Exciting future for our region
We have many opportunities and much to be proud of in the Central West region – that was my main message in my address last week at the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana Inland Growth Summit.
The Government has an important role to play in helping to boost our regions. Decentralising government services to be where they are needed is critical. A key example of this is engaging Murray Darling Basin Authority staff in Menindee (not in Melbourne) – and we’ll keep working to do more.
We also have a range of strategies to address to get more doctors practising in the bush; a key priority of mine as the minister responsible for rural health. The Government is committed to improving health access and outcomes for people living in rural and regional areas such as Dubbo – including through the $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy.
There are challenges with the distribution of the health workforce, particularly in rural and remote areas. The Strategy, in conjunction with other programs, will deliver more Australian doctors to the regions and strengthen local health services.
I spoke about the need to increase water security. The National Water Grid Authority announced by the Deputy Prime Minister will support this vision.
Inland Rail and other infrastructure investments such as Roads of Strategic Importance will transform rural economies. As a regional Australian, there is plenty to be excited about.
But first and foremost, we must ensure that we spread a positive message about the future of the bush. The Orana region makes an important contribution to our nation’s prosperity and has an incredibly bright path ahead.
Congratulations to RDA Orana for facilitating the many insightful discussions at the summit.
Regional Arts Fellowship
Artists and arts workers in my electorate are invited to apply for a National Regional Arts Fellowship to support their practice. The central themes of this year’s program reflect the drought and bushfires which have affected vast areas of our state and further afield.
Three Fellowships of up to $20,000 and two of up to $10,000 are available through Regional Arts Australia. They will provide a secure, short-term wage for artists or arts workers to support their individual practice and career in regional areas.
These Fellowships will provide a financial boost for the recipients and support them to progress their careers and use their artistic talents to share their stories. For further details, see www.regionalarts.com.au
Making STEM accessible for youth
Young people in my electorate will have the chance to get involved in practical projects that open up the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with a $2 million investment by the Coalition Government.
Applications are now open for Maker Projects: Community STEM Engagement Grants.
It is so important to foster creativity and hands-on learning in our young people and get them interested in the wonders of STEM from an early age.
Competitive grants from $20,000 up to $100,000 for up to two years are on offer to organisations to deliver maker projects with a wide reach and big impact.
These grants enable people under 18 years of age to get hands on and experiment, tinker and design in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
We are looking for innovative and collaborative projects that will engage young Australians and provide them with the confidence and critical STEM skills they will need for the jobs of the future.
Applications close on 19 February 2020. For more information, visit www.business.gov.au/mpcse