Self-funded retiree announcement

Express Examiner September 02

Self-funded retiree announcement

Last week the NSW Coalition Government announced that it will extend pensioner concessions to self funded retirees who hold a Commonwealth Seniors' Health Card. The Brogden-Souris Government would, in conjunction with the Federal Government, extend a number of concessions currently available to pensioners to self-funded retirees who hold a Commonwealth Seniors' Health Card, such as motor vehicle registration, electricity, rates, water and sewerage.

I believe there were about 1600 eligible self-funded retirees in the Lismore Electorate who would benefit cardholders including:

Free registration for one motor vehicle, which is used mainly for private purposes (a saving of $187 to $327 depending on the weight of the vehicle) per person.

A $112 a year rebate on electricity bills (per household) and

Discounts of up to $250 a year or 50% on council rates (per household)

Discounts of up to $87.50 a year or 50% on council water rates (per household)

Discounts of up to $87.50 a year or 50% on council sewerage rates (per household)

Local Councils and businesses will be fully reimbursed for the cost of this initiative by the State Government. I recently addressed a meeting of North Coast Independent Retirees where they indicated they were working towards this outcome. I am sure North Coast independent retires would welcome this initiative by the NSW Coalition.

Regional Vegetation Management Plans

Landholders, producers and interest groups are now calling for the rejection of the Regional Vegetation Management Plans. I trust all Landholders, producers and interest groups took advantage of the opportunity to submit a response/submission to the plan.

I tabled a Notice of Motion calling on the Legislative Assembly to note that:

over 300 people attending public meetings in the Kyogle Shire Council area, have rejected in its entirety the Draft Richmond Regional Management Plan.

over 1, 000 signatures have already have been received on Petitions being tabled in Parliament.

Kyogle Shire Council resolved unanimously "that Council reject in its entirety the draft Richmond Regional Management Plan". And furthermore, Council on behalf of the rural ratepayers request the Minister to reject the Plan and authorise a six-month extension to enable a rewrite of the Management Plan.

the New South Wales Farmers representative on the Committee, after public pressure will still only be an observer of submissions made on the Plan.

calls for the Minister for Land and Water Conservation, Mr John Aquilina to visit the area immediately to hear concerns about the Plan.

As a result of the above motion the Minister has asked the Director General, Mr Bob Smith to attend a meeting at my office today, which will be attended by a cross section of representative, interest and farming groups. The present status of these Plans develop each week and I am happy to supply copies of Hansard and press releases. Those wishing to receive this information should contact my office and a copy shall be forwarded of the above.

West of the Range visit

Once again my recent visit West of the Range, proved beneficial in being available in local villages to discuss matters of concern with constituents. I enjoyed the opportunity to again visit West of the Range to meet with people that would not otherwise travel to see me and bring their views to my attention.

Foot & Mouth Disease Exercise

Casino recently held a National Simulation Exercise as a NSW initiate to build on and test the work done by the local emergency management group in preparing for an outbreak of Foot & Mouth at the Casino Saleyards. This exercise was very valuable in accessing and identifying the areas of need, which also provided the opportunity for the Minister for Agriculture, The Hon Richard Amery, to visit the Casino area and also meet with the executive of the Northern Cooperative Meat Company.

Shadow Minister for Local Government

The Hon Duncan Gay, Shadow Minister for Local Government, Energy, Mineral Resources and State Development visited the electorate and met with NOROC representatives, he also accompanied me to speak with Southern Cross University journalism students.

Public Liability

The insurance crisis is pressuring our rural and regional way of life, with hundreds of traditional country events, shows, rodeos, pony club events, gymkhanas, equestrian events, annual community festivals, art shows, under threat. I was pleased that the Government has finally moved on the second stage of proposals, which could help small business, and community organisations stay in business.

Some of the provisions of the draft Bill include:

increasing the legal weight of waivers and risk warnings,

banning people from winning damages for an activity that a reasonable person would consider to be inherently or obviously dangerous;

banning people from winning damages if they were intoxicated or committing a crime at the time of an accident;

protecting volunteers from litigation,

I am also pleased that Insurance Australia Group, working in conjunction with QBE Insurance and Alliance, has announced its intention to participate in a public liability Not-For-Profit Insurance Pool. The not-for-profit insurance pool will offer cover to organisations displaying the following characteristics:

they provide services to the broader community;

they are an organisation with a not-for-profit tax status or turnover/funding less than $2,000,000;

they do not distribute profits to their members;

they comprise mainly of "volunteer" members.

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