New Liberal Leadership

Echo 4 April 02

I trust everyone enjoyed a happy and safe Easter break. I return to Parliament next week, however I can always be contacted by telephoning my electorate office on 6621 3624.

New Liberal Leadership

I have extended my congratulations to John Brogden as the new leader of the Liberal Party. I pay tribute to Kerry Chikarovski and Barry O'Farrell for their untiring commitment over the past three years in their respective roles as Parliamentary Liberal Leader and Deputy. We will move forward as a united Coalition to provide a viable alternative to the voters of NSW. The National Party will continue to effectively represent rural and regional NSW on issues such as crime and safety, education, health and natural resource management. I am looking forward to meeting with Mr Brogden to reinforce the future needs of the Lismore electorate, of which he is already familiar with as I have had the pleasure of him visiting the area on two previous occasions.

Centenary Medal

I am inviting nominations for the award of a Centenary Medal. The award is to be coordinated by Members of Parliament and nominations will be submitted by the NSW Government, to the Commonwealth for the award of the Centenary of Federation Medal. The medal will commemorate the contribution made to the Federation of Australia, and to Australian society and government. The medal will be part of the Australian Honours system and can be worn with ribbon on the left breast with other medals. Closing date is Wednesday 17 April 2002, for further details please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Public Liability

Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers met in Canberra recently to discuss the issue of public liability insurance. This is a vital issue, and one that, if not addressed, threatens the very fabric of country Australia. Already many festivals and events in country NSW have had to be cancelled or postponed.

The Ministers agreed to:
Federal legislation to improve the tax position of insurance payouts made over several years, rather than in a lump sum;
Change the Trade Practices Act so people can waive their rights to sue, and to limit the damages payable when people contribute to their own injuries;
States to encourage group insurance buying by community organisations;
Insurance industry to share information on risks and claims experiences, and be more innovative with policies;
The Federal Government to report on financial position of insurance companies following the HIH collapse.
The Ministers have agreed to meet again in May.

The National Party Taskforce on Public Liability prepared a submission to the Summit convened by Senator Coonan, which included the following proposals:
An exemption for volunteers and community groups from civil negligence actions;
The introduction of a threshold and a cap in relation to damages payments;
Various technical measures to reduce the size of damages payments;
Abolition of advertising for "no win/no pay" legal services;
Improvements to pre-trial negotiations to maximise settlement opportunities.
Further measures in the proposal include the broader use of disclaimers in small business, reductions in stamp duty on insurance premiums and the development of codes of practice.

I am hopeful the issue can be effectively addressed sooner rather than later.

Ministerial Visit - Richard Face

Minister for Gaming and Racing, Richard Face met last week with Club, Hotel and Race Industry representatives. It is pleasing to welcome Ministers to the electorate and provide local organisations with an opportunity to meet their Minister, raise issues and concerns.

Royal Easter Show

I was honoured to be part of the National Party team that hosted a morning tea and a tour of Parliament House for this year's finalists for the Royal Easter Show Miss Showgirl and the Rural Achievers Award. Country NSW can be very proud of our representative, Monique Amor. These finalists are our ambassadors who help raise the motivation of young people and make a contribution to the advancement of country communities. Furthermore, I was pleased to attend the Young Auctioneers Competition and to see local auctioneer, Innes Fahey from Grafton, judged as the Australian Young Auctioneer.

Staysafe

I have undertaken my first commitment as member of the Staysafe Committee in inspecting railway level crossings and accompanying transport portfolio officials this week. This opportunity will enable me to reinforce local and rural concerns of similar scenarios.

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