The Federal Labor Party introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] in 2013. This is good Labor policy. The official rollout of the NDIS supposedly commenced on 1 July across the Nepean-Blue Mountains area for young people under 18 years of age living with a disability. There is currently a great deal of concern and confusion from both carers and service providers in my area at the lack of information about the implementation of the NDIS, given the expectation that families are due to receive packages from September 2015 onwards. There appear to be major delays surrounding the rollout. New services promised in media releases and on the website are not being delivered in a timely fashion. The Minister needs to urgently address a range of issues, raised by some of the most vulnerable people in society.
On Tuesday 21 July I hosted a roundtable discussion in Springwood and was joined by more than 60 people from my electorate and including 30 service organisations. The shadow Minister for Disability, Sophie Cotsis, MLC, also joined us. I will provide some feedback about this roundtable—the purpose of it—to provide an opportunity for those currently providing and receiving disability services to speak and be heard. We were privileged to hear people talk of how and when the NDIS would be implemented—their hopes, dreams, wishes, concerns, doubts, questions—as well as learn about people's ideas and opportunities to roll out best practice services for people living with disability.
Last Friday a fire broke out in the Jamison Valley at Wentworth Falls, off Tableland Road.
Wildfire behaviour was provoked by strong winds. This is quite extraordinary for this time of year and only two weeks after a huge snowfall in the Blue Mountains.
A section 44 state of emergency was declared on the morning of Sunday 2 August.
I pay tribute to the NSW Rural Fire Service, Remote Area Firefighting Crew, Fire and Rescue NSW, local police officers, National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel, State Emergency Service and ambulance crews.Read more
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day aims to raise community awareness and recognition of this largely hidden problem affecting older people living at home and in institutional settings. Elder abuse is mistreatment of an older person that is committed by someone with whom the older person has a relationship of trust. It is a violation of human rights and is recognised as such by the World Health Organization.Read more
Tonight I wish to discuss public transport, specifically train services, in relatively broad terms. Public transport options, or lack thereof, are a major concern for the Blue Mountains community. The last revision of and changes to the Blue Mountains timetable took place in October 2013 without consultation with the community. It is not good enough. Public transport impacts on every aspect of life in the mountains for many people. We are a series of villages spread across a ridge line, and the train network is integral to our moving about.Read more
Domestic and family violence is an all too common crime. Today I acknowledge the victims and survivors of domestic and family violence, and those who have for many decades provided care and support to women and children experiencing violence and abuse. Just over 40 years ago a brave group of women took refuge in an abandoned house in Glebe. Through hard work and commitment they established Elsie's Refuge for Women and Children in 1974.Read more
I speak about The Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise [BMEE] Creative Industries Cluster after opening the Blue Lab symposium last week in Katoomba. I remember being at the very first Creative Industries Cluster Muster two years ago when the chief executive officer, Jacqueline Brinkman, spoke quietly to me of her nervousness: Had she misjudged the appetite for a collaborative approach to industry development among artists and creative enterprises based in the mountains? She had not.
Over 200 people arrived that day to learn about clusters and how they build sector sustainability. The positive feedback was deafening. Kelly Blainey was appointed cluster manager and set about her role with fierce determination. Kelly brokered contracts and partnerships, immediately boosting the industries' financial viability. This grassroots approach kept work in the mountains that may have been lost to other regions. I recognise today the ingenuity, drive and vision of the BMEE team for bringing a powerful idea to life.
On 5 June each year the United Nations Environment Programme honours World Environment Day to raise awareness about environmental issues and make a call for action. The theme of this year's event is sustainable lifestyles. Its motto is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care." It is a particularly powerful topic because it encourages everyone to take a moment to question how we live and how our actions impact the planet.Read more
There is a potential calamity regarding land use and development in the Blue Mountains. This issue has arisen after an apparent backflip by the New South Wales planning department over the draft local environmental plan [LEP]. Blue Mountains City Council has worked with the community intensively for two years to devise an LEP that conforms to the standard template but also takes into account the mountains' unique position within a World Heritage area, its environment, water catchment and character housing.Read more
I denounce the Baird Liberal Government's privatisation agenda and I oppose the Electricity Network Assets (Authorised Transactions) Bill 2015 and the Electricity Retained Interest Corporations Bill 2015. I do so not just because I am stridently and ideologically opposed to the conservatives' obsessive, compulsive privatisation of public assets, but because I am acutely aware of the lie that underpins the Liberal Party's dogma against publicly owned assets.Read more
I speak on behalf of Blue Mountains residents who have been mistreated by the former O'Farrell Government and who are still left in a state of uncertainty by the Baird Government. In 2012 the O'Farrell Government cut the sewage pump out subsidy to the remaining 72 residents in the Blue Mountains whose homes were not connected to the sewer. That decision was made high-handedly without consultation and communication with the people affected and it went against a written commitment by another Liberal Government.Read more