Geoff Provest MP
100% for Tweed
The NSW Budget delivered on 17 June shows the Liberal and Nationals State Government is getting on with the job of rebuilding NSW and that is good news for the Tweed.
The statistics inside my newsletter show we are performing better than neighbouring Queensland and indeed any other state. That is good for Tweed small business and good for Tweed jobs.
That is not to say many locals aren’t still doing it tough, which is why the Budget also protects the vulnerable. We have maintained pensioner concessions by investing extra funds to make up for the shortfall left by cuts in the recent Federal Budget. We are also increasing the NSW Family Energy Rebate to $150 per year from 1 July, up from $125 and expanding the NSW Seniors Card program.
$1.5 million is being provided to Tweed Byron & Ballina Community Transport Inc Home & Community Care
The Budget also increases to $25 million the funds allocated to build the new Tweed Police Station in Wharf Street, Tweed Heads.
One of the best programs which the NSW Government provides is the Community Building Partnership grants for community groups. The Budget is increasing the pool available this year to groups in the Tweed electorate from $300,000 to $400,000. I strongly encourage Tweed not-for-profit organisations to apply before the deadline of 18 July.
Tweed pensioners will be spared cuts to concessions on basic living expenses, with NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance announcing that the Baird-Stoner Government will fund a $107 million shortfall left by the Federal Budget, according to Tweed Nationals MP Geoff Provest.
“While we understand the Abbott Government needed to clean up the financial disaster it inherited from the previous Labor Government, this cut would have affected many Tweed residents,” Mr Provest said.
“This Federal funding helped meet the cost of providing discounted public transport fares, cheaper energy and water bills, council rates and vehicle registrations.”
However, yesterday the NSW Treasurer confirmed that the State Budget next Tuesday will commit an extra $107 million to maintain pensioner and seniors’ concessions.
This follows sustained lobbying by Nationals MPs on the North Coast who understand the impact this would have had on pensioners and low income households.
“We find this strategy of hard work far more effective in securing our Tweed lifestyle than the scare campaigns and fear mongering Ms Elliot pursues so relentlessly,” Mr Provest concluded.
Whether you’re attending your daughter’s netball game this weekend or cheering on at the footy all sport spectator areas are now smoke-free.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said that people may not be aware that smoking is now banned in all outdoor spectator areas of sports grounds during organised sports.
“Sport is all about health and fitness and enjoying time with family and friends. These bans protect everyone from harmful second-hand smoke,” Mr Provest said.
“Big or small – the smoking ban applies to organised sporting events of all sizes.
“A $300 on the spot fine may apply for anyone in breach of this law.”
Mr Provest said there were no safe levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
“Families and children make up a large part of sporting crowds and for children in particular, inhaling second-hand smoke is even more dangerous because their airways are smaller and their immune systems less developed.
“I whole-heartedly support the campaign by NSW Health to create smoke-free outdoor areas like sports grounds and recreational areas, and make smoking less visible to children and young people.
“We can all do our part to make our community a healthier place and I urge everyone to follow the rules when attending sporting events this weekend.”
To learn more, visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/smokefree or contact the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412
Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest today encouraged social housing tenants throughout the Tweed who intend to pursue tertiary education to apply for a new grant aimed at giving disadvantaged students a financial leg-up into tertiary study.
Mr Provest said “Social housing has always been about offering the most vulnerable people in our community a hand up, not a hand out.
“The “Grants for Graduation” program, to be administered by The Smith Family, will give disadvantaged students from social housing a leg up to a better future,” Mr Provest said.
“Under the program, up to 50 students from across NSW will be able to apply for grants worth up to $5,000 to assist them attain tertiary qualifications either through TAFE or university study.
“The program will not only give them a financial boost to cover the costs of seeking further education but will also provide mentoring to grant recipients with the best chance of success in their success.”
The Smith Family’s NSW/ACT General Manager, Steve Macready also commended the program, saying it would give aspiring tertiary students a sound chance at success.
“We congratulate the NSW Government, Family and Community Services, and Housing NSW on this initiative and we’re extremely proud to be taking part,” said The Smith Family’s NSW/ACT General Manager, Steve Macready.
“We all know the best way to give people the best chance of a future career, a solid income and the opportunity to permanently break the cycle of disadvantage is to invest in their education – and that’s exactly what this program is all about.
“It’s a smart and forward-thinking initiative and we’re confident it will change lives for the better.”
“Grants for Graduation” is a one year trial scholarship project funded by Family and Community Services – Housing NSW and delivered by The Smith Family. The project aims to assist young people from social housing and those on the housing register or in crisis accommodation to undertake tertiary education.
Applications for the Grants for Graduation program have opened. Students who are interested in applying, or requesting an information pack can telephone (02) 6766 4990 or email housingNSW@thesmithfamily.com.au.
Applications are set to close on Thursday 26 June, 2014, with successful applicants to be notified by August.
Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest today thanked local nurses and midwives for their commitment, compassion and professionalism when caring for patients in the NSW public health system.
Mr Provest said International Nurses Day is a time to reflect on the round-the-clock care and support nurses give to more than 1.5 million patients in NSW public hospitals, at home or in the community.
International Nurses Day is celebrated globally on May 12 each year – the birthday of the world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale.
“Today I’d like to thank the hard working nurses at Tweed hospital,” Mr Provest said.
“The care and commitment nurses bring to their work provides not only medical care and expertise but much-needed support and companionship to patients.
“Nurses provide an invaluable service for our local community. I am proud the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government has boosted the number of nurses working in our Local Health District by 102 since being elected.
Across the state, 4100 more nurses and midwives (2,800 full-time equivalent) have been recruited to the workforce since the last election, surpassing the pre-election commitment of 2,475 additional nurses over four years. Every Local Health District has seen additional nurses recruited.
“The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government supports the fantastic work of our local nurses, which is why we have recruited more nurses and midwives to our region,” Mr Provest said.
“We have also empowered and encouraged our nurses to come up with their own ideas for better models of care and treatment for patients.
“Our encouragement and support of local decision making has transformed our hospitals resulting in enhanced care for patients and better staff morale.
Some of these locally-driven innovations were recently celebrated at the Essentials of Care Showcase in Sydney, where leading examples in how to treat patients were highlighted. More information on the Essentials of Care Program can be found at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/nursing/projects/Pages/eoc.aspx
The theme of this year’s International Nurses Day is Nurses: A Force for Change – A Vital Resource for Health.
New laws will combat emerging graffiti threats such as acid etching, making it easier for police to deal with graffiti crime and paving the way for more graffiti offenders to clean up vandalism in the community, Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said today.
“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act creates an aggravated marking offence, which will capture acid etching and other graffiti that can’t be readily removed by wiping or using water or detergent,” said Mr Provest.
The offence carries a 12 month jail sentence and fine of $2,200.
The Act also clarifies that courts can include a community clean up order as part of a graffiti offender’s sentence even if hasn’t been specifically sought by the prosecutor or offender.
“Removing graffiti is a tedious, time consuming and costly task and clean up orders will ensure vandals get first-hand experience of the harm and inconvenience they have caused to our community,” said Mr Provest.
Mr Provest said the Act helped to unify NSW graffiti laws, making it easier for police to deal with offenders.
“Local police officers no longer have to search several different pieces of legislation when deciding what charge to lay against a graffiti offender as all the relevant laws are now contained in the one Act,” Mr Provest said.
Mr Provest said graffiti laws would target criminal behaviour and would not prevent children and communities from chalking hopscotch squares and rainbows onto footpaths.
“The Graffiti Control Amendment Act specifies that graffiti laws do not apply to the marking of any public footpath or pavement with chalk,” said Mr Provest.
Mr Provest encouraged the local community to join the fight against graffiti.
“Tough laws alone will not be enough to win this battle – we also need the community to play its part by reporting graffiti to the Graffiti Hotline (free call 1800 707 125) and by lending a hand on Graffiti Removal Day 2014,” said Mr Provest.
Graffiti Removal Day 2013 saw an 83 per cent increase in volunteers, with almost 1100 community members taking part in the clean up. Their work resulted in 23,140 square metres of graffiti being removed, saving taxpayers and businesses and estimated $1.5 million in clean up costs. The NSW Government will again be teaming up with Rotary Downunder to run Graffiti Removal Day 2014, which will be held on Sunday, 26 October.
Nationals Member Tweed Geoff Provest today backed a community road safety event to be held at Tweed City Shopping Centre on Friday 2nd May to mark the 2014 Fatality Free Friday – an initiative to draw community attention to the personal role we can all play in making NSW roads safer.
“While law enforcement and road rules are the backbone of safe roads, there is no substitute for driver vigilance and road users making a personal commitment to safe behaviour,” Mr Provest said.
“We need to think about our actions such as avoiding drink driving, sticking to the speed limit and having sufficient rest before driving, particularly on the long journeys over the Easter break,” Mr Provest said.
In support of the campaign, Transport for NSW has purchased six inflatable cars to display at local shopping centres, market days and sports events around the state.
The inflatable cars will act as a major drawcard of the campaign with community members encouraged to sign the cars to take the pledge.
For residents of Tweed, an inflatable car will be at Tweed City Shopping Centre (outside Best and Less) on Friday 2nd May from 9.30am – with local road users including drivers, riders and pedestrians encouraged to learn more about road safety and sign the safe behaviour pledge.
“The core message is clear; the key to road safety is in your hands”, Mr Provest said.
“So we encourage people to get involved with Fatality Free Friday by pledging their commitment to behave in a way that keeps our roads safe.”
As well as having the opportunity to sign the cars at event locations, people will also be able to get information on road safety issues such as:
o pedestrian safety
o breakdown safety
o top 10 misunderstood road rules
o older drivers
o child restraints
o used car safety ratings
Fatality Free Friday is run by the Australian Road Safety Foundation which is a not for profit organisation established to reduce road trauma across Australia.
