Thomas GeorgeMember for Lismore- State Matters

NRMA Road Safety Grants

The NRMA is now accepting applications from community groups for the 2006-07 round of NRMA Community Road Safety Grants. The grants of up to $5000 are distributed for programs and solutions that address local road safety problems.

The grants can be for stand alone projects or to enhance an existing roads project. To be eligible for funding community organisations must demonstrate the project will benefit the local community, reduce crash risk, have clear goals, outcomes and performance indicators, and must include a clear outline of how the money will be spent.

Applications are available from my office and must be submitted by April 24.

New Bordin Brothers shed

Last weekend I had the pleasure of opening the new Bordin Brothers shed in Kyogle. The opening also incorporated an information session on the National Livestock Identification System as well as live demonstrations and talks. Its great to see a Kyogle business expanding and I wish the Bordin Brothers all the best for their enterprise.

FirstFarmer Program funds

The FirstFarmer program, first announced by the NSW Government in July last year, is yet to be funded, leaving young farmers without the opportunity to introduce sustainable agriculture practices. Some young farmers have been left waiting for the funding to help with the purchase of their first property.

The FirstFarmer scheme is supposed to provide concessional finance to help young farmers establish viable and sustainable farming properties and to encourage them to introduce cutting edge management practices and technology. It was announced as a means to address the decline in the number of young people entering farming.

It appears the $1 million FirstFarmer scheme was stalled whilst an external consultant was engaged to review the merits of the scheme. It is a shame such a worthwhile scheme has been announced, but not delivered.

Support for Lifeline essential

Whilst the recent announcement of $500,000 for Lifeline counselling is welcome, it falls short of the total needed to support Lifeline counselling across the state. In contrast, the National/Liberal Coalition has pledged $1.5 million annual recurrent funding for Lifelines telephone counselling service if elected in March 2007.

Lifeline provides an essential service to the community and deserves financial support. In this area alone, the service takes 5000 calls a month and across NSW there are 15 Lifeline centres which last year took over 200,000 calls through the 24-hour telephone counselling service.

Lifeline desperately needs additional funding to support and train its counsellors to meet growing demand for its services. Mental health services are in desperate need of support and it is shortsighted to underfund a valuable service like Lifeline.

Clubs tax freeze

Unlike the current NSW Government, which plans to continue increasing clubs tax effectively forcing them out of business, the Coalition has committed to freezing the tax. This is an important issue for the Lismore electorate because our local clubs provide generous support to many local sporting groups and community organisations. Without this support many of these organisations and groups would struggle to survive.

Already the clubs tax has forced the closure of some smaller clubs and the loss of an estimated 2000 jobs across the state. A report by the Allens Consulting Group found the clubs tax will cost more than 24,000 jobs state-wide by 2010, including 3,500 jobs in country areas. The current NSW Government needs to understand that long term stability for the clubs industry is essential to maintaining their support for the local community.

It is essential that all NSW businesses are given the tax relief they need to operate and compete effectively against businesses in other states.

Office contacts

Phone: 6621 3624

Fax: 6622 1403

Address: PO Box 52, Lismore, NSW, 2480

Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Web: www.thomasgeorge.com.au


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