Parliament

Express Examiner December 99

Parliament

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.

Hospital Cutbacks

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.

Teachers Strikes

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.

CCT Win

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 better.

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 productivity gains.

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.

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