COVID-19 Small Business Grants and the Impact on Women

I wrote to the Minister for Finance and Small Business a month ago to raise my concerns that the COVID-19 small business grants discriminated against women. I am yet to receive a response from the Minister or from anyone in the Government—and so the unintentional consequences of ill‑advised and poorly thought through policy on the hop continue. When the Government has only a single solution to the huge economic downturn that we are experiencing, which is to provide a grant to businesses that has tight eligibility requirements and hoop after hoop to jump through, it risks excluding people. That is exactly what the New South Wales Government has done.

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The need to rebuild TAFE

I will have to check whether TAFE offers a public speaking course. Out in the real world people are relying on those of us on this side of the House to save TAFE from the clutches of those opposite, who are ideologically obsessed with privatisation. As the member for Wyong says, the structural undermining of TAFE has been happening for years both through the closure of TAFE campuses and through the use of the contestable funding model for the delivery of TAFE courses. Our students, our communities and our teachers are suffering.

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Impacts of the 2019/20 Bushfire Crisis

I thank the member for Wagga Wagga for bringing this important motion to the House. Those people we hailed as heroes for months while our State burned are not made of steel, and after the fires were put out they did not go home, have a big meal, a sleep and wake up okay. They suffered financially, emotionally and physically for days on end to protect lives and homes. We must ensure that they, alongside the burnt communities across New South Wales, across the Snowy valleys and Wagga City Council areas, also recover.

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Addressing Domestic Violence

Violence against women and girls is described by UN Women as a pervasive human rights violation of pandemic proportions. Here are some sad Australian figures: On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner; one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15; one in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence; and one in six Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner. Keeping this in mind, allow me to note some of the concerns, themes and threads raised with me as I have travelled the State and held discussions, forums and roundtables as the shadow Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence.

 

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Acknowledging Peter Johnson

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge Mr Peter Johnson, a remarkable constituent of mine, who began his teaching career in 1978. He has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to public education and its life-changing power in the lives of children and their families. Peter has held many senior leadership roles in the Department of Education, overseeing initiatives to improve quality education and outcomes for Aboriginal children. He has served as the executive director of the department's human resources and business services.

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Lachlan Garland and the Blue Mountains Conservation Society

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge the Blue Mountains Conservation Society [(BMCS]), and in particular former President Lachlan Garland. Lachlan has been active in the areas of bush- regeneration and bush-care. As President of BMCS, Lachlan and BMCS have led organised, well-researched and compelling campaigns on the acquisition of Radiata Plateau, elimination of zombie developments and environmental and noise pollution. 

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Tribute to Mark Geerligs

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge local school Principal Mr Mark Geerligs' retirement after 33 years' service. Beginning his extraordinary teaching career in 1981, Mr Geerligs became a principal in only his seventh year as a teacher, in 1987.

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Brenna Tarrant's Sporting Achievements

Earlier this year I was approached by the Western Sydney Academy of Sport and asked to become an ambassador for one of their young AFL athletes, Brenna Tarrant.

 

Soon after, I had the pleasure of meeting Brenna at my office in Springwood and I have to say, what an inspiring young woman she is! Brenna's sporting achievements are many.

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Lachlan Garland and Blue Mountains Conservation Society

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge the Blue Mountains Conservation Society (BMCS), and in particular former President Lachlan Garland. Lachlan has been active in the areas of bush-regeneration and bush-care.

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David Elliott, Minister for Emergency Services

What a motion we have before us. Really, where do we begin? As members know, I have only been a shadow Minister for a short while. When I found out that my opposite number was David Elliott, I was a little bit worried. I thought to myself, "Here we have a senior, experienced and well-rounded Minister of the Crown—and a pitch‑perfect soprano in his spare time."

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