Photo Caption: Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton opened a new mobile respiratory clinic for the North West (pictured with Dr Hanif).
Checking in with the North West
It was wonderful to be back in the North West of my electorate during the week, meeting with community groups and others.
It’s very impressive seeing how businesses in the Parkes electorate are faring, particularly those in hospitality and tourism, as they begin to slowly open their doors and hopefully return to a new normal over the coming months.
One of those is the Outback Shack at the Narrabri RSL which is doing an incredible job serving customers while adhering to the restrictions that are in place to limit any further spread of COVID-19. We are operating in unprecedented times and I enjoyed the opportunity to check in with local businesses while I was on the road.
While in Narrabri, I officially opened a new mobile respiratory clinic which will travel between Gunnedah, Narrabri and Boggabri to treat patients with COVID-19-like symptoms. I caught up with Dr Hanif to hear about how the clinic is going in its first week of operation.
This is just another way that we are bolstering our local capacity to deal with potential COVID-19 outbreaks in the Parkes electorate. The Federal Government is establishing more than 100 GP-led respiratory clinics across the country to assess patients with mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.
I caught up with local volunteers at Gunnedah Meals on Wheels and Boggabri Men’s Shed. Both community groups have received grants from the Federal Government to support them in the essential work they do for their communities.
Another grant has gone to Narrabri’s community radio station, 2Max FM, which is fantastic news for 2Max and its listeners – these funds will cover the fit-out of a second studio. I was pleased to catch up with the 2Max team while I was in town, and I look forward to seeing completed works later in the year.
Regions Rising address
It was a great pleasure to address the Regional Australia Institute’s ‘Regions Rising’ webinar during the week.
I spoke about how I believe Australians have done remarkably well, despite the significant and ongoing challenges coronavirus has thrown our way. We have managed to avoid the shocking death rates recorded in other similar countries.
Our success hasn’t come without its cost, though, and we now face real economic challenges.
Whenever Australia is under pressure, it is regional Australians who put their shoulder to the wheel to drive us back to prosperity.
So it stands to reason coming out of the great economic challenge of our lives that we look to the regions to once again provide the inspiration the nation needs.
We are used to the ebbs and flows of fortune that come and go with the permutations of weather and commodity prices.
As they say, “attitude is everything” and I firmly believe the nation will enjoy great opportunity if we can adopt a regional mindset. The pioneering optimism that forged the inland and continues to develop and strengthen the nation’s economy.
I for one look forward to the innovations and the initiatives regional communities will pioneer as they charge forward. If the nation can follow suit, we will come overcome the challenge of this pandemic stronger and more resilient Australia.
The Prime Minister has outlined a JobMaker plan for a new generation of economic success.
The PM has set out a series of principles and detailed our plans to reform skills and vocational education and govern industrial relations reform.
As we reset for growth, the JobMaker plan will be guided by principles that we have always believed in, to secure Australia’s future and put people first in our economy.
Changing Australia’s skills and training system will be a JobMaker priority for national recovery, as we look to create jobs in a labour market which is undergoing major change. We need Australians who are better trained for the jobs businesses are looking to create.
As the Prime Minister has said, we must always ensure that there is the opportunity in Australia for those who have a go, to get a go.