Protect Koala Habitats

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[Download PDF] I congratulate the more than 17,000 signatories to the petition to protect Ballina's koalas from the environmental vandalism of this Government.

I live a long way from Ballina but, because I represent an area that has been let down by this Government's bungling, waste and environmental vandalism, the environmental activists of the North Coast and Tweed regions have my absolute support.

The proposal to build a highway upgrade through the habitat of endangered koalas in the Blackwall Range is an affront to common sense.

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Public Housing Eviction Legislation

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[Download PDF] I speak to the Residential Tenancies and Housing Legislation Amendment (Public Housing—Antisocial Behaviour) Bill 2015.

As a new member in this place, I am often asked by fellow members, by colleagues in the upper House and people throughout my community, what it is like to be a local member of Parliament and the sort of work that I deal with in my electorate office.

Overwhelmingly—and I am sure this would be the case for a significant proportion of members in this place—the single biggest issue which my staff and I deal with through the electorate office relates to public housing services.

Before I address the substance of the bill today, I want to outline the experience of a constituent of mine in the Blue Mountains; and it is not unusual.

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Bushfire Prevention - The 10/50 Code

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[Download PDF] As the member for Blue Mountains I know that the changes the Rural Fires Amendment (Bush Fire Prevention) Bill 2015 seeks to enact will impact on the daily lives of each of my constituents. These changes will affect not only the fire risk profile of houses in bushfire-prone areas but also the local environment that we are fortunate to call home. To this end, I acknowledge that this legislation arises, to a great extent, in response to the Blue Mountains bushfires of 2013, which caused the loss of more than 2,000 homes in the Winmalee, Yellow Rock and Mount Victoria regions. 

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State Emergency Service Volunteers

[Download PDF] I commend the member for Coogee and other members in this place for this motion. I take the opportunity to pay tribute not only to State Emergency Service [SES] volunteers for their efforts in the past 24 hours in responding to a huge amount of callouts and peoples' worry and despair but to the volunteers who contribute to efforts across the State during any emergency.

I acknowledge the member for Kiama, who is present in the Chamber, and the difficult conditions his community is dealing with at present. Obviously, being from the Blue Mountains, I mention my SES unit, which covers one of the largest municipal areas in the world. 

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Blue Mountains Student Sport Achievements

[Download PDF] I stand in recognition of the contribution of parents in my electorate who are supporting their children to participate in sport and thereby creating our next generation of athletes. The benefits of sport to the physical and mental health of children and young people cannot be underestimated. Physically active students are more likely to engage and achieve academically. Physically active children are more likely to mature into physically active adults. The benefits of sports programs extend beyond the individual and their families. Sports help keep young people engaged and strengthen social cohesion, ultimately building a healthier community.

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Plastic Bag Free NSW Petition

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I congratulate the member for Coogee on supporting the campaign to improve our environment and reduce our dependency on plastic bags.

Similar campaigns are underway in my electorate of Blue Mountains to see towns move towards a more sustainable solution.

I pay tribute to the work of Shirley Lewis, who is known throughout the Blue Mountains as "Shirley the Bag Lady".

She and Marina Brown host a radio show on Radio Blue Mountains that focuses on sustainability and the environment. They have been working hard for many years to bring to the community's attention the impact of plastic bags on our beautiful local environment.

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Workers Compensation Amendment Bills

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[Download PDF] I am pleased to see the Baird Government making some effort in the Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2015 and the cognate State Insurance and Care Governance Bill 2015 to address the appalling record of the former O'Farrell Liberal Government in the treatment of injured workers. 

No doubt the Baird Government is aware of the widespread condemnation which has been levelled at the heartless workers' compensation reforms which the conservatives—led by the disgraced former Premier Barry O'Farrell—rammed through Parliament back in 2012.

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Rail Commuter Access

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A lack of easy access to train stations is a problem which locals in my electorate of Blue Mountains are all too familiar with.

Currently, there are no easy-access train stations between Katoomba and Springwood.

Often, people from the city refer to communities in my electorate collectively as "The Blue Mountains" and do so without realising the significance of the distances involved.

To give the Parliament some perspective of the vast distance between the two easy-access stations at Katoomba and Springwood, we are talking about a distance by road of 31 kilometres. That is the distance from Parliament House on Macquarie Street to Cronulla in the south, Girraween to the west, or Narrabeen to the north. It is a distance which takes in over 10,000 homes—resided in by people who need to make use of public transport every day to get around the mountains or down to the city for work.

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Disability Services (NDIS)

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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. 

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Blue Mountains Fires

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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.

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