In Parliament last week... Native Vegetation Bill

Echo 27 November 2003

In Parliament last week...

Native Vegetation Bill

The Nationals have voted against Labor's natural resource management legislation in the NSW Parliament. The legislation is more anti-farmer than the much-maligned Native Vegetation Conservation Act. It will sterilise vast tracts of land and further take away the right of farmers and landholders to manage their property. Of grave concern is the fact that it will affect rural residential landholders, many of whom live on the Holiday Coast. The extreme Greens have their fingerprints all over this legislation. The net result will be the making of dishonest people out of honest and hardworking people in country and coastal NSW. As it stands, the Bill could mean that any affected property owners would need to seek consent to remove any native shrub, tree or even grass from their property. Any person could appeal to the authorities about an alleged removal of native vegetation, with the onus of proof resting with the property owner. The Nationals voted against the legislation after Labor voted down our motion to adjourn the legislation until next year. We believe the legislation should have been adjourned to the first Parliamentary sitting day next year to allow the legislation to be rewritten and so proper and thorough consultation could occur.

Police Killers To Serve Life

Last week in Parliament the Coalition introduced legislation to ensure convicted police killers will no longer be eligible for parole. The legislation follows a decision to grant a convicted police killer day release pending a final decision on 13 January 2004, where he is expected to be granted release from prison. Constable Paul Quinn, a young father of 2 was gunned down in cold blood on 30 March 1986 and his partner was also permanently injured. Shadow Minister for Justice Andrew Humpherson said the Coalition is committed to compulsory life sentences for cop killers, and the legislation is long overdue. The govt must support this legislation for the community's protection and to act as a deterrent to others.

NSW Premier's Award Presentation - Ann Thompson

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting Mrs Anne Thompson with a NSW Premier's Community Service Award. Anne was instrumental in coordinating, with the assistance of the Barwon Group of the Country Women's Association, drought hampers that were dispersed amongst farmers in need. This was organised to arrive in time for Christmas last year. Her thoughtfulness for those who were weathering the effects of the drought lifted the spirits of many. Some have expressed that perhaps it has made them more aware of being responsive to others in time of need while also confirming what great people Australians are. Previously Mrs Thompson was also responsible in the 1994 drought for realising that sugar cane tops could be baled and distributed for stock feed instead of being burned. Due to her foresight and hard work this became a reality and many truckloads of cane tops were taken to Queensland and Northern NSW from the North Coast at reasonable cost assisting in keeping core stock alive. The CWA Barwon Group, which is very expansive and takes in a large portion of the North-West of NSW and consists of seven Branches within the Shire of Walgett and part of the Brewarrina Shire, and the Lismore Electorate wish to praise Mrs Thompson for her wonderful work and many of the farmers and their families are extremely grateful to her and her loyal band of helpers.

Update on Justice of the Peace Legislation October 2003

The Justice of the Peace Act 2003 is scheduled to commence on 1 December 2003. Some of the main changes under the Act are as follows;
Public Register - There will be a publicly available Register of Justice's on the internet. Consent will be sought from applicants during the application process and particulars will be limited to the JP's name, a contact telephone number, provided by the JP for the purpose of the public register. Note: Consent (to publish the particulars outlined above) will be sought from applicants during the application process.

Appointments will be for 5 year terms. At the end of the initial five year term, a Justice of the Peace (JP) may apply to have his/her commission renewed for a further five years. JPs will be sent a renewal notice approximately three months prior to the expiry of their term.

The Oaths of Office will be required to be completed within four months of date of appointment. Failure to complete the Oaths in this time will generally result in the revocation of the JP's appointment. As is the current practice, the Oaths of Office will be administered by a Judge or Magistrate at a Local Court. Current JPs reapplying under the Justices of the Peace Act 2002 will not be charged the Court fee associated with the administration of Oaths of Office.

Applications for new appointments will continue to be made through a State MP's electorate office, as is the current practice on the new application forms.

Applications for Reappointment (from current JPs) will be available from the Community Relations Division of the Attorney General's Department from 1 December 2003. A copy and information will also be available on www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au. Reappointment applications do not require endorsement of an MP and must be lodged directly with the Community Relations Division.

For those JP's who have already contacted my office, this information will be forwarded to you automatically. Other current JP's who have not contacted my office should do so as soon as possible, to ensure they receive this material.

Countrylink Petition

Last week, I personally presented a number of petitions for the attention of Minister Costa as well as tabling the remaining petitions collected so far to the NSW Legislative Assembly. To ensure presentation of these petitions for the conclusion of Parliament this year, I require these to be delivered to my office no later than 5 pm Wednesday 3 December 2003. The volume of completed sheets being returned to my office signifies the number of people who wish to ensure the importance of this service is verified.

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