With Federal Parliament currently on what is known as its “winter break,” you would be forgiven for thinking that I am currently lounging around on a tropical island enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather.
Sadly from a weather point of view, like most of the residents of the Parkes electorate, I too have been enduring the declining temperatures that have swept across New South Wales.
For me, the “winter break” is a very valuable time of year that gives me the opportunity to travel around as much of the approximately 256,643 square kilometres of the Parkes electorate as I possibly can.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have enjoyed being able to spend some time in 8 towns across the electorate, including Condobolin, Dunedoo, Wellington and Mudgee.
During this time, I have attended many local events including NAIDOC celebrations in Wellington and Moree, the launch of Green Army projects in Condobolin and Dunedoo and the launch of 2015-2016 natural resource management funding opportunities for the Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LSS) at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being the local Federal Member is visiting the towns across the Parkes electorate and meeting with members of the local communities.
I am very much looking forward to the upcoming weeks of the “winter break” and visiting other towns across the electorate.
Students, parents, teachers and community members from across the Parkes electorate now have the opportunity to put forward their ideas on how the Commonwealth Government can better support local students to gain a university degree.
A Regional Higher Education Forum will be held in Narrabri on Thursday, 30 July 2015.
I will be hosting the forum together with Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, along with representatives from the Departments of Education and Social Services.
It will provide an opportunity for students, parents, teachers and community members to discuss the barriers to accessing higher education for regional and remote students and how to overcome them.
I strongly encourage students and their families, as well as principals, teachers, career advisers and interested community members to attend the forum and share their stories and ideas.
All contributions will help shape a final report that will be presented to the Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP later this year.
To register your interest in attending the forum or to make a submission, please phone my Moree office on (02) 6751 1251 or email Mark.Coulton.MP@aph.gov.au.