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,
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
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.
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.