In an editorial this week, the editor of the Northern Star said I needed to “chalk up some wins”.
I would like to share a list of just some of the wins I have had for our community in my first 15 months.
The paper’s editorial also mentioned the difficulties of first-time backbenchers getting their voices heard. This may be the case for some, but I have not encountered it.
- $4.5 million Ballina Hospital upgrade
- $3 million Casino Hospital upgrade
- More than $3 million in various grants to SCU
- $ 5 million for five new Skills Training Centres across five high schools
- $5.5 million in new aged and in-home care places
- $560,000 for Grafton Hockey Clubhouse
- $464,000 in CCTV for Casino
- $185,000 for the full restoration of Bellman Hangar at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome and fit-out of museum
- I personally lobbied the now Deputy Prime Minister for an extra $2 billion to accelerate the completion of the Pacific Highway duplication taking the total amount to $5.6 billion
- Saved the historic Casino Drill Hall, which took considerable lobbying
- Helped stop the imposition of GST on moveable homes
- $821,000 to encourage disadvantaged high school students to attend university
- $100,000 for Heartfelt House
- $500,000 for Rekindling The Spirit.
- More than $500,000 for various Carers Respite programmes
- Various grants to local creative organisations such as Norpa and RealArtWorks
- Put seatbelts in school buses
- Various grants to support a range of community organisation such as Richmond River Historical Society and Friends of the Koala.
- About $160,000 in various grants to restore Koala habitats
I successfully moved two amendments to my own government’s legislation to strengthen the CSG water trigger. It’s so rare that a backbencher amends their own party’s legislation that the Parliamentary Clerks had trouble working out how I could logistically do it.
Working behind the scene, and on the behest of our local doctors, I managed to prevent the redrawing of our Medicare Local boundary when there was a very real possibility that our primary health service would be run out of Newcastle. Nearly everyone else’s boundaries were extended.
I would also like to take up the claim about the Nationals. We have had some major wins, including stopping the sale of Graincorp, but that’s an article in itself.
I will continue to lobby for funding for many projects including the Marine Rescue Tower and Dementia Outreach Services. I believe I have been a strong advocate and voice for our community in my first 15 months and will continue to do so.