Thursday, 5 February 2015

Ron Hoenig Heffron Gazette

Residents should have received their copy of the January 2015 edition of my newsletter called the "Ron Hoenig Heffron Gazette". It is available for download here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Heffron local Massimo Luongo stars in Australia's Asian Cup football victory

Massimo Luongo (courtesy ABC)
Local lad Massimo Luongo, the player of the series in Australia's Asian Cup victory has done his local community proud.

Massimo, a 22 year old local from Waterloo went to the UK to try his luck with Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and is now playing with Swindon Town.

I have known Massimo and his family since he was 8 years old. He played representative football with my youngest son, playing locally at Hensley Athletic Field, Jellicoe Park and other local venues. He was always such a talented young player. Now he shown in his home town what an outstanding talent he has become.

I told the NSW Parliament only in August last year, when I congratulated Massimo for making the Socceroos squad; "It is clear that Massimo is exceptionally talented and will be an exciting player to watch as Australia prepares for future international games " See my speech Parliament here. Wasn't that an understatement?

I know Massimo has now not only made made his family—father Mario, mother Ira, brother Titsiano and sister Angela proud, and his local community proud, but all of Australia.

I know this wonderful young man has a great future in front of him. He will make an important contribution to Australia's preparation for the World Cup in Russia. I wish him well in the future. He is such a great role model for other young footballers right throughout Australia.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Labor to allow trained Pharmacists to administer Flu Vaccine

Allowing trained pharmacists to administer flu vaccines was a visionary idea that would boost local vaccination rates and general community health Labor Leader Luke Foley announced on Sunday.

Under the policy healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 in my electorate would be able to obtain a flu vaccine at the local pharmacist for a standard charge.

Participating pharmacists would be required to complete a two-day training course accredited by NSW Health. They would also need appropriate professional indemnity insurance and a private consultation area on their premises.

Labor’s policy will complement the free flu vaccines that already exist under the National Immunisation Program and are provided by GPs to high-risk groups including all people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 15 and older. 

Influenza is a public health risk – and we need to get more people in electorate vaccinated. Trained pharmacists offer a safe, convenient and cost-effective way to achieve that outcome.

Everybody knows their local pharmacist. They are highly skilled and trusted professionals. If in rural/regional/coastal area Particularly in our area where there is a shortage of doctors – pharmacists are a vital part of the healthcare system.

This is a sensible new approach from Labor and Luke Foley to improving vaccination rates here in NSW. It is based on research and sound science.

And if you’re looking at the big picture, it’s a much smarter way to reduce doctor visits and control public health expenditure than the Tony Abbott GP tax.

Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia allow varying dispensing rights to pharmacists. Several other countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and the United States allow pharmacists to provide vaccinations.

Overseas studies have shown that pharmacy-administered vaccines are especially effective in targeting young and middle-aged men. A Queensland trial found that one-in-four people immunised at pharmacies are walk-ins who had not planned on getting a vaccination.
In December 2013, the Pharmacy Board of Australia affirmed the administration of vaccines to be within the scope of pharmacy practice. The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has also developed practice guidelines.

Last year, NSW Health reported 15,700 cases of influenza strain A and 2,500 cases of influenza strain B.

Labor in Government would examine extending pharmacist-delivered vaccines to adult measles and whooping cough.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Stop the six-lane M5 East tunnel destroying our area

The Liberal Government’s proposed Road Interchange at St Peters – part of the WestConnex proposal will put tens of thousands of extra vehicles and heavy vehicles on our streets.

In November last year, Liberal Premier Mike Baird and his close political associate Prime Minister Tony Abbott came to St Peters and announced the new six-lane M5 East tunnels will emerge at St Peters around Campbell Street.

Two years ago, when the WestConnex project was announced, I called it "A $10 billion lemon". It has now become a $20 billion "lemon". Nowhere in the WestConnex proposal are there any realistic costings (or any costings at all), there is no modelling, there are no plans and those proposing it don’t even know the route.

The NSW Auditor-General himself has said he was not sure “whether the project is a worthwhile and prudent investment for the NSW government”.

Having lost the battle to take over Tempe Reserve and Tempe Wetlands, the Liberals are now proposing the most outrageous of all proposals – a Road Interchange in St Peters, seizing part of Sydney Park and resuming people’s homes. Everyone’s property values will be impacted.

I’ve repeatedly raised this issue in Parliament and I’ve been in direct touch with residents, via letters, newsletters, and street meetings. The glib response by Premier Mike Baird has been “short term pain for long term gain” – that’s just insulting to those who live in the affected area.

With massive increases in population, our roads are already gridlocked heavy and dangerous vehicles travelling our narrow streets and a shortage of open space. It’s a nightmare.

