Suffolk Park second chance

Second chance for Suffolk Park community open space

Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith, said today she had talked to Education Minister Adrian Piccoli about the land for sale at 60 Beech Drive Suffolk Park, one of the few community open spaces left in Suffolk Park.

“I spoke to Minister Piccoli about the community’s opposition to their recreational space being sold and he said he would consider an offer from Byron Council to buy the land.”

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Stop the Suffolk Park sale

Media Release

Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith today called on the NSW government to halt the sale of one of the few open community spaces left in Suffolk Park, Byron Bay.

“Property NSW is selling land at 60 Beech Drive with little or no notice to the wider community that uses the land. Currently Byron Shire Council has soccer fields, cricket nets, park shelters, a shared cycleway, and children’s playground at the site, and all of these amenities risk being lost if this land is sold,” said Tamara Smith.

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Shark Watch to start at Byron beaches

Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith and Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson today announced $11,000 in funding for a shark spotting program by Shark Watch to start in Byron Shire.

The announcement came as Shark Watch gave a demonstration at Cosy Corner at the northern end of Tallows Beach, Byron Bay of how their shark spotting patrol and drone works 

Shark Watch is a community group which uses volunteers and a drone to scan the sea near surfers and swimmers at beaches for any shark activity. If sharks are spotted, the group uses an agreed alert system to warn people in the area that sharks are present, so that surfers and swimmers can leave the water.

“I am enormously encouraged to see that Byron Shire will fund Shark Watch to operate at its beaches, providing a greater level of safety to surfers and swimmers while not endangering marine life,” said Tamara Smith.

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Rushed HSC plans put education at risk

Media release

New South Wales Greens Education spokesperson Tamara Smith, MP for Ballina, says the rush to get new HSC syllabuses into schools will sabotage government initiatives to support teaching and learning in NSW.

“New HSC syllabus drafts have recently been made available for teachers to look at but the seriously flawed consultation process has caused dismay amongst principals and teachers who believe the timeline for the syllabuses to be implemented is impossible to meet,” said Ms Smith.

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Shark Watch not shark nets

Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith today welcomed the efforts of local group Shark Watch NSW to set up a volunteer surveillance service to help protect swimmers and surfers at Ballina’s beaches.

“I fully support this local solution to a very complex problem affecting Ballina’s residents. Shark Watch is well organised and committed to providing a shark spotting service using volunteers and drones,” said Ms Smith.

“Shark spotting was the most effective strategy identified in the Cardno review done on behalf of the NSW Department of Primary Industries in 2015. Smart drumlines and CleverBuoy technologies were also on that shortlist and these have been funded by the DPI – why not the number one option of shark spotting?”

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Speech supporting Gonski Funding

In Parliament I spoke on a Matter of Public Importance raised by Mark Coure, Member for Oatley: education funding under the Gonski agreement.

The Gonski review recommended that schools be funded according to the needs of their students and what was required to educate each of them to a high standard. Each school would get a base level of Commonwealth and State funding, plus additional money or loadings to take into account the size and location of the school and the individual needs of students, such as whether they are from a disadvantaged background or they have a disability.

The Gonski review is a landmark review of funding of schools in Australia as it is the first time that stakeholders across the public and private sectors agree with the needs-based funding model. The Gonski report put into words what every public schoolteacher has known for decades—funding matters and it must be allocated in a way that recognises the basic rights of every child. The Gonski review panel put forward three great notions that have forever changed the debate: first, the public funding of each school to provide a standard of resources to ensure that every student achieves quality outcomes. Secondly, further funding to meet the challenges of economic, social and geographic disadvantage and, thirdly, students with special needs must be funded if they are to achieve great outcomes.

 

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Education and Teaching Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

As The Greens education spokesperson I spoke in a Parliamentary debate on the Education and Teaching Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, you can either read my speech below or watch the video.

 

 

 

The bill amends three major pieces of legislation that govern schools and education in New South Wales—the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013, the Education Act 1990, and the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004. While in many respects this legislation merely reflects the authority that already exists with the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards [BOSTES], it provides for the additional power of random inspections and is grounded in a governance and management theory model that, in our view, does not engender safe and settled learning environments.

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Fund shark spotting not shark killing

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith today extended her sympathy to Seneca Rus, the man bitten by a shark off Sharpes Beach.

“I wish him a speedy recovery and my thoughts go out to everyone in our region who has been affected by shark attacks,” Ms Smith said.

“I do not believe that shark nets will improve safety for swimmers or surfers at our beaches. Bondi Beach for example has shark nets and surfers are still attacked there.”

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Byron gets a $44,940 safety injection

One of Byron Bay’s social housing properties is set to receive nearly $50,000 to install security lighting within the complex thanks to funding from the NSW Government’s Social Housing Community Improvement Fund (SHCIF). The property is managed by North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) who applied for the grant to improve night time visibility and security in the neighbourhood.

Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina said, “I welcome this funding to help improve safety in the Byron Shire. Putting the money towards street lighting will benefit the residents at the community housing development but it will also increase the feeling of security for the wider community.”

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Tamara Smith acknowledges resilience of Ballina community

“I extend my sympathy to all those who have been affected by shark attacks, especially to Cooper Allen and his family after Monday’s incident at Lighthouse Beach and best wishes for his recovery,” said Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina.

Greens MP Tamara Smith today said that the Ballina community was well placed and working constructively together to find models of shark mitigation that provide long term, sustainable safety for ocean users and marine life off our coast.

Ms Smith also welcomed resistance to shark culls and shark mesh nets from the NSW Government in the Ballina region.

“Although people may see culling and meshing as a quick fix, culling does not prevent shark attacks from occurring and installing a shark net in our region would very likely lead to large numbers of dolphin deaths and to even get a net would involve a long legal process,” Ms Smith said.

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