National Parks and Wildlife Service Advisory Committees

Echo 15 April 2004

National Parks and Wildlife Service Advisory Committees

Applications to be a member on the National Parks and Wildlife Service Advisory Committees are now being accepted. Advisory committees play an important role in the relationship between the NPWS and the community. The closing date for potential applicants for the Advisory Committee's has been extended to 12 noon on Friday 16 April 2004. For further information and application forms website www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/advisorycommittees or by phoning Merilyn Mayhew, on (02) 9995 5265.

RAS Showgirl and Rural Achievers

It was a pleasure to attend the morning tea held last Thursday and hosted by the Nationals in special recognition of the 2004 Showgirl Finalists and the Young Rural Achievers Awardees for the 2004 Royal Easter Show. I was honoured to see Matt McCormack from Casino as a finalist in the Young Auctioneers Competition at the Royal Easter Show judging.

New Medical Health Clinic for the Northern Rivers Area

I was very pleased the State Government has recognised the urgent need for a new mental health clinic to service the Northern Rivers area. The announcement by the NSW State Government to redevelop the Richmond Mental Health Clinic at Lismore from the 2004/2005 budget of $1.1 million allocated to enable the project to progress through the planning, consultation and tender process. The new clinic will include 15 extra beds and an eight-bed Child and Adolescent Unit.

Northern Rivers Parkinson Support Group

This group is extending an open invitation to the whole community of the Northern Rivers Area to attend their regular meetings. The meetings are to offer support, social contact, information and encouragement for those who live with Parkinson's. Meetings are held at the Ballina Hospital. For further information please phone 6628 8278 or 6629 1458.

NSW MINI- BUDGET - THE CUTS

On Tuesday 6 April the NSW State Government announced its Mini Budget for 2004 and below is a summary of some of the changes announced:

The merger of the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries, Minerals and Forestry heralded significant job cuts in country NSW. Cuts to Department Regional Development's business assistance grants reaching a cut of $6m p.a. from year 2 onwards. Reduction of the roads capital works program by $50m p.a Cancellation of passenger train Casino-Murwillumbah-Sydney line to be replaced by buses. This will end any possibility of extending the line to Robina to enable the Northern Rivers to tap into the tourist market of the Gold Coast and this in turn will force more traffic on to an already ailing road network struggling with the pressures of day to day traffic. Charge full cost of assessing large scale private sector developments rather than local government. Expected to pull $4m out of local government p.a. Abolition of $16.5m grants to local government for work on floodplains, estuaries, waterways and river entrances. A one-year delay in projects funded under the Country Towns Water and Sewerage program. Capital works undertaken by State Water cut by $8.7 million. Cut of $34m pa from the annual budget of the Department of Environment and Conservation. Budget cut to Department of Lands, increasing crown rents and converting perpetual leases to freehold saving the Government $36m. Land tax exemption threshold up to $317,000 is abolished so that land tax on investment properties other than principal residence will be charged at 0.4% for the first $400,000 in value, 0.6% up to $500,000 and 1.4% above $500,000. A new stamp duty on the sale of investment property of 2¼ % charged on the seller. This tax is in addition to the ordinary stamp duty payable by the buyer of property. Anticipated revenue increase of $690M pa The Premium Property Tax previously charged as a land tax on principal residences will be replaced by a 7% stamp duty on property purchases exceeding $3 million. Changes to stamp duty for first homebuyers will see relief by the abolition of stamp duty up to $500,000 phasing out after $600,000. This provides a first home buyer with a maximum saving of $18,000 on purchase. Existing State/Federal first home purchase grant of $7,000 will continue to apply Closure of the NSW Tourism Office in London and Tokyo

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