From my Desk

Striking the balance between farmers and koalas – a win with the Koala SEPP

This week we delivered the Koala SEPP 2021 striking a balance between protecting the rights of farmers and protecting core koala habitat across regional NSW. Core rural zones in rural areas will be decoupled from the SEPP as new codes that protect koala habitat under the Local Land Services Act are developed over the next month. This is a win for regional NSW and balances the interests of farmers and the protection of koalas and their habitat. The intention has always been to find a solution to protect both farmers and koalas and we have successfully arrived at the Koala …

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A time to reflect and celebrate

Australia Day is the day of the year that we celebrate everything that makes Australia such a fantastic place to call home. I know Australia Day means different things to different people: for some, it’s a reminder of some of the darker times we have endured as a nation; for others it’s a celebration of how far they’ve come to get here. On top of all of those things, I think we should also take the opportunity this year to reflect on how far WE have come. In the past 12 months we’re endured more turmoil than most of us …

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Workshops to help businesses kick-start 2021

Small business owners are being encouraged to start the New Year by taking advantage of the NSW Government’s Business Connect support services. Business Connect continues to offer free advice to businesses affected by COVID-19, bushfires and drought. There are more than 120 Business Connect advisors across NSW and they provide independent, tailored business advice, as well as multicultural and specialist support. This month, Business Connect is also hosting a series of online workshops to help businesses survive and thrive in 2021. The upcoming Business Connect workshops include: Brand building for small business Start a business workshop Develop your 2021 business …

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Regional Seniors Travel Card 2.0 is (almost) here!

Regional seniors will continue to benefit from the regional seniors travel card, with year two applications opening on January 18, 2021. The regional seniors travel card is a $250 prepaid Visa card designed to assist eligible seniors in regional, rural and remote areas of NSW offset the cost of essential travel expenses. The card can be used to pay for fuel, taxis, pre-booked NSW TrainLink Regional train and coach services, helping them to access essential services. More than 337,000 seniors from across the state successfully applied for the card in 2020, injecting approximately $59.36m into regional economies. The majority of …

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2021 – Looking forward

The eternal optimist in me would like to think that after years of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 we, as a society, may be given a break in 2021. But the realist in me suggests there will be issues that present themselves this year that will test us. Despite everything we have been through in recent years, everyone across our region has shown an incredible ability to roll with the punches and bounce back, which gives me a great feeling of hope and pride heading into the New Year. Every day we get one step closer to beating COVID-19, and from …

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2020 – Looking back

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, …

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Our HSC high achievers, and a boost for young learners

We find ourselves once again in uncertain times with the COVID-19 outbreak in the Sydney’s Northern Beaches region. With Christmas fast approaching, it is just as important as ever for all of us to keep up-to-date with the situation at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 and follow the health advice. It’s also vital that people continue to practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing, stay home if sick, and get tested. We lost Easter to this pandemic – we don’t want to lose Christmas as well. *** I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the Year 12 students in our region …

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Save money using Green Slip Price Check

The NSW Government’s Community Building Partnerships is a program designed for groups that make our communities great places to live, and there’s no shortage of those in the Dubbo electorate! Some very deserving groups have secured funding in the latest round and I was thrilled to be able to deliver the news to some of them last week! The successful projects include: Enabling Orana Support Service to take its ‘Meals on the Main’ initiative on the road (literally!) to Wellington, Narromine and Trangie with $50,000 to purchase a food van; $18,235 for Wellington community radio station Binjang to create a …

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Clarity on River Street Bridge

Last week I announced a record six NRL games will be played in regional NSW in 2021 – including two in the Dubbo Electorate. Mudgee will host the Manly Sea Eagles and the Gold Coast Titans in round 6, before Dubbo hosts the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers in round 11. *** I read with great interest the ‘Eye On Dubbo’ column in the Daily Liberal on November 18 and want to clear up some misconceptions about the River Street Bridge project. Firstly, the State Government isn’t spending $210 million on the bridge. The Federal Government has seen …

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Huge budget for our region

I was very proud that last week’s NSW Budget delivered so much funding for regional areas including the Dubbo Electorate! Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced funding for Dubbo Hospital, the Western Cancer Centre, Mudgee Hospital, Mitchell Highway overtaking lanes, the police training facility at Dubbo Airport, Mudgee arts and cultural precinct and much more! This builds on the funding already announced for 350 additional car parks at Dubbo Hospital, a drug rehabilitation facility in the Dubbo region and $22.8 million for a platypus refuge and wildlife hospital at Taronga Western Plains Zoo! The NSW Government is investing in the regions because …

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