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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Elder Abuse

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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. 

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Blue Mountains Public Transport

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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. 

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