Speeches

Local Government Amendment (Councillor Misconduct and Poor Performance) Bill 2015

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.06 p.m.]: I speak in debate on the Local Government Amendment (Councillor Misconduct and Poor Performance) Bill 2015. An effective and independent system of local government is essential to the functioning of government in New South Wales. Local government should reflect the concerns of local neighbourhoods to the best of its ability, promote social cohesion and provide bespoke local services. The community is well aware of, and concerned about, the unique vulnerability to external forces, corruption and budget pressures that local government faces. But I have deep concerns about this bill. It gives the Minister and the appointed chief executive of the Office of Local Government more power over local government by introducing a series of bureaucratic hurdles, and more red and beige tape. Although introduced in good faith, if this bill were to pass unaltered there would be few checks and balances on the power of the Minister over local government.

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Fair Trading Amendment (Information About Complaints) Bill 2015

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [7.21 p.m.]: I speak in debate on the Fair Trading Amendment (Information About Complaints) Bill 2015. The Opposition does not oppose this bill. Australians believe in fairness. In the same way that politicians should be held to account, consumers should not be deceived by businesses that circumvent community expectations and the law. If passed, the bill will amend the Fair Trading Act 1987 to enable the Commissioner for Fair Trading to publish the details of complaints against a business or person. The identities of complainants will be kept confidential, as they should be. The number of complaints is an indication that more consumer protection needs to be implemented. Each year, NSW Fair Trading receives approximately 45,000 complaints and one million inquiries.

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Homicide Victims Support Group

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [6.05 p.m.]: I support the Homicide Victims' Support Group. Twenty-nine years ago, in the suburb of Prospect, Anita Cobby, a young nurse, had her life tragically stolen. Six years later, Ebony Simpson, a nine-year-old schoolgirl, also had her life tragically stolen. Two innocent people were lost, for no reason at all. It was when the parents of Anita Cobby and Ebony Simpson met that the Homicide Victims' Support Group was founded. They recognised the need for an organisation to assist the families and friends of homicide victims, through counselling, support and information. They have been successful in lobbying this House for legislative reform—having transformed the role of victim impact statements in the New South Wales sentencing system and influenced the implementation of many other reforms.

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NSW Lotteries Agency Agreement

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [4.43 p.m.]: I support this petition and the member for Wyong, as well as some of the comments of the member for Tamworth and the member for Hornsby. I agree with much of what they had to say. The 125,000 signatures on this petition show the depth of feeling for this issue in the community. Newsagents are fantastic small businesses and are a key part of many local small shopping centres in the suburbs. These agencies are run by hardworking families who get up early in the morning and work hard to make an important contribution to our communities. Newsagents should not be driven into liquidation because of a small and unnecessary policy change by the Government which could be reverted at any time. I also did not agree with the previous policy of the Labor Party. I think it was wrong. I agree with the Government members about that, as do many members on this side of the House. But we now have a chance to fix it. The Government could introduce legislation to address this problem.

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Girraween High School

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [1.20 p.m.]: I commend Girraween High School, a great school in the Prospect electorate. On Tuesday 16 September I was invited to the school to give a speech to senior students and school leaders on the values of leadership. I was also pleased to present badges to the new school captains, Victor Jong and Marie-Angela Echevarria, and to the new school vice-captains, Ashvin Bandokar and Mayah Thangarajah. I commend principal Julie Kennedy for her continued dedication to public education and her leadership at that school. I also commend deputy principals Greg Murty and Eloise Burgess and the outgoing school captains, Archis Akolar and Monica Jovanov. Girraween High School continues to set a very high standard in the Prospect electorate. I commend its continued efforts and wish its year 12 class of 2015 the best of luck in the Higher School Certificate exams.

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Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Underquoting Prohibition) Bill 2015

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [4.51 p.m.]: I support the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Underquoting Prohibition) Bill 2015. For thousands of families around New South Wales, the biggest investment they will ever make is the family home. Home ownership is part of the Australian culture and it is a cornerstone of the New South Wales economy. The bill will apply to every one of the millions of homes that will eventually change hands in New South Wales. If passed, it will iron out the creases that plague the New South Wales real estate industry; that needs to happen. It will hold real estate agents to account to ensure the highest standards of transparency and fairness for transactions that can involve millions of dollars per home.

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Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Bill 2015

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.05 p.m.]: I speak in debate on the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Bill 2015 and I commend the bill to the House. Corruption is a force that tears our State apart. Sometime it feels as if corruption is ever present in the corridors of Parliament. The recent scandals have uncovered the stain on society that corruption brings. Now the New South Wales Parliament has a chance to move the State towards ending corruption in New South Wales public life. The bill is a window of opportunity to make a difference. For too long the people of New South Wales have had little reason to have faith in the administration of their State. We have seen the abuse of coal licences being granted for personal gain and the abuse of power in granting leases for waterfront cafes. A legion of members of Parliament have been forced to leave office as a result of their corruption. Premiers have left office as a result of the Independent Commission Against Corruption [ICAC] investigations.

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Bossley Park Public School 125th Anniversary

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [1.22 p.m.]: I congratulate Bossley Park Public School on celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. We recognise Bossley Park Public School as one of the oldest public schools in New South Wales, having been established in 1890. I note the long history of Bossley Park Public School and the impact it has had on the Bossley Park community. It provided an alternative school in 1890, so that primary school-aged students would not have to walk several kilometres to school, it was a hub for community volunteer activity throughout the twentieth century, and it has educated thousands of children over many generations from Bossley Park and its surrounding suburbs. I also recognise the importance of public education in New South Wales. I commend the organisers of Bossley Park Public School's anniversary celebration and the principal of Bossley Park Public School, Mr Graeme Brims.

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Residential Tenancies and Housing Legislation Amendment (Public Housing—Antisocial Behaviour) Bill 2015

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [12.49 p.m.]: I support the proposed Opposition amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Housing Legislation Amendment (Public Housing—Antisocial Behaviour) Bill 2015. The Government is introducing a bill that significantly alters the tribunal process in regard to social housing tenancy and limits the discretion available to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. If this bill is passed in its present form, the tribunal will be mandated to evict social housing tenants if they are found to have committed an offence from a prescribed list.

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Rural Fires Amendment (Bush Fire Prevention) Bill 2015

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.04 p.m.]: I address the House in support of the Rural Fires Amendment (Bush Fire Prevention) Bill 2015, with appropriate amendments that will be moved by the Opposition. Bushfires are one of Australia's most common natural disasters. Over the past half century more than 300 Australians have been killed, in the most horrifying way, as a result of bushfires. First, I pay tribute to all the lives lost to Australian bushfires and to the brave men and women of the Rural Fire Service [RFS], Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance Service and their equivalent agencies throughout Australia. The Rural Fires Amendment (Bush Fire Prevention) Bill 2015 will legalise vegetation clearing near buildings, including farm sheds, under the 10/50 vegetation clearing scheme. This will allow the complete clearance of vegetation within 10 metres of a building and clearance of non-tree vegetation within 50 metres of a building.

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