THANK YOU PAUL FOR YOUR INSIGHT INTO THE RUNNING OF CHCC.

It has been ten months since the election and this is the first offering from any Councillor apart from the Mayor!

The Mayor is trapped in the 2013 time warp; she simply repeats what she is told to say. Notice the comments from her and the General Manager they are the same.

The Jetty project conforms to the approved 2013 plan approved by Council so;

  1. Where is the reference to  intensive housing in the precinct?
  2. Why is it confidential? is this what “open and transparent” mean?
  3. If the Council is so determined to follow plans for the Jetty project and for the stadium project (developed 25 years ago);
  4. Why are we ignoring the plans for Capital Hill and the refurbishment of Rigby House (2007)?
  5. Why are they persisting with the $37 million for administrative/cultural/ library facilities?
  6. Why do Council have a deficit of $8million for the current financial year?
  7. How is this possible given the extraordinary effort to push the rate increase in 2013?
  8. Why the reference to Council decisions to the strategic and operational level -this is ambiguous.
  9. The operation is outside the control of the elected officials so has the General Manager made mistakes? Or is it meant to imply the General  Manager is making strategic  decisions?
  10. The deficit began to arise in 2012 after the council employees  had been culled:
  11. Have the strategies failed if we are still unable to get out of deficit?
  12. How can Council have  a war chest to buy land at the Jetty, under such circumstances? So is Moose’s paper telling us this is a comedic tragedy or is it a tragic comedy?
  13. I find it hard to believe all the elected representatives are getting a kick out of helping people. I think it is a  case of “they are being carefully controlled”. How many of them are reading the papers (inside 3 days and up to 2000 pages) and are applying any critical review to them?
  14. It is clear it is hard to remain serious for long periods of time (comedy) It is also clear there are unintended consequences that have not been anticipated (tragedy). 
  15. Does the latter statement reflect on the ability of those senior people employed by Council?
  16. Other problems are mentioned but Paul, I think your wife is right, it is time for  you to stand up and be counted as a Councillor.

Continue reading “THANK YOU PAUL FOR YOUR INSIGHT INTO THE RUNNING OF CHCC.”

LETTER TO GENERAL MAN AGER

17 March 2017

Dear Steve

Early this year I attended a meeting at the C.ex about their community safety corridor project which would see better lighting and CCTV cameras in the entertainment area surrounding the C.ex. Their application for funding required a cash contribution, and the CBD Masterplan Committee was asked for support. Unfortunately I have to inform the C.ex we couldn’t consider contributing because our true financial ;position is unknown.

We’ve had a significant cost blow-out on the Harbour Dr shared zone, and the total cost of the Duke St extensions remains allocated to the Special Rate Variation (SRV), despite several requests to have it removed. As recently as the  last minutes of the CBD Masterplan Committee, a detailed breakdown of the budget was requested, and once again we received a one page sheet with Budget and YTD totals, and no itemised transaction list. Of concern is the vague note regarding Duke St, saying “additional funding to come from other Council Budget areas”. This is not good enough.

John Rafferty, CEO of the C,ex, was one of those involved in extending the SRV and has repeatedly sought details of the CBD Masterplan budget, which we’ve been unable to provide. This has obviously prompted the letter (attached) handed to me yesterday, 16 March.

The Committee has been requesting clarification of budget issues for the best part of two years now. The situation remains that we get only totals without itemised expenses which are not recorded in approved minutes. Following conversations with John, I have canvassed several other businesses identified in the letter to the General Manager dated  12 January 2012 (attached)and like John, they are concerned we’re headed for a similar situation as the first SRV, where unbeknownst to them, they had been charged the full costs of a Project Manager, including a motor vehicle and on-costs, to the value of some $253,000.

Clearly what’s happening now is not what they agreed to. Central to the negotiation of an extension to the SRV, was that CBD Landowners (the Special-Rate payers) would have a majority of votes on the committee so that no expenditure could be made without their explicit, minuted approval. That was the deal maker. All of the discussion about establishing an extension to the special rate, focussed on that critical point. They did not want a situation where Council controlled the decision-making.

The projects were to be agreed and documented in a new Masterplan. The Masterplan projects were then to be executed by the Committee, working with Council. This is where some apparent differences in understanding between roles and responsibilities, and indeed, misinterpretation of the Terms of Reference come into play.

