Echo 2 December 99
The NSW Legislative Assembly has effectively risen for the year 1999, apart
from the odd unexpected day. Parliament is not expected to resume until April 2000.
Farewell to Year 12 of 1999
Local towns have been entertained by the glitz and glamour associated with the
annual graduation ceremonies. Rhonda and I have been fortunate and proud to attend a
number of graduation evenings, which have been a tribute to the young generation of today
and our leaders of tomorrow. The obvious pride and admiration of parents witnessing their children's
graduation, after a lifetime of academic endeavours, is wonderful to share.
Whilst I do not condone strikes, I am pleased the latest advice to hand is that the
Industrial Relations Commission has decided that compulsory conciliation must be entered
into to resolve the dispute. The Coalition welcomes the move, but the Government must enter into
this process in good faith, which they have not done to date.
Distance Education Fee Increase
After contacting the local independent schools in my electorate, I am alarmed at the Carr
Government's blatant disregard and respect for students and their study. Such exorbitant
fee increases from approx. $44 to $800 for each subject in Years 11 and 12 can not be absorbed by rural
families. The Distance Education program attempted to bridge the gap between education levels
enabling many country students access to study subjects such as languages, music, engineering
science (to name a few) not normally offered in country schools. I am very concerned
about the lack of notice for students who have already chosen subjects determined by
future career paths.
Work Experience - Insurance
An interesting matter brought to my attention recently involved a constituent wishing to
gain voluntary work experience with local businesses for their child. Local businesses were only
too happy to offer this essential on-the-job experience, but were concerned regarding personal
accident insurance. Most businesses and private individuals have been lead to believe that there
is no such policy. Premiums for "personal accident insurance for voluntary work experience" is dependent
upon individual requirements. Further information is available to interested persons by contacting
Heroin Injecting Room Trial
Passed by Parliament recently was the Carr Government's legislation allowing the establishment
of a taxpayer funded heroin injecting room. The Coalition's position on drug law reform was made
clear from day one. The National Party believes a greater emphasis and funding for detoxification,
rehabilitation and youth prevention programs, including job creation would serve society far better.
Tax On Farms
I realise this is a Federal matter, however, I believe the Ralph Committee Report will prove a
considerable disadvantage to the farming and hobby farming sector. I hope none of these proposals are
adopted, as small hobby farms are a vital part of our local economies. In many ways, hobby farms
are establishing a new industry as evidenced by the growing attendance at the Primex and Farmarama field
days as well as the growing component of small farm industries at local shows. There is a need to
acknowledge that small or hobby farms are a significant industry nowadays with considerable potential
for innovation and productivity gains.