Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - News -

In Fe­bru­ary, I vis­ited NorthCon­nex to re­view progress on the project, which re­mains on time and on bud­get. While there, I took part in a Gen­eral Aware­ness Train­ing course run by Mates In Con­struc­tion. In 2015, 54 per cent of peo­ple who died by sui­cide were men aged 25-64. The rate of sui­cide in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try is alarm­ingly high, with an av­er­age of 182 deaths per year, or one sui­cide ev­ery sec­ond day. Mates In Con­struc­tion aims to re­duce the high level of sui­cide among Aus­tralian con­struc­tion work­ers by rais­ing aware­ness of men­tal health is­sues and train­ing work­ers to recog­nise the early signs of sui­cide. Sup­port­ing these ef­forts will en­sure the pro­tec­tion of con­struc­tion work­ers across Berowra.

Also in Fe­bru­ary, we saw the most de­struc­tive storms our com­mu­nity has en­dured in years, with large hail­stones and flash flood­ing in Hornsby, Glenorie, Berowra and Wise­mans Ferry. That week­end, I was out on site to thank the vol­un­teers from the SES and RFS who worked tire­lessly to re­spond to over 700 calls for as­sis­tance.

I pre­sented the Du­ral Ro­tary Club Aus­tralia Day Awards at the Du­ral Coun­try Club last month. These awards recog­nised the tire­less work and con­tri­bu­tion of suc­cess­ful busi­ness owner, Don Stein AM, and of the re­mark­able Jil­lian Tourlis, who has had a trans­for­ma­tive ef­fect on Gal­ston High School. I am look­ing for­ward to join­ing the Gal­ston Ro­tary Club at their meet­ing this month. Boost for Small Busi­ness

Par­lia­ment sat for three out of the four weeks in March. The Govern­ment is ac­tively pur­su­ing its goal of eco­nomic growth. Last week I spoke in sup­port of our pro­posed com­pany tax cut of 3.5% over the next decade. These re­forms will al­low the al­most 15,000 small busi­nesses across Berowra to ex­pand and pro­vide more jobs by re­duc­ing their tax bur­den, of­ten their great­est ex­pense. The de­ci­sion of the Fair Work Com­mis­sion con­cern­ing penalty rates should also al­low small busi­nesses to em­ploy more staff and re­main open more hours. The set­ting of penalty rates is a mat­ter for the in­de­pen­dent Fair Work Com­mis­sion to de­ter­mine, not the Govern­ment.

The Govern­ment is also fo­cussed on mak­ing reg­u­la­tion eas­ier for busi­nesses by work­ing with state and ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ments to stream­line ser­vices. By the end of March, new busi­ness own­ers will be able to ap­ply for busi­ness reg­is­tra­tion through a sin­gle web­site, re­duc­ing time spent fill­ing out pa­per­work.

Another im­por­tant fo­cus for me is en­ergy se­cu­rity and re­li­a­bil­ity. I of­ten hear from fam­i­lies and busi­nesses who are feel­ing the fi­nan­cial pres­sure of in­creas­ing power bills. We need a con­sid­ered, bal­anced na­tional en­ergy pol­icy that en­sures en­ergy se­cu­rity and re­li­a­bil­ity, but not at the ex­pense of house­hold bud­gets or busi­ness bot­tom lines. We must pro­vide a re­li­able source of af­ford­able, baseload power that makes use of our nat­u­ral re­sources.

Ju­lian Leeser MP, SES Vol­un­teers

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