In the NSW Parliament, my Greens colleagues and I have successfully amended well over 100 laws.
In the community, I have stood with members of the community against the industrialisation of our region through CSG mining, with a spectacular success at Bentley. I continue to work to safeguard the environment and rural lifestyle on the North Coast and protect it from over-development and industrialisation.
During the Covid-19 pandemic my staff and I have maintained a constant vigil upon the unfolding situation and liaised with health authorities and the Cross Border Commissioner to keep constituents informed on health advice, restrictions and border requirements, and facilitated humane exemptions for residents wherever feasible.
In Parliament, I have voted to:
✔ Establish a Great Koala National Park
✔ Protect LGBTIQ+ people from discrimination in schools and the threat of so-called religious freedoms legislation
✔ End no grounds evictions for renters
✔ Establish safe access zones around women’s health centres
✔ Support new anti-corruption laws
✔ Reject legislation giving more public money to greyhound racing
✔ Voted successfully to decriminalise abortion in NSW.
In the past two years in Parliament, among other things, I have also:
- Called for tougher penalties for the mistreatment of animals
- Called for a public register for disclosure around water, seeking transparency on water and water trading
- Sought formal acknowledgment within the chamber of the Arakwal Native Title claim
- Spoken against the use of single-use plastics
- Called for increased penalties in cases where drivers affected by drugs and drink cause death – and the introduction of technologies that detect the drugs that cause the greatest impairment to drivers
- Advocated for reforms at music festivals, to stop police use of sniffer dogs and the strip-searching of teenagers; backed the implementation of pill testing at festivals to help save lives
- Supported legislation that will bring about a dramatic shift towards renewables as a source of electricity
- Lobbied for the preservation of the rail corridor in public ownership
- Sought the banning of offensive and misogynistic signage on rental vans and other vehicles
- Supported laws that make coercive control an offence as an element of domestic violence
- Supported my Greens colleagues in setting the agenda around corruption in NSW for the last decade, and spoke out against the bushfire restoration funding injustices.
Working with the community, I have:
- Stood with the community in opposition to inappropriate development. Together we halted the construction of an over-sized food ‘hub’ near Bangalow; halved the number of sites proposed at West Byron; prevented both a ski jump and a new sand mine in Lennox Head
- Lobbied against CSG mining, ensuring our region is gasfield free
- Condemned the Coalition’s lifting of the 18-year moratorium on GMO crops in NSW
- Supported initiatives to protect Cape Byron Marine Park Sanctuary and the wild species of our oceans. Campaigned for drone technology and other measures to keep our beaches safe; funded a feasibility study for shark spotting at Wategos Beach and supported Shark Watch to begin patrols on our beaches. Also ensured shark nets were removed from beaches and replaced with non-lethal shark mitigation
- Campaigned to protect koalas from death and habitat destruction, including advocating for a Great Koala Park that could both prevent koala extinction in NSW and generate a billion dollar-plus boost in regional economic output of $1.2 billion. I also facilitated funding for Bangalow Koalas and the Ballina protectors
- Opposed – and will continue to oppose – the Dunoon Dam, because it would destroy Aboriginal burial grounds and vast tracts of high value biodiversity, including remnants of the Big Scrub
- Helped secure almost $4.5 million in state funding for local renewable energy projects
- Worked co-operatively with the relevant agencies to close South Ballina Beach to 4WD vehicles
- Advocated for funding to restore health to the Richmond River.
- The Ballina Electorate is perhaps more badly hit by the housing crisis than anywhere in the country. The NSW Greens are fighting for:
- Rental holidays and waivers for rent arrears with debt relief and increased support to prevent huge rental debts down the track
- A national freeze on rent rises now and after the pandemic
- Mortgage relief where needed with no interest accrual, a ban on foreclosures and a freeze on owners' credit ratings
- Funding for emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness
- A big investment in the construction of more social housing.
SHORT-TERM HOLIDAY LETTING
- I have campaigned against wholesale and unregulated short-term holiday letting, and advocated for local councils to be able to decide limits on the number of days a home can be holiday let in a year
- We called upon the Minister for Fair Trading rethink its short-term holiday letting legislation and give regional communities a fair say in their neighbourhoods and provide a level playing field for legitimate accommodation providers
- The strong community-led campaign led to a 12-month exemption for Byron Shire from the 180 days of holiday letting imposed upon other regional areas in NSW. I am continuing to work to protect as many homes for residents as possible before the deadline.
