Young Drivers Consultation

Echo 9 December 2004

Young Drivers Consultation

I encourage young drivers, learners and p-plate drivers, to obtain a copy of the Option Paper "Improving Safety for Young Drivers" released recently. Copies can be obtained from the website youngdrivers.com.au or by contacting my office. Comments can be made on the form attached to the Options Paper and forwarded to Improving Safety for Young Drivers or by delivering to my office.

Electorate Functions

Volunteer Appreciation - congratulations to local volunteers whom I presented certificates to at Ozanam Villa and St John's College, Woodlawn. These ceremonies recognised the valuable work these people undertake in the everyday life of these two institutions.

School Spectacular - it was pleasing to personally attend and see so many North Coast schools represented by students/performers in Sydney. I was very proud and if this is any indication of the standard for the Northern Stars Under The Big Top - bring on the show!

International Disability Day - last week I was the given opportunity to experience, albeit for a short period of time, the challenges faced by people with a wide range of disabilities whilst moving around the Lismore CBD. Whilst a lot of work has been done by Access Committees in communities, I soon came to appreciate that there is a lot more work and support to be provided by government and Councils in making shopping areas within our communities a lot more accessible to people with disabilities.

Centre for Coastal Agricultural Landscapes - the official opening of this new joint venture between the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Southern Cross University will bring together the complementary resources of both institutions to develop solutions to the issues affecting agriculture and communities in coastal catchments.

80th Birthday of Lismore CWA - I enjoyed the opportunity to join with members and be present for this special celebration of the Association's milestone.

Art of the Bundjalung Nation - I was pleased to attend the launch of Lismore's first major exhibition of local aboriginal art. The exhibition, conducted by Rotary Club of Summerland Sunrise, aimed to raise funds to improve the quality of aboriginal health care in the Northern Rivers.

HSC Results

There are three ways to access your results from 6:00am on Friday, 17th December 2004. log onto www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au or studentsonline.nsw.edu.au to view your full results display.

register for SMS delivery by texting your student number and PIN to 19 77 2346. At 6:00am an SMS with an abbreviated version of your results will be sent to you. To cover the cost of the SMS service, there is a charge of $1.10. Mobile phone service provider charges will also apply.

phone 1902 220 100 to hear your results read to you. To cover the cost of the telephone service there is a charge of $1.65 per minute. Mobile and payphones extra.

Labor Must Consult On Native Vegetation Buffer Zones

The NSW Labor Government must properly consult the public over infrastructure buffer distances proposed in the draft Native Vegetation Regulation 2004. The buffer distances, under Part 4, 16 (1) b of the Regulation, were to be formulated by Catchment Management Authorities by February next year. The 20-page draft Native Vegetation Regulations do not set any distances or guidelines for infrastructure buffer distances for holdings that are not small holdings and which are not situated in the Western Division. Currently these distances are set by either a minimum State or Federal Government guideline, or by Local Government regulations through planning instruments such as Local Environment Plans. These could vary from town to town, catchment to catchment or from the tablelands to the coast. The draft regulation proposes that Catchment Management Authorities set the buffer distances but there is no indication as to whether a Local Environment Plan would take precedence over a Catchment Management Authority regulation or vice versa. It should be noted that Catchment Management Authority members are appointed by the Natural Resources Minister and are not obliged to circulate for public discussion any guidelines they may set in this regard. It is imperative that the Minister give an assurance that these guidelines, when completed, will be subject to an ongoing consultation process which will allow input from owners of holdings which are not small holdings. The public consultations on the draft regulations so far have not been sufficient as only two meetings were held on the North Coast and many farmers were unable to attend other meetings due to commitments to their harvest.

ATLAS/POS Funding

After sustained pressure from the Liberal/Nationals Coalition and the community, last week the Carr Government backed down on its hugely unpopular funding cuts to Post School Options (POS) and Adult Training Learning & Support (ATLAS) programs. The Government have obviously realised how ridiculous its proposals were. However I am still disappointed because the new proposal only offers a generic amount of $13,500 for all participants, old or new. Pressure on the Government must be maintained because this announcement does not go far enough to meeting the needs of individuals or service providers.

Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has resolved to inquire into and report upon the administration of the 2003 NSW Election and related matters. Submissions close on 31 January 2005 and can be addressed to: Attention: Stephanie Hesford, Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000. Copies of the terms of reference are available from my office.

Draft Natural Resource Targets Require Careful Attention

NSW Leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner has urged farmers and their communities to carefully study draft standards and targets for natural resource management across the State, following their release recently. The draft standards and targets have been developed by the newly-formed Natural Resources Commission (NRC) after the NSW Labor Government rammed major natural resource reforms through Parliament in December last year. These standards and targets will guide the activities and investments of the 13 Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) and State Government agencies. Landholders must ensure they have input through their stakeholder groups, or individually, because these changes will ultimately have a big impact on how they run their properties. I am concerned at the bewildering array of proposed natural resource changes confronting farmers at an extremely busy time of the year on many farms and in the lead-up to the holiday season. On top of the draft standards and targets we also have the draft Native Vegetation Regulation 2004, which details how the Native Vegetation Act 2003 will work on the ground. These regulations were developed behind closed doors and now Labor is giving farmers and their communities just weeks to comment on the regulations before they come into effect. Individuals wanting to comment directly on the draft standards and targets should visit the NRC website at www.nrc.nsw.gov.au or phone 02 8227 4300. The last date for written submissions in response to the consultation paper is February 26, 2005. I encourage individuals and their communities to seek the views of their CMA on what the changes will mean for local areas.

$175,666 to Aboriginal Parent Support Service

Northern Rivers Area Health Service together with Child and Family Health in Goonellabah, have been approved as the auspice body for the Aboriginal Parenting Support Service to provide activities for young parents forming support networks for families.

Public Holidays

Due to Christmas and New Year falling on weekends the following public holidays have been proclaimed -

Saturday 25/12 Christmas Day - Monday 27/12 (holiday)
Sunday 26/12 Boxing Day - Tuesday 28/12 (holiday)
Saturday 1/1 New Year's Day - Monday 3/1 (holiday)

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