Recent appointments

Echo 21 March 02

I will be conducting another West of the Range visit on Wednesday 27 March 2002, please contact my office for an appointment time.

Recent appointments

I was very honoured last week to be elected as Deputy National Party Whip recently. I also welcome the challenges that this position will bring together with my appointment to the NSW Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety (STAYSAFE). This new position will provide me with the opportunity to reinforce School Student Transport Scheme concerns associated with rural isolation, road issues and transport problems.

Ministerial visits - Watkins and Scully

The opportunity to welcome both Carl Scully, Minister for Roads and Transport and John Watkins, Minister for Education and Training during their visit to the Lismore electorate was appreciated. It was disappointing that I became aware through unofficial sources that the Police Minister, Michael Costa, made a fleeting visit last week. However some good may result as Mayors Bob Gates and Col Sullivan will be part of a delegation seeking the Minister today raising issues that he would become aware of during his short stopover.

Minister Scully announced additional funding to Kyogle Council for the Lions Road, which will benefit the wide community. $60,000 was allocated over two years and will assist Council in maintaining and improving this much needed tourist route. Also brought to the Minister's attention was; problems with the pedestrian crossing at Ballina & Keen Streets, Lismore, the need for a bus turn-around at Kyogle High School and urgently needed work at Kyogle Railway Station.

Minister Watkins visited local schools, Wyrallah Road and Casino High School, as well as launching the Northern Rivers Employment Skills Project and the $500,000 new library for Tregeagle Public School that had been released in last year's budget. It is always beneficial for Minister's to be made aware of issues on a local level to gain first hand knowledge. The Minister also attended the district office to meet staff and enjoy afternoon tea.

Inquiry into Hospitals - Quality of Care & Value for Money

The General Purpose Standing Committee is inquiring into and will report upon the quality of care for public patients and value for money in major non-metropolitan hospitals. Together with my colleague, The Hon Dr Brian Pezzutti, I call on constituents, including clinicians, health care workers and private individuals to participate and have their say on how the Lismore Base Hospital is performing. A copy of the discussion paper and terms of reference, on this issue are available from my office upon request. Submissions close 30 April 2002.

Bushfires Inquiry

A Joint Parliamentary Committee has been established to conduct the investigation into the recent bushfires. The National Party's representative on the Committee is Rick Colless, MLC. Terms of Reference are available from my office upon request. It is important that the public - particularly those who had lost their homes or other property and those involved in the recent firefighting as well as natural resource and land managers - take the opportunity to raise their experiences and to make suggestions so action could be taken to minimise and prevent future risks. I urge any interested parties to contact Mr Colless by phoning 9230 2397 or by writing to: Room 1117, Parliament House SYDNEY NSW 2000.

Native Vegetation

The first operational day of NSW Parliament was used to call on the Carr Government to amend the Native Vegetation Conservation Act to ease the inequitable financial burden the Act places on landowners. A recent study by Associate Professor Sinden of the University of New England has quantified what farmers in NSW have known since the Native Vegetation Act was introduced in January 1998 - that the Act is severely affecting their livelihoods. The report revealed that the Native Vegetation Conservation Act has reduced land values and has reduced annual incomes dramatically, this loss of income affects not only farmers, but also the entire community. The Coalition will implement a major overhaul of the Carr Government's natural resource management legislation should it win Government in March 2003.

Law & Justice Foundation Grants

The Foundation seeks to advance the fairness and equity of the justice system, and to improve access to justice, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people. This program supports projects that meet the Foundations objects. Particular attention is given to projects that focus on groups whose position in society may compromise their access to justice. Submissions are being invited for the next intake of Board grant applications that close on Friday 29 March 2002. Further detailed information is available upon request or via www.lawfoundation.net.au

Trustee Members wanted

Applications are being invited from persons interested in being considered for appointment as a member of the Trust Board to manage the affairs of Eureka Public and Tuntable Creek Public Reserve Trusts. Applications should be lodged before Tues 2 Aril 2002 with the Land Access Unit of the Department of Land & Water Conservation, for further information contact Ph 6640 2061 or my office.

Camphor Laurel Conference

A regional conference on the containment of Camphor Laurel will be held in the conference rooms at Lismore City Council, Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah on Monday 8 April 2002. Industry representatives, stakeholders and the general public are invited to be involved. Enquiries can be made direct to the Camphor Laurel Research Centre, Mr Joe Friend Ph/fax 026688 6150.

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