When the clock ticked over to midnight and we said goodbye to 2019, little did we know that a year that featured the continuation of the worst drought in living memory and a black summer of bushfires could be outdone.
The early part of 2020 featured not only the continuation of the fires, drought and dust storms, but it brought a new threat to our way of life – the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the incredible work of our fire services, rain helped to put out the fires and provide renewed hope across our region by filling rivers and dams, and ensuring crops had a chance for the first time in a number of years.
But through most of the year we have continued a battle with the unknown that came with the coronavirus.
As a government we have had to deal with a situation we have never confronted before, and as we end the year I can confidently say NSW has led the nation when it comes to managing the health and economic impacts brought about by the virus.
While I am proud of that, I take greater pride in the way the bush, particularly the Dubbo electorate, has responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Once again you have shown amazing resilience, and while the battle isn’t actually over, I think everyone should rejoice in the fact we have had no deaths in the electorate and our number of positive tests has remained in single figures.
It’s been tough for many to watch on as restrictions remained tight while our infection rate remained so low, but we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel and there is a hope we will keep heading in the right direction when it comes to returning to our normal way of life.
I have also been inspired by the flexibility of our business community, teachers, health professionals and everyone else on the front line. Many have been forced to find new ways to do things, but have done so with a minimum of fuss and to such a high standard they have created their own new normal.
In the regions we will continue to lead the way with COVID response and recovery, and I think we should all be proud of that.