ADJOURNMENT NOTES- 22 APRIL 2020

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At this unprecedented time of pandemic emergency and dramatic temporary changes to our lives it is good to know that the wheels of Government continue to turn. And so it is that whilst we are all isolating our Parliamentary duties and planning continue for the post pandemic times.

For Lower House Members serving their direct constituency whilst managing social distancing and working from home is a huge challenge. For Upper House Members many of whom including myself look after opposition held seats are also busy also assisting constituents and organisations in their area. We also continue the important work of Upper House Committees and inquiries.


To that end I want to alert readers to a new Select Committee that was established in the last days of Parliament to inquire into 'the future of work’. The actual title of the inquiry is ‘Select Committee on the impact of technology and other changes on the future of work and workers in NSW’.

The inquiry was established by Labor with support from the Shooters party and the Greens who dominate the committee membership. The Terms of Reference are extensive and include yet another review of the workers compensation reforms implemented by the O’Farrell government in 2011 and the ‘gig’ or short term contract economy. Both greatly despised by the union movement, Labor and the Greens. You can review the terms of reference here.

I was pleased to be appointed to this inquiry to represent the Government. We are currently busy compiling stakeholder lists to alert them to the inquiry and encourage them to make a submission. It’s important to be aware that an inquiry can only report on evidence it receives either through written submissions or as evidence in public hearings.

No doubt we will be overwhelmed with submissions from Labor Unions and the Greens community group fronts. I’m taking this newsletter opportunity to invite readers to forward to me suggested organisations and individuals with an interest in this area so we can formally invite them to make a submission.

Organisations can vary from economic and policy think tanks through to academics or authors in the area. But submissions are open to anyone with an interest so please consider making a submission yourself which can be as simple as expressing your views in an email.

Submissions are currently open and close on Monday, 21 August. To lodge a submission please click here. And also forward a copy to my office via shayne.mallard@parliament.nsw.gov.au 

I will endeavour to keep readers up to date on this and other ongoing Upper House inquiries over the coming months.

Finally thank you for the feedback on the last Adjournment Notes. Again I remind readers to look out for each other’s mental health well being during this pandemic crisis.

Here is a link to a great little video and some of the mental health services. I like many of you continue to work in isolation and luckily I can escape into my Blue Mountains garden for sanity breaks. As always if I can assist you please do not hesitate to contact me via my office.

Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses and frontline healthcare workers who are working around the clock to keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No words will ever be enough to express our gratitude for the work you are doing.

RECENT COVID-19 GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Under these changes, from week three of Term 2, every student will be attending school for one day a week.

The Government will look to increase the number of days students are at school in a staged way and hope to have all children back at school full-time by Term 3.

I would like to thank Principals, teachers and parents across NSW for all of their hard work and patience in what has been a tough month.

Together we will get through this. 

For more information please click here.

The NSW Government has today made a series of regulatory changes to ensure council resources continue to be focused on frontline COVID-19 response efforts and allow councils to provide financial relief to businesses and residents.

The changes acknowledge that councils are redirecting resources to ensure the delivery of essential services to our community.

Councils are playing a vital role in supporting and protecting local communities during these unprecedented times and these changes provide councils with the flexibility to adjust to rapidly shifting circumstances.

Importantly, they also give ratepayers more time to pay their rates notices and allows councils to provide financial support to businesses suffering from reduced cash flows or forced closure by waiving or reducing fees.

BUSINESS LICENCE FEES SET AT $0 FOR 2020

The NSW Coalition government will erase up to $50 million worth of licence fees due in 2020 for up to 200,000 businesses operating within the hospitality, trades and construction sectors.

These fee waivers will deliver much-needed relief for small businesses, at a time when cash flow is crucial.

To date, the NSW Government has provided more than $8 billion in response to COVID-19 to support the NSW healthcare system and keep people in jobs.

Please click here for more information on this announcement please visit.

NEW EMERGENCY MEASURES TO PROTECT RENTERS

Where a household is struggling to make rental payments and has suffered a loss of income equal to or greater than 25 per cent due to COVID-19, there is a new obligation to enter into negotiations with their landlord or managing agent, prior to seeking a forced end to the tenancy.

Tenants will be protected from eviction until NCAT is satisfied that negotiations have concluded. Any unpaid rent will accrue as arrears during this period.

Tenants, landlords and agents can find up to date information and resources here as well as a FAQ FactSheet here.  

You can also contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for further assistance.

SUPPORT FOR COMMERCIAL TENANTS AND LANDLORDS

Commercial tenants in NSW significantly impacted by COVID-19 will have greater protection from evictions with the State Government set to enact the National Cabinet Code of Conduct as part of a $440 million land tax relief package.

The measures will apply to commercial leases where the tenant is in financial distress due to COVID-19, including but not be limited to local shops, cafes, gyms, hairdressers, restaurants, offices, warehouses and industrial sites.

The land tax relief will be divided approximately 50-50 with around $220 million going to the residential sector and a further $220 million to the commercial sector.  

Commercial landlords will be offered the land tax concession if they pass the savings on to tenants through a rent reduction.

Eligible landlords will be able to apply for a land tax concession of up to 25 per cent of their 2020 (calendar year) land tax liability on relevant properties. A further land tax deferral for any outstanding amounts for a three-month period will also be offered to landlords who claim the land tax concession.

For further information please click here to view a FAQ Factsheet. 
HOW TO SEEK MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT DURING THIS TIME

This year, school holidays could be a difficult and confusing time for children and young people who may be used to seeing friends and relatives or going on holidays.

It may also be a particularly stressful time for parents trying to work while entertaining children indoors.

The Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing support website is regularly updated with advice and strategies to help manage wellbeing and mental health during this time and can be accessed via Beyond Blue who are providing updated support during this pandemic.