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
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;
firstname.lastname@example.org or further information can be found at the
website; www.community-care.com.au 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
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.
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.