

With the 20th Anniversary celebrations this year, I had the honour of presenting a NSW Premier's Community Service Award to Mr John Wright of Exhibition Marketing. Primex 2004 excelled expectations with many visitors relishing in the wonderful exhibits and popular attractions.

"Country Week"

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Country Week campaign earlier in the year. I am very supportive of the "Country Week" campaign as it aims to get metropolitan industries, companies and individuals to consider a new life in country areas of the State. I encourage everyone from local Councils, businesses and community organisations to get behind the initiative. There are so many opportunities for this campaign to focus the minds of metropolitan residents and business on life outside the city has the potential to help stem one of the most pressing issues facing the nation - the population drift from the country to the city. The three-day "Country Week" Expo will be held at the Homebush Exhibition Centre on August 13, 14, and 15. I also encourage people to visit the Country Week website at: www.countrynsw.com.au.

Local Business Enterprise Centres Lost

The Carr Government has delivered a slap in the face for small businesses in rural and regional NSW this week, with the announcement that 50 Business Enterprise Centres (BEC) would be replaced by 18 centralised offices. This is another serious blow for local communities. The local offices at Casino and Lismore have very specialised infrastructure in place to meet the needs of our own local community and provide the FREE Business Advisory Services. With this successful infrastructure in place - a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills and experience is tied up with our local BEC's and their staff. The BEC is a catalyst for community based projects that are responsive to communities needs, it is the first port of call for information to a large number of community organisations and an effective referral point. This announcement is a result of the Carr Labor Government slashing the NSW Regional Development Budget to the tune of $2.5 million dollars next year and further cuts thereafter. Loss of these offices will impact greatly on our local business sector.

Primary Industries Petition

I wish to advise constituents of a petition calling on the NSW Labor Government to back off from any plans to cut key front line services, research and development capacity and field staff when the new Department of Primary Industries is formed on July 1, 2004. This petition outlines the concerns that Labor's decision to curt $37 million from the next two years' Department of Primary Industries budget (rising to $58 million in 2007/2008) is likely to result in the loss of important services and jobs throughout regional NSW. Petitions will be asking the Legislative Council to support Primary Producers by opposing any cuts to key field staff, front line services and research and development capacity. Contact my office to receive a copy of the petition.

Vendor Tax - Officials Admit Flaws

Treasury e-mails obtained by the NSW Opposition reveal the Government's controversial vendor tax was developed on the run with little idea of how it would be implemented. The e-mails between Treasury officials show Treasury staff were concerned about a number of flaws in the legislation. The emails also confirm that on the eve of the bill introducing the tax, Treasury staff discussed huge flaws in drafting the legislation including:
The date from which the tax applied being uncertain, and a proposed date of 1 June included in the Budget being removed by the Treasurer himself; The bill inadvertently allowing people who buy off the plan to on-sell their entitlement free of Vendor Duty; and Failure to import age limitations from recipients of the Commonwealth First Home Owners Grant Scheme (FHOGS) into the First Home Plus scheme as they were supposed to.

Board Trust Members

Applications are being sought for appointment as Trust Board members of the Bonalbo Showground Trust and the Wyrallah Flood Refuge Reserve Trust and Eden Creek Public Recreation & Public Hall Reserve Trust. Term of appointment is for a period of five years with application forms available from and to be lodged with the Department of Lands. As various closing dates apply, please contact the Department direct on Ph 6640 2061.

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