Seven days & seven different Parkes electorate communities
Throughout last week I spent time in seven different communities in my electorate including Coonabarabran, Tottenham, Lake Cargelligo, Condobolin, Nyngan, Dubbo and Warren, and I managed to fulfil commitments under my Ministerial portfolios as well. It was a great week marking the end of my time out on the road, before returning to the current Parliamentary sitting fortnight.
The Warren Golf Club was the place to be on Saturday as I helped to mark the official opening of the new synthetic bowling green, made possible with $100,000 under the Coalition Government’s Drought Communities Programme. This brings two community clubs together and provides a boost to the sport of lawn bowls in Warren. I couldn’t resist trying out the new bowling green, and while I won’t make the lawn bowls championships anytime soon, I can definitely vouch for the quality of the new green.
During the week I dropped in to see the renovations at the Hear our Heart Ear Bus project in Dubbo, which received $15,000 in funding under the Stronger Communities Programme earlier this year. This service provides free ear health education, hearing testing and ear specialists to children in Dubbo and surrounds, and it was well worth seeing the newly extended office space on Erskine Street. I always enjoy witnessing the enormous difference these small grants make to community projects across my electorate.
Taking care of our youth & older Australians
I met with the board of local aged care provider, Cooinda Coonabarabran, to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by our ageing population. We discussed funding for residential care including staffing and training, home care packages, and keeping rural and regional people in their communities. As the Federal Member I will take Cooinda’s priorities to Parliament, and as Minister for Regional Services I’ll work to ensure the services we provide to older Australians in rural and regional areas are the best they can be.
The Down the Track (DTT) program at Lake Cargelligo is achieving great success and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to hear all about it during a visit last week. The team has developed a social enterprise giving their young people, who are ready to work, the opportunity to gain experience in lamb marking, fencing and catering. DTT works with disengaged youth and those at risk of being disengaged in Lake Cargelligo and Murrin Bridge, with 90% Indigenous participants. I’m a proud supporter of this program and the positive outcomes it achieves.
Meeting with local farmers & local government
I was invited to join the Tottenham branch of NSW Farmers for a catch up to listen to their concerns about the effects of the drought on retaining breeding stock, amongst other challenges. With dry conditions prevailing, it was beneficial to hear from farmers in the area about what the next stage looks like for them.
As I travel through the electorate I always endeavour to make time to meet with local government, and I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from Lachlan and Bogan Shire Councils about their local challenges and priorities.
Festivals Australia funding
In February this year, it was announced that Gulargambone Community Enterprises Cooperative (two eight two eight Inc.) would receive $5,700 for Paint By Numbers – a mural project, painted on a corrugated iron fence at the western entrance to the town – thanks to Festivals Australia funding delivered by the Federal Government.
Local organisations in the Parkes electorate are now invited to apply for arts projects at festivals or a significant community celebration through another round of funding. This program supports high-quality arts projects including parades, performances, workshops and installations that engage audiences in regional and remote Australia.
I’d encourage community organisations with projects in mind to head to www.arts.gov.au/festivals for more information – applications will close Friday 18 October.
Photo Caption: Member for Parkes Mark Coulton with Mark Gardner (Vanguard Business Services, building owner – Hear Our Heart premises), and Rachel Mills and Donna Rees (Hear Our Heart). Hear Our Heart received $15,000 in funding for office renovations under the Stronger Communities Programme earlier this year.