Let's Not Forget REX

Echo 22 July 2004

Let's Not Forget REX

I encourage Northern Rivers travellers to continue to support our regional airline Rex, following the announcements by QantasLink and Virgin Blue of new services to the region. While I welcome any efforts to further Northern Rivers tourism and increase services for the local community. To date, 5000 passengers a month utilize Lismore Airport, compared to 3,000 last year with 55,000 passengers during 2003/2004, compared to 36,000 in the previous year. Whilst the introduction of Virgin services in Ballina begins, let's not forget that Rex has been here providing a continual service in the difficult times as well as the busy times. When other airlines apparently saw the region as a lost cause and the state government was encouraging people to visit the area via the Gold Coast Airport, Rex believed in the region's potential. Whilst I am pleased that the major carriers have seen the light, I urge travellers to continue to use the outstanding services offered by Rex here in Lismore. I have called on the NSW Government to ensure it's significant expenditure on air travel to and from the Northern Rivers, was shared between the airports. As a major user of air travel in the region for official business, the Government has a large role to play in ensuring there is a level playing field for airlines.

Call for Moratorium on Closure of Business Enterprise Centres

Shadow NSW Small Business Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, has called for a moratorium on funding cuts to Business Enterprise Centres (BEC) across NSW and for a 12-month consultation period to assess the best method of service delivery to small business. The Labor Government is proposing to cut to 18 the centres to perform the role currently undertaken by 48 BECs around the State. Katrina Hodgkinson has been visiting BECs across northern NSW to discuss the slashing of funding by the Labor Government that will force the closure of many local BECs across the State. Tenders for the provision of future advisory services to small businesses closed last week. These cuts were made with no consultation - managers and staff heard about the slashing of funding through the media. Labor has left BECs with little or no time to explore alternate funding arrangements, particularly through the private sector. With the Labor Government budgeting to spend $37.4 billion on expenses this year it is unconscionable for them to say that they can't find a mere $750,000 to maintain BEC funding at its previous level. Local knowledge and face-to-face service is vital in the provision of advice to small business, particularly in rural areas which have poor access to decent internet coverage.

Rail Corridor Working Party

The first meeting of the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Corridor Working Party, was postponed and will be held on Monday 9 August. As advised previously I have received a number of constituent approaches in relation to issues as a result of the closure of the branch line, I will highlight these matters and seek outcomes during discussions with members of the Working Party. Should constituents wish to convey incidents of concern or experiences, please do so by contacting my office.

National Sales Recognition

During the recent visit to the Lismore Electorate by Shadow Minister for Small Business, together we had the pleasure of congratulating Mr Ron Marriott of Northern Rivers Cleaning Supplies and Equipment who has achieved the top sales of Gerni products for June in Australia. He has been in the top ten for a number of years and this year has been rewarded with the highest recognition. Ron has been trading for 18 years and as an agent for Gerni he has been competing against full time representatives from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne. Congratulations to Ron and his staff, well done!

Daffodil Day

On the 20 August people across Australia will come together in a spirit of good will and participate in this special celebration. As the international symbol of hope, the daffodil represents our shared believe in a cancer-free future. People interested in participating by selling merchandise to friends, family and colleagues can call 1300 65 65 85 or visit www.daffodilday.com.au

"Indent" One Off Grants

This is an organisation called Independent entertainment network for young people in NSW. You can apply for up to $2,000 per gig, festival or event happening after September 10 this year. Further information can be obtained by visiting www.indent.net.au

2005 Macquarie Bank Indigenous Scholarship

Applications for this scholarship are now open and is merit-based and open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who can demonstrate a developed interest in directing, producing, screenwriting or documentary. Application forms can be downloaded www.aftrs.edu.au

Small Grants for Small Rural Communities

A small grants program for small rural Australian communities is offering grants again this year to benefit not-for-profit organisations in rural and remote communities. For more information www.frrr.org.au or call 1800 170 020.

2005 Australian of the Year Awards

You are invited to nominate a friend, family member, community leader, colleague of even someone famous - an Australian who you believe makes our country a better place to live. Forms are available at Commonwealth Banks, more information call 1300 655 193 or www.australianoftheyear.gov.au. These awards close Friday 20 August 2004.

Call for Submissions

The Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Natural Resource Management is inviting submissions on farm practices for the reduction of Salinity and Drought Mitigation. Terms of Reference area available from my office or by following links to Committees from the Parliament website www.parliament.nsw.gov.au

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.