Those paying the SRV are also very disappointed that the agreed Terms of Reference can also be re-written at any time. And I think that goes to the heart of the issue, in that Council has assumed control of the Masterplan funds. To quote a Council employee at a Masterplan Committee meeting late last year, “It’s our money (Council’s) and we can spend it on whatever we want, and we don’t need your permission”, which is clearly contrary to the conditions agreed to in setting up the extension of the SRV, nor does the statement equate to dealings with IPART where clearly the funds are to be spent on projects identified in the CBD Masterplan.

The Masterplan Committee members were to volunteer their time as was Council. There was never any budget to pay staff or even discussion that Council would be charging for staff services (unless they submitted a tender which was approved by the Committee). This was a community initiative to benefit the City Centre of Coffs Harbour. The understanding was this new SRV, so generously agreed to by the CBD property owners, would fund infrastructure to revitalise the CBD, not Council’s bottom line.

There is considerable disappointment (and a fair amount of anger) that the situation has arrived at this ;point, when so much work went into negotiating an agreement that would see significant infrastructure provided at little cost to Council. It’s clear to the current CBD Masterplan Committee there’s been a change in Council policy that we’re not privy to.

As we’re unable to explain what’s happened to the Special-Rate Payers, we suggest Council meet with those who negotiated the SRV extension to clarify why their fund is being managed different to that agreed to.

We hope this situation can be resolved quickly so we can get everyone on the same page before the big infrastructure project begins to disrupt activities in City Square. 

Kind regards

 

Rod McKelvey

Chair CBD Masterplan Committee

 

A REPLY FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

DEAR ROD,  RE:  Re Coffs Harbour  CBD – Special Rate Variation

The Special Rate Variation was presented to the owners of property in the  CBD after Coffs Harbour Council had  received an extension of the CBD Special Rate variation for the 2012/2013 rate year from IPART.

The extension of the Special Rate Variation was to be used for the development of a  Masterplan  to be fund the masterplan in to be supported by the ratepayers affected when  Coffs City Council would re-apply to IPART for approval of the 10 year special rate variation to fund the Masterplan committee.

At the meeting for the Special Rate Variation that needed to  be approved by IPART it was presented by Council officers that the CBD Masterplan committee would be ensuring that the funds were to be used  solely for the CBD Masterplan and not moved into general funds for Council.

On behalf of the Coffs Ex Services  Memorial and Sporting Club Ltd and in the view of transparency regarding the use of funds acquired and expended by the CBD Masterplan Committee since the special rate variation was approved by IPART, commencing 2013/2014 until 28 February 2017.

The Coffs Ex Services Memorial  and Sporting Club Ltd is concerned with the progress of the CBD Masterplan and believe that the contributions from the ratepayers for the period in question would total approximately $2.9m

The Coffs Ex Services Memorial Sporting Club is a major ratepayer in the CBD and request this information regarding your budgeted income and expenditure as we would like to make sure that the Special Rate Variation funds are not being used in Council’s general funds and if the funds have not been expended are we receiving any interest that would also grow the revenue for the project in the CBD.

Yours Sincerely, John Rafferty

Chief Executive Officer

TO STEVE MCGRATH GENERAL MANAGER RE CBD SPECIAL RATE.

DEAR  STEVE RE: CBD SPECIAL RATE

We write to Council on behalf of the major CBD Property owners listed in respect of the proposed extension  of the existing CBD special rate which has now expired.

Council has recently carried out a phone survey which indicated  some support by property owners in the CBD for an extension of the rate. The survey also found that there was little support to have the rate extended to other business properties elsewhere in the city.

AS owners of the major retail and commercial properties affected by this rate we recognise the advantages that can be achieved in maintaining and strengthening the viability of the CBD by the application of such a rate to works which enhance the presentation ,amenity. public facilities and positioning of the CBD as the central core location of CoffsHarbour’s business and community life.

It is important that the rate is carefully targeted  at only projects which provide clear and significant benefits to the CBD as set out above and that those projects are identified. concept-developed and  agreed as part of a 10 year Town Centre Master Plan developed by property owners and Council with the assistance of professional advisers and reasonably required.

