Restrictions easing, more funding for community assets

The region’s tourism and other businesses are set for a massive boost from 1 June as travel within NSW reopens.

I’ve been calling for this step forward for many weeks now, and I’m thrilled that after years of severe drought – followed by bushfires and flooding in some areas – and now COVID-19 businesses across the Dubbo Electorate might finally be able to start to bounce back.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo will be able to welcome visitors on 1 June for the first time since late March, and I hope to see other attractions, from the wineries of Mudgee to historic Gulgong and the Wellington Caves, follow suit.

As I have always said, any easing of restrictions has to come on the advice of our health authorities. So I am most pleased that the people of the Dubbo Electorate and across NSW have worked so hard to reduce coronavirus transmission, and the health authorities deem it safe to begin to stage our recovery!

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The latest figures have been revealed from our Special Disaster Bushfire Assistance grants. I’m pleased to report that of the 22 applications received for the Dubbo and Mid-Western Regional local government areas, 18 have been approved at a value of $1,108, 465.95. Another four applications are still under review.

That’s 18 farming families – many of whom will have endured three years of drought before bushfires wreaked havoc – who will be able to rebuild sheds or fences or buy much-needed fodder thanks to this funding.

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Last week I was thrilled to announce another $61,000 from the Community Building Partnerships program for projects across the electorate.

There’s almost $11,000 for repairs to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Dubbo Therapy Centre, more than $11,000 for some upgrades to 1st Dubbo Scouts’ hall, $12,500 for irrigation at the Dubbo Eventing and Showjumping Association’s facility at Brocklehurst, and more than $26,000 for the Mudgee PCYC to install secure access entry for 24-hour gym activities.

The Community Building Partnerships program is an extremely popular one and applications are now open for the 2020 Round. For more information visit www.nsw.gov.au/cbp

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In more great good news for our region, the Western NSW Local Health District continues to have no new cases of community-to-community transmission of COVID-19. The LHD did record a new case in Orange, however that particular case is a resident of the Orange LGA who has been in quarantine in a Sydney hotel since they returned from overseas, and thus deemed as ‘overseas aquired’.

I want to thank every single person who has followed the health advice in recent months: you have saved lives. But we cannot afford to become complacent and I want to urge everyone to please continue to practice physical distancing and good hand hygiene. If we continue to do all the right things, then we won’t have to go backwards.

As usual, for information on COVID-19 and the restrictions go to www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19.

Until next week,

Dugald

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