Namoi News

Roy Butler MP Member for Barwon

Namoi News

Roy’s Round up

Published on Monday, May 11, 2020

Roy’s Round up

11 May, 2020

Hi Folks, 

We are two months into something that will hopefully only happen once in a lifetime. I want to offer my thanks to all of you, the people who have followed the public health advice, and the essential workers who have worked with risks to keep us all safe, and services functioning. 

As we move into an easing of some restrictions on Friday 15 May, please remain vigilant with the basic health advice. If you are a business looking to get back to trade, please be safe, and protect your staff and clients. 

It is likely there will be outbreaks as a result of easing restrictions. Testing and contact tracing are the tools we have to try to manage any outbreaks. 

I have continued to call for the full and proper resumption of Parliament. Regional NSW needs to be factored into decisions that are being made; the impact of drought needs to be considered when setting eligibility criteria for assistance. 

I am very excited about the prospect of telecommuting as a way of decentralising Public Service roles into regional NSW. COVID-19 has shown us it is possible, it would be great to see some of the Government jobs back in our communities. 

Take care and be safe, 


Status quo drought support 
Who else got excited over the weekend to read the headline ‘$310 million boost to NSW Drought Assistance’? I know I was, until I read what it means – the continuation of existing programs. 
The Drought Transport subsidy, the waiving of Local Lands Services and other rates, water licence fee waivers, vehicle registration costs for primary producers, and counselling programs. 
Yes, the new money means these programs can continue, and that takes some bill pressure off.
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the recycled announcements, they don’t go over well with me and they certainly have never gone over very well with an informed and intelligent farming community.
In this announcement, there are no new grants for sowing, despite the Government talk about the importance of getting a good crop in this year. It’s nice hearing my words echoed by the Government, it would be even better to hear them actually trump up some cash for our farmers. 
There’s no new grants for restocking, there’s no Local Government Rates relief, there’s no assistance for our small businesses or those in the agriculture supply chain. 
If this is the announcement we have been waiting for since December 2019, it’s hugely off the mark. 
It will not facilitate the rapid reinvigoration of agriculture and communities we were hoping for.

Politician and Executive wage freeze 
The economic impact of COVID-19 is huge, and will sadly continue to increase. Some experts are now suggesting unemployment could end up being as many as one-in-four Australians relying on social security benefits, in one form or another. 
In these extraordinary times, we must take extraordinary measures. 
Together with my Party, we’re calling on the New South Wales Government to immediately implement a wage freeze for all our politicians, both tier one and two government bureaucrats and all bands of senior executives of the state public sector. This wage freeze should remain in place for a period of 12 months, commencing 1 July. 
We as leaders and representatives of the New South Wales community must share the burden and lead by example.
Even if it’s just in line with CPI, we as politicians cannot in all good conscience allow ourselves and our highly paid bureaucrats to accept any pay rise whilst the good people whom we represent and work for are financially on their knees.
We need one rule for all
I’ve been contacted by a number of business owners who are understandably frustrated at the lack of clear guidance surrounding the reopening of their businesses. Pubs, clubs and cafe's remain in limbo about when they can properly reopen. Beauty Services businesses are understandably frustrated that they can provide clear plans for how they can manage risk, and yet still haven’t been looked at as a sector that can recommence trade. 

Last week I wrote to the Premier on behalf of our business community requesting that we move towards a standardised system where all businesses can trade provided they:
adhere to customer limits based on floor space
adhere to social distancing rules
have hand sanitiser available
have Personal Protective Equipment for services under 1.5m
have a thorough cleaning regime in place
These arrangements should be documented in a plan held by each business.
Business owners that I speak to are all willing to adhere to any arrangements they need to in order to get back to trading - let's make it happen Premier!
From Friday (15 May 2020), the NSW Government will ease more restrictions – it’s a step forward to getting back to some semblance of normal, but the current plan provided more uncertainty and frustration for our businesses. 

$10,000 Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant
In my last Round-Up, I spoke about the $10,000 Small Business Support Grant, and assurances I have been given that assessors would take the impacts of drought into consideration. A couple of business owners have contacted me saying they have been knocked back, and there was no understanding when you called the hotline that drought should be taken into consideration. 
If this is you, please get in touch with my Offices. We’re working with a number of business owners to get them assistance. 


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