Accordingly we offer our support for the extension of the special rate conditional on the following:

  1.  The new special rate be limited to those properties that have contributed to the  previous special rate.
  2. The formulation  of a 10 year Town Centre Master Plan by Property owners and  Council  with the assistance of appropriate professional consultants which identifies and details the projects that are a greed should be carried out using the special rate funds.
  3. A Committee is established pursuant to section 355 of Local Government Act comprising majority representation of property owners  and including representatives of Council to scope commission develop adopt manage and administer the 10 year plan.
  4. All projects undertaken from funds generated by the special rate be independently and professionally managed under the direction and control of the 355 committee.
  5. Projects undertaken by the special  rate be limited to works which enhance the presentation amenity,y public facilities and positioning of CBD as the center core  for location for Coffs Harbour Business and Community life anf have a clear benefit to the commercial and retail  aspect of the CBD

A MEMORANDUM FROM MOOSE

This is  intended as a quick update for all who supported me in the last Council  elections.   The first six months as a   Councillor have been all consuming. From the outset  I have to say I’m  very impressed with my fellow councilors. All  appear to be there because they get a kick out of helping people. insight to the role, initially there is an avalanche of Council policies and strategies to be absorbed. It is also important to make  decisions in the  context of Council’s financial  position  position is more sound than most, but, Councils are always struggling to provide any services above the core components as revenue is capped and expenses are Constant. in the Financial year just completed, before the uncertain windfalls of grants and the like. Council will probably run at an $ $8m loss.  This is an improvement on previous  years and is tracking well toward State Government imposed targets to  become “Fit for the Future”. However there is little margin for error or discretionary spending.

To give you an idea of how the standard Councillor week works , we  receive our papers around mid afternoon Friday which allows us to go through the papers in preparation  for briefing at  Council on Monday afternoon. We have a council meeting every second Thursday  night, a meeting protocol is another solid challenge. Council papers can vary from 200 to 2,000 pages. On top of the Council meetings there are community inquiries and various other briefings and committee meetings to attend.

In addition to reviewing information and decision brought to us, Councillors are able to raise a notice of motion that initiates action to be taken by the Council staff. I am proud to say my first notice of motion was in relation to the Council allocating substantial resources and time to a meaningful, committed plan to restore Coffs Creek back to its former good health. Some locals will remember deep swimming holes at multiple locations in the Creek and no concerns about water quality and this is what I seek to see once more. At the same meeting on February 23rd, responding to community concerns, I put a notice of motion relating to the “urgent” installation of a 20 meter guard rail in Robin Street near Narranga Primary School, the site of a previous fatality. My fellow Councillors supported these motions unanimously. I note this urgent work is still pending.

Voting

There have been a few important decisions I did not support with the majority. Briefly here are my justifications.

I did not support us spending $6.5m on the addition of grandstands at the stadium simply because the project funding timeline meant that the outdated stadium design of 25 years ago would be the grandstand to be built. I felt we should have current, modern  grandstands and, if not, we could spend the money better elsewhere. I want to see us leading the way in the quality of our sporting facilities, not accepting second best.

I did not support the proposal to build a new Council office, regional Art Gallery/Library complex. Remember, this decision is made in the context of the Council’s financial position of an $8m likely deficit. My assessment was that the current Council chambers had been built to take a third story and as such this option should be pursued for Council office extensions and Rigby House (the site of the current Library/Gallery) should be upgraded to accommodate a modernized regional Gallery and Library.

I felt committing to such a major project ($37m) whilst developing land at Christmas Bells Drive was a financial risk to the community if costs blew out. I also felt we should be building a “war chest” to be in a position to buy land back from the State Government around the Jetty Foreshores area if it became available. This should rightly belong to the people of Coffs Harbour.

Although I did not support the Gallery/Library project by way of supporting vote, I will now give it my full energy to see the project is delivered on time and on budget to provide a facility we can be proud of, as is the duty of a Councillor once a binding decision is made.

Jetty Foreshores

Over six months ago the State Government representatives asked for the undertaking to be kept confidential information relating to the development proposal of the Jetty Foreshore precinct. These undertakings came with a time deadline on the release of information to the public that have been nowhere near met. There seems to be a public perception that a large component of the land sold will be destined for complementary commercial activities such as al fresco dining opportunities. I have not seen any evidence of this, but rather the intent for intensive housing. This will see out most utilised free public leisure space privatised for use by the highest bidder with profits payable to the State Government. I question whether this is good use of local community funds currently being used to improve the jetty if the use of this area will only be for the lucky few, rather than being open to the whole community as it is now.

