Reopening of Oatens Retravision in Casino

Express 24 September 2003

Parliament resumed in early September with the NSW Summit on Alcohol Abuse and debate will continue until mid December.

Reopening of Oatens Retravision in Casino

I had the pleasure of reopening of Oatens Superstore owned and operated by Bill and Mark Oaten and staff. Congratulations and I wish them every success with the continuing confidence that they have placed in Casino.

Countrylink Services

I was prompted by concern over the rumoured replacement of CountryLink rail services with buses to call on the Minister for Transport Michael Costa to guarantee the retention of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail service. The IPART Ministerial Inquiry into Sustainable Transport in New South Wales reported the replacement of rail services with buses as a viable option. The report also notes that community sentiment favours the retention and even expansion of rail services. They obviously aren't listening to the people if their choice is to scrap a rail service that is widely supported by its community. The Minister has previously accused the Opposition of scare mongering when we have mentioned the Government's plans to scrap the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line, yet he has mentioned this very option is his report. I want the Minister to publicly confirm that CountryLink Rail services will be maintained on the Casino to Murwillumbah line.

Parliamentary Secretary Visit

Mr Bryce Gaudry, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs recently visited the Lismore Electorate. Local bus operators met with Mr Gaudry to raise concerns in relation to private bus operators. Mr Gaudry and I inspected Mulli Mulli and the Urbenville/Woodenbong Water Supply holding discussions with Mayors, General Managers of Kyogle and Tenterfield Shire Council. Bryce also joined me in the presentation of a State Sports Representative Certificate to Joshua Hanley.

Pollies For Small Business

The Annual Pollies for Small Business Week again was a great success providing me with the opportunity to meet constituents and work with local business owners, becoming more familiar with their particular business issues. Many thanks to the team at Stuart Brothers Butchery, in Kyogle and Flair, in Casino for their support and participation in this scheme.

Parry Transport Report - Call For Submissions

The interim report of the Ministerial Inquiry into Public Passenger Transport (The Parry Report) has been released. Written submissions outlining comments on the Interim Report are welcomed and should be forwarded to either:

Ministerial Inquiry into Public Passenger Transport
C/- Ministry of Transport
GPO Box 1620
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Or by email to: inquiry@transport.nsw.gov.au. The deadline for written submissions, commenting on the Interim Report, is Friday 10 October 2003. A final report will be presented to the Minister for Transport Services in December 2003. If you have any further enquiries, please contact the Inquiry's Secretariat by phone on (02) 9268 2825, or by email to inquiry@transport.nsw.gov.au.

Costa's Regional Transport Visit

Earlier this month Minister Michael Costa came to Grafton as a result of the above report and the Ministerial Inquiry into Sustainable Transport in NSW - Options for the Future. A delegation raised concerns over the existence of public transport in rural areas and the threats posed by this Report. Due to the number of issues being covered, I urge people to examine this document (found at www.transport.nsw.gov.au) and make a submission.

Red Cross "Celebrity Prison"

I have been chosen as one of 20 people in the Lismore region to be involved in this year's highlight event "Celebrity Prison". Red Cross has held this event in other areas as a major FUNdraising event. This unique event is to be staged at Lismore Shopping Square on the 27 September 2003 at 11 am. The Australian Red Cross coordinates 12 essential local community services throughout Northern NSW. My participation and support, I hope will highlight to the community the importance of Red Cross for the whole community and I call on your assistance to contribute in whatever way possible.

Housing - Expression of Interests

Crisis Accommodation Program - Expressions of interest (EOI) are being invited for the Office of Community Housing's Crisis Accommodation Program (CAP). The objective of CAP are to improve service and accommodation options for homeless people, increase accommodation options for Aboriginal people, help clients move from crisis accommodation into transitional support and exit housing and improve the condition of suitability of CAP properties. Interest is sought from not-for-profit organisations to manage accommodation that links both support and housing. This can be provided by individual organisations or support and housing providers working in partnership.
Community Housing Assistance Program- Expressions of interest are being sought for this program which aims to expand the supply of long-term accommodation for low-income households in high needs areas. Under this year's program, not-for-profit organisations will be allocated community housing in NSW through construction of housing on redevelopment sites and purchase of properties on the private market. EOI for both programs should be lodged by 31 October 2003.

NSW Alcohol Summit

The National Party, as a result of the Summit, put the State Government on notice that additional funds were needed if resolutions from the NSW Alcohol Abuse Summit were to have any effect. We also strongly rejected a Summit resolution supporting Government-sanctioned underage drinking venues, along the same lines of Labor's heroin injecting room. Unfortunately, the resolution narrowly passed late into the night when 75 per cent of the delegates were absent. One message was clear from this week's debate - the tentacles of alcohol abuse cut across every geographic and social divide in NSW. Alcohol wreaks havoc with individuals, families, communities and our social and economic fabric. The excellent local community-based initiatives in country and coastal areas needed to be built upon with wholehearted Government support and increased funding. It is vital that young people understand that drinking to excess is not "cool" - it is a problem to themselves, their families and their communities. The graphic details of alcohol abuse were clearly too little understood in mainstream society - the health, social and legal consequences, the domestic violence and misery, the loss of employment and the impact on children.

Inquiry Into Local Government Amalgamations

The Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No 5 is calling for submissions into Local Government Amalgamations in NSW. The Committee will inquire and report on the social, political and economic impact of amalgamations. Public participation is being encouraged and the Committee invites written submissions from interested persons and organisations, with the terms of reference and further details available at www.parliament.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