Drought Tour

Express Examiner 29 January 2003

Rhonda & I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a prosperous 2003 and trust that a joyous and relaxing festive season was had by all.

Drought Tour

I had the opportunity last week to be part of a National Party tour of the drought-affected areas of western NSW. During the weeklong expedition we visited Orange, Dubbo, Moree, Walgett, Bourke, Cobar, Hay and many places in between. This was an excellent chance to see first-hand the devastation to these rural areas and speak with Councils, Rural Land Protection Boards and farmers.

Hospital Boards

Last week the Coalition announced that should it win government in NSW it would give hospitals back to their communities by appointing local and district Hospitals Boards. The Coalition will abolish the current 17 Area Health Service Boards and replace them with local boards that would be far more knowledgeable of local needs.

Administration and jobs within each area health service will remain in place to service the local and district hospital boards, instead of one all powerful area health service board. Within the Lismore electorate, a Hospital Board would operate for Lismore Base Hospital and Clarence-Richmond (comprising of Bonalbo, Casino, Kyogle, Nimbin & Urbenville). A Coalition Government would call for nominations for the Boards by advertising in local areas. It would be a condition that being appointed to a Board would be honorary. Local community representatives with links to non-government organisations and expertise in financial, legal or other relevant fields would be sought.

Water Policy

A Liberal/National Coalition Government will usher in a new era of water management which is more inclusive, equitable and scientifically rigorous. Key elements of the policy include: Delivering a comprehensive water property right;
Respecting the recommendations of local stakeholders;
Basing future reform on sound science;
Transparently assessing the environmental, economic and social impacts of Government policies before they are implemented; and
Delivering appropriate structural adjustment assistance where future water reductions occur. We will also: Work with local stakeholders to develop regional solutions to water management, based on a whole of catchment assessment;
Develop structural adjustment packages to manage the negative effects of proposed water reforms, based on the socio-economic impact assessments;
Explore system savings and market-based schemes as an alternative to future water cuts;
Increase the effective representation of water users on Water Management Committees by limiting voting rights to community representatives and ensuring that community representatives live in the area to which plans apply;
Refocus the Department of Land and Water Conservation to one of advice and assistance rather than the policing role forced upon it by Labor.

School Funding

I was pleased to be advised recently of funding made available under the School Maintenance Program 2002/03. This work was due to commence during the summer holidays. Some local schools to benefit are: Bonalbo Central $11,000 fir grounds erosion and to repair trip hazards
Casino High $8,400 to repair trip hazards
Casino Public $30,000 to repair deteriorated bitupavement & trip hazards in paving
Doubtful Creek Public $4,000 to replace a verandah and gutters
Kyogle Public $61,000 for a retaining wall

West of the Range Tour

I will be conducting interviews West of the Range on Wednesday 12 February at Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo, Woodenbong, Urbenville, Legume, Wiangaree and Grevillia. Anyone wishing to meet with me, please contact me office for further details.

New Website

I wish to advise that I recently launched my new website. The address is www.thomasgeorge.com.au. The site obtains copies of press releases and newspaper articles, such as this, Parliament speeches, an online survey and much more. I trust the constituents of the Lismore Electorate will find this to be a useful resource. Any feedback on this site would be welcome.

Home Owners Warranty Insurance Client Clinics

Two senior staff from HIA Insurance Services will be visiting Lismore on 18 February to provide guidance in relation to your Home Warranty Insurance. Whilst the staff are able to address insurance queries they do not have underwriting authority and cannot provide underwriting solutions during the meeting. The Lismore meeting will be held at AON, Conway Street from 9.30am-5.00pm (half hour appointments). To make a time contact HIA Coffs Harbour on 66512422.

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