Kyogle Hospital Opening

Northern Rivers Echo 7 December 2005

Kyogle Hospital Opening

I attended the opening of the Kyogle Memorial Health Centre on Monday 28 November and I was honoured to recognise Ian Causley, Federal Member for Page, the Federal and NSW Governments for their support in providing this facility for Kyogle. I was privileged to join with the Minister for Health, John Hatzistergos and Tom Fitzgerald in unveiling the plaque. The opening and day of celebrations was a tribute to Tom Fitzgerald, his Committee and the community of Kyogle for their dedication, commitment and persistence which reflects over ten years of hard work in turning this dream into a reality. Congratulations everyone, well done Kyogle!

Extra Police Needed Now

I recently called on the Minister for Police to provide the Richmond Local Area Command (LAC) with extra police. The LAC has 13 officers on long term sick or stress leave, 12 on restricted duties and nine vacancies. This equates to approximately 20% of the allocated numbers to the Command. Add these figures to those that are on regular holidays and it leaves the LAC with a critical shortage. The result of this is police are being drawn from all stations to cover these shift vacancies, which in turn leaves some areas without the expected police presence. For example, a vacancy in Lismore could draw police from Nimbin or Casino, therefore leaving a shortage there. I understand that the vacancies at Nimbin, Tabulam & Woodburn are being advertised however there is a critical need to have not only these positions immediately filled but also the other five vacancies throughout the Command. I called on Minister Scully to have these problems addressed immediately as the pressure of having 20% of the workforce unavailable is creating a unacceptable work environment for those police doing a tremendous job in not only carrying out their normal policing duties but covering the shortfall as well.

Self-Funded Retirees Winners Under New Nationals' Policy

Country and coastal self-funded retirees will benefit from a Nationals' policy to establish a NSW Seniors Concession Allowance of $300 a year for self-funded retirees. Under a Nationals/Liberal Coalition Government, the Allowance would be provided to self-funded retirees to assist them in meeting State Government fees and charges, such as motor vehicle registration, electricity bills and council rates. For more information, contact my office.

International Day of People with a Disability

The Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) will for the 2nd year lead the NSW campaign "Don't DIS my ABILITY". A "Sports for All" theme will be utilised as part of this international day of celebration on and around Saturday 3 December 2005. Locally, Lismore City Council's Access Committee will be holding a free day of sporting activities for local people with a disability on Friday 2 December, a "Sport for All" will be held, for more information contact Shauna McIntyre at Lismore City Council on 6625 0458.

Teach and Reinforce Stranger Danger to Children

Whilst children are often taught `stranger danger' at school and following a recent incident, I urge all parents to talk to their children about "Stranger Danger". As parents we should inform or remind children about the dangers in talking to or accepting rides or gifts from strangers. Children should be encouraged to walk or wait in groups with friends to deter predators. Children are not only our most precious members of the community but also our future. We as a community need to be aware of what's happening around us, especially when we see young children out on the streets alone. If you see or hear a problem, notify 000 immediately. Police need information to act and catch these predators. We certainly don't want this behaviour in our community.

The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment Bill 2005

Ridiculous Labor legislation will see country families fined thousands of dollars for smokey chimneys. The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment Bill 2005 was passed in the Legislative Council last week. The legislation allows $3,300 fines to be slapped on families who fail to comply with Smoke Abatement Notices for "excessive smoke" - defined as a visible plume of smoke for 10 minutes, including a 30 second period when it is at least 10 metres long. This new legislation will force many country families with wood heaters and/or wood stoves to go without heating during winter. While others will be forced to buy bottled gas or install electric heaters at great expense - an expense particularly the old and frail cannot afford.

Electorate Events

I recently attended the following Electorate functions and enjoyed the opportunity to join with my constituents. Commissioning of Janet Gates
Trinity Year 12 Graduation Ball
Interrelate Office Opening
The Channon Children's Centre
St John's Woodlawn Appreciation Gathering
Quota Club Cheque Presentation, Kyogle
Lismore Senior Citizens Christmas Party
Pacific Highway Meeting at Grafton
Lismore Challenge Graduation Ceremony Dinner
Schools Spectacular, Sydney

Important Toy Safety

When we think about Christmas, many of us think of kids and toys. Sadly in some instances, the very same toys that bring joy to young children are capable of causing injury due to poor design or improper use. You don't have to be a qualified industrial designer to spot a potentially dangerous toy. Some of the more obvious signs are:

Small Parts - Check for any small parts on the toy that may pose a choking hazard.

Stuffed Toys - Avoid toys with weak seams.

Sharp Edges and Points - Always check toys for sharp, serrated edges or sharp points

Projectiles - These items should have protective tips.

Pinch Points -Check there are adequate locking devices to prevent the toy collapsing.

Ventilation - Ensure the item has adequate ventilation, particularly if it is likely to be used outdoors in hot weather.

Toxicity -Labelling provides a guide when buying items such as paints, crayons or other toys containing gels and liquids.

Noise Producing Toys - Be wary of excessive noise levels, which could damage hearing.

Strangulation Hazards - Be wary when buying toys intended to be attached to a string, such as those used in cots and playpens.

Flotation Toys - These are not designed for life saving and are not substitute for competent supervision.

Age of Child - When purchasing toys it is important to consider the age of the child for whom you are buying. Most toys now carry age labelling and this is usually a reliable guide of the age group the toy will suit. However, recognise your own judgement of the level of skill and development of your child is invaluable in making product choices.

By following the warning labels notices on toys and checking your children's gifts, you can help make certain that children enjoy a safe and happy Christmas.

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