Minister Amery Wrong Again

Echo 5 April 01

Minister Amery Wrong Again

In Parliament last week, I condemned the Minister for Agriculture, Richard Amery for not recognising the importance of the Department's chemical residue testing laboratory located in Lismore, which is due to be transferred to Wollongbar later this year. During debate regarding protection of Australia against an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, Mr Amery stated that there is not a laboratory in Lismore, only Wollongbar. To add injury to the insult, later in the day he corrected himself and told the House it was only a fruit and vegetable lab. Mr Amery has his facts wrong and it seems someone is giving him misguided information, as with the case of his proposed changes to the tick policy. It is alarming that the Minister does not realise the importance, of the lab in Lismore, to the Australian meat industry. This lab services the abattoirs in the region and has assisted during a number of crisis' over the years. It also recently won a major contract to conduct analytical residue tests on poultry, sheep, pigs and kangaroos. I have called on Mr Amery to keep the laboratory open in Lismore and apologise to the staff. I have also invited the Minister to inspect the facility to gain an appreciation of its contribution to the Australia meat industry.

$198,894 for Local Schools

10 projects ranging from telephone system replacements, tractor upgrades, security fences, demountable air conditioning and painting received assistance as part of the 2000/01 Capital Works and Maintenance Program announced for schools in the Lismore electorate. Local allocations were as follows; 

Casino High
Casino West Public
Goonellabah Public
Kadina High
Kyogle High
Kyogle Public
Lismore Heights Public
Richmond River High
The Channon Public
Wilson Park

$80,000
5,000
5,000
11,000
68,000
2,500
2,500
16,000
6,894
2,000

First Home Owners Grant Scheme

The First Home Owner Grant has been doubled from $7,000 to $14,000 to assist first home owners who enter into a contract to build or purchase a new, but previously unoccupied home between 9 March and 31 December 2001. This Scheme is a Commonwealth-State Government initiative designed to assist first home buyers in purchasing or building their first home and in NSW this Scheme is administered through the Office of State Revenue (OSR). I have been receiving a number of inquiries in this regard. There are always special circumstances and in these cases I urge people to contact my office for assistance with an "Out of the Ordinary Request" to the OSR Commissioner. Further enquiries can also be made direct to the Home Purchase Assistance Authority on 1800 806 653.

NorthPower Community Halls Support Scheme

Following my representations on behalf of numerous non-profit organisations, NorthPower has announced its commitment to sponsor hundreds of local halls relieving some of their burden providing very important community services. The Scheme targets community halls that are used by the general public and non-profit organisations like the Scouts and Girl Guides. Sponsorship also applies to premises of voluntary emergency services such as the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service. The assistance is in the form of $200 towards electricity bills. Inquiries can be made direct to NorthPower on 132 066 or application forms are available from my office.

Country Water & Sewerage Schemes

The Carr Government has announced an additional $15 million per annum for four years for shire country and water sewerage schemes. Welcome as it is, it does not redress the cut to the scheme in 1995 from $80 million per annum to $50 million per annum. Over the six years of the Carr Government, this amounts to a cut of $180 million without inflation. There is a 10 year back-log of projects throughout country NSW so a much greater injection of funds is needed. Clunes is one example of a local project held up as a result of these cuts.

HIH Insurance

The Insurance Council of Australia is providing information to policyholders and claimants affected by the provisional liquidation of HIH. Policyholders with corporate home builders warranty and certain travel insurance policies are able to contact the provisional liquidator KPMG on a toll free phone number: 1800 600 400. Alternatively, you can access the Insurance Council of Australia internet site: www.ica.com.au for similar information.

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