How the Christian Democratic Party is fighting for NSW

How the Christian Democratic Party is fighting for NSW

I bring to the attention of the House the achievements of the Christian Democratic Party in 2017. Most recently, this Parliament has worked on tightening parole legislation, including the introduction to the other House of a provision for "no body, no parole". This provision will help to alleviate the distress of victims' families. I am proud to have made representations to the Minister for Police, Troy Grant, and the Minister for Corrections, David Elliott, to bring this legislation before the Parliament. We hope that it will come to the upper House early next year.

The achievement of which I am most proud is as chair of the Select Committee on Human Trafficking and the report that was recently tabled on human trafficking in New South Wales. We heard statements of evidence from multiple parties and have come up with five key recommendations. The first is the establishment of a modern slavery Act for Australia. The second is for New South Wales to lead Australia with the appointment of an anti‑slavery commissioner. The third is the drafting of legislation aimed at the eradication of slavery from supply chains, which would make supply chains ethical across all sectors—government, business, non-government organisations and faith groups alike. The fourth is the introduction of amendments to the New South Wales Crimes Act, making it easier to prosecute cases of child cybersex trafficking.

In September, the Christian Democratic Party delivered changes to the New South Wales education State environmental planning policy [SEPP]—more commonly known as the education and child care SEPP. Non‑government schools now share the same ability as government schools when it comes to exempt-complying development. Independent and Christian schools can now build small-scale, one-storey developments without the need for local council development consent, provided that an appropriate environmental assessment is undertaken. I am excited to announce that Independent and Christian schools can now move forward with upgrades, repairs and applicable expansions as required, potentially saving the schools anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 on application fees. They can now put that money back into meeting the needs of students.

I had the privilege of serving as Chair of the Select Committee on Off-Protocol Prescribing of Chemotherapy in NSW. This committee sought to address the values of St Vincent's Hospital and the abuse of patients' trust. Four pillars of the report laid the platform for 11 recommendations. The four pillars were: organisation, culture and training; the multidisciplinary teams; informed consent; and incident reporting and management.

This year the report entitled "Sexualisation of Children and Young People" was published. It set out 10 recommendations to protect our most vulnerable—our children. I have said in Parliament before that the sexualisation of this generation is happening at an exponential rate. Through the internet and social media, children are being easily exposed to pornography and inappropriate material. It is my hope that the recommendations in this report will provide guidelines to protect New South Wales children and young people and will continue to make New South Wales the safest place to raise a child.

In March this year Portfolio Committee No. 2 published its 28 recommendations from the inquiry into child protection. These recommendations will improve our child protection system by injecting funding into men's behaviour change programs to ensure that practice is evidence based. Funding will also be provided for ongoing audits and reviews into the Department of Family and Community Services to ensure that services are continually improving.

This year the Standing Committee on State Development conducted several inquiries, the most notable being the inquiry into economic development in Aboriginal communities. The Aboriginal land rights amendment paved the way for land to be returned to the Aboriginal people without restraint, giving them the ability to be self‑reliant.

The Aboriginal Languages Bill 2017 passed through Parliament recently. The highlight for me was hearing Aboriginal people speak from the floor of this Chamber. The bill establishes a trust governed by Aborigines to protect Aboriginal languages, which will allow Aboriginal languages to grow and be nurtured. It was an honour to take part in debate on the two bills that give recognition to Aboriginal people and their culture.

Portfolio Committee No. 5 is currently running an inquiry into water augmentation to address the affordability of water in regional New South Wales. While urban areas have housing affordability issues, our regions are facing the issue of water affordability. We are endeavouring to resolve this matter so that our farmers who sustain our agriculture sector are not hit with further hardships. We want to encourage them to become the food bowl to the world.

The Safe Schools program became a contentious topic for our nation. I am delighted that, with the hard work of the Christian Democratic Party, it finally ceased. I am pleased that the Minister for Education introduced a broad-based anti-bullying program that is available for parents, teachers and students alike. It has been a great year. I appreciate the help and support that I have received from all members in this Chamber and look forward to working with them again in 2018.