- This year listened to the concerns of residents from several residential villages in the Ballina electorate and received their submissions addressing loopholes in the Residential Land Lease Communities Act 2013
- I made my own submission on the basis of what proactive residents told me about how their experiences with village operators were harmful to their health and finances and called upon the Department of Fair Trading to provide residents with more protections in the reviewed Act.
- Stood with the community to successfully retain public land in public hands with the Mullumbimby Hospital site and the Suffolk Park sports ground and community gardens
- Supported our local area Commander to secure two fulltime community police officers for Alstonville and ongoing advocacy about the needs of rural policing
- Brought together 25 frontline workers to discuss the ongoing crisis of homelessness and rough sleepers in Byron Shire
- Secured $1.5 million in funding for local projects through the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program.
- Ensured the government reversed its decision to cut $3 million in funding to local women’s refuges
- Worked to secure funding for the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service, which helps more than 1000 survivors of domestic violence each year
- Committed to delivering more women's refuges in the Ballina electorate and supporting organisations such as Momentum Collective in their efforts to provide safe accommodation and support for women and families in need.
- I am a staunch supporter of the local First Nations people and their wants and needs for both their own and the wider community, including the proposed Bundjalung Cultural Centre in Ballina and a museum of the Arakwal people in Byron Bay.
- Secured a commitment from NSW Department of Education and Ballina Shire Council to build a four-court basketball stadium and sports centre adjacent to the new Ballina Coast High School
- Helped deliver nearly $500,000 in funding to local sports clubs in 2020 alone.
- Raised money to get a breathalyser for Schoolies in Byron Bay to support BUDDI Byron Community Drug Action Team and the STEER Project to encourage young people to ‘Blow Zero’ and educate them on the effects of drinking
- Donated an ongoing, annual education bursary through the Ballina Scope Club for a senior high school student facing financial difficulties
- Spoken in favour of pill testing at music festivals and against the use of sniffer dogs and strip-searching by police.
Staying Green has been good for the Ballina Electorate economically.
In 2020, I facilitated $300,000 in funding for 19 community projects will benefit from through the Community Building Partnership Program, delivering improvements to facilities in the Ballina Electorate for charities and small community organisations who through Covid-19 have struggled to undertake their usual fundraising activities.
Projects that received funding in 2020 included:
- The Northcott Society – improve access and shelter for people with disability in Ballina, $4500
- Build a shed/workshop at the Island Quarry, Byron Bay, $16,680
- Bundjalung Tribal Society’s Namabunda Community Farm Project, $29,195
- Upgraded Byron Bay Cricket Club’s facilities at the Cavanbah Centre $13,520
- New disability friendly doors at entrances to the Lennox Head Community Sports and Recreation Club Ltd, $30,000
- Upgraded security at the Byron Youth Activity Centre, $13,809
- Improved facilities for the Salvation Army, Ballina, $10,000
- Refurbishment of the Byron Community Centre $18,445
- Upgrade to the Ballina Christian Education Association’s Community Hub, $26,700
- Air-conditioning for U3A Ballina/Byron’s meeting space, $9000
- Trees and awnings for the Alstonville Agricultural Society, $7200
- Disabled Access at Alstonville and District Football Club, $25,000
- Solar project at St Vincent de Paul Society, Ballina $18,000
- Fit out for new clubhouse at Alstonville Croquet Club, $15,611
- Upgrade of Alstonville Scout Hall, $17,970
- Solar Power Sustainability Project, Namatjira Haven, $5000
- Defibrillator for Riding for the Disabled Ballina, $2500
- Bubbler and water bottle refill replacement at Newrybar Public School, $10,000
- Shed for Lennox Head Lions Club’s community BBQ trailer, $26,865
Additionally, I have overseen $8.4m for the Byron Bay bus interchange, $996,000 for upgrades to Ballina Street in Lennox Head, $2.2m to replace Pearces Creek Bridge, $100,000 for Byron and Ballina councils to manage coastal and estuarine environments, $2.8m to upgrade boat berths at Brunswick Heads, $270K to undertake water-quality monitoring at North Creek and $250K to improve the Lake Ainsworth foreshore.
Further investments since 2019 have included $100K for the Alstonville Showground, $450K for a new pumper for Ballina Fire Station, a new defibrillator for Marine Rescue Ballina, $11m for safety improvements to the Bangalow-Lismore road, $310K for a facelift to Red Devil Park, $750K for improved domestic violence services, $300K to Lennox Head’s Cool Planet to boost recycling, $55K for mental health awareness in high schools, $85K for the Northern Rivers Community Gallery, $60K to Byron Region Community College, and $59K to North Coast Community College.
I will continue to demand needs-based funding for our community.