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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 8097


Ms SAFFIN (Page) (21:45): I want to raise some issues that are quite concerning to locals in my electorate and which they have been talking about over the last few weeks. They include the issues of workers compensation in New South Wales, shooting in national parks and increasing rents for pensioners. Pensioners get extra money from the federal government for household assistance and then their rents are put up at the state level by the state government. I call them robber dogs, but that is just what the state government are up to at the moment. There is also the nonsense that the state government are putting out around electricity. We all know that the price of electricity has gone up in New South Wales, up to 70 per cent over the last six years because of infrastructure costs—poles and pipes. Just over eight per cent of that will be attributable to the carbon price. That means over 60 per cent is due to infrastructure costs at New South Wales level and, at federal level, household assistance is also going to impact on it.

Shooting in national parks is rather disturbing for a lot of people, particularly visitors and families who camp in national parks with their children. There is a place for shooting feral animals and that is not the issue. Shooting in national parks over a wide range is a big topic and a hot issue. A lot of people are talking about it. The Premier of New South Wales said he made a deal with the upper house to get it through. For a long time he had said there would be no deals. Then I saw him on TV and his words were to the effect that, 'Well, you know, this is the upper house, this is the parliament.' I said, 'I have heard that said before, but it is different when they do it.' People are just starting to see what the coalition governments are like now that we have them in many states. The parallels of just what they will do can be drawn with the opposition in this place.

The other day I asked the federal minister responsible for workers compensation, Bill Shorten, a question to make a comparison of the Commonwealth scheme and the New South Wales scheme. What has just gone through the New South Wales parliament means that workers are going to be thrown on the scrap heap when they suffer injuries at work through no fault of their own. Some of the legislation that has passed means that somebody who has a leg amputated below the knee may not be listed on the table and may not get compensation. We are just starting to see these cases. I understand that police officers and fire officers have been made exempt. That is fine. Nobody denies them because of the work that they do, but compensation should be the same for everybody. It is just unbelievable. Many people contact me about workers compensation and I say, 'It is a state issue.'

The other issue that continues to be a matter of great concern is coal seam gas in my area. It is a state jurisdictional matter, but it is an area where we have been able to get some assistance through a national partnership agreement with the states. Two related issues that have not been focused on much are the primary health impacts on humans of coal seam gas. Another emerging issue appears in the United States geological survey which recently indicated that CSG activities in the US appear to have contributed to an increase in the number of earth tremors. There is a growing body of information and scientific research in that area. The issues to do with the waste water rejection and around health with CSG were on our Parliamentary Library flagpost last week.

Coming back to the rents of pensioners, I cannot understand why, when pensioners get household assistance to cover expenditure, particularly to do with the carbon price in this situation— (Time expired)