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SPRING HAS ARRIVED

Friday, September 28, 2012
Spring has well and truly arrived. The weather is warming up, school holidays have begun and last weekend saw the culmination of the football season for the NRL and AFL. No doubt many others in the electorate were like me glued to the television set on Saturday and Sunday as the Sydney Swans took on Hawthorn and the Bulldogs tackled the Storm. The Monday public holiday was an ideal time to spend with family and friends as we run into the busy period leading up to Christmas.

Much of the commentary in the media during the past week has been about public service pay and conditions. The campaign waged by the Public Service Association (PSA) against the reasonable measures introduced by the Government to counter the economic difficulties facing the NSW economy has been little more than mischief making. The NSW Government has delivered a 2.5 per cent wage increase across the entire public sector. Further increases beyond that amount are entirely dependent upon agencies achieving productivity savings. It's worth remembering that Public Service growth has outstripped population and economic growth by more than 20%. Public Servants cannot be quarantined from addressing the need to protect the state's AAA credit rating. We do not have the luxury of spending more than we earn nor is that a legacy I wish the children of this state to inherit. When the PSA grow tired of the games they are currently playing with the livelihoods of the members they purport to represent they will realise that we all must work hard to ensure the long term sustainability of this region and acknowledge the work already undertaken to attract additional infrastructure investment and growth. Labor's discredited economic legacy to this state should be burned into the collective conscience of our community for generations to come.

Sport is often regarded as an important part of life in regional Australia, contributing to community identity, sense of place, social interaction and good health. Organisers of regional sporting events held in NSW are eligible to receive a significant boost through a new events grant program announced by the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Graham Annesley. The program supports events conducted in regional and rural areas that promote participation in sport and physical activity and stimulate local economies. Those eligible to apply include; national sporting organisations, state sporting organisations, recognised industry bodies, incorporated not-for-profit sporting organisations and event organisers which have a contractual arrangement with and or a letter of support from a national or state sporting organisation to deliver an event. I strongly advise organisers of sporting events within the Dubbo electorate to apply. Details about the Sport and Recreation Events Grant Program including guidelines are available at www.dsr.nsw.gov.au or by phoning 13 13 02.

It is commonly assumed that video games cause violence. The NSW Government has introduced a new R18+ rating, which is great news for parents who want to protect their children from computer games with unsuitable content. Legislation passed recently will implement a national regime to bring the rules for computer games into line with films. The new national reforms mean some MA 15+ games may now be reclassified as R18+ if they contain material that is not suitable for teenagers under 18. Previously some games classified as R18+ overseas only carried a MA 15+ rating in Australia.

As part of the Government’s WorkCover reforms we have substantially increased the weekly benefits for 940 men and women who have been seriously injured at work. The weekly benefit for the most seriously injured workers has increased by about 70 per cent to a minimum of $736 per week. The NSW Government promised to improve WorkCover and has. As a result seriously injured workers will have more money and access to medical treatment for life. Employers and the economy have also benefitted because the forecast 28 per cent rise in WorkCover premiums was avoided, saving up to 12,600 jobs.

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