Country Week

Echo 19 August 2004

Country Week

The opening of Country Week was held last week in Sydney over three days at Olympic Park. It is a promotion designed to highlight the many opportunities available to Sydney businesses and residents by relocating to rural and regional NSW. Numerous North Coast Councils were represented at the Expo, all selling the message that rural and regional NSW is a fantastic place to invest, live and work. Sadly the Northern Rivers area was not represented. The advantages of country living are many from lower real estates prices, reduced business costs and a better lifestyle. Mr Carr is always talking about over-crowding in Sydney but he has done very little to encourage jobs and development beyond the Blue Mountains. This campaign has the potential to help stem the population drift from the country to the city. The County Week concept was part of The Nationals' regional development policy at the last election. As part of this launch, the Nationals hosted a BBQ in Sydney showcasing country produce, including products from the Lismore Electorate, to mark the beginning of Country Week. My contribution from the Lismore Electorate was Premium Beef from Casino. Other produce on offer included Macadamia nuts and coffee from the Ballina and Byron Bay areas and Clarence River Fishing Co-operative Prawns from Clarence.

Seniors Week 2005

"The Best Time For Ages!" is the theme for 2005 Seniors Week program with the aim of the program to assist the development and/or organization of local Seniors Week Projects and activities which is held between 13 and 30 March next year. Copies of application forms and accompanying funding application handbooks are available from my office.

Electoral Redistribution

By now you would have read about the draft plan for the new electoral boundaries where Casino may be transferred into the Clarence electorate. Naturally I was very disappointed and surprised that Casino was not maintained in the seat of Lismore. Casino has a strong affiliation with Lismore. The opportunity now exists to make submissions to the Electoral Commission.

Vendor Tax Warning

I am warning people buying and selling property to be vigilant in checking their contracts in relation to the Carr Labor Government's new vendor tax. Members of the community who were deeply concerned that the vendor tax was being transferred from the vendor to the purchaser have approached me. Buyers and sellers need to be fully informed of their contract particulars when purchasing property, especially the fine print and unusual `special conditions' in relation to vendor tax. This situation has occurred following the Carr Government's `grab for cash' Mini Budget in May this year when the `vendor tax' was introduced. I am concerned that buyers, and even sellers, may not be aware of the impact of this tax and the implications on the transfer of property, especially where contracts have `special conditions' inserted without prior knowledge to either one or both parties. Vendor duty was levied at the rate of 2.25 per cent of the purchase price. In some cases `special conditions' to contracts of sale effectively pass on the duty to become the responsibility of the buyer to pay to the Office of State Revenue. Considering the huge impact Labor's new tax was having on people buying, owning and selling property the Labor Government had to admit its introduction was a mistake and go back to the drawing board. I am encouraging everyone involved in the transfer of property to be diligent and mindful of this issue to prevent nasty shocks of avoidable unforeseen expenses. The Nationals and Liberal Coalition in NSW would repeal Labor's vendor tax and reverse Labor's land tax changes in the first term of a Coalition Government.

Moratorium on Enclosure Permits

I have welcomed the recent announcement of a moratorium on the payment of increased fees for Enclosed Road Permits. My representations to the Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly prior to this have asked for a commonsense and equitable solution bearing in mind the drought conditions and the financial circumstances of many of the landholders. This moratorium, I hope will allow time to sort out a commonsense methodology to achieve a workable solution for everyone. Landholders who have already received their notices regarding enclosure permits should contact their Department of Lands office on 1800 641 596. Anyone wishing to be sent press releases and other material on this issue should contact my office.

Rail Corridor Working Party

The first meeting of the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Corridor Working Party was held recently. I raised a number of issues that have been brought to my attention with the Chairman of the Working Party, Mr John Whelan.

ATLAS & POS Rally

Following the recent rally in Lismore, news of some concessions from the Government has been welcomed. People who entered the POS program between 1993 and 1998 will maintain their current level of funding. Despite this people who have entered ATLAS after 1998 and those that enter the new programs will still face reduced funding.

NRMA "Safer Roads Save Lives"

I attended the Roads Summit at Grafton recently to especially highlight the concerns and seek their support of our East West connections in the Northern Rivers, such as the Summerland Way, Woodenbong to Legume Road and the Bruxner Highway. Since then I have received correspondence confirming that members of the NRMA Motoring & Services will try to inspect these roads when they are next in the area.

Kyogle and Casino to Lismore Bus Service

Kirklands buslines in conjunction with Northern Rivers Community Transport have added another benefit to the standard Friday bus run from Kyogle to Lismore via Casino. Elderly residents of Kyogle or people with a disability, will be able to be picked up from their home if needed and dropped off at selected destinations in Lismore eg Hospitals, doctor's surgery etc.

Electorate Functions

Hospital Auxiliaries - I had the pleasure of attending Nimbin and Lismore AGM's recently. The Nimbin Auxiliary members are looking forward with great anticipation in being part of the new Nimbin Health Service, which is expected to receive its first patients/clients in mid September.

Kyogle Guides Promise Ceremony - Being present at the inaugural Promise Ceremony and grand opening evening, I together with many proud parents, witnessed 20 Kyogle girls take their lifelong promise to do their best with the Kyogle Guides Unit.

Lismore Unlimited Business Award Night - a wonderful night was had by everyone, with many businesses celebrating their nomination. Congratulations to category winners, their families and their team of employees.

Kyogle Girls Air Radio Station - I had the pleasure of opening the "Girls on Air" 87.6FM last Saturday at the Kyogle Community Technology Centre was particularly special for the girls who attained their Certificate II Broadcasting in Radio.

Vietnam Veterans March - On Saturday, I attended and presented a wreath at the service held in honour of our local Veterans at Lismore War Memorial.

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