To prevent this disaster you can help by signing my petition to present to the NSW Parliament. You can do that by either going on line and completing the online petition at

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Labor to build better learning spaces for our kids

Around 100,000 students will be returning to demountable classrooms on the first day of school today – compromising the learning environment of one in ten NSW public school students.

Today outlined Labor’s plan to provide permanent classrooms for the thousands of students currently learning in demountables in my electorate

A Labor Government will dedicate an additional $100 million to replace demountable classrooms across NSW with permanent, air-conditioned classrooms - to give our students the world-class facilities they deserve.

We must provide the best possible learning environment, including modern and permanent classrooms, to ensure our kids get the best education and start in life.

But today around 100,000 students will be going back to school in demountable classrooms – a legacy of the Liberals failure to invest in our schools over the last four years. 

Demountables were always meant to be a temporary fix – but students in my electorate like Tempe High School have been stuck in demountables for years.

The Liberals bundled Labor’s Demountable Replacement Program into the wider school capital works budget – and then tore away $280 million. Under this Government, thousands of students have been left in demountables with little prospect of being replaced with permanent, modern classrooms.

Under a Labor Government, the schools with the oldest and highest number of demountables will receive priority through Labor’s additional $100 million in funding.

Education is the number one priority for Labor, and our school facilities should reflect that. Labor will invest in modern, permanent classrooms to give our kids the best education possible and replace the existing ageing, substandard facilities.

Today’s funding announcement is just the first part of Labor’s policy of better planning and investment in our schools – taking a long-term view of our schooling needs to ensure our kids have the best educational opportunities.

Key Facts:
  • There are around 4,500 demountable classrooms in NSW (ten per cent of all teaching spaces) that are used by around 100,000 students. Over 1,000 of these classrooms have been at the same school for at least 10 years. 
  • The previous Labor Government had a Demountable Replacement Program – but the Liberals rolled this into the school capital works budget, and then cut that budget by $280 million.
  • Labor will allocate $100 million over 10 years – in addition to the existing capital works budget – to replace temporary demountable classrooms, libraries and administrative facilities.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Wishing you all a Happy Australia Day

Australia Day might be the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson and the raising of the British Flag by Captain Arthur Phillip, but it is more than that. It is Australia's celebration of our success as a free nation. It is a celebration of our values of a fair go for all, tolerance, understanding and our insistence upon freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom of political communication amongst others. It celebrates our unity and growth as a nation whilst at the same time it recognises our failures particularly our treatment of the "Traditional Owners" of Australia from 1788 to the present day. Enjoy the day and I wish you a Happy Australia Day.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Labor will enact laws to protect our Local Newsagents

A NSW Labor Government will enact laws to enshrine local newsagents as the primary distribution agents for NSW Lotteries – protecting this vital sector from financial hardship and potential closures.

Around 1,500 newsagents and other small businesses including those located in the NAME region will face financial hardship and possible closure when the current Agency Protection Period expires in April.

The proposed new franchise agreement includes increasing the number of agents in the distribution network and allowing big businesses, such as the major supermarket chains, into the network; not providing any geographic or other form of exclusivity to the lottery agent; imposing expensive fit-out requirements on all lottery agents costing up to $25,000; and the sweeping of lottery agent bank accounts on multiple occasions per week, seriously disrupting cash flows.

Labor’s plan to protect local newsagents includes:
  1. Enacting laws that preserve the current agency protections, until such time as the parties reach agreement on new terms;
  2. Continuing to restrict outlets selling lottery products to newsagencies and other small businesses; and
  3. Working with local newsagents and the private operator to ensure a sensible commercial arrangement is established that is fair to all parties. 
Local newsagents are the lifeblood of our town centres and shopping villages but their future is at risk if a fair agreement is not negotiated for the distribution of lottery products.

Newsagents provide vital community services and have been the training ground for thousands of young people for many years to get their first job experience – that deserves to be protected.

Income from lotteries is around 40 per cent of turnover in a local newsagency and can reach as high as 90 per cent – any loss of that business would place our local newsagents in financial jeopardy.

Over the last few months, I’ve been visiting local newsagents and listening to their concerns that their future is bleak if action is not taken to protect them. 

A Labor Government will take action and put in place laws that will ensure that local newsagent remain the primary distributor for NSW lotteries.

The agency protection period that is due to expire in April would be extended until the parties concerned can sit down and hammer out a fair agreement that allows the private operator to grow the business but retains newsagents as the primary distributor.

I’m calling on the Liberals to stand up for our small businesses and demand that the Baird Liberal Government commit to match Labor’s policy to protect local newsagents.