Road users can take the Fatality Free Friday pledge by visiting www.fatalityfreefriday.com or by visiting the Fatality Free Friday Facebook page.
Nationals Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest today called on local artists and arts organisations to apply for funding in 2015 under the new Arts and Cultural Development Program.
Mr Provest confirmed the new program, replacing the previous Arts Funding Program, will reward success and increase the stability of funding for artists, arts and cultural workers and organisations.
The application process has been streamlined, opening up the opportunity for arts organisations to progress from project to program funding and multi-year funding, depending on their capacity to achieve sustained success.
Minister for the Arts, George Souris, said there will be a renewed focus on quality, reach and the health of the sector to make sure Government funding delivers programs and projects with the greatest impact and value for the people of NSW.
“No matter where you live in NSW, the Government is committed to ensuring that you have the opportunity to participate in arts and cultural activities,” Mr Souris said.
Organisations applying for program funding will have to deliver activities that engage people from at least one of the program’s priority areas:
• People living and/or working in regional NSW
• Aboriginal people
• People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
• Young people
• People with disability.
“I encourage arts and cultural organisations, artists and arts practitioners to read the guidelines and consider applying for funding,” Mr Provest said
More information about the Arts and Cultural Development Program and the information sessions is available from www.arts.nsw.gov.au
Public Housing tenants across the Tweed Electorate are being urged to do the right thing and ensure they are paying their fair share of rent as part of a state wide amnesty on undeclared income, Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest said today.
Public housing rents are based on a household’s income, so it is important that tenants declare all the income they and household members receive. Normally, tenants face backdating of rent if they have not declared income and possibly prosecution. The debt which arises can amount to thousands of dollars.
In order to encourage people to declare their correct income, there will be an amnesty for eight weeks, during which time people who come forward will not face backdating of rents or prosecution as long as they pay the right rent going forward. There will also be a hot line for people who suspect a tenant is not declaring income or assets they own to give information anonymously, which the FACS Tenant Fraud Unit will investigate.
Mr Provest said an eight week amnesty launched this week by the NSW Government was aimed at ensuring all public housing tenants were paying the required level of rent and were not unfairly denying assistance to the more than 57,000 families on the housing waiting list.
“The NSW Government is committed to delivering a public housing system that is as fair and transparent as possible. This includes making sure that people in public housing properties are paying the correct amount of rent,” Mr Provest said.
“If all sources of income and assets are not declared, a tenant will pay less rent than they should.
“This isn’t fair to the other public housing tenants who are doing the right thing, the 57,000 families on the waiting list, or the NSW taxpayers that heavily subsidise the system.
“The NSW Government has already identified almost 500 public housing tenants across the state who have not declared wages. Those cheating the system are on notice – do the right thing or you will be found out.”
The amnesty on undeclared income follows on from a successful amnesty launched last year, targeting additional undeclared occupancy of public housing properties, which saw 2,817 tenants declared as additional occupants, returning an annual $8.9 million in rental revenue into public housing.
The amnesty extends from 7 April until 31 May, 2014, with members of the public able to anonymously report any public housing tenants they suspect are underreporting their income or ownership of assets such as property, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, by:
• phoning 1300 HOUSING (1300 468 746) to declare or anonymously report another person;
• submitting details online at www.housing.nsw.gov.au;
• emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or
• faxing 02 8753 9877
Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest has encouraged parents in Tweed to visit the NSW Government’s new road safety website Safety Town and have the conversation with their children about the dangers of roads, footpaths and driveways.
Mr Provest said Safetytown.com.au had been launched with the help of Australian of the Year Adam Goodes who lent his support in a video on pedestrian distraction.
“This is the first time any road safety program for children has addressed the issue of distraction but anyone with children knows how easily they can forget the dangers around them,” Mr Provest said.
“It’s fantastic a great role model like Adam Goodes has lent his support for the safety video and his involvement will help secure the attention of a broad cross section of students.
“It’s also the first time a road safety curriculum, developed for our 2,600 schools including those in Tweed is online and interactive.
“Apart from being great fun with various characters and online exercises, the website doubles as a great resource for families.
“Sadly, we see an increase in accidents involving children walking and riding their bikes around the age of ten when they start travelling independently.
“Whether it’s a short walk to a mates place or a scooter ride to the corner shops, we need to help our children understand the risks.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is finding fresh and innovative ways to get important road safety messages across. Whether it’s our hugely successful mobile phone campaign Get Your Hand Off It, the Test Your Tired Self online fatigue test or this new Safetytown initiative for families and schools, we’re working hard to help keep our communities safe,” Mr Provest said.
“The program will be rolled out in schools from next term but in the meantime I encourage people to visit Safetytown.com.au and discuss with your children how to assess the road environment effectively and discover the most convenient and safe transport options available to them.