With Parliament’s winter break still in full swing, I have enjoyed having the opportunity to get out and about and visit more towns across the Parkes electorate.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Coonabarabran, Warren and Nyngan as well as spending time in Moree and Dubbo.
During my visits, I was privileged to be part of the official soil turning event to celebrate the beginning of construction of the new Fire Control Centre for the Castlereagh Zone at Coonabarabran.
I was also pleased to visit the Green Army team in Warren and to see firsthand the excellent work the team is undertaking at the Tiger Bay Wetlands.
In Nyngan, I was delighted to have the opportunity to accompany the Consul-General of the United States of America, Mr Hugo Llorens, at the AGL Nyngan Solar Plant. The solar plant is a great example of the Federal Government’s commitment to alternative energy, an issue that the Consul-General is also very passionate about.
On Friday last week, I also had the privilege of attending a Citizenship Ceremony in Dubbo. It was great to see so many family and friends attending the ceremony and accompanying the Mayor of Dubbo, Councillor Mathew Dickerson and I in making our new citizens feel very welcome not just to Dubbo, but to Australia as a whole.
Last week also saw the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott, present the interim report from the National Ice Taskforce to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
The Taskforce has identified six key areas to guide work toward the development of the National Ice Action Strategy. Based on the regular feedback I receive from across the Parkes electorate, I believe that prevention, treatment facilities and law enforcement are the main areas that need to be the focus in tackling the scourge of ice throughout our local communities.
In an effort to achieve this, COAG have agreed to work together to ensure individuals and families affected by the drug have a single contact point where they can go to receive information, counselling and other support services.
There is certainly still a way to go on this issue and the Taskforce will continue working with the Prime Minister, the states and territories and the Australian Local Government Association to develop a final report and strategy to be considered by the next COAG.
Lastly, there are less than two weeks to go to nominate for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards.
The Awards celebrate the positive news stories of Australians from all around the country who are making a significant difference in the community: locally, nationally and globally.
I strongly encourage the local community to take this opportunity to recognise someone who inspires others, who leads by example or who constantly goes that extra mile and nominate them for these Awards.
To make a nomination or to find out more about the Awards, please visit http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/ before 3 August 2015.