National SES Awareness Week

Echo 14 November 02

The 2002 Parliamentary session is drawing to a close and debate will be suspended until after the 2003 State Election next year. Many issues still remain unresolved, particularly the status and implementation of Native Vegetation Management Plans as well as an Exceptional Circumstances Application for drought assistance.

National SES Awareness Week

This week is National SES Awareness Week and I would like to commend NSW's 9000 State Emergency Service volunteers for their resourcefulness, hard work and dedication. SES units, of which there are more than 230 in NSW, respond to floods, storms, road crashes, search & rescues and assist other emergency services. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the families, friends and employers of the volunteers who support them in serving their communities.

Noxious Weeds

$278,682 has been allocated to local council authorities for noxious weed control in the Lismore Electorate for 2002-2003. The State-wide allocation for noxious weed control is just over $7 million. I believe this is inadequate given that noxious weeds cost NSW more than $500 million a year through impacts on the environment, primary industry and human health. The table below lists State Government grants to Councils that are in, or partly in, the Electorate of Lismore.

Council Amount Allocated

Far North Coast County Council
Tenterfield Shire Council

$256,182
$ 25,000

Funding of $195,000 was also provided to the North Coast Noxious Weeds Advisory Committee for regional group project and these committees involve groups of local control authorities.

Reduction in Class Sizes

I am pleased to be apart of the Coalition that has announced it will embark on a four-year program to lower class sizes if it wins Government next year. The initiative means class sizes in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 will be lowered to an average of 21 students. The plan will involve employing about an extra 2,000 teachers. Extensive international research has clearly shown that smaller class sizes have a dramatic impact on student performance. It is clear that young children perform and progress much better in smaller classes. Better help and support in the early years is the best way of preventing problems developing later in life. Lowering class sizes is a vital commitment to our future.

Water Tank Rebate

Justly, I have received a number of approaches in relation to the announcement recently by Minister Yeadon that residents in the Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra regions will be assisted by a rebate for the cost of rainwater tanks under a pilot scheme. Many local residents would like to avail themselves the same opportunity however this scheme is not applicable to this region, which ironically is experiencing the worst water shortages in many years with water restrictions being in place for months. Calls have been made to introduce this as a statewide policy; so that residents could be installing tanks so that when the rain comes we are prepared and ready to conserve as much water as possible. This week George Souris, Leader of the National Party and Don Page, Shadow Minister for Land & Water Conservation announced that a Coalition Government would extend this rebate to all areas, which is good news for the Lismore Electorate.

2002 Premier's Christmas Concert

I am pleased to advise that tickets are available to 2002 Seniors for the Premier's Christmas Concert in Sydney for the performance on Wednesday 11 December at 3pm. Enquiries and tickets can be requested upon contacting my office.

Casino Community Benefit Fund

A new round of funding for community projects and services is now available. The program provides the opportunity for "not for profit" community based organisations to apply for financial assistance for activities that aim to minimise or prevent the flow on effects of gambling and problem gambling. Further information can be obtained from www.dgr.nsw.gov.au or my office.

Opening of Integral Community Services

I was honoured last week to officially open Integral Community Services (ICS) new office and respite facility. ICS provides a number of high quality services to varying groups within the community, such as children, disabled and disadvantaged.

Visit to Lismore by Helen Sham Ho

I was pleased to recently host a visit by the Charter President of the NSW Parliamentary Lions Club, The Hon. Helen Sham-Ho MLC. This Club, of which I am a number, is the first state government Lions Club in Australia. I accompanied Mrs Sham-Ho to the 50th celebrations of the Casino Lions Club on Saturday night. On Monday evening we attended a meeting of the first Lions Club in Australia, City of Lismore Lions Club, at which the installation of the Board for the ensuing year for Kadina High School's Leo Club was conducted. I believe I would be the only MP who would have three Clubs within their electorate that have celebrated 50 years of Lionism, ie. Lismore, Kyogle & Casino.

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