Ursula Tunks - Fighting For Our Future
Candidate for the Clarence Valley Council elections 8th September 2012
PCYC & Youth Services
Lack of accessible and affordable Youth Services in the Clarence Valley
Continuing to work towards securing a PCYC for the Clarence Valley and continuing to advocate for the establishment of a holistic Valley wide Youth Service. My advocacy will centre on these services being accessible to all young people in the Clarence Valley through a single referral point and I will continue to advocate for the long term needs of the Youth of the Valley regardless of whether I’m elected to Council or not.
Increase in Pensioner Rebate on Council Rates
Clarence Valley Pensioners have not had an increase in their pensioner rebate for almost five years, despite the extensive increase in the cost of living for those on fixed incomes.
Providing a minimum increase of $20 per annum to the Pensioner Rebate on Land Rates, with a possible increase of $50 depending on the outcome of the following costs savings proposal;
ü This rebate will be achieved through cutting the postage, stationery and administration costs of the current Council billing system. By incorporating the Land & Water Rates into one billing system, an immediate savings of approximately $60,000 p.a. on postage alone is achieved (a figure based on the number of rateable properties in the CVC region as detailed in the CVC’s latest on-line reports). Further calculations based on savings from administration and stationery costs will enable a definitive figure for the rebate increase.
ü After the initial rebate increase as detailed above ensure that the Rebate is increased annually at a minimum rate equivalent to that of the CPI.
Protecting the Clarence River
Organisations and entities outside the Clarence Valley seeking to divert the waters of the Clarence River inland.
Development of a strong Clarence River management plan with a focuses on its’ protection and the benefit it provides our Community.
Community Mental Health including Drug & Alcohol Counsellors
Our current Mental Health Facilities & Services falling far short of meeting the community need for those services.
ü Continue the work established by Councillor Hughes and her lower river committee in relation to advocacy for Mental Health Services for the whole of Clarence Valley.
ü Continue to lobby all relevant stakeholders and State & Federal Departments for the establishment of an overnight Mental Health facility based in the Clarence Valley.
ü Use the recent suicide statistics released by the ABS which strongly indicate that the Clarence Valley presents a significant anomaly in terms of NSW suicide rates, which are reported by the ABS as being 8.6 suicides per 100,000 population over a five year period. The major town centre of Grafton has had 8 suicides with a population of 20,000 in a one year period. I’m confident that with a detailed analysis of the whole of Clarence Valley Suicide rates and other related Mental Health statistics we can present an extremely strong case for immediate urgent action on the overnight facility and other desperately needed mental health services.
The immediate creation of a working party to establish a Major Transport Hub in the Clarence Region
Urgently needed Regional Economic Development Strategies to ensure a viable future for the Clarence Valley.
At a recent meeting Chris Gulaptis informed me that the rumour that Casino had secured the ‘Major Transport Hub’ for the region was in fact false. However, it would seem that the rumour is being perpetuated by the Casino-ites themselves as part of their lobbying to get the hub.
The reality is that the Clarence Valley is actually the ideal location for a ‘Major Transport Hub’. This ideal is based upon the following factors:
ü It presents the only B Double Access to the West between Brisbane and Newcastle via the Gwydir Highway.
ü It offers the combination of Rail, Air & Road access with South Pacific Port access from the Goodwood Island Port and the possibility of increased Port capacity in the future, pending a viable solution to a number of environmental and cultural challenges posed by the current port site. There is a possibility of pursuing alternate Port locations along the Clarence Coast.
ü Both the South Grafton Rail location and the Grafton Airport location offer ample opportunities for co-location of a ‘Logistics Terminal’. Previously the old Grafton Rail Yards were proposed to be redeveloped for logistic purposes however the increased heavy vehicle traffic in the area meant the proposal was unsuccessful. However the area in the vicinity of the former Disco Marine site in South Grafton offers an ideal staging point for a logistics distribution centre and is immediately accessible to the existing heavy vehicle corridor. A further option for a Logistics Terminal site is the ‘old rail siding’ near the turn off to the back road to Coffs Harbour.
ü Our Airport location offers an excellent opportunity in that it is already underutilised and would therefore not present with competing challenges for its’ use. The unrealised potential includes the vacant land surrounding its location and its’ proximity to the intended Pacific Highway by-pass of the Grafton area. Utilising the Airport region as a major staging point in the overall Transport Hub Infrastructure offers a huge opportunity to the Region.
ü Supporting the second bridge crossing at Grafton (see policy below) will also enhance our Regional Capacity as a Transport Hub. The actually number of bridge crossings by heavy vehicles is well within the ‘normal’ range for a single bridge crossing, based on the statistics of approximately 800 heavy
vehicle movements per day, this equates too one heavy vehicle crossing just under every two minutes well below what is normally considered high level traffic. However the physical nature of our current bridge amplifies the impact of those crossings. For example the narrow nature of the current bridge slows the traffic; the bends at either end of the bridge make safe negotiation of the bridge within the confines of the marked lanes impossible for larger heavy vehicles such as B-Doubles, which at the moment cannot achieve maximum cost and productivity efficiency for the local businesses they service due to the travel restrictions between 7am-9am and 3pm to 6pm every weekday. Achieving a second bridge crossing of the Clarence in the proximity of the township of Grafton will support the capacity of the proposed transport hub as well as providing other benefits to the area. (See policy statement below).
ü The increase in on-line shopping which has had a massive detrimental effect on our local retail economy also presents a huge opportunity for our economy from the transport and distribution position. By including a number of the major on-line retailers in the working group, Harvey Norman, Kogan etc. etc. and major stakeholders such as Australia Post, Australian Air Express and TNT there’s an excellent likelihood of realising immediate benefits from this proposal than some other economic development options whose required lead time is much greater. Ensuring that all existing Clarence Valley based Transport & Distribution businesses are involved in the Working Group, and including the major manufacturers participate, Timber & Sugar Industries for example, will enable the group to harness the expertise already existing in the Community.
ü Actively engage the manufacturing peak bodies and individual companies promoting the benefits of the Clarence Valley as a base for their operations and promoting the Councillor Howe’s motion to offer incentives to support the relocation of businesses to the Clarence Valley.
Ms. Tunks complete policy release continues here.
Media Release: U. Tunks 18 Edward Street South Grafton NSW 2460