Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Line

The Kyogle News June 04

Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Line

I hosted local Mayors Merv King, Charlie Cox and Warren Polglaze, as a last effort to save our train services in Sydney recently. We were disappointed with the outcome of our time with Minister Costa, who confirmed the last train would be Sunday 17 May. The Minister did assure us that the track will not be dismantled and the fight is not over yet. On the last sitting day before the cessation of the North Coast Rail service, I marked the historical occasion of the rails line's last train service, by informing the Legislative Assembly that it was a sad day for the people of the Lismore electorate. I recorded my appreciation of the efforts made by the whole Northern Rivers community to have the decision reversed. Political representatives of all persuasions, interest groups, community organisations, business representatives, Chamber of Commerces and many old and young, joined in the campaign to fight for the service. Sydney media outlets also lent tremendous support. I was further disappointed that in all debates and votes on this issue in Parliament, Mr Neville Newell, Member for Tweed was conspicuous by his absence, he decided not to use his voice and instead remained mute on this vital issue.

School Captains Visit

As part of a leadership program organised in conjunction with the Office of the Governor of NSW, the Department of Education and Non Government schools each year, school captains and leaders were recently invited to visit Parliament House. I was very pleased to host a morning tea for the leaders of five local schools that included Jennifer Hayward from Woodenbong Central, Krystell Oxenbridge and Patrick Moore from Bonalbo Central and Carissa Fadelli and Jack May from Kyogle High Schools. Additionally, the students were in the public gallery of the Legislative Assembly chamber, during my address and appreciation of those involved in fighting to save our trains. The students attended a full day of activities that consisted of a tour of Parliament House, followed by a visit to Government House to meet Her Excellency, the Governor, Ms Marie Bashir.

Justice of the Peace Reappointments

I have recently distributed a copy of advice received from the Attorney General's Department, in relation to requirements for reappointment as a Justice of the Peace (JP). It is appreciated that there are many JP's who have undertaken many years of continuous and dedicated services to the community, particularly in rural areas and villages. The Attorney General's advice states;
"The changes to the Justices of the Peace Act 2002, with the public register scheme, is supportive of members of the general public being appointed to assist the community at large. The requirement to demonstrate a community based need is not limited to a person's affiliation or involvement with a community or voluntary organisation and it is certainly not intended that a current Justice of the Peace should be involved in ongoing activities of a community organization to demonstrate a community based need. JP's who continue to provide Justice of the Peace services to the general community may establish a community based need by providing a letter from any community or voluntary organization that is aware of the person's availability as a Justice of the Peace. In such cases, a letter from the Principal of a local primary or secondary school, a local priest, a manager/director of a local business, attesting that a person is continuing to provide JP services to the community would also be sufficient."
This clarification may assist those long serving JP's contemplating the need for them to reapply.

Disabled Tax

It appears no one is safe from Bob Carr's 'tax grab' with people with disabilities the latest target of the 'tax and waste' Carr Government. Calls have been made on the Roads Minister to explain why the Carr Government has imposed a $30 charge on people with mobility disabilities for a scheme that has previously been free. This involves the imposition of a $30 charge for a new Mobility Parking Scheme card that will also require the cost of a visit to the doctor and which will need to be updated every three years. For years people with disabilities have been able to apply to the RTA for a card that they then display on their windscreen enabling them to park in allocated, reserved parking places. The only extra being offered by the Carr Government in return for the $30 fee is a photo identity pass to be displayed in the windscreen of vehicles that are using disability accessible parking spaces. The same photo ID permits are issued by the RTA, for only $10 to young people who want to prove their age in hotels. People with disabilities are being charged at least three times more than these photo identity passes cost to produce.

Safe Drivers Deserve to be Rewarded

I support my Shadow Minister Don Page in his called on the Government to introduce a system of rewarding good drivers with discounts on their license fees. Mr Page has stated that the time has come to consider a fresh approach to the issue of reducing driving related death and injury that discourages irresponsible driving and encourages and rewards safe, responsible driving. The World Health Day slogan is "Road Safety is no Accident" advocating that safe roads will only occur as a result of deliberate and conscious choices by all sectors of the community. Mr Page suggested Minister Scully should consider discounting license fees for motorists with 5 years of unblemished driving. The RTA Demerit Program along with the proliferation of speed cameras have gained widespread awareness, but there is a perception in the community that they are just revenue raising measures. Here is an opportunity for the State Government to contradict this revenue raising mentality and recognise and reward safe drivers. The current approach to modifying driver behaviour is a penalty-base approach. This suggestion is a new and innovative way to tackle the issue and would be basic positive reinforcement - rewarding safe, responsible driving.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email:

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.