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.
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.
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
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