Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton met with Narrabri Shire Council Mayor Ron Campbell and General Manager Stewart Todd to inspect some of the damage caused by flooding.
Flood assistance for more areas
On Friday I was able to visit Gunnedah and Narrabri to assess some of the damage caused by major floods that have devastated both towns. Both communities are now facing a massive clean-up, after floodwaters inundated homes, damaged roads, bridges and sporting fields and wiped out crops.
The recovery effort will hopefully be made a little easier with disaster assistance made available to a total of 16 Local Government Areas in the Parkes electorate, including the Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Cobar, Coonamble, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Narrabri, Narromine, Walgett, Warren and Warrumbungle shires.
Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), and will help councils, residents, primary producers, small businesses and community groups recover from the severe weather events and flooding that has occurred from Tuesday 9 November 2021.
For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88. To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au
In an attempt to reduce the impacts of major flood events like the ones we’re currently seeing, the Liberal and Nationals Government is investing in infrastructure projects, including levees, levee systems, infrastructure to promote flood plain restoration and specific green infrastructure initiatives that mitigate flood risk.
Applications are now open for a second round of the National Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Program, with a further $50 million available for priority flood mitigation infrastructure projects across the country. I urge local governments in the Parkes electorate to bring forward projects that will benefit their communities to the NSW Government for consideration. The program guidelines and application form are available at recovery.gov.au.
More funding to boost drought resilience
I encourage farmers and eligible organisations in the Parkes electorate to apply for a share of $23 million to trial and demonstrate land management practices that support drought resilience.
The Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Program is the latest opportunity from the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund. We’re looking for projects that will show that existing land management practices can be effectively applied at scale, for other farmers to learn and apply on their own farms.
The grants process is open until 11 January 2022. Grants of $500,000 to $1 million (GST exclusive) are available. For more information and to apply, visit: www.communitygrants.gov.au
Meanwhile, the Central West has been added as a pilot region for the Climate Services for Agriculture program and Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool. We’re working with farmers and the agricultural industry in pilot regions to explore how future drought and climate could impact their business and the commodities they produce.
If you’re interested in participating in the development of the tools to help prepare for future droughts, visit the Future Drought Fund website: www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund
Supporting live music
Live music venues across the Parkes electorate have another opportunity to apply for funding, with round four of the Live Music Australia program now open.
The $20 million program is designed to bring more original live music to communities by providing funding to small-to-medium venues across the country.
Two pubs in the Parkes electorate – the Garden Hotel in Dubbo and the Tourist Hotel in Narrabri – have already benefitted from funding to reinvigorate their live music scenes as COVID-19 restrictions ease, increasing opportunities for local artists.
I encourage venues across the Parkes electorate to throw their hat in the ring for funding. For more information about the Live Music Australia program, visit https://www.arts.gov.au/funding-and-support/live-music-australia