Workplace Fatalities Forum

Echo 24 March 2005

Workplace Fatalities Forum

I am hosting a forum on Tuesday 12 April 2005 from 5.30 to 7.30 pm. A set agenda and speakers with interests and expertise in this field have been organised to speak and I believe it is important for many business owners to attend and become more aware of the proposed legislation. There is widespread concern among employers, mainly small businesspeople, about the impact of this legislation. The legislation provides for increased penalties for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Bill would penalise any person any person who has a managerial responsibility, even if they were not at the workplace where a fatality occurs. While The Nationals strongly support safe workplaces, we believe this legislation is turning every employer into a potential criminal. Invitations will be sent to local businesses and should you wish to obtain further information/details, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Enclosure permit win

As many landholders may have already heard the NSW Government has, for the third time, backed down on its changes rentals for Enclosed Road Permits. Recently The Nationals/Liberals released its Policy (copy available upon request) and last week the NSW Carr Labor Government was forced to back down and offer a reduction in its proposed rent levels. Whilst the Government's changes are a vast improvement on what was originally proposed, there are still major areas of concern. The Nationals/Liberals major concern is that the Government has only promised to reduce the rents for a three year period that ends in July 2007. The Nationals/Liberals believe that if Labor is re-elected in March 2007 rents will go straight back up to the originally intended level of $350 and $750 per annum that they had originally proposed. I believe that The Nationals/Liberals' policy is responsible and fair, and we look forward to implementing our policy in full when The Nationals/Liberals go into Government in 2007.

Local Showgirls & Rural Achievers

I attended the young auctioneers and showgirl competitions held over the weekend at the Royal Easter Show. Miranda Saunders (Lismore) and Shannon Johnston (Alstonville) represented our local show societies and both young ladies were wonderful ambassadors for this region and did us proud. I also had the pleasure of attending the 2005 District Exhibit Awards Presentation where the Northern Districts exhibit, under the manager of Arthur Johns and his team, won first prize for the first time since 1940.

Changes to Office of Justice of the Peace

I have publicised this matter a number of times, however my office receives consistent enquiries by local Justices of the Peace (JP's) who were not aware of changes. If they have not already done so, JP's should register with my office to receive ensuing information on this issue and to obtain the reappointment forms. The main change affecting current JP's is that they will have to reapply every five years. Existing Justices of the Peace have three years (until 1 December 2006) to lodge your reappointment application and to re-establish either an employment or community based need for the appointment. Forms are available from my office on 6621 3624.

Commonwealth Day

I was honoured to nominate two representatives who were accepted to attend the Observance of Commonwealth Day in London that was celebrated on Monday 14 March by people in 53 countries. Mr Lee Marshall and Mr Damien Mulherin, who were both locally educated and are currently working in London, made application through my office to be nominees for the NSW Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. They were two of three representatives to attend the celebrations representing NSW. Both gentlemen had the honour of meeting and speaking with the Queen, discussing their origins and issues relating to this area.

Casino -Murwillumbah Rail Usage Survey

A survey of potential rail users and their requirements is currently taking place. This survey is for passenger and freight and to determine the viability of running a privately owned rail service, in the absence of any NSW Government services, on the Murwillumbah line. Please be aware that feedback is being sought and should anyone require a copy to be sent to them, please advise my office. The closing date is 31 March 2005.

Workers Compensation Premiums

WorkCover NSW has released a comprehensive discussion paper proposing reforms to the NSW workers compensation system. The proposed reforms aim to more fairly distribute Scheme costs among employers and provide incentives to improve workplace safety, early reporting of claims and return to work opportunities. Written submissions close Friday 8 April 2005 and can be forwarded to -
WorkCover Premiums Review
WorkCover NSW
Locked Bag 2906
LISAROW NSW 2252
Or by fax on 92875339 or emailed to premium.review@workcover.nsw.gov.au Copies of the Discussion Paper can be obtained from my office or the WorkCover website www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

Land Tax

Following many variances to Land Tax issues from 1 July 2004, my office has received increased enquiries requesting information on this matter. Anyone with an investment property or having to pay land tax, who would like to receive information on this issue should contact my office

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