Echo 5 September 02

Richmond Regional Vegetation Management Plan

An overwhelming number of people are raising concerns with my office of being unaware of the recent meetings and the lack of consultation by the Committee regarding the Richmond Regional Vegetation Management Plan. As a result of these complaints and concerns the National Party has now called for an extension of time to allow further consultation and understanding of the proposed Plan, providing an appropriate period for further submissions.

The Plan is available at;
Department of Land & Water Conservation - Kyogle
National Parks & Wildlife Service - Kyogle
Councils - Lismore, Kyogle and Richmond Valley Chambers
Rural Land Protection Board - Casino and Lismore
Libraries - Lismore, Casino and Kyogle
NSW Department of Agriculture - Kyogle and Casino
Rural Postal Agencies - Woodenbong, Urbenville, Bonablo, Tabulam, Mallanganee, Whiporie.
Upper Clarence Landcare - Bonalbo
Bonalbo Bowling Club
Ellangowan General Store

A recent report released by the Auditor-General has been highly critical of the NSW Government's management of native vegetation in NSW. The Auditor-General's concerns mirror those voiced by farmers and the National Party since the introduction of the flawed Native Vegetation Conservation Act in 1997. The Auditor-General's findings include:
Native vegetation is a complex and difficult area to regulate. There is an inherent tension between economic development and conservation.
The complexity is increased by the number of government agencies and community based committees involved. Accountability for achieving the objectives of the Act has not been assigned to any one body.
The Native Vegetation Conservation Act requires a native vegetation conservation strategy to be developed. Some four and a half years after the Act was introduced, the strategy has still not been announced.
The complexities and the lack of accountability have contributed to the present position, whereby a whole-of-government approach to the protection of native vegetation in NSW has not been developed.
There are currently no objectives or targets to measure progress in conserving native vegetation in NSW. Only one, of a possible twenty-two regional management plans, has been approved since the Act commenced.
There is also a lack of comprehensive information about the status of, and changes to, native vegetation across rural NSW.
The Auditor-General has recommended that the Department of Land and Water Conservation: improve its information base on native vegetation in NSW
more clearly define the resources it needs to meet its legal responsibilities in regulating land clearing
target those areas of highest risk in terms of the conservation of native vegetation and the protection of threatened species
consider self regulation for areas that are assessed as low risk by using an enforceable Code of Practice and arrangements for external audit.

Police allocations

Following the graduation from the NSW Police College last week at the Goulburn Academy, 13 new probationary constables have been deployed to the Richmond Local Area Command (LAC). I have been pursing the Police Minister to acknowledge the large number of vacancies that exist in our LAC due to long term sick and stress leave that is straining the existing force at present. Hopefully these new officers will be able to assist, during their training period in addressing issues arising from the existing vacancy situation.

2002/03 Regional Sports Facility Program

I would like to 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 is 11 September 2002.

Sporting Shooters Grants

I encourage the many shooting clubs throughout the electorate to apply for funds under the 2002/03 Shooting Facility Development Program. The grants scheme provides assistance to NSW shooting clubs to develop better and safer facilities for their sport. NSW has produced some outstanding champion sporting shooters, many of who originally came from rural clubs. It is important that local clubs have the opportunity to maintain and improve their facilities. Application forms are available from any office of the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation or on the Department's website at www.dsr.nsw.gov.au or my office and the closing date for applications is 25 September 2002.

Premier's Seniors Achievement Awards 2002

This annual event highlights and recognises NSW Seniors for their continuing contribution to our communities, for their leadership and for their initiative. Any resident of NSW who is 60 years of age or older is eligible for nomination. Nominations close on 15 September and are encouraged from regional NSW, culturally and linguistically divers communities. Nomination forms are available from my office.

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