Premier Carr's visit

Echo 14 July 2005

Premier Carr's visit

I was pleased to accompany Bob Carr during his recent visit last week to examine the effects of flooding and inspect the levee bank. The following details are flooding assistance as per the Natural Disaster Declaration announced by the Premier;
Flooding Assistance
Under an agreement with the Commonwealth, NSW pays for the first $85.1 million of all natural disaster costs in each year. The following schemes are consistent with the Commonwealth/State Natural Disaster Relief arrangements; Individuals- Department of Community Services provides assistance to people in distress financial circumstances due to damage to houses and properties. Following an application an evaluation is undertaken and assessed. Enquiries can be made to the Lismore DOCS office on 6621 8099 or 1800 018 444.

Primary Producers - Loans of a up to $130,000 are available (subject to certain eligibility criteria) at a concessional interest rate of 3%, for those in urgent need. These loans may be used to meet carry-on requirements and the replacement of livestock and plant. Application forms are available from my office or www.raa.nsw.gov.au or 1800 678 593.
Road and rail freight subsidies of up to 50% on the carriage of livestock and fodder are available. The maximum subsidy available is $15,000 per annum. The Department of Primary Industries handles enquiries and can be contacted on 1800 814 647.

Small Business - Loans of a up to $130,000 are available at a concessional interest rate of 3% to small businesses affected by disasters and which meet certain eligibility criteria. This finance is available to those unable to obtain assistance through normal channels Application forms are available from my office or www.raa.nsw.gov.au or 1800 678 593.

Trustees of Parks & Reserves - Provided the facilities concerned constitute "public assets", grants may be available to those parties (eg Trustees) responsible for managing Crown Land, Parks and Reserves, who do not have the financial capacity to meet restoration costs from their own resources. The Department of Lands administers this scheme. Contact is John Burton 02 8236 7082.

Sporting Clubs - A special scheme is available to assist sporting clubs in meeting the costs of restoration of essential club facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. The assistance is made available to those clubs which do no have the financial capacity to meet restoration costs from their own resources, but which have the capacity to repay any loan that may be granted.  Under these arrangements the maximum assistance available is $12,000 including a grant of up to $2,000 and the balance by way of repayable advance with interest at the rate of 3%. Treasury administers this scheme and as there is no formal application form, a letter outlining the extent of damage sustained, photographs and quotes in relation to necessary restoration works need to be submitted through my office.

Churches and Voluntary Non-profit Organisations - Loan assistance is available to churches and voluntary non-profit organisations for the restoration of essential facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. As with other schemes, assistance is only available to those organisations, which do not have the financial capacity to meet restorations costs from their own resources, and are unable to obtain assistance through normal channels. Treasury administers this scheme with advances subject to a maximum of $25,000 at 3% interest.

Youth Parliament

If the debate of Youth Parliament is indicative of the outlook for the next generation, then there is no doubt that the potential and future for our youth is positive. Our local representatives, Caitlin Jensen and Ingrid Martin, provided tremendous counsel for the Youth in this State. I congratulate Caitlin and Ingrid for participating with integrity and representing the Lismore electorate in Youth Parliament. I was most honoured to be speaker on the day these local students were in attendance.

2005 Justice Awards

Nominations are currently open for the annual Justice Awards presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. These Awards are a great opportunity to recognise the efforts of individuals and organisations working to increase access to justice NSW, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people. Either individual or a group of individuals may be eligible for one or more of the following Awards. Nominees can be recognised for a single outstanding activity or, for achievement over a period of time;

The Justice Medal - sponsored by the Foundation and presented to an individual for outstanding achievement in improving access to justice.

The Aboriginal Justice Award - sponsored by the NSW Attorney General's Department and presented to an Aboriginal individual/group of individuals demonstrating outstanding commitment to improving access to justice Aboriginal people in NSW.

The Law and Justice Volunteer Award - sponsored by the NSW Bar Association for outstanding commitment in a voluntary capacity to improving access to justice.

The Pro Bono Partnership Award - sponsored by the National Pro Bono Resource Centre and presented to private law firms, community organisations and/or community legal centres, which have developed a relationship resulting in improved access to justice for disadvantage people.

Nomination forms are available from my office, or www.lawfoundation.netau/justice_awards and close on 5 August 2005.

Valuer General

A second newsletter regarding land valuations has been released with the purpose of providing landowners and members of the public with information about the valuation system. Majority of local Councils have elected to issue the first newsletter with the first round of rate notices for 2005. The newsletter is available on the Department of Land's website www.lands.nsw.gov.au or from my office. Should anyone wish a copy to be forwarded to them, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Plan of Management

A proposed amendment to the Big Scrub Nature Reserves Plan of Management has been prepared and is now on public exhibition. Public comment is being sought and should be in writing to: The Planner, Big Scrub Nature Reserves, PO Box 856 ALSTONVILLE NSW 2477, closing date is 10 October 2005 and information is available at www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au.

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