Conference Commitments Good News for Lismore Electorate Residents

Northern Rivers Echo 6 July 2006

Conference Commitments Good News for Lismore Electorate Residents

Commitments made at the NSW Nationals conference in Ballina last month are good news for Lismore Electorate residents. The commitments include increasing and expanding the Rainwater Tank Rebate Scheme, abolishing the Countrylink booking fee for pensioners and delivering greater equity to country school children.

In particular, the NSW Nationals will double the Sydney Water rainwater tank rebate and extend the rainwater tank rebate scheme to country residents. As we are all aware, water is our most important natural resource and we need to encourage the ongoing collection of stormwater by increasing and expanding rainwater tank rebates.

Pensioners will also benefit from the NSW Nationals commitment to scrap the State Labor Government's unpopular Countrylink booking fee. The booking fee introduced by the Labor Government in March, unfairly slugs pensioners 15 per cent of the equivalent full adult fare or a minimum of $10 (whichever is greater) and is charged for each voucher used for the journey undertaken. The NSW National/Liberal coalition will abolish this unfair financial burden if elected to Government in March 2007.

The NSW Nationals will also provide greater equity for children attending small country schools by lowering the cut-off point for single teacher schools from enrolments of 25 children to 20. The Small School Staffing Program would provide extra teaching resources to small schools, benefiting country kids by increasing learning opportunities and by decreasing student to teacher ratios.

These three announcements will be of great benefit to local residents and it is pleasing to see country areas being given such strong support by the NSW National/Liberal Coalition.

YMCA Youth Parliament

Congratulations to Ashleigh Foley and Alyson Hewett of Kadina High School and Jessica Webb of Lismore High School who this week represented their schools at the YMCA's Youth Parliament in Sydney. The YMCA Youth Parliament program gives students the opportunity to submit Bills to be debated in a mock Parliament setting. Members of Parliament attend and take part in the sessions. It is a great opportunity for students to see how the Parliament works and for Members of Parliament to listen to the concerns of students.

New Seniors Card Directories

I am currently sending out new Seniors Card directories to Lismore electorate residents that have advised my office they are participants in the scheme. If you live in the Lismore Electorate, have a Seniors Card and have not received a new directory by the end of the month please contact my office and my staff will be pleased to provide you with a copy. The directory contains up-to-date information about discounts offered by local businesses.

Reserve Forces Commemorations 2006

Last weekend Reserve Forces commemorations were undertaken in Lismore and across the nation to give recognition for serving and former Reserve Forces and for the support provided by their families and employers. More than 1.25million Australians have served in the nation's Reserve Forces and it is appropriate we commemorate their contribution to Australia's Defence Forces.

NAIDOC Week Celebrations

During this week, celebrations have also been underway for NAIDOC Week 2006. This year's theme is Respect the Past- Believe in the Future. Detailed information about activities during NAIDOC Week can be found on the Internet at www.naidoc.org.au

Auditor-General Concerns about NSW Public Dental Waiting List

The NSW Auditor-General has highlighted concerns about the failure of the Iemma Labor Government to keep records of the number of people waiting for public dental treatment in NSW.

The Auditor-General's recent performance audit states: `The Department is not able to identify the total number of patients who require free dental treatment, where they are, their age or condition and the type of treatment they need, or the time that patients may wait for non-urgent treatment'.

Estimates leaked to the Opposition last year show there are over 215,500 people waiting for public dental care. These are people who are suffering, some are waiting up to four years just to see a dentist and up to ten years for dental services such as dentures. Dental problems can have serious effects on the overall health and well-being of patients and the Iemma Government spends less per head of population than all other States and Territories. It is important that a proper record of the Dental waiting list is kept and made available publicly.

Goolmangar Community School of Arts Celebrations

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Goolmangar School of Arts centenary celebrations. The School of Arts was opened on 22 June 1906 and has been a focal point for the community ever since. The celebrations included the release of a book detailing the history of the School of Arts, an auction of goods and livestock similar to one undertaken at the opening, and the presentation of life memberships to several School of Arts supporters. I wish to acknowledge the hard work undertaken by the organising committee to arrange such a successful celebration.

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