Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton pictured at the National Memorial Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in The Great Hall of Parliament House.
Final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II
It was an honour, on behalf of all Parkes electorate constituents, to attend the National Memorial Service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in The Great Hall of Parliament House last Thursday.
I also had the privilege of offering condolences for Queen Elizabeth II in Parliament on behalf of the Parkes electorate, an area that had a great affection for Her Majesty. The connection the Parkes electorate had to The Queen was cemented by several visits to a number of our towns, including Broken Hill, where she spoke to patients via radio at the Royal Flying Doctor Service base; Dubbo, where people from across Western NSW made the journey to see her; and Bourke, where she toured Bourke Public School.
I still remember a story my mother used to tell, when she, as a young schoolteacher in Warialda, was in charge of a busload of students who travelled through the night to Casino to see The Queen during her first visit to Australia in 1954. Many of the children were carsick during that journey on what was a very hot and humid night. When they got to Casino, they joined thousands of others who turned out to see The Queen pass by, and then they piled back onto the bus and drove through the next night to go home again. That group of Warialda schoolchildren was among about 75 per cent of Australia’s population at the time who caught a glimpse of The Queen during that 1954 tour. The nation was transfixed by that young monarch, who would go on to become one of the most beloved leaders of all time.
Throughout her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II was a symbol of stability, decency, duty and grace, and her love of family, service to community, and loyalty to country were qualities that we admire as Australians.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of an era, but her extraordinary legacy will live on forever. Vale Queen Elizabeth II. Long live The King.
Disaster assistance for flood affected areas
A number of communities throughout the Parkes electorate have once again been impacted by recent flooding.
I’m pleased that disaster assistance is being provided by the Australian and NSW Governments, for the Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Moree Plains, Narromine, Warren and Warrumbungle Local Government Areas.
Assistance available under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements includes:
· Help for residents whose homes or belongings were damaged;
· Support for local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets;
· Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations; and
· Freight subsidies for primary producers.
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88. To apply for a concessional loan, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au. Information on disaster assistance can be found at www.disasterassist.gov.au.
Nationals candidate for Barwon named
I’d like to congratulate White Cliffs grazier Annette Turner who has been named as the National Party’s candidate for the seat of Barwon in next year’s state election.
As the former president of the New South Wales Country Women’s Association, Annette has a wealth of rural knowledge and experience. She is already well-known throughout the Barwon electorate which will put her in good stead for the tough campaign ahead as she attempts to return the seat to the Nationals.
I wish her all the best for the upcoming election campaign.