Energy Package for Struggling Families

Echo 12 December 02

Parliament returned yesterday for the ringing of one long bell for the conclusion of the 52nd Parliament until the 2003 NSW Election on Saturday 22 March 2003.

Energy Package for Struggling Families

I commend the initiative and support offered by Country Energy to drought ravaged country families, who will be given 12 months or more to pay their energy bills under a innovative programme announced recently. Country Energy has offered the Country Support package to all 700,000 household and rural residential customers throughout the State if they are experiencing hardship, including the effects of drought. A new four person Country Support team will help customers who are fining it hard to pay their energy bills and develop solutions for individual needs, supported by the Country Energy's frontline customer service team. Enquiries can be made by contacting 13 23 56 or visiting the nearest Country Energy Customer Service Centre, which is in Molesworth Street, Lismore Ph: 6622 8544.

RSL of Australia City of Lismore Sub Branch Christmas Lunch

I had the pleasure of joining members for this lunch as well as presenting eight 50 year certificates and four certificates of appreciation; 2 of these members were from the Ladies Auxilliary and 2 members of the RSL Sub Branch. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with members and friends for this momentous and special occasion. State President's Drought Relief Appeal: This Appeal was established with the purpose of assisting persons who are eligible to be members of the League and who are able to demonstrate a genuine need related to drought. Assistance given will be by way of a grant. Enquiries and applications can be made through the Lismore Office on 6621 3851.

30th Anniversary of Summerland House

Rhonda and I joined with many members of Summerland House to celebrate its 30th Anniversary and I would like to congratulate them on the magnificent job that they have done and the results achieved during 30 years of operation. I trust they enjoy further success in the future.

Public Liability Insurance

In recent developments, the ACCC has given interim authorisation to the joint venture of Allianz, IAG and QBE offering a liability insurance product for not for profit organizations. Groups can register their interest at email; or further information can be found at the website; or by telephoning tollfree on 1300 728 228.

Healthy Rivers Commission

A copy of the Commission's Draft report: Independent Inquiry into the North Coast Rivers is available for viewing at my office. The report contains details of the Commission's finding and seven draft recommendations. Comments on the draft report are welcome until 11 February 2003.

Lebanese Independent Day

I was proud to co-host a dinner at Parliament House recently to celebrate the Lebanese Indpendence Day which was attended by 400 people. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Lebanese of the Year Award was Stephen Stanton. This was a special moment for me because Stephen was born in Casino, the grandson of the late Mr and Mrs Joe Karam, son of Winne Stanton (nee Karam) and nephew of Father Peter Karam and Frank and Marie Karam. It was an honour to be present as the Member for Lismore and to pay tribute to a North Coast family and Stephen who have not only originated from Lebanon but the Electorate of Lismore.

Launch of Woodenbong Mobile Phone Tower

On Monday this week, I was pleased to be present at and launch the Telstra Countrywide Woodenbong Mobile Phone Tower. I was able to utilise this service soon after the launch and I believe his facility will ensure greater and more effective coverage for residents in the area. I will be attending the Launch of the Mallanganee Mobile Phone Tower on Tuesday next week and I will continue to pursue the approval for the Yabbra Park Mobile Phone Tower.

Handgun Laws

Let us not have any knee-jerk reaction to the issue of handgun laws. Sporting shooters and farmers do not present the problem. Where the NSW Government ought to concentrate is in the area where an unlicensed criminal commits a crime using an unregistered firearm, illegally obtained though the black market and, quite probably, illegally imported into Australia. Further gun laws affecting sporting shooters and farmers will not alter the incidence of crime. A Government serious about firearms crime would pursue the black market and leave law abiding licensed firearms owners alone.

Cash Grants Needed

I believe it is now necessary for the NSW Government to introduce cash grants for drought affected farmers and small businesses in NSW. The current drought conditions across the State are extreme and have degenerated beyond the control of even the most efficient and well-prepared farmers. The Victorian Government has set a precedent by making up to $20,000 available to farmers who meet specific criteria. A similar cash grant should be introduced in NSW for farmers and small businesses reliant of the agricultural sector such as contract harvesters, farm machinery dealers, grain traders and general store owners. These businesses need help to remain viable and retain employment and services in country NSW.

I wish to advise that my office will be closed from 12 noon Tuesday 24 December & will reopen 9 am Monday 6 January 2003.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email:

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.