Club Tax Rally

Echo 16 September 2004

Club Tax Rally

I joined protestors rallying outside State Parliament earlier this month, who were opposed to the Carr Labor Government's unfair tax hike on the State's clubs. Carr and Egan's tax increase on NSW clubs came into effect on that day. The fact that thousands of people from all across the State including Lismore and Casino descended on Macquarie Street today highlights the depth of community concern about Labor's unfair tax. Make no mistake; this tax hike will have a devastating affect on clubs in the Lismore Electorate. Clubs provide employment, sporting and entertainment facilities, meeting venues, support for senior citizens and donate to local charities, community groups and junior sporting teams. All of these are at risk because local clubs now have to fund this unfair and unsustainable tax hike. The report by the Allens Consulting Group estimated up to 36 local jobs would have to be cut in order for local clubs to meet the tax increases, part of up to 24,000 jobs State-wide. The NSW Liberal/National Coalition are committed to working with local clubs for a fairer tax and ensuring the continuation of essential services provided by clubs to local communities.

Enclosure Permits

I have received contact from Minister Kelly's Office advising that in the Northern Region, some reminder notices, which are computer generated, were inadvertently sent. There is no need to act upon reminder notices until the current Moratorium is resolved. Even when an agreement is reached, landholders will have a further three months thereafter to finalise adjustments. It is anticipated that an early resolution by end of the month will be achieved. I have written to those who have contacted my office regarding this issue, supplying a copy of a press release from the Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Andrew Fraser, for their interest. As information comes to hand, I will endeavour to keep you informed.

Blood Bank Forum

Last week, I had the pleasure of opening the 90th Anniversary of Zone 27 Red Cross Conference, which was a celebration of 90 years of serving humanity, through telecross, cosmetic care, emergency services during floods, junior red cross, trauma teddy's and bloodbank. During this conference, I announced I would be holding a workshop on blood bank services, particularly mobile centres outside Lismore. I will be meeting with the Public Relations Manager in the next 2 or 3 weeks to have some issues resolved that have been bought to my attention.

Cleaners Strike - Parents Must Not Be Forced Into Cleaning Schools

I am fully aware of local cleaner's concerns, which forced them to take industrial action last week. I believe the Carr Government must guarantee that parents will not be forced to clean schools because new contractual arrangements won't get the job done. There are fears that proposed new school cleaning contracts being negotiated by the government will reduce the time cleaners are allowed in each school. Any new contractual arrangements must not be a means of cutting costs that result in basic responsibilities transferred to parents and teachers. I understand that existing contracts are hopelessly inadequate with cleaners allowed only three and a half minutes per classroom. Shadow Minister for Education, Ms Jillian Skinner is continuing to call on Education Minister Andrew Refshauge to let the public know how much is currently spent on school cleaning contracts and how much is to be spent under new contractual arrangements due to comment in October next year.

Builders Rally

I recently attended in support of local builders, the NSW Builders rally at Parliament House to demonstrate the feelings of the industry affected by the Carr Labor Government and its Home Warranty Insurance mess following the demise of the Building Services Corporation (BSC). As small business operators, builders are vital to the economic soundness of this State's economy. Speaking at the rally Opposition Leader, Mr Brogden said the BSC system had operated successfully in NSW until 1997, when it was scrapped by the Carr Government. Since the Carr Labor Government privatised the BSC Home Warranty Insurance premiums have risen by 500%. The re-establishment of a BSC would allow the industry to get back on its feet. The experience in NSW and the current experience in Queensland is that an industry-funded, Government-run scheme is the best option for providing effective insurance cover for builders and consumers. John Brogden also declared that a NSW Coalition Government would relieve the strain on builders, by re-instating the Building Services Corporation.

Mental Health Access Line

Following recent reviews of access line models and wide discussion with the Mental Health Council, the Northern Rivers Area Health Service decided that an external service provider would be best to meet the needs of consumers, carers, staff and other service providers. It is a telephone triage assessment that will result in the provision of information and advice, support, direction, follow up, or problem identification. Hours of operation will be 5 pm until 9 am weekdays with 24 hour cover on weekends and public holidays.

Community Service Award - Ted Davy

Mr Davy is an extremely worthy recipient who has been a selfless and reliable volunteer for many years. He has been involved in activities such as the Army Cadets for 5 years, painting back-drops to all major dramatic and musical productions at St John's College, Woodlawn in his own time, volunteering to assist as tour group leader and assists with parking for various functions held at the College and most importantly, Ted has tirelessly directed and led many participants in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, through St John's College, since 1994. Under this Scheme, Ted has 65 participants this year and 143 students over ten years receive gold, silver and bronze awards. As part of the scheme, Ted has organised an array of activities for participants including expeditions, archery, canoeing, go-cart riding and orienteering, coordinated an annual meeting of other Duke of Edinburgh leaders in the region to provide more opportunities for students of all schools, promoted the program by speaking at College assemblies.

Premier's Christmas Gala Concert Series 2004

These concerts are held on Wednesday 8 December 2004 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, with two sessions, one at 10.30 am and another at 2.30 pm. Members of Parliament are provided ten double passes to distribute amongst seniors in our electorate. Anyone interested in these tickets should contact my office or their local member as soon as possible.

Committee on the Office of the Valuer General

In December 2003, a new joint Parliamentary Committee on the Office of the Valuer General was established in the Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of NSW. The Committee has various roles set out under the Valuation of Land Amendment (Valuer-General) Act 2003. An information brochure, outlining the Committee's functions, activities, and relationship to land evaluation processes in NSW. Copies of the brochure are available from my office or www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees.

Seniors Card

86% of people over the age of 60 carry a Seniors Card that's more than 990,000 people in NSW. Seniors are experienced shoppers - after decades of shopping they know a good deal when they see one and they know that businesses displaying the Seniors Card logo have a special offer for them. Seniors Cards are available free to semi-retired or retired people over the age of 60. The scheme is not means tested. Application forms are available at 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