The current works in the Yacht Club have a few design faults in my opinion. Parking near the beach has been substantially reduced and as further proof of beach users being neglected, ramp access in the North Eastern corner has been eliminated. This “step only” access restricts the very young, elderly and water craft users to negotiating the “deep drop” steps or taking the long detour back to the southern corner of the Yacht Club for access. It makes no sense and is a backward step in beach access for those who use it most.

The Swimming Pool Contract Saga

I don’t believe we should ever give Council leases the term of 20 years as we have recently seen. If we are offering a contract. Councillors should be included at the stage where the tender guidelines are set. Councillors should have the ability to allow dispensation for long service  e.g. 30 years of being a pool operator, then this can be accommodated in the assessment process. The local preference option needs to be considered. Yes, it would be hard to formulate but not impossible. Other Councils such as Tweed Heads have such an arrangement. Why should some of our builders in town lose tenders on million dollar jobs for the sake of a few thousand dollars? I see nothing wrong with supporting suppliers demonstrating a history of commitment to our area and an obvious intention to continue this commitment.

The Biggest Challenge?

Aside from remaining serious for long periods of time, the biggest challenge is observing unintended consequences that have not been anticipated and have arisen from Council decisions on an operational and strategic level.

Thank you for continuing to share your opinions to shape what I do in representing our community and for the timely encouragement along the way.

Best regards

Moose  (aka Councillor Paul Amos as my wife refuses to call me).

 

 

Did Macron Just Convince Trump to Re-enter The Paris Agreement?

The friendship between the United States and France goes way back—all the way to 1775, when France secretly began sending supplies to the Americans during the Revolutionary War. In fact, France was the first ally of the new United States. (Of course, it helped that France was pretty angry at Great Britain over the territory it lost during the French and Indian War.)

Now, almost 250 years later, President Trump has ruffled some French feathers by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, signed by nearly 200 nations to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. But newly minted French president Emmanuel Macron wasn’t about to let Trump’s pullout ruin a good friendship—something that was made abundantly clear when the two leaders met in Paris last week.

By many accounts, Macron is a true optimist. Perhaps his youth has something to do with his lack of negativity; at 39, he is France’s youngest leader since Napoleon, and the first to be born after 1958. His predecessor and former boss Francois Hollande said Macron “radiated joy” when he worked for him, an odd statement considering Hollande’s dour disposition. (The Telegraph’s William Langley once called the ex-president “a politician with the personality of bread mold.”)

“An almost preternaturally sunny demeanour, combined with his winning way with words, has been the new president’s magic formula,” writes Hugh Schofield, the Paris correspondent for BBC News. He also noted that Macron’s “resplendent” personality was going to be “tested like never before.”

Well, Macron may have just aced the Trump test. And he did it by launching a charm offensive that allowed him not only to forcefully address their main point of contention—Trump’s controversial withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement—but to get Trump to soften his climate stance, something no other politician, American or otherwise, has yet accomplished.

In a Sunday interview with the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Macron said he pressed Trump on the possibility of bringing America back into the agreement.

Donald Trump listened to me,” Macron said, according to AP. “He understood the reason for my position, notably the link between climate change and terrorism.” The French president added: “He said he would try to find a solution in the coming months. We spoke in detail about what could allow him to return to the Paris deal.”

During a joint news conference after the meeting, Trump said “something could happen with respect to the Paris accord…We’ll see what happens. But we’ll talk about that in the coming period of time. If it happens, that will be wonderful. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.”

Perhaps France—and for that matter, Europe—has found a “Trump whisperer” in Macron, who also said during his interview Sunday that he believes Trump left the country with a “better image of France than upon his arrival.” (Angela Merkel, take note.)

“Our countries are friends, so we should be too,” Macron said, adding his belief that after their meeting, the two leaders gained a “better, intimate knowledge of each other.”

When they met, Trump and Macron shared a seemingly neverending handshake. Hopefully, they’ll soon be shaking hands to celebrate America’s

re-entry to the Paris agreement. To Monsieur Macron, we say, Bonne chance!

‘We are not alone’: Nasa telescope finds 10 Earth-like planets

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, today announced that the costs of doing business and costs of living would be eased in the Coffs Harbour electorate due to a range of stamp duty cuts from the NSW Government’s Budget.

Mr Fraser welcomed the package of Budget reforms for families, farmers and small businesses across the Coffs Harbour electorate.

As part of the 2017-18 Budget, $1.6 Billion worth of duties will be cut including stamp duty for first home buyers, Lenders Mortgage Insurance duties and duties on crop and livestock insurance.

