Regional Vegetation Management Plans

Echo 19 September 02

Regional Vegetation Management Plans

Landholders, producers and interest groups are now calling for the rejection of the Regional Vegetation Management Plans. Presently the extended time for submission/responses to the Plan expires on the 23 September, 2002. Regardless of action taken, I urge all Landholders, producers and interest groups to submit your response/submission to the plan.

In Parliament this week, I tabled a Notice of Motion calling on the Legislative Assembly to note that:

over 300 people attending public meetings in the Kyogle Shire Council area, have rejected in its entirety the Draft Richmond Regional Management Plan.

over 1, 000 signatures have already have been received on Petitions being tabled in Parliament.

Kyogle Shire Council resolved unanimously "that Council reject in its entirety the draft Richmond Regional Management Plan". And furthermore, Council on behalf of the rural ratepayers request the Minister to reject the Plan and authorise a six-month extension to enable a rewrite of the Management Plan.

the New South Wales Farmers representative on the Committee, after public pressure will still only be an observer of submissions made on the Plan.

calls for the Minister for Land and Water Conservation, Mr John Aquilina to visit the area immediately to hear concerns about the Plan.

West of the Range visit

Once again my visit West of the Range, last week proved beneficial in being available in local villages to discuss matters of concern with constituents. I enjoyed the opportunity to again visit West of the Range to meet with people that would not otherwise travel to see me and bring their views to my attention.

Foot & Mouth Disease Exercise

Casino recently held a National Simulation Exercise as a NSW initiate to build on and test the work done by the local emergency management group in preparing for an outbreak of Foot & Mouth at the Casino Saleyards. This exercise was very valuable in accessing and identifying the areas of need which also provided the opportunity for the Minister for Agriculture, The Hon Amery to visit the Casino area. Minister Amery also met with the executive of the NCM Company.

Shadow Minister for Local Government

The Hon Duncan Gay, Shadow Minister for Local Government, Energy, Mineral Resources and State Development visited the electorate last week and met with NORCO representatives, visited and spoke with Southern Cross University journalism students.

Club Industry Assistance Scheme

An industry assistance scheme has been established to provide financial assistance to Registered Clubs in NSW that are in financial need or hardship. There will be two phases of funds distribution for eligible Registered Clubs. Phase one provides funding of up to $5,000 for a business health check and identification of improvement strategies. Phase two provides funding of up to $50,000 for business improvement projects, which may include ongoing business strategies or capital improvements. Clubs are an integral part of life in the Electorate and provide many facilities we enjoy. I encourage Clubs in the Electorate facing financial hardship to take advantage of the Club Industry Assistance Scheme. For further information or to make an application for assistance, call 1300 766 100. The deadline for submissions for funding for Round 1 is 5pm, Friday 27 September 2002.

Public Liability

The insurance crisis is tearing at the fabric of our rural and regional way of life. Hundreds of traditional country events, shows, rodeos, pony club events, gymkhanas, equestrian events, annual community festivals, art shows, and virtually all risk events are being cancelled or are under threat. I was pleased that the Government has finally moved on the second stage of proposals, which could help small business, and community organisations stay in business.

Some of the provisions of the draft Bill include:

increasing the legal weight of waivers and risk warnings,

banning people from winning damages for an activity that a reasonable person would consider to be inherently or obviously dangerous;

banning people from winning damages if they were intoxicated or committing a crime at the time of an accident;

protecting volunteers from litigation,

I am also pleased that Insurance Australia Group, working in conjunction with QBE Insurance and Alliance, has announced its intention to participate in a public liability Not-For-Profit Insurance Pool. The not-for-profit insurance pool will offer cover to organisations displaying the following characteristics:

they provide services to the broader community;

they are an organisation with a not-for-profit tax status or turnover/funding less than $2,000,000;

they do not distribute profits to their members;

they comprise mainly of "volunteer" members.

Extension for $3.5m Regional Sports Facilities

I would like to remind and urge local sporting committees to consider applying for funds under the 2002/03 Regional Sports Facility Program that provides funds to develop and enhance the network of sporting and recreational facilities that meets the needs of the general community and may incorporate uses for talented and elite athletes. This region has produced many representatives and to be able to provide local facilities to foster our future talent would benefit the community as a whole. Application forms are available from my office upon request. The closing date has now been extended to 25 September 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