Safety First for Those on the Frontline
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While it's great that many people in the community are acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our healthcare and emergency workers who are exposed to COVID-19 day-in and day-out, it's important we do more to protect them.
Our nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals, hospital and nursing home staff are all at a significantly increased risk of contracting the potential life-threatening coronavirus every day when they go to work, much like our other emergency service workers such as paramedics and police.
The unfortunate fact is Personal Protective Equipment alone simply isn't enough to safeguard these essential workers and their families who they return home to after their shift.
I'm calling on the Government to provide regular testing of our healthcare and emergency service workers. This virus isn't going away anytime soon, and a properly developed vaccine isn't reasonably expected within the next twelve months.
Rather than just giving well-deserved thanks, we need to do more by protecting these workers and their families. Regular testing, supported by a dedicated pathology service, is likely to provide an increased level of protection for these workers, their colleagues, the workplace and broader community.
Fairness for Police
I'm very pleased that my persistent lobbying for equitable income protection for NSW Police aged 60 years and over has paid off, and police officers will now receive the same income protection as those aged 59 years and under. All police officers face the same dangers and risks of injury and illness, regardless of age, and I trust this $18.5 million funding announcement will make a big difference.
I'll always support fairness and protection for those who are working hard to protect us.
Getting Back to It
While it's a fact that there's still plenty of work for elected members to do outside of parliament (assuming they're doing their jobs properly), an important aspect of my role is to hold the government accountable on their decisions. At the present moment is not happening as the government has removed due process - there is no discussion, scrutiny, or accountability.
This is not how Australia is supposed to function, even in unforeseen circumstances such as the pandemic we're now facing. Restrictions and control measures can be properly considered, debated and then implemented. The Government and parliamentarians are servants of the people; it is not the other way around.
My Shooters Fishers Farmers colleagues and I have called on the Premier to urgently resume parliamentary sittings.
Small Business Grants
There's now a new $750 million assistance scheme that will provide grants of $10,000 for eligible small businesses who do not pay payroll tax. These grants will provide a cash boost for businesses struggling in the face of an unprecedented economic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, helping them to keep staff employed and keep their businesses afloat.
You can find out more information about this and other small business assistance on the Service NSW website, or by calling Service NSW on 137788.
Free upskilling with TAFE
This is a great opportunity for those who wish to take it up. It's just been announced that 21 fee-free TAFE NSW short courses are available online to assist anyone across NSW who wants to upskill during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some great options available, for a full list of courses, visit: www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
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