MATTERS OF STATE | Farmers stung over concessional vehicle registration

PAY IT BACK: Farmer Wayne Dunford and Phil Donato discussing the NSW Government’s short changing of farmers with over charging of vehicle registrations.
PAY IT BACK: Farmer Wayne Dunford and Phil Donato discussing the NSW Government’s short changing of farmers with over charging of vehicle registrations.

The looming Wagga-Wagga by election was the impetus for a battered and bruised National-Liberal Government to finally respond (although not sufficiently) to my making public their secret document which showed they’d overcharged farmers by more than $30 million over the past 20 years for concessional vehicle registration.

Nationals’ leader John Barilaro was pressured into announcing his Government is only going to payback farmers for three years out of the 20 years of registration fees they were overcharged, plus a token gesture of free rego for the next two years.

This just isn’t good enough. Not surprisingly, they’re using legislation as an excuse to short change our drought-affected farmers. I wonder if this government was ever going to come clean and admit to this supposed “oversight”.

The only reason the government is now taking any action at all is because I made public the document leaked to me, which showed evidence of two things: that the farmers weren’t receiving what they were entitled to; and that the government knew about this, and sat on their hands, for at least six months!

This is not the way a government with any integrity behaves. I’ll continue to hold them accountable to the community they tout to represent.

Below the benchmark

Last week, I spoke at the Orange City Council meeting and addressed the important issue of not having a suitable rectangular sporting field to attract high profile sport events to Orange. I’ve spoken to NRL clubs who are eager to travel to Orange to play – which would be great for our local economy – but they say that we just don’t have the right facility, otherwise it would be “game on!”

A modern rectangular sporting precinct is needed in order to get the NRL clubs, A-League clubs and rugby union franchises to come and play here. Council has some land available in north Orange, and I have suggested we use it to progress this project.

Regional cities and townships won’t thrive unless we have the facilities to attract events and people here on a regular basis. 

Police numbers low

The Police Association of NSW’ campaign for additional police numbers is certainly warranted, given recent data indicates the police-to-population ratio here in Orange is among the worst in our state.

The Australian Productivity Commission’s report released earlier this year listed NSW as having the second worst police-to-population ratios of all states. So it would be reasonable to draw the conclusion that Orange’s police-to-population is considered low for the entire country.

Prior to this year’s State budget announcement, the Police Association requested an additional 2500 police, delivered at 500 per year for this year and the subsequent four year period. This number is what they deemed a necessary minimum to provide services to a rapidly increasing population.

This government’s response to the Police Association’s request for additional staff was to announce delivery of just 100 additional police for the current financial year, and no promises beyond that! I’ll not be silent on this issue until this National Liberal Government for once considered the well-being of our police and the safety of our community by boosting numbers of police. It’s what our police and our community expect and deserve.

Member for Orange Philip Donato

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