Changes and Requirements for Current Justices of the Peace

Echo 22 January 2004

Changes and Requirements for Current Justices of the Peace

New changes to the position of Justices of the Peace (JP's) under legislation came into force on 8 December 2003. The main change is that existing JP's have to reapply. Existing JP's have three years (until 1 December 2006) to lodge your a reappointment application. Then this will need to be done every five years. By instituting this requirement it allows the Attorney General's Department to perform regular criminal and other probity checks to ensure that Justices remain "fit and proper" persons to hold that Office. I understand the Department will, approximately three months prior to the expiration of this time, contact existing JP's to notify them of this and the need to lodge your reapplication or have their status expire. Please note this will occur in accordance with the records that are held with the Department and that notification of any change of name or address, to ensure that these records are current, is the responsibility of the JP. Reappointment applications do not require endorsement of an MP and must be lodged directly with the Community Relations Division. Registration numbers will to issued, at no cost, to all Justices who reapply and are reappointed under the Act. Upon reappointment there will also be no charge associated with the administration of the Oaths of Office.

Information is available on the Department's website at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au and contact with my office will ensure that all JP's will be supplied with future information in this regard.

TAFE Fee Hikes

The Government's hike in TAFE fees will have a detrimental impact on our rural and regional communities, including the Lismore electorate. The fee hikes of up to 227 per cent will be unaffordable for some students and force them to either defer or drop out of TAFE courses. This is sad news for students, employers and the community alike. Students seeking to further their education should not have to bear the brunt of yet another cash grab by the Carr Government. With the latest figures showing that 86 per cent of NSW is now in drought or considered marginal, the fee rises will hurt rural and regional students at a time when they can least afford it. Furthermore, if students turn away from TAFE courses due to the fee hikes, the future of TAFE facilities in our communities will also be in jeopardy. I have been fortunate to discuss issues with some teachers and I encourage students to contact my office so that I may assist in whatever way possible.

Australia Day

This year I will be attending the Kyogle/Woodenbong Australia Day ceremonies. I trust everyone will enjoy the local celebrations and partake where possible. Australia Day is the chance for all Australians to reflect with pride on our wonderful culture, heritage and the opportunities available to us. I would also like to extend my congratulations to all those who will be naturalised on this special day.

2003 Environmental Trust Grants

I was pleased to present certificates to local organisations following advice from the Minister for the Environment, that the Lismore Electorate received funding totalling $129,919; $44,899 Local Aboriginal Land Council for a Junbung walkway and Richmond River rehabilitation project in Casino.
$10,300 Gugin Guddaba Local Aboriginal Land Council for a Bundjalung Lagoon Restoration Project.
$5,000 Blackhorse Creek Rainforest Restoration Group for a restoration project.
$69,720 Lismore City Council for koala habitat restoration, extension and education.

Hollie Jackes Memorial Scholarship

Hollie Jackes was a young lady dedicated to helping others to deal with mental illness, who tragically was unable to overcome her own desperate battle with depression. Hollie's passing shows that people of any race, age, intellect, educational level or social circumstances can be affected by mental illness and that more research and education needs to be done. The purpose of this Scholarship is to provide opportunities for people to train to run a course called Mental Health First Aid. They are community courses, which aim to raise awareness about mental illness, dispel stigma associated with mental illness and offer practical way to help someone who has a mental illness. Hollie was very aware of the need for these courses in rural areas, where mental health services may not be readily accessible. The courses help more people in the community to understand more about mental illness and to learn more about strategies for coping and dealing with mental health problems. Following are sites for more information and links www.anu.edu.au/cmhr/foundation, www.mhfa.com.au and www.anu.edu.au/cmhr.

What To Do When The Lights Go Out

Country Energy, with thunderstorms forecast for parts of country NSW and being a timely period, has issued a reminder about reporting power supply interruptions. Information from customers is invaluable following a storm to enable them to restore supply as quickly as possible. During a storm it is recommended; Call 13 20 80 to report a supply interruption, a fallen powerline or other power-related incidents, not the general enquiry line
Call 000 if you believe the situation is life-threatening
Hang up if you get a recorded message regarding your area and have nothing else to report
Stay on the line if you want to report a fallen powerline or live on a rural feeder and have lost power supply. Following a storm there may be isolated damage to the power supply network which only affects one or two customers.
Provide feedback about our service the next day, rather than during the supply interruption.

Further to trace the direction, proximity and intensity of storm activity in your region visit Country Energy's stormtracker facility at www.countryenergy.com.au

Northern NSW Regional Internet

I have been asked to inform constituents of this site which is approaching its 8th year of operation at the end of this month. It contains 193 different communities with basic information and photographs. This is a free linking service that is available to locally based organisations. It was originally set up under the auspices of a Business Enterprise Centre, as a way of promoting the region, as an entity. It has evolved over the years and from 1999 was taken over completely by a small group of volunteers. The Group is hopeful of recruiting some more volunteers to their team, increase awareness of this site, increase information, through links and data, about the region particularly, historical, tourism and activities. As well as promoting the regional calendar of events that is associated with the site. Those interested can visit site; www.nnsw.com.au, email webmaster@nnsw.com.au or by writing to Northern NSW Regional Internet Site, PO Box 1032, INVERELL NSW 2360.

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