Coalition listens to the people

A FACT-FINDING mission to Lismore by the NSW Coalition has heard that small rural communities feel neglected by the state government.

About 60 people attended a community consultation with four NSW shadow ministers on Thursday night, designed to help the Coalition formulate its social policies.

Host and Lismore MP, Thomas George, said rural residents felt they had to fight tooth and nail for government services.

“Small communities have got to fight for everything, all the time,” he said.

“People want to have their say. They want to be part of making decisions.”

Mr George said the forum also discussed the need for government departments to work more closely together.

“One thing that’s fairly evident though is that government agencies have got to work better together – housing, DoCS (the Department of Community Services), police,” he said.

NSW health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner, community services spokeswoman Pru Goward, acting North Coast spokeswoman Melinda Pavey and community safety spokesman and Clarence MP Steve Cansdell formed the panel of Coalition politicians at the meeting.

The consultation, held at the Goonellabah Workers Sports Club, was one of about 16 that have taken place across the state.

Mr George said it was productive; and that people travelled from as far north as Tweed Heads and as far west as Urbenville to be there.

“There were some new ideas last night,” he said.

Public submissions to the Liberal/Nationals social policy framework are being accepted until February 28 next year. It is based on six principles – early intervention and prevention, local decision-making and community partnerships, individual rights and responsibilities, high standards for NSW services, timely and equitable services, and openness, transparency and accountability.


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