The Kyogle News September 04
I had the pleasure of attending a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, John
Anderson, Richmond MP, Larry and Page MP, Ian Causley ensuring funding
arrangements for the reinstatement of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line were
in the best interests of local communities. The roundtable meeting at the Tweed
Shire Chambers with local Mayors and State Parliamentarians from the North Coast
was to discuss the Commonwealth's commitment to the line and canvas the way
ahead for trains on the branch line. The Australian Government had offered $15
million on the table to immediately get the train running and a further $15
million next year but would negotiate future funding with the NSW Transport
Minister with realistic futures and operational plans. I want to see the rail
workers keep their jobs and a train running on the line as soon as possible - we
do not want to wait until the election. At the end of the day this is a State
responsibility and Minister Costa closed the line. Now that the Federal
Government has made this promise, I call on and challenge Minister Costa to
immediately reinstate our service from Casino to Murwillumbah immediately.
Seniors Week 2005
"The Best Time for Ages!" is the theme for 2005 Seniors Week program with the
aim of the program to assist the development and/or organization of local
Seniors Week Projects and activities which is held between 13 and 30 March next
year. Copies of application forms and accompanying funding application handbooks
are available from my office. Following Seniors Week 2004, DADHC undertook a
review of the Seniors Week Grants Program in consultation with key stakeholders
including Local Government, Peak Ageing Bodies and the Premier's Department.
This review recommended that the following changes be implemented. In 2005,
there will be two funding categories available in the Seniors Week Grants
Up to $500 - applicants may apply for any amount up to $500; this does not
need to be matched.
$1,000 - this is a set amount and must be matched in cash or in-kind.
Applications will close at 5pm on 24 September 2004, with all applicants
informed of a decision in early December 2004.
Farewells Parish Priests
I was pleased to attend an appreciation afternoon for Fr Hackett's contribution
to the Catholic Community in Casino. Also Fr Jim Griffin was farewelled by the
Kyogle Community. Father Jim and Father Rex have been supportive of the
ecumenical communities at large in their respective parishes and both will be
missed by the whole communities and I wish them well in their new appointments.
The opening of Country Week was held last week in Sydney over three days at
Olympic Park. It is a promotion designed to highlight the many opportunities
available to Sydney businesses and residents by relocating to rural and regional
NSW. Numerous North Coast Councils were represented at the Expo, all selling the
message that rural and regional NSW is a fantastic place to invest, live and
work. Sadly the Northern Rivers area was not represented. This campaign has the
potential to help stem the population drift from the country to the city. The
County Week concept was part of The Nationals' regional development policy at
the last election. As part of this launch, the Nationals hosted a BBQ in Sydney
showcasing country produce, including products from the Lismore Electorate, to
mark the beginning of Country Week. My contribution from the Lismore Electorate
was Premium Beef from Casino. Other produce on offer included Macadamia nuts and
coffee from the Ballina and Byron Bay areas and Clarence River Fishing
Co-operative Prawns from Clarence.
Kyogle and Casino to Lismore Bus Service
Kirklands buslines in conjunction with Northern Rivers Community Transport have
added another benefit to the standard Friday bus run from Kyogle to Lismore via
Casino. Elderly residents of Kyogle or people with a disability, will be able to
be picked up from their home if needed and dropped off at selected destinations
in Lismore eg Hospitals, doctor's surgery etc.
I have made representations to the Minister for Natural Resources (Lands), The
Hon Tony Kelly and currently awaiting a response in this regard. Any
constituents, who wish to receive information following these approaches, should
contact my office.
By now you would have read about the draft plan for the new electoral boundaries
where Casino may be transferred into the Clarence electorate. Naturally I was
very disappointed and surprised that Casino was not maintained in the seat of
Lismore. Casino has a strong affiliation with Lismore.