Express Examiner December 99
The NSW Legislative Assembly has effectively risen for the year 1999, apart from
the unexpected recalling by the Carr Government. Parliament is not anticipated
to resume until April 2000.
I am extremely disappointed with the radical proposals to cut 47 hospital staff
and 31 beds at Casino and District Memorial Hospital. This plan is totally
unacceptable and does not take into consideration the medical needs of the area.
Residents of Casino and surrounding districts can be assured that I will
continue to address this problem and fight to have this decision overturned to a
result that is acceptable to all parties concerned.
Whilst I do not condone strikes, I am pleased the latest advice to hand is that
the Industrial Relations Commission has decided that compulsory conciliation
must be entered into to resolve the dispute. The Coalition welcomes the move,
but the Government must enter into this process in good faith, which they have
not done to date.
The Labor Party backdown on the policy of Compulsory Competitive Tendering for
State road maintenance was welcomed last week. After a long fight, the public
has finally gotten some sense from the Minister. Now the Minister has decided to
introduce benchmarking standards for the works, which was a major
recommendation, contained in an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)
report last year. In most instances, benchmarking is a much better option, and
in the long run should deliver reduced costs as well as protecting the jobs in
regional areas. It has been the commitment and determination of the Coalition
and local councils that has seen the defeat of this policy.
Work Experience - Insurance
An interesting matter bought to my attention recently involved a constituent
wishing to gain voluntary work experience with local businesses for their child.
In this instance, local businesses were only too happy to offer this essential
on-the-job experience, but were concerned about personal accident insurance.
Most businesses and private individuals have been lead to believe that there is
no such policy. Premiums for `personal accident insurance for voluntary work
experience' are dependent upon individual requirements. Further information is
available to interested persons by contacting my office.
Heroin Injecting Room Trial
Passed by Parliament recently was the Carr Governments legislation allowing the
establishment of a taxpayer funded heroin injecting room. The Coalitions
position on drug law reform was made clear from day one. The National Party
believes a greater emphasis and funding for detoxification, rehabilitation and
youth prevention programs, including job creation would serve society far
Rural Fire Service Inquiry
I have welcomed the Legislative Council's General Purpose Standing Committee
Inquiry into the Rural Fire Service. The inquiry allows interested parties to
make submissions so that the Committee can consider public input in resolving
the issues raised. Terms of Reference are available from my office.
Tax on Farms
Whilst this is a Federal matter, however, I believe the Ralph Committee Report
will prove a considerable disadvantage to the farming and hobby farming sector.
I hope none of these proposals are adopted, as small hobby farms are a vital
part of our local economies. In many ways, hobby farms are establishing a new
industry as evidenced by the growing attendance at the Primex and Farmarama
field days as well as the growing component of small farm industries at local
shows. There is a need to acknowledge that small or hobby farms are a
significant industry nowadays with considerable potential for innovation and
Needle & Syringe Vending Machine
The Northern Rivers Area Health Service is conducting a consultation process
regarding the proposed installation of a vending machine on the grounds of the
Casino & District Memorial Hospital. I urge interested parties to convey their
feelings on this matter for my attention, before 24 December 1999.
As 1999 draws to a close, Rhonda and I, together with my staff, Karen and Bronwyn,
would like to wish you a happy and holy Christmas and trust that we will all be blessed
with health and happiness in the new millennium. Please remember to drive safely over
the festive season.