From my Desk

Burton the star at history-making NRL match

The big day has come and gone and while the Penrith Panthers might have taken the chocolates on Sunday against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the real winner was Dubbo! Our city put on a great show for all the visitors from across NSW, and the vibe around the town for the past week has been electric! It was great to see ‘No Vacancy’ signs across Dubbo and even at places like Wellington, so great was the influx of people clamouring to see their team in action at Apex Oval for the first time. As Chair of the NSW Government’s NRL …

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NRL, health inquiry and mouse plague support for farmers

The big week has arrived: the NRL is coming to DUBBO! I’m really looking forward to seeing a few home-grown talents taking to the field at Apex Oval on Sunday, playing to a crowd of more than 11,300! The influx of visitors from across western NSW, as well as Sydney, will deliver a terrific economic boost to the many accommodation, tourism and hospitality providers that are still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. After years of drought, bushfires and then the pandemic, I really hope that this event will provided a much-needed economic and morale boost for our entire region. …

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Excitement for sporting groups big and small

One of the best parts of my job is being able to help small community groups to have a big impact, and that’s exactly what the Local Sports Grant Fund does! Last week I was excited to announce $1750 for Dubbo’s Macquarie United Football Club to host “Our Time to Shine”, a program aimed at providing a pathway for girls aged 5 and up to get involved in the sport, or continue to hone their skills. We know that team sports are fantastic for building confidence in our young people. But we also know that almost half of girls between …

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Iconic local businesses get help to expand

Applications are now open for the latest round of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund. There is $100 million available for projects across regional NSW, with up to half of that dedicated to delivering projects to improve female participation in sport, including change rooms. Applications close on 25 June, 2021. For more information, including program guidelines and eligibility criteria, visit: www.nsw.gov.au/SCCF ** The Regional Job Creation Fund is all about leveraging private sector investment to provide economic stimulus, delivering long-term, sustainable jobs for regional areas. Last week I was pleased to announce that Dubbo icon The Little Big Dairy …

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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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