Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Line

Express 26 May 04

Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Line

I hosted Mayor Merv King, Charlie Cox and Warren Polglaze, as a last effort to save our train services, but we were disappointed with the outcome of our time with Minister Costa, who confirmed the last train would be Sunday 17 May. The Minister did assure us that the track will not be dismantled and the fight is not over yet. On the last sitting day before the cessation of the North Coast Rail service, I marked the historical occasion of the rails line's last train service, by informing the Legislative Assembly that it was a sad day for the people of the Lismore electorate. I recorded my appreciation of the efforts made by the Northern Rivers community to have the decision reversed. Political representatives of all persuasions joined in the campaign to fight for the service and Sydney media outlets also lent tremendous support. However, I was disappointed that in all debates and votes on this issue in Parliament, Mr Neville Newell, Member for Tweed was conspicuous by his absence.

Beef Week

The Beef Week Committee have been working hard and I encourage everyone to enjoy their efforts, to attend and participate in this great local event. I will be attending most functions and I look forward to enjoying Beef Week 2004.


Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Duncan Gay believes that delaying the introduction for 12 months would give sufficient time to compare what happens in Victoria and refine implementation in NSW. Furthermore, allowing time for the rural industry to be out of the drought and aline the implementation timing with Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The Nationals' are commitment to financially supporting the scheme to producers and have called on Minister Macdonald to provide the same assistance. The National's believes the NLIS has great promise as a quality assurance program but not at any price.

School Captains Visit

As part of a leadership program organised in conjunction with the Office of the Governor of NSW, the Department of Education and Non Government schools each year, school captains and leaders were recently invited to visit Parliament House. I was very pleased to host a morning tea for the leaders of six local high schools:

Woodenbong Central
Bonalbo Central
Casino High
Kyogle High
Kadina High
Lismore High

Jennifer Hayward
Krystle Oxenbridge and Patrick Moore
Scott Shephard and Tiffany Blaydon
Carissa Fadelli and Jack May
Caisha Alderson and Scott Campbell
Scott Braithwaite and Katrina Mulcahy

Additionally, the students were in the public gallery of the Legislative Assembly chamber, during my address and appreciation of those involved in fighting to save our trains. The students attended a full day of activities that consisted of a tour of Parliament House, followed by a visit to Government House to meet Her Excellency, the Governor, Ms Marie Bashir.

Loss of 36 Jobs Thanks To Labor's Club Tax Hikes

A new report on the impacts on the Carr Labor Government's tax increase on the State's Clubs reveals a total of 36 jobs would be lost in the Lismore Electorate by 2010. The report had found that between September this year and 2010 when Labor's new tax regime was phased in, NSW clubs would be forced to axe almost 10,500 jobs. 16 direct jobs are predicted to be lost and this does not include the flow-on effects to secondary industries such as caterers, construction workers and live entertainers. With these in mind, it is predicted a further 13, 500 jobs will be lost Statewide and a further 20 jobs will be lost in the Lismore Electorate. Some regional Clubs will be forced to close by this unfair tax hike. According to the report other consequences of Sydney Labor's greedy tax hike will be:
Cuts to Clubs' capital expenditure, meaning less investment in Club facilities such as fewer playing fields, sporting facilities, entertainment and recreation venues;
significant increases in the price of meals and drinks;
increases to membership fees;
reduced donations to charities and local community groups;
reduced funding to junior and amateur sporting teams;
increases to the cost of facility and venue hire.

Primary Industries Merger May Mean `Recentralisation' Away From Rural NSW.

The Nationals are concerned about the future of regional NSW's Primary Industry support and research services in the face of Sydney Labor's sweeping budget cuts. In merging NSW Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Mining into one department, Labor will slash $37 million in the first year and $58 million a year by 2007-2008. It now seems increasingly likely these massive budget cuts will mean a re-centralization of front-line services away from regional centres. The NSW Coalition is committed to decentralization, leading the way by moving NSW Agriculture's Head Office to Orange in 1991. Unfortunately Sydney Labor seems intent on ripping services and jobs out of country NSW. Nobody denies there is a certain synergy to bringing the primary industries together under one umbrella - but this should not be done in an atmosphere of cost cutting. Country residents are concerned that merging primary industries into one department just to cut costs would mean job losses, slashed extension services and office closures. Let's not forget that in December 2003, Labor closed one of the State's only two full time agricultural colleges plus the cutbacks at Wollongbar Agriculture Research Station, just to save $1 million a year!

Justice of the Peace Reappointments

I have recently distributed a copy of advice received from the Attorney General's Department, in relation to requirements for reappointment as a Justice of the Peace (JP). It is appreciated that there are many JP's who have undertaken many years of continuous and dedicated services to the community, particularly in rural areas and villages. The Attorney General's advice states;

"The changes to the Justices of the Peace Act 2002, with the public register scheme, is supportive of members of the general public being appointed to assist the community at large. The requirement to demonstrate a community based need is not limited to a person's affiliation or involvement with a community or voluntary organisation and it is certainly not intended that a current Justice of the Peace should be involved in ongoing activities of a community organization to demonstrate a community based need. JP's who continue to provide Justice of the Peace services to the general community may establish a community based need by providing a letter from any community or voluntary organization that is aware of the person's availability as a Justice of the Peace. In such cases, a letter from the Principal of a local primary or secondary school, a local priest, a manager/director of a local business, attesting that a person is continuing to provide JP services to the community would also be sufficient."

This clarification may assist those long serving JP's contemplating the need for them to reapply.

Business Names Regulation 2004 and Regulatory Impact Statement

The Office of Fair Trading is inviting comment on the proposed Business Names Regulation 2004 and associated Regulatory Impact Statement. The Regulation aims to enable the Business Names Act 2002 to operate effectively by prescribing matters of a procedural and administrative nature. In particular, the Regulation prescribes:
the form of, and the power to correct entries in the Register of Business Names;
the offences under the Act that may be dealt with by penalty notice;
the fees payable under the Act;
the issue of certificates of authority to authorised officers under the Act; and
other matters of a minor, consequential or ancillary nature.

Comments and submissions on the Regulation and Regulatory Impact Statement should be directed to any of the addresses given in the Regulatory Impact Statement, and should be received by 1 June 2004.


Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email:

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.