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 my office.

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.

Medical Students

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.

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