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Olympic Games

Friday, August 10, 2012
I've gained great satisfaction from watching the world's biggest festival of sport, the Olympic Games, which has united a global audience of hundreds of millions of people in a way nothing else can. The Games are a wonderful spectacle which fosters international good will. I have thoroughly enjoyed cheering on athletes from all different nations, races and abilities and I am always impressed by the underdog, those athletes who surprise everyone with their tenacity and determination to compete at the highest level despite overwhelming odds. The Games have captured the imagination of the whole community, inspiring many youngsters to take up new sports for the first time or rekindle an interest in athletic ability. We hope the Dubbo electorate can nurture more future athletes, which could be made possible thanks to the recent announcement that a state of the art athletics track will be constructed at Barden Park right here in Dubbo. Sally's Pearson and Usain Bolt's gold medal winning performances will no doubt encourage many youngsters to take up track and field events. The upcoming Dubbo Stampede will be an opportunity for the community to test their athletic ability this coming September. The picture postcard backdrop for many of the events such as the marathon and the cycling road race have added to the spectacle of the Games. This is Great Britain's moment to shine and it hasn't disappointed, almost in Sydney's class, but not quite!

Teachers in NSW already do an amazing job, but as we prepare our students for the challenges of the 21st century, we need to think very carefully about how we can ensure the teachers in their classroom are world class. The Minister for Education has launched a discussion paper to give people a say about what can be done to improve the quality of teaching in NSW schools. This is the ideal time for us to be having this conversation as we have new national teaching standards and curriculum, we have a new model for funding NSW public schools and we have a new wave of teachers emerging from our universities. The discussion paper is available at www.schools.nsw.edu.au/greatteaching.

The O’Farrell Government is determined to rid farmers, agricultural contractors and transport operators of mountains of annoying and costly red tape that built up over 16 years of NSW Labor. We are abolishing the need for a number of farmers and rural transport operators to haul around more than 100 pages of paper during their daily work travels. In the past, to transport a single vehicle such as a large header, a farmer had to carry a 49-page notice, a 55-page ‘operating conditions’ booklet and a six-page mass permit. Under the reform announced last week, the three documents will now be replaced with just two small notices resulting in a 95 per cent reduction in red tape. Roads and Maritime Services estimates 148 current permit holders will benefit from this reform.

Some of you may be interested to know that that the NSW Government has invested $2 million in the Smoke Alarm Subsidy Scheme, designed to give people who are deaf or hard of hearing the same protections as smoke alarms do for others. Smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing have flashing lights and vibrating under-pillow pads in addition to an alarm sound. Without the subsidy these alarms cost about $500 – with the subsidy people will only have to pay about $50. For information visit www.deafsocietynsw.org.au/smokealarms

Last year NSW hospitals identified 215 potential organ donors who were medically suitable to donate. Of those, only 77 actually donated organ - a rate of just 36 per cent. The NSW Government's goal is to see this rate increase to meet the national target of 70 per cent. One organ donor can help as many as 10 people, with many more assisted when tissue is also donated. Unfortunately, one in six people who could have been saved by an organ donation dies waiting for a suitable donor to become available.With this in mind I was pleased to welcome the' Increasing Organ Donation in NSW: Government Plan 2012', aimed at doubling the state’s organ donation rates. The strategy includes transferring existing donors from the RMS organ donor register to the national Australian Organ Donor Register run by Medicare; increasing community education and awareness campaigns about organ donation and employing specialists in hospitals to help families make informed decisions about their loved ones organs.





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