Last week in Canberra, I had the pleasure of meeting the students from the current Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery (IPROWD) program.
During their visit to Parliament House, the students were treated to a special meeting with Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP.
The students also met with some of my other colleagues including the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, Assistant Minister for Employment, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP and Member for Hasluck, Mr Ken Wyatt AM.
The IPROWD program is a specialist training program that assists Aboriginal people to gain entry to the NSW Police Force.
The IPROWD program students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and their stories are very inspiring.
The Australian Government, TAFE NSW, the NSW Police Force and Charles Sturt University are all working in partnership to offer the IPROWD training program at a range of locations across New South Wales.
I am a passionate supporter of the IPROWD program and thank all of the people involved in making this program such a success.
I would particularly like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of IPROWD Coordinator, Mr Peter Gibbs. Without his passion and drive, this program would not be possible.
In Parliament last week, I spoke about the importance of recognising and addressing the issues associated with mental health.
I informed the Parliament of the launch of the headspace centre in Dubbo in April this year. Headspace centres provide invaluable services to their communities.
I strongly believe that other areas across the Parkes electorate would benefit immensely from similar mental health facilities. I hope that areas like Moree will be considered for similar facilities in the near future.
I also informed the Parliament of the impact mental health issues can have on farmers and their families. I am pleased that there is a large component of funding for mental health support available to local farmers, some of whom are battling the most severe drought in history in parts of this electorate.
I do, however, urge people to recognise that the cause of mental health issues for farmers is not restricted to the drought. Causes of mental health concerns come in many shapes and sizes. The relevant funding in the Government’s drought package is only part of the solution to mental health issues facing farming communities.
My address to Parliament also conveyed my approval of the Government’s attack on the problem of drugs, particularly ice, in western New South Wales.
Mental health trauma is a serious side effect of people who are using illicit substances. I believe that the National Ice Taskforce will look at some of these issues as well as the need for better access to drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres in the Parkes electorate.