The LC Committees Office continued its full schedule of activities through the winter break, with a number of reports tabled, hearings held and site visits conducted. Some of these will feature in future blog posts . This edition of ‘In Committees’ touches on some of the key highlights. You can find further information on all current and past inquiries on our website.
Committee recommends a new oversight body for emergency services agencies
Portfolio Committee 4 – Legal Affairs tabled its report on emergency services agencies on 24 July 2018, making a number of recommendations to address bullying, harassment and discrimination in the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Police Force, Ambulance Service of NSW and the NSW State Emergency Service.
A key recommendation was for the NSW Government to establish an independent, external complaints management oversight body to address workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination across the five agencies. Other recommendations focused on making employee mental health a priority action across the emergency services agencies, and enhancing research on effective prevention of and responses to mental health issues among first responders. In addition, the committee made a number of agency-specific recommendations to address stakeholders’ key concerns in relation to each of the five agencies. In doing so, it urged each agency to adopt the recommendations and take strong action against perpetrators of bullying within their workplaces. A full copy of the committee’s report is available here.
Report calls for increased funding for regional drug rehabilitation services
On 6 August 2018 Portfolio Committee 2 – Health and Community Services tabled its report on the provision of rehabilitation services to regional, rural and remote NSW. Key recommendations called for a significant increase in drug and alcohol rehabilitation funding and services in regional, rural and remote New South Wales. The report also recommended several measures for addressing drug and alcohol related crime throughout the state.
The report was informed by a number of hearings and site visits in Nowra, Batemans Bay, Dubbo, Broken Hill, Grafton and Lismore. The committee also benefitted from hearing the personal experiences of health care providers, rehabilitation workers, survivors of drug and alcohol addiction and representatives from regional Aboriginal communities.
Further information about the inquiry, including the final report, submissions and hearing transcripts, please visit the committee’s website.
Building cities on rock n roll: Committee asks, what makes a ‘live music city’?
Through July and August, Portfolio Committee No. 6 – Planning and Environment continued hearings and site visits for its inquiry into the music and arts economy in NSW, visiting Wollongong, Byron Bay and Melbourne.
The committee’s Wollongong hearing provided the opportunity to take evidence from the Owners of Yours and Owls Café and the Farmer and the Owl, the record label for band Hockey Dad. The committee then visited their venue Rad Bar, and local venue Howlin’ Wolf Bar, to discuss their live music models. The committee also heard from Wollongong City Council, Ann Martin, local artist Jack Lincoln, operator of the Bombie Bar at Coledale RSL and the organisers of the Illawarra Folk Festival. In Byron Bay, the committee took evidence from the organisers of Bluesfest, Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass, SAE, and local artists, councils and venue owners to discuss the area’s thriving live music scene.
The committee’s visit to Melbourne the following week then provided the opportunity to hear from Creative Victoria, Music Victoria, City of Yarra Council, events promoter Live Nation Australasia, the proprietor of live music venue The Tote, the manager of electronic music duo Peking Duck, indie pop duo Client Liaison, the Mushroom Group, youth music organisation The Push and Unified Music Group. The committee will continue their inquiry with a hearing and site visit to Newcastle on 23 August.
2018 Budget Estimates commences on 30 August
Budget Estimates time is fast approaching. The Budget Estimates Guide and timetable are available on the Estimates website.
Committees are meeting to finalise witness lists and hearing schedules will be posted on the website in the coming weeks. Contact the Budget Estimates secretariat if you have questions on 9230 3313.