Friday, 3 March 2017
I would like to urge regional Australians to have their say on plans to decentralise more government offices and agencies to country Australia as part of The Nationals plan to boost job opportunities in the bush.
With the launch of the new Get out of the City Campaign (getoutofthecity.com.au), which aims to drive submissions from country Australia to a new Senate inquiry into decentralising government offices and agencies, we have a vital chance for regional Australians to be heard by city-based politicians.
Submissions close next Friday (March 10) and our regional communities must have their say because this Senate Inquiry was initiated to kill off relocating Commonwealth jobs in regional centres.
Every public service job in a regional town flows through the community and means more money for the local coffee shop, to the local mechanic, implores doctors to move there, schools to grow, and helps to deliver better transport services.
Regional Australia deserves its fair share of government services and opportunities; and that includes being able to access quality public sector careers just as much as any capital city.
Today, we ask you to add your voice in support of decentralisation. Regional Australia deserves well-paid, skilled jobs. It deserves Centres of Excellence to be established to create knowledge hubs which continue to attract and grow those jobs.
Technology and modern communication gives us the opportunity to reshape our vibrant regional communities; more government functions can be delivered from across Australia and no longer have to be centralised in Canberra and other capital cities.
There are four Community groups across the Parkes Electorate that are eligible to apply for more than $330,000 in funding through the Coalition Government’s Community Heritage and Icons Grants program.
Parkes Electorate currently has four National Heritage listed sites including the Brewarrina fish traps [Baiames Ngunnhu], the Moree Baths and Swimming Pool, Warrumbungle National Park and the City of Broken Hill.
Grants of between $2,500 and $10,000 are available to support community engagement and awareness raising activities that promote places on Australia’s National Heritage List.
The 107 places on this prestigious list represent our amazing natural splendour, our rich Indigenous heritage, and the historic places and stories that reflect our development as a nation.
The grants are part of the Coalition Government’s $1.4 million commitment to provide opportunities for local community groups to promote the heritage values and stories of places recognised on Australia’s National Heritage List.
Some of the places on the list are not well known and the Program is designed to help more people engage with these places and understand their importance and values.
Local Land Services and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will be running three post-fire workshops in Cassilis, Coolah and Dunedoo on the 7, 8 and 9 March. Landholders and communities affected by the recent fires are encouraged to attend.
The meetings will be held at the following places:
Cassilis: Tuesday 7 March, 9am, Cassilis Community Hall
Coolah: Wednesday 8 March, 1pm, Coolah Central School (following the community meeting)
Dunedoo: Thursday 9 March, 9am, Dunedoo Bowling Club
Like the LLS and the DPI, I want to assure and ensure landholders affected by the Sir Ivan fire have access to the information and support that is available to assist them in recovering from the fires. I
have been advised discussion topics at the workshops will include what financial and other assistance is available to landholders, livestock health and nutrition advice and suggestions and pasture management post fires.
The organisations that will be available at the workshops to assist landholders and discuss their needs will include; Local Land Services, NSW DPI, Rural Financial Counselling and Service and Rural Adversity Mental Health.
On Friday an important piece of infrastructure for the Parkes Electorate – the Moree Solar Farm - was opened. The Federal Government’s involvement with this project is significant, with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s agreement to provide $60 million of senior debt finance. This was a very welcome commitment from the CEFC and when it was announced it represented another key milestone for the project. Located 10km south of Moree, the Solar Farm comprises close to 223,000 tracking solar PV modules and is expected to produce approximately 145 GWh of energy annually – enough to supply around 24,000 Australian households. Last year Origin Energy Limited (Origin) entered into a landmark, 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) which covered 100 per cent of the output from the 56 MW Moree Solar Farm.