I’ve been campaigning for improvements to NSW Government funding of public libraries, which has declined over decades and resulted in cost-shifting to local councils. At the NSW Public Libraries Association pre-election forum on 28th October 2014 I spoke and unveiled our new booklet about library services and funding. You can download a PDF of the booklet and we’ll soon be launching a website that has all the information, news about how you can support the campaign, and access to request free copies of our booklets, stickers and bookmarks.
People with a disability have a right to engage in work and recreation but access to suitable transport can be limited and unaffordable. The Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) was introduced in 1981 at a time when there were no public transport options available to people with disability.
The maximum subsidy cap of $30 was last increased in 1999 – 15 years without an increase! Taxi fares have increased by more than 60% over the same period. Victoria increased its scheme in 2008 (from $30 up to $60), which is now double the subsidy cap in NSW.
I hosted a forum in Parliament on 21st October 2014, and ahead of the event there was a rally outside Parliament House. You can also hear more about the issue and the effects of a low taxi transport subsidy on people’s lives in this ABC radio report.
I’m collecting signatures on a petition calling on the NSW Government to increase the subsidy cap. Because the Parliament doesn’t accept electronic petitions, they have to be received in printed form. Please download the petition using the links below, then sign them and collect as many signatures as you can, and send them in to my office (the address is on the petition). Help us to make sure people with disability have fair access to the opportunities to participate in work, recreation and everything else many people take for granted!
Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism, says she is bewildered and disappointed that the Baird Government has failed to honour a second date for its obligation to respond to the Final Report of the Upper House Inquiry into Tourism in local communities.
“Time is up. The Government has been given ample opportunity to provide its response to the report from the ‘Tourism in local communities’ inquiry, having been given an extension of one month on the required six month period for a Government response,” said Ms Barham.
“The Government recognises the tourism industry as a major economic driver of the state, but after more than seven months it still has not addressed the priority issues raised by the first Parliamentary inquiry into this industry, which identified key impacts and benefits for local communities.”
A response to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 3 report was originally due on 8 September 2014. However, the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Duncan Gay, submitted a request to the Clerk of the Parliaments for an extension of time, indicating that NSW Trade and Investment had advised it would submit the NSW Government response before 30 September 2014.
Ms Barham said, “We still don’t have a reply. The report made many recommendations to ensure that the tourism industry is sensibly reformed to provide world class standard products.
“Significant reforms recommended in the Government’s Visitor Economy Tourism Action Plan, released in December 2012, have produced some unintended consequences. Submissions to the inquiry indicated that the Government’s funding model was having major impacts on some local tourism entities’ ability to deliver long term plans and quality products, and the inquiry has recommended a review of those funding models. The inquiry also sought to find out from businesses and communities how these reforms were impacting on them and to recommend improvements, and those recommendations deserve a timely response.”
“While tourism provides jobs and income and is especially important in regional areas, impacts on local communities can be contentious, including the much contested issue of unapproved tourism activities such as party houses in residential areas, known as holiday letting.
“Another important finding from the inquiry was the need for state funding reform to assist councils in upgrading and funding necessary infrastructure to facilitate local tourism impacts.
“The Government’s response to this inquiry is necessary to ensure the future viability of this important industry,” Ms Barham concluded.
For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891
I’ll be attending the Australian Young Greens Conference in Sydney this weekend and participating in a workshop on disability issues on Sunday, 5th October. I’ll be taking along some handouts containing information about Greens NSW policy on disability and my work in Parliament advocating for and raising issues that affect people with disability.
You can download those documents here:
- The Greens NSW Disability Policy (revised May 2014)
- The Greens NSW Parliamentary record on disability – October 2014
- Adjournment speeches – People with disability and sexual support services; Housing assistance for young people with disability
You’re always welcome to contact my office if you would like more information.