SAVE THE TRAIN

Echo 29 April 2004

SAVE THE TRAIN

I am pleased to be supporting the call by the Mayors of the Northern Rivers Councils who have called on Premier Carr to honour his promise to keep the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line open. I will be travelling to Sydney on the protest train with other people to relay this message to further encourage the government to honour their promise. The community support is overwhelming with well over 98% for the retention of the train.

Also I remind people to write individual letters to The Premier, The Hon Bob Carr: Level 40, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, SYDNEY NSW 2000. These letters can be dropped off at all Council offices, the office of Mr Don Page MP (Shop 1, 7 Moon Street, BALLINA) or at my office (55 Carrington Street, LISMORE). I will be personally delivering them to The Premier when parliament resumes on 4 May 2004.

NLIS: Farmers Deserve a Tag Subsidy

I was disappointed that I have not been able to attend the meetings on National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS). However, The Nationals Shadow Minister for Agriculture, The Hon Duncan Gay has been calling on Minister Macdonald to approve a $1 start up subsidy on National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) tags for all NSW cattle. This kind of one-off assistance during the NLIS implementation phase would be a fair and reasonable way to help get the scheme underway, especially in light of the financial pressures that farmers are already facing this winter because of the ongoing drought. The Nationals' have been historically committed to supporting farmers with NLIS implementation; in fact, one of our key policies at the last State election was a subsidy on NLIS tags. Unfortunately the NSW Labor Government has never considered this kind of support and is already lagging behind the other states in supporting farmers. NLIS won't work if farmers can't afford to get on board.

10th SCU Celebrations

I congratulate the staff of Southern Cross University on this milestone and its achievements over this decade are well and truly documented. The North Coast community needs to appreciate, the contribution and dedication of the staff and students, and continue to acknowledge the importance and benefits, not only economic, but also the research and cultural faculties. Furthermore, I was honoured to be present at the Graduation Ceremonies last weekend and to attend the dedication of the new Alumni Court and the announcement of the Alumnus of the Decade.

ANZAC Day

The Australian identity was born when the ANZAC forces charged on to Gallipoli in the darkness on April 25, 1915. Many were mown down by a hail of bullets and those who did manage to scramble ashore - some safely, others wounded - were confronted by treacherous terrain and a relentless enemy. But their indomitable spirit kept them going and before long their acts of valour became legendary, cementing a tradition, which will endure forever. Each ANZAC Day we remember the acts of ultimate sacrifice made by our soldiers 89 years ago as well as those of the men and women who have served in our armed forces in subsequent conflicts. I attended the ceremony in Lismore. The day was especially significant given our countrymen serving in Iraq as well as in the various peacekeeping missions around the world. May they be brought home safely when their important work has been accomplished.

Sydney Labor's Mini-Budget

Sydney Labor's recent Mini-Budget will hit the Lismore Electorate residents hard. Labor has introduced new stamp duty provisions and abolished the land tax threshold. Mum and Dad property investors in the Hastings will now pay a 2.25 per cent exit stamp duty when they sell the property and pay land tax while they own the property. NSW is now the only State in Australia in which you are taxed for buying, owning, and selling an investment property. Labor is penalising ordinary investors in order to plug the budget black hole, created by its own financial mismanagement. The tax changes will also hurt tenants in the area who are likely to be hit with rent increases. Labor's tax hikes, which also apply to businesses, will see jobs and investment flee to other States. Every small business in the Lismore Electorate that owns land will now pay land tax. Bob Carr and Treasurer Michael Egan have made doing business in NSW even harder. The Coalition will vote against Labor's 2.25 per cent exit stamp duty and the land tax changes when the legislation comes before the NSW Parliament.

Shadow Cabinet at Tweed Heads

I was pleased to partake in the recent visit to Tweed Heads by the NSW Coalition Shadow Cabinet meeting. Topics for discussion included the impact of the State Government's recent mini-Budget on property investors, businesses and renters and the termination of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail service. Opposition leader John Brogden said the Coalition will vote against the tax increases in state parliament. The new tax will see investors leaving the region to invest in Queensland, much to the delight of Premier Beattie.

Safe Drivers Deserve to be Rewarded

I support my Shadow Minister Don Page in his called on the Government to introduce a system of rewarding good drivers with discounts on their license fees. Mr Page has stated that the time has come to consider a fresh approach to the issue of reducing driving related death and injury that discourages irresponsible driving and encourages and rewards safe, responsible driving. The World Health Day slogan is "Road Safety is no Accident" advocating that safe roads will only occur as a result of deliberate and conscious choices by all sectors of the community. Mr Page suggested Minister Scully should consider discounting license fees for motorists with 5 years of unblemished driving. The RTA Demerit Program along with the proliferation of speed cameras have gained widespread awareness, but there is a perception in the community that they are just revenue raising measures. Here is an opportunity for the State Government to contradict this revenue raising mentality and recognise and reward safe drivers. The current approach to modifying driver behaviour is a penalty-base approach. This suggestion is a new and innovative way to tackle the issue and would be basic positive reinforcement - rewarding safe, responsible driving.
 

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