Vendor Tax - Officials Admit Flaws

Echo 8 July 2004

Vendor Tax - Officials Admit Flaws

Treasury e-mails obtained by the NSW Opposition reveal the Government's controversial vendor tax was developed on the run with little idea of how it would be implemented. The e-mails between Treasury officials show Treasury staff were concerned about a number of flaws in the legislation. The emails also confirm that on the eve of the bill introducing the tax, Treasury staff discussed huge flaws in drafting the legislation including:
The date from which the tax applied being uncertain, and a proposed date of 1 June included in the Budget being removed by the Treasurer himself; The bill inadvertently allowing people who buy off the plan to on-sell their entitlement free of Vendor Duty; and Failure to import age limitations from recipients of the Commonwealth First Home Owners Grant Scheme (FHOGS) into the First Home Plus scheme as they were supposed to.

Rail Corridor Working Party

Following my meeting in May with Minister Costa regarding the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail services, Working Party was established. I will be attending the first meeting of the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Corridor Working Party, which will be held tomorrow. As 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.

Youth Parliament

Yesterday I was delighted to officiate and act as Speaker during the proceedings of Youth Parliament in Sydney. The Lismore Electorate was represented by two schools; Kadina and Richmond River High School, with a total of eight teams overall and sixty students being involved. The enthusiasm of the students involved during the debate of the Bill "Community Assess Roads Scheme" was infectious and I was particularly proud of the participation of our Lismore representatives.

NWI A Win for Regional Economies: Stoner

The National Water Initiative (NWI) was a major victory for country communities and regional economies throughout the State. The deal represented a balance between healthy regional economies and a healthy environment. Primary producers have been granted secure and perpetual water access entitlements, which will have similar status to freehold land when used to access finance, but it will be entire regional economies that reap the rewards. Greater security for farmers will provide an economic boost and increased cash flow in regional towns. Stronger regional economies mean more jobs and greater opportunities for our young people. Through the NWI The Nationals have delivered a commonsense solution to the water access problem, which incorporates the particular needs of farmers, the environment and entire country communities. Over the next 12 months State Governments would be developing detailed implementation plans indicating how the NWI will be rolled out in each jurisdiction. The Nationals in NSW will be closely watching the NSW Labor Government to ensure water users and their communities get the fairest and best deal. Mr Stoner congratulated Federal Leader of The Nationals, John Anderson, on his initiative and leadership in relation to the NWI.

Shadow Minister for Small Business Visits

Katrina Hodgkinson, Shadow Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading, visited the Lismore Electorate last week to speak with Managers and teams of the Lismore and Casino Business Enterprise Centres. Available from my office is a brochure produced by Katrina, titled "Advancing Small Business - Knowing your facts and Issues", please contact my office to request a copy.

National Tree Day - 25 July 2004

Last July 247,000 volunteers planted over 2.25 million tress at 3,340 sits around Australia. This year the aim is to plant another 2 million trees. On National Tree Day, Landcare, Bushcare and Coastcare groups, councils, schools and community groups all plant tress and shrubs that are native to their local area. There are three different days on which you can participate; 1) National Tree Day on Sunday 25 July 2004, 2) Schools Tree Day on Friday 23 July and 3) any day that is suitable for your local climate conditions!

Fight to Restore Mature Workers Program

The Nationals launched a petition recently calling on Labor to reinstate funding for the Mature Workers Program (MWP). A copy of the petition is available from my office upon request. The MWP has been vital in giving mature-aged people who wish to re-enter the work force and those who have lost their jobs due to business closures or forced redundancies an opportunity to return to the work force with new skills. Labor's scrapping of funding for the Program is a slap in the face for thousands of mature aged jobseekers throughout country and coastal NSW. The program had been highly successful in helping people over 40 by ensuring they were properly equipped with the right skills and training to get a job. Over 12,000 people a year were able to obtain employment or accredited vocational training through MWP projects and overall, the projects delivered long term results for 60 per cent of jobseekers. The axing of the program is a bitter blow for coastal and country communities, which will be forced to pay the price of Labor's financial mismanagement in the years ahead through higher unemployment rates. After almost a decade in power, Labor has lost its way when it comes to the responsible expenditure of taxpayers' money. The Labor Government cries poor when forced to justify scrapping this highly successful $3.1 million program. Yet it does not blink an eye at spending $3.2 million dollars of taxpayers' money annually monitoring media headlines on Bob Carr and his Labor Ministers.

Local Holiday Gazettals

I have received advice that following representations from Lismore City Council, the Minister for Industrial Relations, The Hon John Della Bosca, has appointment that Thursday 23 September 2004 and Thursday 21 October 2004, have both been declared as a public half-holiday within the Lismore City Council area for the occasion of Lismore Cup Race Meeting and Lismore Show Day, respectively. Employers and works are encouraged to check the Department of Industrial Relations on 131 628 if this day is applicable to them.

Electorate Functions

Goonellabah Senior Citizens Christmas in July - It was my pleasure to be present at this special gathering and I took the opportunity to inspect works undertaken following funding of $4,000 to the Club to carry out painting and urgent repair works of the building being undertaken by work for the dole trainees through Tursa.

2004 Innovator of the Year Awards - I congratulate all nominees of these awards, all participants are recognised `innovators' and our business community real winners. Innovation is crucial for business growth, industry development and regional wealth creation in this day and age. The standard of applicants in all Award categories is testimony that the Northern Rivers are innovative leaders of the business future.

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