Adam Marshall’s weekly round-up: January 23, 2015
Meeting with Health Minister for Armidale & Inverell Hospitals next week
I’m pleased to confirm I will be meeting with Health Minister Jillian Skinner next week to discuss funding for the Armidale and Inverell Hospital redevelopments. I will be taking forward very strong cases for both redevelopments, along with planning documents and thousands of letters and emails of support from the Armidale and Inverell communities. The Minister will see that we take the standard of our health facilities extremely seriously in the Northern Tablelands and that it is well and truly time for a commitment of funds to improve the health infrastructure and services in Armidale and Inverell.
The redevelopment plans for the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital are now completed and the project is shovel ready, all we need is the $60 million plus to get construction underway. The Inverell district’s population is growing and this is placing added demands on the hospital. I will be seeking in excess of $20million for a total redevelopment of the hospital which would include a new and larger renal dialysis unit, enhancement the hospital’s operating theatres, acute care, maternity and pediatric services, as well as improved inpatient and community health facilities.
Roads Minister in the electorate
Today the Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay and I inspected construction progress on the new $4.2 million Emu Crossing Bridge at Bundarra. The Minister and I also met with Armidale Dumaresq Council Mayor Laurie Bishop and General Manager Glenn Wilcox about developments surrounding the Armidale Regional Airport and the new roundabout on the New England Highway that has to be constructed. There is a significant cost associated with this roundabout and I’ll continue to work with council, Minister Gay and the Federal Government to secure the required funding to see this project proceed.
Alarm at Federal regulator’s draft electricity determination
In a submission lodged last week, I have urged the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to rethink its draft electricity distribution determination. I believe it is flawed and will have detrimental impacts on communities throughout rural and regional NSW. AER has proposed retrospectively reducing Essential Energy’s revenue allowances by $6.5 billion or 27% over the 5 year period to 2019 based on reduced cost of capital, reduced operating expenditure and more than a 60% real reduction in the capital investment program, compared to the previous five years.
The AER draft determination foreshadows significant cuts to Essential Energy’s revenue, operational and capital allowances, which will cripple the company and cause many detrimental impacts throughout the Northern Tablelands. It does not adequately address the current reform program, does not account for impacts on network reliability, uses inappropriate comparators and doesn’t recognise the impact on regional apprenticeships.
Essential Energy is also a significant employer in the Northern Tablelands, employing approximately 158 people, which means its staff members and their families play an important economic role in our region, particularly in our smaller communities. It is because of these crucial roles that together with the community we fought so hard to ensure Essential Energy remains in 100% public ownership.
Get it in black and white before it’s too late
I would like to urge people to make plans for their future as part of the NSW Government’s ‘Get it in Black and White’ campaign. I have been alarmed by figures which show that in NSW only 56 per cent of people aged between 35 and 49 have a Will, only 19 per cent of people aged over 35 have an Enduring Guardian and only 40 per cent have a Power of Attorney.
The campaign calls for people to put plans in place in the event they lose capacity or pass away. By planning ahead you gain the peace of mind that you and your family will be looked after legally, medically and financially if you are become incapacitated through injury, dementia, stroke or frailty or if you pass away. The Planning Ahead Tools website has relevant information, including a section for health and legal professionals. www.planningaheadtools.com.au or call 1300 887 529
Northern Tablelands Seniors Week awards
I would like to encourage people to nominate a friend, colleague, neighbour or family member for the 2015 NSW Seniors Week Northern Tablelands Local Achievement Awards. These awards provide a great opportunity to recognise those special seniors in the community who are doing amazing things every day.
Nominations close at 5pm on Friday, 20 February 2015 and forms can be collected from council administration centres in Glen Innes, Inverell, Warialda, Bingara, Uralla, Guyra, Moree and in Armidale at Kent House Community Centre or my office at 175 Rusden Street, Armidale. I will present these awards during the upcoming NSW Seniors Week which is being held between 14-22 March.
I’ve had the pleasure of dropping into a number of public reserves in the Northern Tablelands in past week to make some significant funding announcements which have been very welcome news for the hard working trustees who put a lot of time and effort into maintaining and improving their community’s assets. The grants are part of more than $413,000 funding the Northern Tablelands has received under the latest round of the NSW Public Reserve Management Fund (PRMF).
- The Ashford Showground Trust will soon be installing more portable seating for spectators around the main arena after receiving a $12,380 grant.
- The Bundarra Showground Trust were very pleased to receive news of a $12,000 grant for the purchase and installation of new portable fencing panels for the showground’s busy campdraft arena.
- The Sapphire City Motor Sports Club received a grant of $27,500 to upgrade the Graman Sports Ground. They became trustees of the grounds over 18 months ago and have been working hard to upgrade the facility for their motor sport events.
- The Wallangra War Memorial Hall Trust received $14,784 to install a new curtain for the stage; upgrade the electricity supply to the hall and install some acoustic panelling on the walls. The community is holding a two-day Not Quite Baroque (Broke!) Festival in March so the funds are very welcome.
- Coolatai’s Community Sportsground will continue with the upgrade of their hall after receiving a $22,072 grant. Last year the Trust secured at grant to line and insulate the walls and roof. It also received a coat of paint, the installation of hot water and rain water systems, new lighting and a new awning outside. This next round of improvements will include floor resurfacing, installation of a fence and painting of the exterior of the building.
- The Glen Innes Pistol Club received $5,889 to rebuild the security wall around the air pistol range – the old timber fence has collapsed so there is quite a bit of work required there to bring in up to national standards.
Funding for Armidale PCYC roof
The Armidale PCYC will receive a $13,500 to repair sections of its ageing roof to make it completely weatherproof, ensuring the protection of the building’s interior and the valuable equipment. I visited the PCYC in October last year and Manager Paul Salmon made it clear to me then that the club didn’t have the required funds set aside to undertake these essential works and asked for help.
I am delighted the government listened to the PCYC’s plight and that we’ve been able to secure the necessary funds through the Community Building Partnership Program.
Tonight and the weekend
Tonight I’ll be attending the opening night of Opera New England’s Carmen at the TAS Hoskins Centre. Tomorrow I will be dropping in to see some action at the Armidale Campdraft and then heading up to Guyra to enjoy a feast and some music at the Lamb and Potato Festival.
On Australia Day I’ll be attending ceremonies in Inverell, Armidale and Uralla. I’m looking forward to witnessing a number of people become our newest Australian citizens and some of local volunteers recognised with awards.