Mr John Brogden - NSW Opposition Leader visits

Express Examiner August 02

Mr John Brogden - NSW Opposition Leader visits

NSW Opposition Leader, Mr John Brogden visited the electorate last week and spoke with farmers at the Northern Cooperative Meat Company (NCMC), who raised issues of Native Vegetation, Mental Health, Drought Assistance, Police and other matters. Mr Brogden also met with Board of the NCMC, NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative and Norco, discussing cross border issues and highlighting the disadvantages that local cooperatives and all business in the area are challenged by in competing against their Queensland counterparts. Later in the afternoon, John met with the members of the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) and matters raised included unfunded mandates, infrastructure; roads, bridges, water and sewerage, regional support for the radiology unit, funding of libraries and natural resource planning and management.

Drought and visit by Shadow Minister

Mr Ian Armstrong, Shadow Minister for Agriculture was also in the electorate last week and spoke with local beef producers regarding Ticks and BJD policy. These discussions will assist Mr Armstrong in policy formation, which is due to be finalised very soon. Discussions also included the drought and the problem of lack of any financial support for six months after the drought declaration.

The NSW Government has announced the eligibility criteria for drought assistance. The proportion of NSW in drought is now 82 per cent. Producers will qualify after six months in drought for a 50 per cent subsidy on:

The transport of water for domestic purposes;
The transport of fodder to feed drought affected stock;
The transport of stock to slaughter;
The transport of water for drought affected stock;
The transport of stock to and from agistment.

The cap on this assistance is $20,000 per farm. This criteria will exclude many desperate farmers across NSW, including some in the Upper Hunter. At this stage, only those producers in the Electorate from the Coonabarabran Rural Lands Protection Board will immediately qualify. I have called on the Government to take into account individual farmers and individual circumstances and the Coalition has called on the Carr Government to consider lifting the six-month drought period. A drought information hotline has been established and the number is 1800 814 647.

Radiology Unit Petition

I urge all people to sign the petition currently being circulated by the Northern Rivers Area Health Service, highlighting the urgent need for Radiation Oncology Services in the Northern Rivers Area. A petition is available and should anyone wish to receive a copy to collect signatures can do so by contacting my office.

Pensioner Concession Fares

From September 1, pensioners and seniors will be able to travel unlimited distances within the CountryLink network for the price of a $2.20 Pensioner Excursion Ticket. Currently, a 129-kilometre distance restriction applies. However, passengers need to be mindful that:
A person cannot use the concession if part of their travel passes through the City Rail network. The City Rail Network is bounded by Nowra in the South, Bathurst in the West, Dungog in the North and Scone in the Hunter.
The maximum allowable booking time is seven days i.e. tickets can only be purchased seven days in advance.
Furthermore, the tickets are subject to availability.

Justice of the Peace Applications

Whilst I have mentioned changes to the Justice of the Peace legislation, I wish to highlight the fact that people can apply for this office if they satisfy the eligibility criteria; i.e. age, character, and employment or community based need. This service is very demanded and I often have people searching for a Justice of the Peace. Should anyone be interested in applying, please contact my office and a brief overview will be provided with an application form and accompanying requirements sent out for consideration.

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