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Byron Shire
September 21, 2021

NSW Parliament off for a month, with full pay

Latest News

September 21: NNSWLHD COVID update and Byron-Tweed lockdown

The Northern NSW Local Health District held a press conference at Lismore Base Hospital this afternoon.

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 22 September, 2021

Please check, at the end of lockdown to see whats on.

Lismore’s plateau Lizard will sleep no more

The last time the Lismore Mayor and Councillor met in the Goonellabah chambers, there was a historic decision to hand back culturally sensitive land to the local Indigenous people. In a sequel to the fate of the Lismore plateau, traditionally known as the Sleeping Lizard, the outcome was a little differen

With COVID-19 cases surging across Sydney and defence forces being deployed in the city, NSW Parliament put out a brief statement last week saying MPs will not sit in the month of August ‘owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in NSW’.

It reads, ‘The Presiding Officers are mindful of the public interest and the safety and health of all people who attend Parliament House’.

The Legislative Assembly of the NSW Parliament. Image: supplied by the Parliament of NSW

The Echo asked local NSW MP Tamara Smith (Greens) why Zoom, or other options weren’t explored instead, given it is now 18 months into the pandemic; and whether MPs were still on full pay while not sitting in August?

Ms Smith told The Echo, ‘It is unacceptable that in this day and age, the parliament is unable to resume in a virtual capacity during the greater Sydney lockdown’.

‘The Federal Parliament was able to offer hybrid parliamentary sittings since the middle of last year, yet the NSW Parliament are saying that it would take a further 12 more months from now for the kinds of back end changes needed to support virtual parliamentary sittings’.

Virtual Budget estimates

She says the Greens have made a ‘number of submissions to the LNP on how to hold virtual Budget estimates scheduled for next week, but they have not been taken up’.

Given the unprecedented police, budgetary and emergency powers of the LNP during lockdowns, I think we should be very concerned that there is no democratic oversight for at least another four weeks.

‘The time to start preparing for virtual parliament was nearly 18 months ago and the LNP in NSW have done nothing towards that end’.

When asked to clarify that MPs were still to be paid in full while not sitting in August, Ms Smith replied, ‘Yes, although for lower house MPs, we all continue to run our offices and staff in our electorates’.

For COVID-19 grants, loans and financial assistance, visit www.service.nsw.gov.au.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve got the ‘Kangaroo Blues, I’m feeling jumpy about society ‘.
    We’ve been living in a police state, now we live in a military-police state.
    Wake up australia, ‘you’re standing in it !’

  2. Do you want regional pollies sitting in Parliament House in Sydney and bringing it back to their constituents. (Oh that’s right the 🦠 is a fiction) There are some things that are more important than taking opportunistic swipes. As if politicians only work in Parliament House.

  3. I don’t mean to be rude to Tamara but everything she has made up about Estimates is incorrect. The Greens have not put forward proposals for virtual hearings to the Government or anyone else. In fact on my Committee David Shoebridge OPPOSES virtual hearings (which I personally support).
    The Upper House Committees are controlled by Labor and crossbench members so the Government does not decide anything – we are a minority on all the portfolio Committees so it’s Labor and Greens who tell us what they have decided and they are the ones who are saying no – not us.

    I have no clue what Tamara is talking about regarding Budget Estimates. Our Committees (other than Budget Estimates) are continuing to work via webex. I have two webex Committee meetings today which will finalise draft reports to be tabled with the Clerk in Parliament later this week.

    • Catherine that is not accurate. The Greens are working with Labor and other cross bench members to progress virtual estimates hearings as you type. It is most unfortunate you have put this comment here. I have a lot of time and respect for much of your work and I assume you have your wires crossed somehow. To be clear the Greens are working to have the best estimates hearings we can, as safely as possible, given Covid. This means in August virtual hearings. We are awaiting your government’s response to the position put forward by non government parties for them to proceed.

    • Catherine that unfortunately is not accurate. I respect your work and assume you have got your wires cross. The Greens have been working closely with Labor and other non government parties to have the safest possible estimates hearings given Covid. This means for August on line virtual estimates hearings. There is a current proposal with your government from Labor, supported by all other non government parties including the Greens, for a schedule of virtual estimates hearings in August. Unfortunately there is no agreement yet from the Coalition. Further to this I chair the Public Accountability committee and we are working to deliver two successful on line hearings next week into the governments Covid response. This is a further demonstration of our commitment to (and I hope the workability of) virtual hearings when needed.

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 22 September, 2021

Please check, at the end of lockdown to see whats on.

Speech pathology student numbers soar at SCU

The number of domestic applications for the undergraduate speech pathology course at Southern Cross University have increased 79 per cent compared to the same time last year.

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