Minister praises Norco

Express Examiner 24 October 01

Minister praises Norco

NSW Agriculture Minister, Richard Amery recognised the success of the Norco Co-operative in Parliament last week. Acknowledging the remarkable turnaround from the $4.5 million loss to a $2.67 million profit in the year of dairy deregulation. This echoes what the Board, Management, staff and suppliers, have been able to achieve along with valuable support from suppliers and the community. The joint venture with Fast Freeze at Casino has enabled the Co-operative to be the first Australian Company to export fresh cream to America, with the $990,000 provided through the Dairy Regional Assistance program. In addition $1 million was presented to Norco recently by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson. Congratulations to the Chairman, Greg McNamara, General Manager Bernard O'Brien, the Board members, the staff of Norco, suppliers and the community who have done a tremendous job in re-establishing Norco as the major dairy Co-operative in the North Coast area.

Rural Fire Service Allocations

I appreciate the support provided to the following Councils by Minister Bob Debus for Rural Fire Services; Kyogle $675,503 Richmond Valley $841,430 Tenterfield $582,259

International Year of the Volunteer BBQ

Rhonda and I had the pleasure of attending this function organised by the Casino Rotary Club at the Windara Nursery and Tea Rooms Parklands. We were honoured to join Ian Causley, Federal Member for Page, Mayor Col Sullivan in recognising our local volunteers. Congratulations to John Nipperess and members on a wonderful day.

Deregulation of the Dairy Industry

Last week in Parliament the report into the Dairy Deregulation Impact and Assessment Committee was tabled. Anyone interested in requesting a copy can do so by contacting my office.

Nurses Action

Nurses across the State went on strike last Thursday calling for better pay and conditions. Thousands of nurses marched on Parliament House in Sydney and rallies were held in many rural and regional areas. I attended the rally, while Premier Carr and Health Minister, Craig Knowles, refused to address the rally. The Opposition told the rally that we believe nurses are entitled to a better deal and we support them in their claim. The critical shortage of nurses in rural communities is of utmost concern and is hampering the health system's ability to provide adequate and suitable care to patients. A review commissioned by the Health Minister himself, Craig Knowles, found that more than 3,000 nurses would consider returning to work in public hospitals if conditions were improved, their wage concerns addressed and working hours made more family friendly. The Carr Government must immediately increase hospital funding to improve conditions and give nurses a fair hearing on wage claims. Nurses should be properly recognised for the wonderful work they do in our community.

Our Troops

May I express the Lismore electorate's best wishes and prayers for our Army, Navy and Air Force personnel engaged in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. So far, Australians have watched the British and United States forces carry the fight; however, the war impacts on all of us as the Coalition Forces (including Australia) move into position for the next phase. Our prayers are with them and their families as they depart our shores.

Debits Tax

The debits tax will be abolished in NSW on January 1, 2002. The debits tax is levied on every bank and credit account linked to cheque-drawing facilities and is worth $315 million a year. The abolition of the debits tax is welcome and will be of benefit to both individuals and businesses

Parks vs Weeds

I join with NSW National Party Leader, George Souris, in questioning the Carr Government to explain why $25 million was being spent on maintaining Sydney's major parks compared to just $6.9 million on fighting noxious weeds across the State. Agriculture Minister, Richard Amery was asked how, in light of the money being spent on Sydney's parks, could he justify allocating just $6.9 million to noxious weeds control? Noxious weeds cost NSW more than $500 million a year through impacts on the environment, primary industry and human health. The Carr Government is spending a net $25 million maintaining Sydney's Botanic Gardens and Centennial and Moore Park Trust - an area totalling 449 hectares, equating to almost $56,000 a hectare. The contrast is clear - Carr Government spending on Sydney spaces equates to almost $56,000.00 a hectare versus $0.09 a hectare to fight noxious weeds in the rest of NSW. These figures again highlight the growing differential between funding for metropolitan and rural and regional NSW. The Carr Labor Government has its priorities wrong - it's time the Carr Labor Government made noxious weeds a priority.

Reports and Awards

The following are available from my office upon request -

Review into Offices of the Protective Commissioner and Public Guardian.
Premier's Seniors Achievement Awards - These awards are to recognise seniors for their contribution in the development of our community, and for their leadership and initiative.

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