Regional Vegetation Management Plans
Express Examiner November 02
As the Parliamentary session draws to a close it is becoming increasingly
apparent that a number of issues will remain unresolved until after the 2003
March State Election. However I had the opportunity to raise the following
matters of concern during Parliament last week..
Regional Vegetation Management Plans
Last week I acknowledged the work of many in the Kyogle community and West of
the Range in relation to informing people and bringing to their attention the
implications of the Richmond and Tenterfield Regional Vegetation Management
Plans. Over 3000 signatures have now been presented in Parliament calling on the
Government to listen and change the current plans.
Upper Clarence Mobile Phone Coverage
Many people from this area have brought to me their concerns and the
difficulties faced by local communities in accessing mobile phone coverage and
this last week in Parliament I had the opportunity to raise these. The Upper
Clarence Community and Economic Development Organisation was successful in
attaining a commitment of $290,000 from Networking the Nation to provide
regional code division multiple access coverage. In an unprecedented response,
the socioeconomically disadvantaged communities of the area raised a community
contribution of $30,000 for the project-which was three times the Networking the
Nation requirement of $10,000. I also paid tribute to the Upper Clarence West of
the Range Lions Club, which ran the appeal and organised the banking of the
money. This money was raised because the community realised the necessity and
the importance of mobile coverage. I raised concerns that the Networking the
Nation Projects had to be operational by 30 June 2003 and that delay over the
Christmas/New Year and 2003 State Election periods would leave insufficient time
for this to be achieved. I was able to voice the concerns of the community that
the Upper Clarence may miss out, not only on mobile coverage, but on $1 million
of investment and the flow-on social economic benefits. It is important that
this project be approved immediately, and I called on the Minister to do so
before the end of the session. The communities of the Upper Clarence area
deserve to have the tower completed. They have raised money against all odds;
even the National Parks and Wildlife Service has contributed to this fund.
Delegation for Radiotherapy Unit
I organised a delegation of people representative of the local community to
present to the Minister for Health, Craig Knowles the need for a Radiotherapy
Unit in Lismore. We were able to address the Minister, highlighting the priority
needs of a Unit in Lismore and Minister Knowles was very responsive to our case.
He has now asked for a further submission to enable him to pursue the Unit in
Lismore at a Federal level. We will continue to pursue this on a Commonwealth
basis through the Member for Page, Ian Causley.
Lucy Brogden visit
Opposition Leader, John Brogden's wife, Lucy will be visiting the Lismore
Electorate on Thursday 28 November 2002, visiting a number of areas of interest
as well as attending a luncheon at the Lismore RSL Club. For further details
please contact my office.
Asthma Friendly Schools Project
I recently joined with the Hon Michael Lee, Asthma Friendly Schools ambassador
for the Asthma Foundation of NSW to register St Carthage's School in the
project. An opportunity exists, thanks to the support of Country Energy, for all
schools to register and participate in the asthma emergency training sessions
taking place over the next couple of weeks. To find out more about the project
or to enrol your school, contact Rebecca Stephenson, Program Coordinator, Asthma
NSW on (02) 9906 3233 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Urbenville & District Bowling Club funding
I was advised by the Minister for Gaming and Racing, Richard Face, that the Club
had been allocated a grant of up to $5,000 under the ClubBIZ Scheme. This scheme
is a special industry assistance scheme for clubs needing financial advice. The
Self-help scheme, funded entirely from unclaimed Keno prize money from as far
back as 1991 will help as many as 500 clubs.
Reduction in Class Sizes
I am pleased to be apart of the Coalition that has announced it will embark on a
four-year program to lower class sizes if it wins Government next year. The
initiative means class sizes in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 will be lowered
to an average of 21 students. The plan will involve employing about an extra
2,000 teachers. Extensive international research has clearly shown that smaller
class sizes have a dramatic impact on student performance. It is clear that
young children perform and progress much better in smaller classes. Better help
and support in the early years is the best way of preventing problems developing
later in life. Lowering class sizes is a vital commitment to our future.
Water Tank Rebate
The NSW Coalition has announced that in Government it would extend this rebate
to all areas, which is good news for the Lismore Electorate, after my office has
received a number of approaches from constituents wanting information of how to
apply for the rebate, only to find that it was limited to in the Sydney, Blue
Mountains and Illawarra regions. Many local residents would like to avail
themselves the same opportunity however this scheme is not applicable to this
region, which ironically is experiencing the worst water shortages in many years
with water restrictions being in place for months.
Casino Community Benefit Fund
A new round of funding for community projects and services is now available. The
program provides the opportunity for "not for profit" community based
organisations to apply for financial assistance for activities that aim to
minimise or prevent the flow on effects of gambling and problem gambling.
Further information can be obtained from www.dgr.nsw.gov.au or my office.
Applications close 15 December 2002.
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 Norman
Johnston Memorial Reserve (Bonalbo). 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.