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Matters Of State - November 28

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Last week was a bittersweet one for me, as I spent my final days in the Legislative Assembly chamber of NSW Parliament.

Thursday was the final sitting day of the Parliament for 2018, and it was also the final sitting day before the March 23 poll next year.

Over the course of the past seven years there have been many ups-and-downs experienced in that chamber, and  while ‘The Bearpit’ can be a tough place at times, I have had the honour of sitting in there and learning from a number of great politicians.

It’s difficult to single one out in particular as everyone has played a role in shaping me as a politician, but I do want to once again make mention of the friendship and guidance offered to me by my Nationals colleague The Hon Thomas George, the Member for Lismore.

Thomas, who is also retiring from politics at the next election, was one of the men who actually convinced me to run for office in the first place.

He has been a pillar of strength for so many from all sides of politics, be it with some gentle advice or just being someone who will listen, and I would like to thank him for that support and wish him and his family all the best for what their future holds.

**

While Parliament is finished for this term of government, there is still work to be done as we continue to go about making NSW, and in particular the Dubbo electorate, a prosperous place to live.

Last week I had the honour of standing beside Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Commissioner Mick Fuller as we announced a rollout of 1500 new police over the next four years. This is the highest commitment of police numbers in at least 30 years and something the Government is proud of

As you would expect, every region of NSW wants their fair share of those numbers but those decisions will be made by Commissioner Fuller in due course.

It’s not possible to pull 1500 cops out of thin air, so it will be a continual roll-out and I look forward to seeing NSW well-protected into the future.

**

The NSW Government has continued its commitment to transform the child protection system, passing significant child protection reforms which streamline the court process for permanency, including restoration, guardianship and open adoption.

This means children who cannot live safely with their parents will no longer languish in the foster care system, despite opposition and fearmongering by members of Labor and the Greens.

The successful amendments to the Care and Protection Act will give families a better opportunity to resolve child protection concerns and keep their children safely at home.

**

Perpetrators of online bullying could face up to five years’ prison time under tough new laws passed in Parliament last week.  

Attorney General Mark Speakman thanked the parents of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett for allowing the NSW Government to give their daugher’s name to the amendments to the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act. Dolly took her own life following a campaign of abuse at school and online.

Tick and Kate, who established ‘Dolly’s Dream’ to advocate for the safety and wellbeing of children, have welcomed the NSW Government’s steps to address cyberbullying.

The laws cover sending abusive emails, posting threatening or hurtful messages, photos or videos online or repeatedly sending unwanted messages. It also provides a basis for victims of cyberbullying to seek apprehended violence orders.

The new cyber harassment laws, combined with a best in class anti-bullying strategy and mobile digital device review, illustrate the commitment of the NSW Liberals & Nationals to increase youth mental health awareness.

If you or anyone you know needs help please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Until next week,

Troy

Matters Of State - November 20

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Last Wednesday I had the terrific honour and privilege to deliver my valedictory speech to the NSW Parliament.

It was the 406th time I had stood in the Legislative Assembly chamber and addressed the parliament, and I was proud to be able to do so on this occasion in front of family, friends and staff members.

So much has happened since I was first elected as the Member for Dubbo back in 2011, and I am proud that through the collective efforts of the NSW Government, my staff and myself, we have been able to deliver so much for the electorate.

We truly are in the middle of a golden era of investment and infrastructure delivery to the major centres of Dubbo, Wellington, Mudgee and Narromine, and I look forward to seeing that continue under the next Coalition government.

As was the case in my speech, it is hard to thank everyone personally but I feel I must once again thank my wife Toni and our kids Taylor and Hamish.

Politics isn’t an easy game, and I have become used to rigours that come with it.

But for them, they have been without their husband and father for so many nights and for so many special occasions.

After 30 years of service, between policing and politics, it is time for me to dedicate my time to my family.

To everyone who has supported me and my family over the course of the years, through the ups and downs, once again I say a simple thank you.

**

Two days prior to my speech I had the chance to open the new Tresillian Family Care Centre in Dubbo.

For too long, families from our region have had to travel too far to access these services, which play a vital role in helping parents address issues with their babies and toddlers.

