Jim Agnew with some of the Yamba health centre petitions.
Jim Agnew with some of the Yamba health centre petitions.

Petition brings clinic hope closer

YAMBA health campaigner Jim Agnew is excited his petition for a comprehensive health clinic in the town may be debated in state parliament within weeks.

After months of collecting more than 10,000 signatures supporting a health clinic offering dialysis and dental services, Mr Agnew said he hoped the petition would see his dream become a reality.

“If Barry O'Farrell sticks to his promise it should be done ... we should get a health centre,” he said.

“We have got 1600 to 1700 signatures more than the 10,000 so you would hope they will follow through with it.”

Mr Agnew said he hoped to present the petition to Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson and Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell at the June council meeting at the Maclean Chambers.

“Steve Cansdell had been pushing for the heath centre when he was in opposition so I'm sure he will support it now he is in government,” he said.

“I'm sure he will put forward a strong case when he presents the petition in parliament.”

Mr Agnew said people who haven't already signed the petitions could do so until the middle of June, when the petition will be collected.

Premier Barry O'Farrell announced last Thursday that he would honour his pledge to improve accountability and give the community a greater voice in parliament.

“I'm pleased to announce petitions signed by 10,000 or more people will be debated in the parliament,” he said.

“We promised to be an accountable government and this will ensure issues of concern to the community get a voice in parliament.”

Mr O'Farrell said introducing parliamentary debate on petitions put people back at the centre of decision-making in NSW and allowed them to directly contribute to the agenda for parliament.

“I promised my Government would inject more democracy into parliament by giving power back to the people – and now we are delivering,” he said.

“After 16 years of Labor, people felt locked out of decision-making and that people's views weren't being heard.”

Mr Agnew's petition won't be the first debated in the new parliament since Mr O'Farrell's announcement.

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