Community Celebration in Wilcannia
In Wilcannia last week I was pleased to attend the Community Celebration to launch the Central Darling Shire Heritage Trail. As part of this project the Central Darling Shire Heritage Trail Tourism App has been created. This app provides self-guided driving and walking tours of towns such as Wilcannia, Whitecliffs and Menindee featuring podcasts and interviews from locals.
Initiatives such as this are a wonderful way to engage visitors to these areas, and while the ground-breaking for the Baaka Cultural Centre has been delayed, the future of the Far West continues to look brighter than ever.
Visiting the new Broken Hill Children’s Contact Service
The new Children’s Contact Service at Broken Hill is a welcoming space full of toys and games for the children who need it most. It was great to visit recently and see such a friendly, safe environment ready to support families who are in need of supervised visitation.
In 2021 the former Coalition Government committed $40.7 million to establishing 20 new Children’s Contact Services across Australia. I made representations to the then Attorney General to ensure Broken Hill and the Far West would be eligible to apply for this funding.
These representations were successful in getting the Far West recognised as an eligible region and CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes Broken Hill were able to secure $2 million for the Children’s Contact Service we see today.
This outcome couldn’t have been achieved without the determination of Julua Hamel, the CCWF Broken Hill team and numerous other community members who fought to bring a Children’s Contact Service to the Far West.
Release of the Schott report on the Inland Rail
Last week I spoke in defence of the Inland Rail project following the release of findings from an independent review led by former Commonwealth energy adviser Dr Kerry Schott. The findings from this report have been used by Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King to criticise the project.
In all of this report there has remained no question as to the significance of and the need for the Inland Rail. If we are looking at reducing our global emissions, reducing the amount of trucks on the Newell Highway, and moving intermodal freight between two of our biggest capital cities, the Inland Rail does that.
I defend and support the Inland Rail and the work on the ground that has been completed so far, which is world class. The completed sections of the Inland Rail are as good as any railroad in the world and all those involved should be incredibly proud.
Minister King has consistently cast criticism on the Inland Rail; however I call on her to recognise its undeniable significance not only to Western New South Wales but nationally and give clarity to the future of this project.