Savings For Councils Up To $50,000

Echo 12 July 01

Interview days: Casino Tuesday 7 August, Kyogle Monday 13 August and West of the Range Thursday 16 August. For appointment times and enquiries please contact my electorate office on 6621 3624.

Savings For Councils Up To $50,000

Under previous natural disaster assistance guidelines any local government authority submitting a claim had to contribute $25,000 each time a natural disaster was declared. Councils had to contribute this amount as part of the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements for repairs to public infrastructure and roads damaged in storms and floods. Following my representations Emergency Services Minister, The Hon Bob Debus announced in the last week of Parliament that local council's liability would be limited to a one off payment of $25,000. This news meant Richmond Valley Council would save $50,000 and both Lismore City Council and Kyogle Shire Council saved $25, 000 each. In accordance with the one off relief measure and in recognition of the severity of the disasters that struck the Lismore electorate between January and March this year, approval has been given to limit the amount to $25,000 for each affected council, regardless of how many natural disasters strike. Of further local importance is the extension of relief to cover public roads on Crown lands that are not maintained by Councils. This will ensure that some rural and regional residents whose access to their properties are affected by future floods and other emergencies, will now qualify for assistance to have the access repaired.

2001 State Economic Conference

Lismore has been provided with a great opportunity to showcase the varied and numerous economic prospects of this area when it hosts the 2001 Community Economic Development Conference. The Conference will be held from 9 to 11 September 2001, with a number of field trips planned to exhibit local products and services. The conference attracts approximately 200 delegates from all over the State. Networks are forged and contracts are made at these conventions. Such focus and activity in this region, coupled with the Northern Rivers Herb Festival and the Rainbow Masters Games, provides Lismore with real opportunities to emphasise the viable potential of the North Coast.

Calls For Speed Zones To Be Examined

I was able to raise an important electorate issue of speed zones particularly around rural schools, in Parliament recently. A number of schools in my electorate have brought to my attention its concerns for student and community safety outside the school perimeters. All urban schools enjoy the protection of the reduced speed zones to 40 kph, however, rural schools have higher speed zones surrounding the area and currently many are not guarded with this lower speed restriction. Local schools witness traffic passing the grounds every day at speeds, which are not acceptable. Aggravating the situation further is the fact that most outer lying rural schools are approached by bad corners, which greatly restrict road vision. I called on the Minister for Roads, The Hon Carl Scully to give more latitude to the Roads and Traffic Authority in reducing speed zones and addressing these problems in the future.

Coalition Delivers For Councils (again)

Amendments to legislation that will enable the transfer of jurisdiction of parking patrol officers from the Police Service to local government authorities is a revenue boost for smaller Councils in NSW. These changes will mean smaller Councils across the State will now be able to retain all revenue generated by parking fines and infringement notices, allowing cost recovery in return for employment of parking officers.

Chikarovski visit

The Hon Kerry Chikarovski, NSW Leader of the Opposition, is currently touring the North Coast. I will be taking Mrs Chikarovski to the Northern Co-operative Meat Company to again reinforce issues facing the industry, in particular workers compensation and payroll tax.

Workers Compensation

The controversial Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2001 (No. 2) has passed through both Houses of the NSW Parliament. The NSW Coalition proposed specific amendments to the Bill to provide for necessary and open parliamentary scrutiny. Our amendments were opposed by the Carr Labor Government and defeated. Accordingly, the NSW Coalition had no option but to vote against the Bill. The Carr Government did, however, succeed in having their Bill passed, with the support of some Crossbench Members, through the Legislative Council by 18 votes to 15 on June 29. The present situation is that the legislation will not actually be enacted until the Guidelines are finalised and the Government has admitted that this may not occur until December or even later. As part of a public statement on an agreement with the NSW Labor Council and employer groups on Government reforms to the workers compensation, it was announced that Justice Terry Sheahan would head an inquiry to examine more efficient ways of processing claims, reducing unnecessary costs, maintaining access to common law for seriously injured workers and ways of reducing unnecessary common law actions. Copies of the Preliminary Issues Paper can be obtained from my office or the Inquiry website at www.sheahan.inquiry.nsw.gov.au.

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