Listening to the ordeal Simone O’Neill and her family have endured, it rammed home just how essential this service is and the NSW Government is proud of the role we have played in bringing it to Dubbo.

So many families battle silently, whether it be sleep or other behavioural issues, but that doesn’t need to be the case anymore.

Hopefully families across the region can make use of this service through the terrific staff that will be involved.

**

Last week it was also announced that the NSW Government will introduce the toughest sentences in Australia for concealing child abuse, including seven-year prison terms for the worst cases.

Currently, failing to report child abuse without a reasonable excuse carries a sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment, or five years if the concealment was done for a benefit, such as financial gain.

The planned amendment to section 316A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) will introduce staggered penalties for concealment.

NSW and Victoria are the only states in Australia with a concealment offence specifically related to child abuse (NSW) or child sexual abuse (Victoria).  In Victoria, the maximum penalty is three years’ imprisonment.

**

New South Wales has experienced its biggest lift in annual wages growth in four years, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The NSW Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 1.2 per cent in the September quarter to be 2.4 per cent higher through the year.

More than 70 per cent of NSW industries have seen wages growth accelerate over the past year.  

Among the highlights, workers in the health care and social assistance industry in NSW saw their wages grow by 3.0 per cent followed by education and training at 2.7 per cent.

Wages in the public sector have increased by 2.6 per cent over the past 12 months with the private sector recording 2.2 per cent growth.

Until next week,

Troy

Matters Of State - November 9

Friday, November 09, 2018


It gave me great pleasure last week to officially unveil the new Ian Locke Building and George Hatch Medical Library at Dubbo Hospital.

Both men played major roles in the medical sector in this town, and through their work at Dubbo Hospital also served the wider region well.

Dr Locke was a renowned paediatrician, and it was terrific to see his wife Jennifer and other family members on hand to unveil the official plaque.

George Hatch was a doyen of the nursing profession, who worked amazingly hard for this community.

Many of his former colleagues and proteges also attended the event, and it is wonderful that the memory of these two terrific men will live on through the new building, which is located in the old maternity ward section.

Debbie Bickerton and her team at Dubbo Hospital are doing a terrific job in maintaining quality medical services at the hospital while the construction work continues.

**

Speaking of Dubbo Hospital, the outside section of the complex has certainly been in the news this week.

Claims by Dubbo Regional Council that they would gift land to the State Government to build an 88-space carpark have done nothing more than create unrest in the community.

Last week I put out a statement in relation to the council proposal, which outlined some key facts, the main one being that conceptual plans released by Dubbo Regional Council encroached on Crown Land.

For anything to happen on that land, an application would need to be made to change its classification from public recreation to operational.

Dubbo Regional Council manage the land on behalf of the NSW Government, but have not contacted either myself as the local member, nor the Minister for Lands Paul Toole, to discuss the issue.

If they had we could have avoided the whole situation, and the time and expense that council has gone to in order to create the plans could have been saved.

If NSW Health or the Western NSW Local Health District had plans for a carpark in that area, they would create one.

The debate isn’t whether the hospital should have adequate parking, we all believe it should, but some misleading language about an apparent  ‘simple’ solution, which isn’t so simple, needed to be corrected.

**

During the week I was part of a major announcement with Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Attorney General Mark Speakman in relation to sentencing for people caught deliberately causing fires that endanger the community.

Under the new law, anyone caught deliberately starting a bush fire will face a maximum sentence of 21 years imprisonment – up from 14 years.

Unfortunately, on too many occasions we have seen how devastating bushfires can be, and with the promise of a long, hot summer on the way we need to be ensuring those people that put people’s lives and properties in danger are dealt with accordingly.

In keeping with the theme of bushfire prevention, it was also terrific to announce that the Large Air Tanker (LAT) known as ‘Hunter’ will be based out of Dubbo this season.

The firefighting capabilities of aircraft such as Hunter are amazing, and for the craft to be in our region and ready to respond when called upon is a significant coup for regional NSW.

Having ‘Hunter’ in our region will reduce the amount of time it takes to get assistance to any fires that do break out, and given that every minute counts when it comes to responding to these kinds of situations, we’re lucky to have the tanker on hand.

Until next week

Troy


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