Education

Echo 3 October 02

Education

I was concerned to learn an inquiry into public education in NSW has found that NSW spends significantly less on each student than other States. Professor Tony Vinson's inquiry found NSW spent $500 less than the national average on each government primary student and $400 less on secondary students. In addition, NSW had the worst student-to-teacher ratios in primary schools nationally. Professor Vinson said a "state of crisis" loomed if $318 million was not immediately injected into the $5.5 billion schools budget to meet the comparative spending levels of other States. He also recommended a 5 per cent pay increase for teachers.

Surf Lifesaving Clubs

If elected next March a NSW Coalition Government would provide public liability cover to the State's Surf Life Saving Clubs (SLSC) in recognition of their important rescue work. This cover would be through the Treasury Managed Fund, saving surf clubs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, as is already the case for SES and the Rural Fire Service. To date the Carr Government has denied the SLSC access to this assistance.

Threatened Species Legislation

I was disappointed to see the latest amendments to the Threatened Species Conservation Act pass through Parliament last week. The amendments will only add to the already copious restrictions on landowners. The Liberal - National Parties voted against the Bill because of its implications for rural and regional communities. The Threatened Species Act has already had a significant impact on farming and rural communities throughout NSW and these latest changes will only make it worse.

The NSW Coalition unsuccessfully moved amendments to the Bill in the Upper House. These amendments would have: Made the Scientific Committee accountable to the Minister and the Parliament (at present this committee does not report, and is not, accountable to the Minister or the Parliament);
Formed a socio-economic Committee to assess the financial impacts on individual businesses and their local communities, to operate in concert with the Scientific Committee;
Enabled farmers, businesses and local communities financially affected by the operation of the Threatened Species Act (as determined by the socio-economic Committee) to be eligible for compensation.

Police Remembrance Day

Last Friday, 27 September, was Police Remembrance Service. Nationally, 237 police have died in the line of duty. Each and every day police officers put their lives on the line for the community. It is only appropriate that we remember all those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving and protecting the community. We also remember their families and friends. It is important that we also reflect on the bravery and selflessness of all our serving police officers who deserve our heartfelt thanks.

Kyogle Lions Club

Last Saturday evening I attended the Golden Jubilee dinner for the Kyogle Lions Club. This was a wonderful night of fellowship and celebrating the many years of service to the community by the Club's members. The Kyogle Club would no doubt be unique in that it still has four active charter members, those being Jack Hurley, Alan Brown, John Shirley & Jock Croker. I was honoured to be able to present to these men, together with three other members, John Roberts, Ron Andrews Keith Marsh, who have 45 years or more service, the Premiers Community Service Award recognising their dedication and efforts. I was also able to advise the members of further assistance to the value of $10,000 by the Minister for Roads for the Lions Road.

Book Launch

Speaking of Jack Hurley, I had the pleasure last Friday of being involved with the release of a book written by Jack titled The Lions Road. This is a detailed history of a dream and the way it became a reality. All sale proceeds will go to the Northern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter. Copies can be purchased from Scott's Newsagency, Books Plus (ABC Store) and the Book Warehouse.

Native Vegetation

As a result of the a recent motion tabled in Parliament the Minister asked the Director-General of the Department of Land & Water Conservation, Mr Bob Smith, to attend a meeting at my office on Wednesday 25 September. This meeting was attended by a cross section of representative, interest and farming groups who were surprised that the Director-General was pushing the General Exemption. The concerns are that this has not been out for consultation and to be fair to everyone it requires public feedback.

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