With this being my last column for 2019, I’d like to wish all of my constituents a happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2020.
I hope that many of you will be able to enjoy some time with loved ones throughout the festive season.
I’ll be back with my weekly column in January.
Until then – stay safe, enjoy the break, and may we soon receive generous rain right across NSW.
Wrapping up the year in the Far West
What a great way to finish off the year before heading into the Christmas period.
I spent much of the week in Bourke and the Far West. In Bourke I met with the NSW Outback Division of General Practice, to look at ways we can further improve health outcomes for rural and remote areas, and ensure all communities have access to the health care they require.
Continuing west to Broken Hill, I met with representatives from Lifeline, Tibooburra Sports Club and Tibooburra Progress Association – all organisations which have received Stronger Communities Programme funding in the latest round.
Lifeline will use its funding to purchase a forklift for its Tip Shop, which will allow for more efficient recycling, while both organisations in Tibooburra will install air conditioners; some much needed reprieve, especially given the current warmer summer months.
I was pleased to visit the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health to tour its new student accommodation, which has been funded through the Government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.
This new accommodation will boost the number of medical, nursing and allied health students we can attract to the area.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s (RFDS) new collaboration with Hearing Australia will offer important benefits for the Far West, particularly assisting children with hearing issues. It was great to discuss this collaboration with RFDS staff at the Broken Hill base while I was in town.
Cash topped up for farmers, farm workers
Payments of $3,000 in cash will continue to be available to drought-hit farming families throughout Christmas and the New Year.
The Federal Government has topped up the existing round of the Drought Community Support Initiative with another $33.2 million.
If your main income is from the farming sector, then this program is there to support you. Eligible people include farming families, farm workers, suppliers and contractors.
Government continues to deliver
In the final parliamentary session, this Government has passed more important reform legislation and delivered on election promises.
Australian farmers and exporting businesses will benefit from three new important trade agreements with key trading partners in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Peru. This helps our exporting business sell even more Aussie products into the region, helping businesses create more jobs here in Australia.
By repealing the Medevac laws, we strengthened our border protection and national security arrangements.
The Government stands ready to help communities ravaged by natural disasters by providing extra support through the Emergency Response Fund.
We have passed key legislation to target misconduct in energy markets, targeting anti-competitive behaviour and bringing down the cost of electricity for Australian households and business.
Reforms passed to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) are making it easier for farmers in my electorate to apply for and access support, including new payments beyond what is already available.
Our Government will continue to implement reforms to build a stronger economy, create more jobs, keep Australians safe and secure and to guarantee the essentials they rely on.