Mental Health Month 2018

October is Mental Health Month. Today I will speak about the Mental Health First Aid [MHFA] program. One in three people will experience some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. Those numbers clearly show it is a common health problem, yet many people feel isolated and stigmatised by their illness. In the Blue Mountains there is a groundswell of community support for people living with mental illness as well as their family and friends. Local organisations are working together to raise community awareness, and bring an end to stigma and health discrimination. I have long been an advocate for people affected by mental illness. Recently I joined with local neighbourhood centres in my electorate to champion the cause and show my support for skills training through the Mental Health First Aid program. Continue reading

Valley Heights Rural Fire Brigade

The Valley Heights Rural Fire Brigade celebrated its sixtieth anniversary on Saturday 20 October and many of its firefighters received medals. National medals were presented to members in recognition of their years of diligent service—people who go above and beyond what is expected of active members of brigades. Continue reading

Workers Compensation (Firefighters Presumptive Rights)

I will make a brief contribution to debate on the Workers Compensation (Firefighters' Presumptive Rights to Compensation) Bill 2018.In doing so, I acknowledge that once again Labor and its shadow ministerial team are leading the way from Opposition, within a policy and legislative vacuum created by the laziness of the Government. Labor has been engaging with and listening to the community on this and many other matters. The Fire Brigade Employees Union [FBEU] and the Rural Fire Services Association have both pledged their support for this legislation and have been at the forefront of the push to protect firefighters in both agencies against the long-term health impacts of the vital work they perform. Continue reading

Water NSW Amendment (Warragamba Dam) 2018

I contribute to debate on the Water NSW Amendment (Warragamba Dam) Bill 2018. I want any interjections by Government members of Parliament, who sit opposite carping and moaning during Opposition speeches, to occur early. This is a bad bill introduced by a crooked Government on behalf of vested interests and Liberal Party donors in the property development industry. Nothing more, nothing less. This is the same criminal Government that was responsible for water theft along the Murray River. The impacts of the proposal to raise the dam wall are very well established. We will see hundreds of square kilometres of pristine world heritage area national park flooded in my electorate. We will see sacred Aboriginal sites inundated and destroyed. Continue reading

Resilient Australia Awards 2018

I acknowledge that on this day in 2013 more than 200 homes were destroyed by bushfire in the Blue Mountains. Many animals died in those fires, many of them pets. Yesterday in the Resilient Australia Awards (NSW) I was proud to see some very humble people recognised for their efforts in preparedness for fire. Continue reading

Blue Mountains Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

I acknowledge my local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, which provides advice; promotes respect, empowerment and self-determination; participates in collaborative consultation; and advocates for cultural affirmation to ensure that the diverse and unique identities of Aboriginal students, teachers, families and local areas are recognised and valued. Continue reading

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018

Tonight I speak in debate on the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018 to address the failure of leadership that this bill represents. Yet again the Berejiklian Government is offering the community some inadequate or undesirable reform and expecting a pat on the back and a polite thank you from the Opposition for its troubles. Continue reading

Tribute to Michael Garwood, Charles Keene and Melanie Farry

I recognise members of the Blue Mountains community who recently offered their time to save a man's life. During a sporting event at the Katoomba Aquatic Centre a senior player collapsed from a heart attack.   Continue reading

Ikou Ethical Products

I congratulate Naomi and Paul Whitfield on the success of their business iKOU. Ikou is a Japanese verb meaning to rest, relax and restore. Naomi and Paul started the business in their Blue Mountains kitchen creating aromatherapy bath salts, natural wax candles, skincare and body products and organic herbal teas, sourcing natural and organic ingredients from ethical sources. Continue reading

Lithgow Jobs

Tonight I discuss something that is easily forgotten by members opposite in the Liberal-Nationals Government. Workers in regional and rural New South Wales hardly rate a mention on the agenda of the Coalition party room meetings in this place because at the end of the day they are not the sort of people that most of the members opposite represent. We have the converging pressures in the upper Blue Mountains and Lithgow regions of the effects of climate change and the uptake of renewable energy on a mass scale by middle-class households throughout suburban Sydney. This convergence in the medium to long term will render the core activity of Lithgow and its surrounds, namely the digging up and burning of coal, almost completely obsolete. This is a simple economic reality.   Continue reading