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.

Workers Compensation

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.

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