Better Business February/March 03
As my first term draws to a close it has been a privilege to represent the
people of the Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle local government areas in the
Parliament of NSW.
Regional Development as it has come to be called, embodies the twin principles
of equity of access for rural communities in terms of government services such
as health and aged care, educational opportunity, policing and neighbourhood
safety and in infrastructure expenditure such as roads, water and sewerage and
water conservation. I am firmly committed to this imperative. Rural regional
areas have lagged behind and as your representative I need to continue to make
positive representations on your behalf.
The current Government has embarked on a massive national parks estate, which
has almost doubled over the last decade. Unfortunately the resources to manage
feral animals, noxious plants and bushfires have not followed. I remain fearful
of the consequences of adopting a radical agenda where even more national parks
and reservations threatens the viability of jobs and even the survival of our
smaller towns. Surely there is a moderate path where the community's desire for
environmental responsibility and sustainability can be balanced with the
employment and social impacts created.
In natural resource management, the current Government must realise that
draconian measures such as the Native Vegetation Act, the Water Management Act
and the 34 other Acts that intervene in rural pursuits must be rationalised and
integrated. Local stakeholders need to be re-empowered to make local decisions
and therefore the various committees in this field must be restructured to
achieve cooperation and more balanced outcomes.
Simply we need government departments to be supportive of people in their
business activities rather than hinder their future.
I see the future of this region as playing a role in decentralisation and
regional development. A continuing and enhanced future in tourism and a strong
future in agricultural based and value adding industries. The three Councils are
in a good position to embrace this opportunity with help from a committed
government with a vision for the future.
But all of this must be supported with a government commitment to providing
doctors and other medical professionals including nurses, teachers and
educational resources, a reinstated police strength and sufficient funding so
that roads like the Bruxner Highway, Summerland Way, the Legume-Woodenbong Road
and others are maintained and enhanced to provide vital links to our needs.
I trust that you will provide me with the opportunity to continue to represent
and reinforce your needs whilst at the same time promote the positives of the
Electorate of Lismore.