Drought Assistance Urgent

Express Examiner July 02

Drought Assistance Urgent

The current drought is shaping up as one of the worst on record - 66% of the State. The National Party has called on the NSW Government to urgently introduce drought assistance measures as drought conditions worsen across the State. Immediate measures should include transport assistance for the cartage of fodder and water, as Casino and Richmond/Tweed Rural Lands Protection Boards (RLPB's) are restricted in movement of livestock to other RLPB's. Recent media reports suggest that the NSW Government was only proposing resource management subsidies and education and training measures. This is hardly appropriate at a time at a time when farmers are handfeeding livestock. Immediate assistance to transport livestock to the few remaining agistment areas and assistance to transport fodder and/or water to drought stricken livestock is what is needed.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services visits

Andrew Stoner undertook a familiarisation tour to the Lismore Electorate, last week. We visited the Casino Unit of the State Emergency Service as part of the tour, it was a great opportunity for him to become more aware of the need for new facilities to provide services during times of flooding, Natural disasters, bushfires etc, particularly from the perspective of our area.

Water Reforms

The Government's water reforms will cost country communities hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The NSW Government has ignored completely the social dislocation and economic impacts these reforms will have on country water users and the communities that rely on them. There has been a failure to balance sustainable agriculture, good natural resource management and the socio-economic viability of the regions. Some water users are facing cuts to their allocations of almost 90 per cent. Organisations have already voiced concerns regarding the devastation that they will experience which will have a flow-on to businesses, suppliers, contractors and workers. The reforms will have a significant impact on the livelihoods and quality of life of rural and regional communities yet the Government has failed to clearly demonstrate that its reform process will have any long-term benefits for the community and the environment. It is my belief that individual farmers and rural communities should not be forced to carry the full cost of conservation for the public good.

Seniors Card mailout

Local seniors may have received contact from me in relation to the NSW Seniors Card; the response to this contact has been overwhelming. The telephone has been very busy and a number of people have mentioned that they have had difficult getting through to my office. Please be patient as there is no time limit on this matter. A lot of people already have a card but may be unaware that my office provides a local directory, which lists all the participating businesses and the offers that are available in the Lismore, Casino, Kyogle, Ballina, Byron and surrounding towns. Should you wish to receive this publication, please do not hesitate to contact my office and you will automatically receive an updated version each time it is revised.

Trustee Members wanted

Applications are being invited from persons interested in being considered for appointment as a member of the Trust Board to manage the affairs of the Greenridge Recreation Reserve Trust. Applications should be lodged with the Land Access Unit of the Department of Land & Water Conservation, for further information contact Ph 6640 2061 or my office.

Public Liability

The NSW Coalition has launched a Public Liability Premium Watch Hotline to collect information about increases in public liability insurance. I am very concerned about the future of small community groups, organisations and businesses due to increasing insurance premiums. I encourage members of the public, business and community groups to phone the Premium Watch Hotline on 02 - 9230 2395 to report any changes in their public liability premium renewal notices. You can also post them, addressed to Premium Watch, Level 10 Room 1036 Parliament House, Sydney NSW 2000. Alternatively, an Internet site and an email address have been established. The website address is www.nswcoalition.com while the e-mail address is premiumwatch@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Furthermore, most organisations may have received a letter stating..
" 4. Public Liability Insurance - no longer required
The Government recognises that Associations undertake a variety of activities with differing levels of risk and that Associations themselves are the best judges of their insurance needs. Accordingly, effectively 10 May 2002 the Associations Incorporation legislation no longer requires Associations to have public liability insurance to become or remain incorporated."

Despite this advice, I strongly suggest that each and every organisation should to seek its own advice on what type of insurance it should/needs to have.

LawAccess NSW

This new service launched by the Attorney Generals Department provides a single point of access for people in NSW to assistance with legal problems. It is a central telephone and web based service that provides a mix of legal information referral and advice. It is staffed by trained customer service officers who can help constituents identify the type of legal problem they may have and the options and services that may be available to them. The service also provides free telephone legal advice in straightforward matters where the constituents has limited financial means and/or has difficulty accessing legal services because they live in a rural and remote area or have a disability. General enquiries 1300 888 529 or www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au.

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