“These reductions are expected to save farmers and NSW small businesses, including those in the Coffs Harbour electorate, a total of $330m over the next four years,” Mr Fraser said.

“Small business is the lifeblood of the Coffs Harbour electorate economy and these cuts will ease the pressures business-owners feel.”

“As a Government always looking at how to better support farmers across the state, I’m proud that duties on crop and livestock insurance will be abolished from the start of next year.”

“The changes will assist with cash flow and help farmers with a stronger regional economy where the whole state benefits.”

“To help people looking to buy their first home, our housing affordability package includes stamp duty exemptions for houses up to $650,000 and discounts for purchases up to $800,000 for both existing and new homes.

“We are also getting rid of duty charged on lenders’ mortgage insurance, which is often required by banks to lend to first homebuyers with limited deposits, providing a saving of around $2,900 to someone buying an $800,000 property.

From 1 January 2018, the NSW Government will abolish insurance duties for small businesses on commercial vehicle insurance (including aircraft), professional indemnity insurance, and product and public liability insurance.

The changes will apply to businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $2 million

‘IT FRUSTRATES ME:’ BARNABY JOYCE HITS OUT AT LIBERALPARTY

 Barnaby Joyce hits out at Liberal party infighting

Exclusive: Nationals leader says renewed debate on marriage equality is not helping Coalition’s cause and will drive voters to One Nation

Barnaby Joyce
 Barnaby Joyce says many voters now view the government as a ‘philosophers’ club’ rather than a group concerned with improving living standards and jobs. Photograph: Mike Bower

Barnaby Joyce has unloaded on his Liberal colleagues in Canberra, saying constant infighting is driving disaffected voters to One Nation, and branding a renewed internal debate about marriage equality as divisive and unhelpful.

The deputy prime minister and Nationals leader told Guardian Australia that many voters were now of the view that the government was a “philosophers’ club” rather than a group of people concerned with improving living standards and jobs.

Joyce said a renewed debate within the Coalition about marriage equality would aggravate voters even more, and the government needed to stick by its policy of putting the legalisation of same-sex marriage to a plebiscite.

He said voters would be furious if they were not given a say on an issue that remained divisive in some communities.

Asked whether a decision by the Liberal party to move to a conscience vote position in this parliament would blow up the Coalition agreement between himself and the prime minister, Joyce said: “I have no idea. It just frustrates me.”

Last week, the veteran Nationals senator John Williams publicly warned the Liberals against moving away from the plebiscite, saying it was part of the Coalition agreement between Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull.

The Liberal senator Dean Smith has signalled he will bring forward a new marriage equality bill once federal parliament resumes after the winter break, which will trigger a renewed party-room debate about the Coalition’s position on the issue.

Several Liberal MPs want the party to offer a conscience vote on marriage equality given that the plebiscite has been rejected by the parliament.

Joyce will address the Liberal National party convention in Queensland this weekend, and the deputy prime minister is preoccupied with a looming election in the state.

That will be a key test of One Nation’s political support in Queensland – a state with several federal marginal seats, and which will determine the outcome of the next federal election.

Joyce is furious about the lack of discipline within the Liberal party in Canberra, and suggests the current war of words between Tony Abbott and Turnbull will hurt the LNP’s chances in Queensland.

“Any internal war is unhelpful,” he said in an interview with Guardian Australia. “The message going back to punterville is ‘it’s like a philosophers’ club down there’.”

“You are arguing about Menzies’ view on conservatism, you are having a debate about international agreements and renewable energy targets which, I in Smith Street Jonesville, don’t get, and now, the last thing needed to solve all this is talking about changing the definition of marriage.

“[The Liberal party] needs to concentrate on things that actually matter.

“In north Queensland, they have 20% unemployment. You know the only thing they want to hear? How you are going to get them a job. You know what they want to hear in regional areas? How you are going to invest in infrastructure, like inland rail.”

He said people in regional areas were watching the antics in Canberra with incomprehension. “They look at political candidates and say ‘have you ever actually lived, mate? Do you know what it’s like to not have any money in your wallet? Do you know what it’s like to think, shit, i  want a life with dignity and I’m on the pension, and I can’t actually afford food, so how do I do this and keep my dignity in this town?’”

Joyce said that raising the legalisation of same-sex marriage in that “febrile” climate was like a red rag to a bull.

“[Voters] become hypersensitive about bullshit arguments,” he said. “They find it really aggravating. If we start another debate on gay marriage, they are going to get really aggravated.”

