BRANXTON GRETA NEWS COLUMN 2 MARCH 2016

No one can imagine how horrific it must be for someone to see their child, partner or parent in immense pain, knowing relief is available but illegal.

There are thousands of Australians who are suffering from unbearable pain, muscle spasticity from conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and nausea resulting from chemotherapy that may benefit from medicinal cannabis. There are too many stories of people suffering – and this is unacceptable in a modern society.
 
I’m pleased that legalising medicinal cannabis now has bi-partisan support. With the governments of New South Wales and Victoria pushing ahead with state-based schemes and Queensland joining those states in taking part in clinical trials, Labor will continue to encourage the Government to take action to implement a national scheme which ensures equity of access and a safe and reliable supply for the states and territories which chose to participate.
 
For some Labor’s decision will be controversial but we are driven by science and compassion – we firmly believe the time has come for a national scheme.
 
Labor is not considering allowing legal access to a drug for recreational use.  It is about ensuring there is a legal and regulated market so that family members and carers aren't forced to rely on the black market to relieve the pain of their loved ones.

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Recently the Labor Opposition released a plan to restrict future negative gearing opportunities.  The policy would not affect any existing investments.  It would apply only to new investments after July 1, 2017.  Nor will it affect investments in new homes or units after July 1, 2017.  So no one with existing investments would be affected.

The policy has two objectives.  First, it is a savings measure which will free up money for health, education, roads and telecommunications.  Remember, seventy percent of the benefits of negative gearing goes to the highest ten percent of earners.

Second, it is designed to stimulate the construction of new housing which adds to the housing stock and gives young people a better chance of buying their first home.

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Cyberbullying is an important concern for all schools and as a community we all have a role to play in helping children have safe and enjoyable experiences online.

The 2016 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence will be held on Friday 18 March. This is a key anti-bullying event for schools and communities to help deliver the powerful message that violence and bullying will not be tolerated.

In support of the National Day of Action, the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner (www.esafety.gov.au) will be hosting free Virtual Classrooms—a series of interactive presentations to help students understand and manage cyberbullying and communicating online.

For more information about National Day of Action please visit www.bullyingnoway.gov.au

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The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is providing communities across Australia and New Zealand with a chance to host the $175,000 18-carat gold Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy and racing identities in their towns and cities.

Tenders have opened for the 14th annual Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour, which will see the coveted trophy travel across Australia and New Zealand, bringing communities together in celebration of the 'People's Cup'.

Through this year's Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour the VRC will enable many more communities the
opportunity to be part of the Cup's rich cultural narrative in a very special way. The Cup truly uplifts communities wherever it goes.

To nominate a town or city visit www.melbournecuptour.com.au. All tender forms need to be completed online and before 5pm AEST Monday 11 April 2016.

Since 2003, the Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour has travelled more than 456,000 kilometres to 333 towns and cities, providing communities with a once-in-a-life opportunity to experience firsthand the magic of one of the world's greatest sporting events.

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The CommBank Staff Community Fund is awarding $2 million in grants of up to $10,000 each to youth-focused organisations nationwide. If your organisation has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, you may be eligible to apply at commbank.com.au/grants before 28 March 2016.

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Nominations are now open for the 2016 Telstra Business Awards.

For 24 years the national Awards program has recognised the best of Australia’s entrepreneurial spirit and the courage of small and medium business, helping them reach new levels of success.

Our local businesses, and the incredible people who run them, are central to the strength of our local economy. It’s important for us to celebrate them and continue to encourage their growth.

I encourage everyone to get behind these unsung heroes by nominating a local business to show the rest of NSW the excellent operations we have her in the Hunter electorate.

To nominate visit www.telstrabusinessawards.com or call the Telstra Australian Business Awards on 1800AWARDS for further information. 


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