Addressing flood risk is a priority
LAST Friday night I was honoured to be surrounded by friends, family and colleagues at a special community farewell event at Lismore Workers Club.
As the end of the year fastapproaches, I again want to thank the entire electorate of Lismore for allowing me the privilege of representing you over the past 20 years.
I want to say that while I am retiring, I will continue representing you as the Member until midnight of March 23, 2019, so if you have any problems please continue writing to my office.
Addressing the flood risk facing the city of Lismore has been a priority of mine and the NSW Government.
With great pride last week I announced, alongside Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Nationals candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin, $8.2 million for flood mitigation works behind Lismore Airport.
That funding will excavate 410,000 cubic metres of soil in order to channel Leycester Creek overflow into the floodplain, where it will travel around Lismore Airport before re-entering the river system below the city.
This excavation will hopefully give all stakeholders more time to assess their evacuation options in future flood events.
I want to thank the efforts of Mr Curtin, whose flood campaign reinforced to the government there was community support for this project developed by Rouse County Council and Lismore City Council.
This is what the Nationals achieve when in government.
Another issue I have been working closely on is water extraction in the Northern Rivers.
Water security is an issue for everyone and I have called for a moratorium on the NSW Government issuing water extraction licences for off-farm use until after an independent inquiry into the sector is held.
Understandably, many within the agriculture industry are concerned about the amount of water being extracted for commercial use and what impact that is having on the water table.
I also support a call from Mr Curtin to have the NSW chief scientist investigate whether the water able to be extracted through groundwater licences on the North Coast is sustainable and the viability of the bottled water sector in our region.
I have met with Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair to discuss these options.
I think the recent heatwave has given us a taste of what to expect this summer.
The NSW Government is doing everything it can to limit the bushfire risk, withPremier Gladys Berejiklian announcing plans to introduce legislation that will see tough new jail sentences forthose found deliberatelylighting fires that cause damage to people's property.
Under the changes the proposed maximum sentence would be lifted to 21 years, up from 14.