2004/2005 State Budget

Express 30 June 04

2004/2005 State Budget

It was hoped the recent State Budget would have provided the Labor Government with the opportunity to reverse its decision to close the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail line, the closure of Business Enterprise Centres as well as the vendor/land tax charges. Whilst I am pleased to see confirmation of funds for the rebuilding of Richmond Clinic, $4m to conclude works at Kyogle Hospital, funds for the Wiangaree Bridge project, as well as a mention of new works for Lismore in the overall TAFE allocation, there is not a significant recognition of the funds being ripped from our area. There are indications that other minor works/projects may be covered however more specific details will be available in the coming weeks, when portfolio analysis' are provided to Members.

Electorate Functions

Primex 2004 - With the 20th Anniversary celebrations this year, I had the honour of presenting a NSW Premier's Community Service Award to Mr John Wright of Exhibition Marketing. Primex 2004 excelled expectations with many visitors relishing in the wonderful exhibits and popular attractions.

Men's "Shed" Opening - The Richmond Mobile Men's Shed (MMS or "Shed") provides a focus point for men to access services and referrals that cater to men's needs. I was pleased to perform the official opening at Primex last week.

Local Business Enterprise Centres Lost

The Carr Government has delivered a slap in the face for small businesses in rural and regional NSW this week, with the announcement that 50 Business Enterprise Centres (BEC) would be replaced by 18 centralised offices. This is another serious blow for local communities. The local offices at Casino and Lismore have very specialised infrastructure in place to meet the needs of our own local community and provide the FREE Business Advisory Services. With this successful infrastructure in place - a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills and experience is tied up with our local BEC's and their staff. The BEC is a catalyst for community based projects that are responsive to communities needs, it is the first port of call for information to a large number of community organisations and an effective referral point. This announcement is a result of the Carr Labor Government slashing the NSW Regional Development Budget to the tune of $2.5 million dollars next year and further cuts thereafter. Loss of these offices will impact greatly on our local business sector.

2004/05 Capital Assistance Program

The Program provides grants to assist with the development of new local community sporting and recreational facilities throughout NSW. All applications need to be forwarded to the local regional office of the Department by closing date of 31 August 2004. Hard copies of guidance notes and application forms are available from my office or www.dsr.nsw.gov.au.

"Country Week"

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Country Week campaign earlier in the year. I am very supportive of the "Country Week" campaign as it aims to get metropolitan industries, companies and individuals to consider a new life in country areas of the State. I encourage everyone from local Councils, businesses and community organisations to get behind the initiative. There are so many opportunities for this campaign to focus the minds of metropolitan residents and business on life outside the city has the potential to help stem one of the most pressing issues facing the nation - the population drift from the country to the city. The three-day "Country Week" Expo will be held at the Homebush Exhibition Centre on August 13, 14, and 15. I also encourage people to visit the Country Week website at: www.countrynsw.com.au.

Rail Inquiry Transcripts

I would like to advise constituents that transcripts following the recent LC General Purpose Committee No 4 Inquiry into the Closure of the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail line can be viewed through the Parliament website; www.parliament.nsw.gov.au following the prompts through Committees, Inquiries and

NIDA on Tour to Regional Australia

The National Institute of Dramatic Art is the Australian national theatre school and a center of excellence in education and training for careers in theartre, film and television. This year they are taking the Open Program to a number of centers in regional Australia, including the Electorate of Lismore and will be visiting Lismore through the Northern Rivers Conservatorium Arts Centre in early October. For further information contact my office of www.nida.unsw.edu.au.

Board Trust Members

Applications are being sought for appointment as Trust Board members of the Bonalbo Showground Trust and the Wyrallah Flood Refuge Reserve Trust and Eden Creek Public Recreation & Public Hall Reserve Trust. Term of appointment is for a period of five years with application forms available from and to be lodged with the Department of Lands. As various closing dates apply, please contact the Department direct on Ph 6640 2061.

Primary Industries Petition

I wish to advise constituents of a petition calling on the NSW Labor Government to back off from any plans to cut key front line services, research and development capacity and field staff when the new Department of Primary Industries is formed on July 1, 2004. This petition outlines the concerns that Labor's decision to curt $37 million from the next two years' Department of Primary Industries budget (rising to $58 million in 2007/2008) is likely to result in the loss of important services and jobs throughout regional NSW. Petitions will be asking the Legislative Council to support Primary Producers by opposing any cuts to key field staff, front line services and research and development capacity. Contact my office to receive a copy of the petition.

Farm Policy Journal

This publication is produced by the Australian Farm Institute, titled "The Future of Farmers and Farming" and is available for viewing at my office.

Plastic Bags Reduction Initiatives Award

This Award recently launched by Keep Australian Beautiful NSW is to recognize the efforts of community groups, schools, businesses and councils. Projects can include attempts to reduce the use of plastic bags, exploration of alternatives to plastic bags, initiatives that assist with the recycling of plastic bags or successful campaigns that help raise the issue of the plastic bag debate. Further information and entry forms are available from our website at www.kabnsw.org.au

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: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.