The federal government would drive disaffected voters to One Nation if it didn’t focus on practical issues, and if it continued to give the voters the impression it was a debating club rather than a government, Joyce said.

“The more you talk about issues which have nothing to do with people’s lives, the more One Nation’s vote will go up, and not by reason of One Nation’s policies.”

He said the same-sex marriage debate was dangerous in this context because “the fact you are talking about an issue that has nothing to do with their lives will lose you votes”.

“People wonder why One Nation is becoming so powerful, they think, ‘isn’t this crazy’ – but you did it.”

“BROAD CHURCH” POLITICAL PARTIES NEED COMMON GROUND

To describe a political party as a broad church is either meaningless or to state the obvious.

It doesn’t advance the discussion very far at all yet this description is often trotted out to defend our major political parties. This is the case currently with the Liberals and the Greens, especially since it was once most commonly associated with Labor.

On policy matters a broad church is only a positive environment in which to work if there is enough common ground for a ...On policy matters a broad church is only a positive environment in which to work if there is enough common ground for a negotiated consensus. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

All that the concept “broad church” conveys is that within any organisation, including political parties, there exists a wide range of views about its vision and how best to achieve it. Those holding such varied views may become groups and factions or just be a collection of individuals. This “broad church” appellation can apply not just to democratic parties but also to an authoritarian organisation whether it is a church or a political party.

Factions may assist efficient internal operations within large parties because like-minded individuals are attracted to working together. They can facilitate healthy internal discussion around competing values like liberalism and conservatism, socialism and social democracy, radical environmentalism and moderate conservationism. They can provide internal education and training for members aspiring to higher office and are often linked to friendly think tanks, trade unions and/or business groups.

Some of their activities, including exclusive social functions, are relatively harmless but they do have a much darker side if they primarily become vehicles for personal promotion to the exclusion of anyone, regardless of merit, who belongs to an opposing faction. They then become destructive of the common purpose of the larger organisation.

What essentially matters is not breadth of views, which is inevitable within any large organisation unless the members are all brain-washed, but how internal power and authority are exercised and how the members with diverse views relate to one another.

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Positive values like respect and tolerance should prevail in an ideal world, whereas in practice within many broad churches it is more common to find disrespect, contempt and sometimes even hatred for others of a different factional persuasion. While contempt is sometimes expressed between competing political parties during election campaigns it frequently also emerges from factional opponents within the same party. There have been many examples of this recently in leadership contests on both sides of major party politics.

On policy matters a broad church is only a positive environment in which to work if there is enough common ground for a negotiated consensus or agreement to emerge among the diversity. Once common ground ceases to exist on contentious issues then policy-making becomes fraught.

HAVE YOUR SAY’ TO ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, today urged people living in the Coffs Harbour electorate to identify the challenges faced by women and suggest solutions for these issues, in the ‘Have Your Say’ online survey.

“There is still a gap between men and women’s financial status, workforce participation, caring and family responsibilities and vulnerability to violence, among other issues. That’s why the government is working on the state’s first Women’s Strategy to tackle these issues,” Mr Fraser said.

The Strategy will focus on addressing key challenges in the local community, including; economic empowerment, health and wellbeing, culture and identity and leadership.

Mr Fraser said the Strategy is an important initiative, that will improve equality and equity for women and girls in the Coffs Harbour electorate and across NSW.

“Community participation is key to developing an effective strategy, we need as many people as possible involved in order to work to identify and overcome the impacts of inequity and discrimination on women and girls,” Mr Fraser added.

Minister for Women, Tanya Davies, said eight community workshops had just been held across the state.

“I heard first-hand about the issues that affect women every day. We want to make sure anyone who could not attend these consultations can still have their say,” Mrs Davies said.

The NSW Government is seeking feedback from individuals and organisations to identify priority areas for action and investment.

“We need to be mindful that gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a social and economic issue that affects everyone,” Mrs Davies said.

Results from the survey will be considered during the development of the NSW Women’s Strategy, to be released later this year.

To ‘Have Your Say’ please visit: www.women.nsw.gov.au/news/items/nsw-womens-strategy-public-consultation. Feedback is being sought by Monday July 31 and can be given online, via email or post.

or further information go to www.women.nsw.gov.au .

13 July 2017

Ends

For media comment contact Andrew Fraser on 6652 6500 or 0427 241 522