Coalition To Amend Water Bill
Echo 23 November 00
Coalition To Amend Water Bill
The National/Liberal Parties have identified the amendments to the Carr
Labor Government's Water Management Bill in the Upper House. Water is the
critical element in this State's ongoing economic wealth - in NSW, agricultural
production from irrigation exceeds $2 billion a year. The Bill currently before
Parliament is an improvement on the draconian White Paper and the original Bill
laid on the table. In fact, the 160 amendments to the legislation have
incorporated many of the improvements suggested by the Coalition in its
submission. Improvements include a compensatable property right for changes or
compulsory acquisitions within the 10year Water Management Plan. Also retained
in the legislation are riparian rights (now called stock and domestic rights)
and harvestable rights. However, the improvements are outweighed by concerns
that hopefully will be addressed this week, with amendments in the Upper House.
Last week in Parliament the Coalition proposed certain amendments to the
Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2000. It was moved to expand the employee
component of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council to include non-union
members, to provide representation for 75% of workers who do not belong to a
union. The Coalition supports pro-choice membership in any organisation and
believes it is important that all workers are represented, not just union
members. The Labor Party also voted to block an important Coalition amendment
that would have protected the financial viability of many small and medium sized
country businesses who pay less than $50,000 per year for their workers'
compensation premiums. Amendments also included limitations that Workcover could
demand as a penalty for late payment. Currently the legislation allows Workcover
to recover double the original premium as a penalty for late payment.
Local Roads to Benefit
I am looking forward to hearing the full details of the Federal Government's
new rural local roads funding package that Deputy Prime Minister and Federal
National Party Leader, John Anderson, will announce in the next couple of weeks.
Given the Federal Government's stronger than expected budget performance, it has
decided to make long term investments in infrastructure, with local roads the
number one priority. Federal Member for Page, Ian Causley has been arguing long
and hard that the magnitude of the challenge faced by local government to
repair, maintain and upgrade local roads is simply beyond their capacity to pay
from their rates base.
Government Department Welcomed
I was pleased and welcome the opening of the Department of Urban Affairs and
Planning in Lismore. The State Government Department office has been set up to
focus and assist interested businesses to prosper at the Cellulose Valley
Technological Park. This action will help to restore community confidence and I
look forward to the opportunity of working closely with the Minister, his staff
and associated representatives.
2000 Premier's Christmas Concert
For any seniors who happen to be travelling or planing a visit to Sydney, I
have been allocated tickets the Premier's Christmas Concert performance on
Monday 11 December at 3pm. Tickets and further details can be obtained upon
request from my office.
Healthy Rivers Commission
The Commission has released an Issues Paper which includes propositions to
address the major matters affecting coastal lakes. Written submissions can be
sent to the Health Rivers Commission, Level 18, 15 Castlereagh Street Sydney by
13 December 2000. Further information including copies of the Issues Paper can
be obtained by contacting 1800 818 369.