State Budget

Echo 25 May 00

State Budget

The NSW Budget was a disappointment to the Lismore Electorate and regional NSW. Continued recognition in receiving the balance of funding of $1.9M for the Lismore Drug & Alcohol Detoxification facility was a positive. Of further concern, is the uncertainty surrounding the additional funding, as promised in April, by Minister Craig Knowles. Frontline services have never been under more pressure with hospital waiting lists blown-out, overnight care and rehabilitation becoming vulnerable.
The First Home Plus Scheme should encourage first home purchases and also assist in stimulating the housing industry. This scheme will operate in addition to the new Federal First Home Owner Grant Scheme. It involves full or partial exemptions on conveyance and mortgage duty for first home or land buyers in NSW for contracts signed on or after 1 July 2000.

Dairy Industry

The release of indicative prices dairy farmers will receive for milk post deregulation is far less than expected. As a result, the toll of full deregulation on dairy farmers and dairy communities will be much greater. The lower than expected prices make it imperative that the Carr Government provides a State-based assistance package to help alleviate the impacts of deregulation. The Carr Labor Government is contributing zero to assisting dairy producers. The NSW National Party has proposed a State-based Dairy Industry Adjustment Package at least equivalent to the $80 million provided by the Carr Government to the forest industry. They will move an amendment in Parliament for a State-based Dairy Industry Adjustment Package to provide financial assistance to producers so they can continue to farm and contribute to their local economies. The NSW National Party believes the Carr Labor Government has a moral duty to ensure that this State's dairy farmers are given adequate financial assistance to cope with the impact of a substantially reduced farm gate price. A price support scheme is required in NSW to help keep producers in production and the Nationals will continue to stress the necessity of the package to avoid massive social dislocation.

Free Needles for Diabetics

From 1 June 2000 Diabetics will be able to receive free needles. This has always been an inequity that heroin users were provided a free needle exchange whilst diabetics had to pay for needles. This was a part of the Coalition's policy and I am pleased that the politics of the matter has been overcome and finally sense has prevailed for the health and betterment of the diabetic community as a whole.

Farm Safety

Farming is officially the most dangerous profession in the State. Recent figures from Workcover show that in one year alone the agriculture sector claimed 16 lives and was 328 other farmers permanently disabled across the State. These figures are alarming and the Carr Government must undertake measures such as a farm safety and awareness campaign to arrest the death and injury rate. It was interesting to see Country Labor issue a press release recently saying they would make representations on this issue - to who I ask? Country Labor is part of the Carr Government, they should instead be announcing and implementing solutions and not making representations.

4WD Access

It has come to my attention that five or six years ago there was 10,000 kms of 4WD tracks in our National Parks, State Forest and Crown Lands. Nowadays a figure closer to 3,000 kms is the reality. I think the Carr Government has been over-zealous in locking people out of our recreational areas; perhaps on philosophical grounds, perhaps on environmental grounds. The net result is that genuine recreational 4WD owners are shut out of our parks with extraordinary pressure being placed on the tracks that are still available. In contrast to this, I believe there are some excellent private facilities that cater for 4WD enthusiasts.

Olympics

The recent unveiling and the official handover of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay Cauldron to the City of Lismore was momentous. Our own Olympic legend, Sue Anderson speaking of her Olympic experiences was inspiring to many of the local torchbearers.

Trust Board Vacancies

Vacancies have occurred on the following Boards: The Channon Public Hall Reserve Trust, Dunoon Public Recreation Reserve Trust and Toonumbar Public Recreation Reserve Trust. Expressions of interest are being called for and anyone wanting further details can contact my office.

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