Removing Red Tape

The Weekly 13 August 2006

Removing Red Tape

I recently met with Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce President, Phil Youngblutt who expressed on behalf of the Chamber the concerns of the business community regarding red tape, charges and taxes imposed by Government.

As a former business person, I do realise one of the biggest challenges facing our local small businesses is red tape. Many small business owners are spending valuable family time complying with State Government regulation and paper work. This not only impacts on individual business, but also drags down the State economy overall.

The NSW Liberal/Nationals last week released a six point plan to reduce red-tape. These include practical ideas such as; Exempting employers from paying the cost of WorkCover premiums for apprenticeships
Eliminating payroll tax for more than 4,500 NSW businesses
Introducing a `One-on, One-off' approach to Government regulation
Tying the Agency CEO's remuneration to reducing regulation and red tape
Cutting the existing burden and cost of regulation by 5 per cent each year for the first term
Making a Minister directly responsible for reducing regulation and red tape

Submissions Needed from Local Private Native Forestry Landholders

After attending a meeting recently regarding proposed changes to NSW's private native forestry industry, I have confirmed my concerns about the State Governments proposals and failure to consult with stakeholders. This areas landholders have been given only until 22 August 2006 to respond to the State Government's Draft Code of Practice for Private Native Forestry.

If the Draft Code were implemented as it stands, it is estimated that well over 1 million hectares of private land will be placed into reserve and Timber Communities Australia calculate that assets worth $2.5 million will be stripped from private landowners.

The Far North Coast sawmills alone use an estimated 267,000 metres of sawlogs from private native forests. These mills employ 476 people and return and estimated $125 million to our communities.

To date, no regional impact statements, either social or economic, have been done on this Draft Code of Practice and many people are not even aware the Code is in the public arena. More than 1.3 million hectares of State Forests has been turned into National Park and now the Government is wishing to lock up private land.

The Government has already invested million of dollars under a Forestry Industry Structural Adjustment package to assist saw millers to continue in the industry following the withdrawal of resources from State Forests. The proposed Draft Code of Practice will mean that many of the mills remaining will go out of business because they are relying heavily on private property resource as a result of Government policy. It is therefore vital that affected stakeholders make a submission before the closing date.

My office also has a Petition calling on the Minister for Natural Resources to; review the conditions of the Code, consult appropriately with stakeholders, include an analysis of the social and economic benefit of the Code and finalise the review by 1 December 2006. Copies of the Petition are available on request.

Information on Australian Honours

I recently received a copy of the `It's An Honour' newsletter which provides information about Australia's Honours awards. Of note is the introduction of a new honours website www.itsanhonour.gov.au containing A-Z Fact Sheets on Australian Awards, profiles of honoured Australians, a calendar of events and a search facility to provide users with access to records of honours recipients since 1975. Copies of the `It's An Honour' newsletter are available from my office.

Safe Food Practices for Charities, Community Groups and Volunteers

The NSW Food Authority has released a Fact Sheet to assist Charities, Community Groups and Volunteers who provide or sell food for charitable services. This can include things like providing food free of charge during emergencies, or selling food at a fete.

The Fact Sheet clarifies circumstances under which food handlers should receive training or notify the NSW Food Authority of their activities. Food handlers only require training if they handle foods that could potentially pose a health risk such as; a large amount of a meat-based food that will be stored and transported, ready to eat foods such as raw shellfish, or dairy or egg-based desserts.

Organisations selling food for a community or charitable purpose only needs to notify the NSW Food Authority if they are selling potentially hazardous food, or food that is not thoroughly cooked immediately prior to consumption. The Fact Sheet is available from my office or on the Internet at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au.

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