State Parliament Resumes

Northern Rivers Echo 2 March 2006

State Parliament Resumes

State Parliament resumes this week after the summer recess. This session the Nationals will be working hard to see a number of important issues addressed for the Far North Coast. I will give you feedback in future columns as to issues affecting the Lismore Electorate which are raised in the Parliament.

More Police for Nimbin

Last week I called on the State Government to provide six more police for Nimbin. This follows the recent escalation of violence and out-of-control behaviour in the town and in particular, an incident in which a policewoman was struck in the face whilst attempting to arrest an alleged offender.

Many Nimbin residents no longer feel safe in their community and have reached the point were they will no longer accept the blatant use of drugs and incidences of violence occurring in the town.

It has reached the point that police are also being intimidated and feel unsafe undertaking their duties. Unfortunately the problem seems to be worse than the numbers that are reflected in the official statistics.

This week in State Parliament I am calling on the Iemma Government to provide at least six new police immediately to the town to assist the existing four police already serving the area.

Country Halls Funding

Country Halls which are located on State-owned land and held in trust can apply for funding assistance from the Department of Lands Public Reserves Management Fund.

Application forms are available from my office and can be submitted for consideration by the 25th May 2006. These applications are considered according to applications received and the extent of funds available.

Applicants need to describe the Hall project they wish to undertake, provide evidence of community comment on the Project, provide quotes, an estimated time-frame and additional financial information.

Heartfelt House

I was pleased to attend the official opening of Heartfelt House on the weekend. Heartfelt House, located in the grounds of the Summerland House With No Steps assists adult survivors of sexual abuse and their family and friends.

Childhood sexual abuse can leave deep psychological scars that continue into adulthood. Heartfelt House those affected by abuse to live full and satisfying lives through support and assistance. The House runs long and short term groups that walk survivors and their family and friends through their healing process.

The Heartfelt House is the result of the hard work of Vicki Hamilton and a dedicated team and will be of great benefit to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Seniors Card Holders

I have recently written to all residents of the Lismore Electorate who are potentially eligible for Seniors Card and asked them to contact my office if they wish to receive an application form.

To be eligible for a Senior's Card you must be; 60 years and over
permanent residents of New South Wales
not in full-time employment (defined as working less than 20 hours per week on average per annum)

If you live in the Lismore Electorate, think you may be eligible for a card and have missed out on a letter, contact my office and we will post you an application form. The Senior's Card allows a range of discounts in thousands of businesses across the State.

Young Lismore Artist Honoured

Anna Chamberlain of Caniaba Public School has been honoured by having her art work chosen for inclusion in the Medibank Private 2006 Calendar. Anna was chosen from artists across the State as the September illustration.

Her art work is of a horse grazing in rolling green hills with a windmill, drinking trough and fence in the background and typifies the local area. Congratulations to Anna on being one of only twelve students chosen for this honour.

Mental Health Funding

A recent Productivity Commission Report has shown that NSW has the lowest number of staff employed in specialised mental health services in the country - at just 86 staff per 100,000 people. Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have more than 100 staff per 100,000 people and the national average is 93.3 staff per 100,000.

Current staff in the mental health system in NSW do an outstanding job but they are severely under-resourced and there simply isn't enough of them. Recruitment of mental health staff in particular is an enormous issue and in some areas around NSW mental health beds remain idle due to a lack of specialist mental health staff.

Current and prospective staff working in the area of mental health need to feel confident that the State Government is doing enough to properly resource their workplaces.

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