School Captains visit
Echo 18 April 02
Next week we will celebrate Anzac Day, a very special day of remembrance. I
hope people will attend the district ceremonies that have been organised to show
respect for those that lost their lives for our freedom.
School Captains visit
As part of a leadership program organised in conjunction with the Office of the
Governor of NSW, the Department of Education and Non Government schools each
year, school captains and leaders are invited to visit Parliament House. I was
very pleased to host a morning tea and meet these fine young leaders of our
schools, who attended the full day of activities that consisted of a tour of the
Parliament Chambers and Theatrette, then followed by a visit to Government House
to meet Her Excellency, the Governor.
Government fails Mentally Ill
Of grave concern to me is the continual neglect and disregard for essential
services that are so valuable to people and their families, who suffer mental
illness. A secret report into mental health services has highlighted the
devastating results of neglect by the Carr Government. Rather than providing the
treatment so badly needed, the government has cut back on services and gone to
extraordinary lengths to hide information that shows up the seriousness of the
situation. The report shows:
Increasing violence against nurses, with nine nurses in 1999 left with a
permanent disability as a result of being attacked at work and 50 reported
incidents of violence against nurses in the first four months of 2001,
343 psychiatric patients suicides in 1999 and 2000.
The Coalition will redress the serious neglect of the mentally ill by increasing
psychiatric treatment in a range of settings - in acute psychiatric hospitals,
general hospitals, through community based health teams in the country and city.
Furthermore, the Coalition will also increase support for non-government
organisations that do such an important job in providing support for people with
mental illnesses and their families. A copy of report is available by contacting
Rural Crime Squad
Having undertaken extensive consultation and liaising, in my role as National
Party Spokesperson on Stock Theft, with many rural people who are constantly
faced with the consequences and losses associated with rural crime, I have
welcomed Coalition's advancements in creating a specialist Rural Crim Squad.
This squad will consist of additional police officers and would provide
financial assistance to the livestock industry to develop a permanent livestock
identification scheme. The Coalition will create a specialist Rural Crime Squad
consisting of an additional 32 police officers attached to non-metropolitan
Local Area Commands to focus full-time on rural crime.
Home Building Insurance Crisis
Last week, Australia's largest home building insurer, Dexta, suspended its
involvement in the home warranty insurance market. This puts hundreds of
construction industry jobs and home building work at risk. Home warranty
insurance is compulsory for all residential work over $5,000 with builders
having to applying for coverage on a job-by-job basis. The insurance protects
home owners against faulty work or the building company going broke during the
project. Home building insurance has been in crisis for months. The seeds were
sown when Bob Carr privatised home building insurance five years ago. Consumers,
builders and insurers are crying out for help. A crisis of this magnitude
requires the Premier's immediate attention to ensure a workable solution can be
found. The longer the delay in fundamental reform, the greater the heartache
will be for consumers, builders and insurers.
It was my pleasure to attend a function at Parliament House last week for
University of NSW Medical Students participating in the rural programme. The
Dean of Medicine, Professor Dowton, accompanied the students. Students from the
Electorate were Stuart Hoffman, James McLaren and Philip Townend. Some students
at the gathering had reached year 5 of their medical studies. The country
programme intake is now around 20 per year so there will soon be a flow of
doctors heading for the country. The scheme is funded by the Federal Government.
Healthy Rivers Commission
The Government has asked the Healthy Rivers Commission to undertake an
independent public Inquiry into the health of various rivers on the North Coast.
Available from my office is a an Issues Paper for the North Cost Rivers Inquiry.
Written submissions are being called until 31 May 2002.