Gunnedah going from strength to strength
It was terrific to be in the northern part of my electorate last Friday for a series of important announcements in Gunnedah.
A highlight was being onsite at the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre to officially hand over responsibility to the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), allowing the re-establishment of GP and allied health services at this important facility.
I know this news was something the Gunnedah community had been keenly awaiting. There is clearly strong local support for the Centre, which is why I am so delighted that the Australian Government has been able to work with interested parties to ensure the community’s needs are met.
The Centre has a key role to play in delivering quality primary health care to the people of Gunnedah and the surrounding region. I’m thrilled that patients will again have local access to the care that they need under these new arrangements.
Another $1 million for the Gunnedah Shire Council under the Drought Communities Programme will see a collection of projects underway to improve local infrastructure and give the local community a real boost. It was wonderful to tour some of the local facilities that will be enhanced with the funding, ranging from improvements to the local Rural Fire Service headquarters, right through to protecting the integrity of a Vietnam War Memorial mural.
This week I’ll be travelling to Moree, Narrabri and Lightning Ridge for another great week of work in my electorate.
Regional Aus and COVID-19
Regional Australia will be a driving force on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic as we all work to ensure we recover as quickly as possible.
Our regions have therefore remained front and centre of the Government’s response to the pandemic, with unprecedented support delivered into local communities – to support local councils, businesses, employees and others – including those in the Parkes electorate.
I know that people in my electorate are prepared to do their part to protect themselves and others by wearing appropriate personal-protection-equipment, adhering to social distancing and personal hygiene requirements, and downloading the COVIDSafe app. These are the little things we can do that make a big difference to the wellbeing of our communities.
We are all at risk. We must remain vigilant and follow public health advice because the threat of COVID-19 is real, and its impacts are deadly.
The Government has always said that Australia will likely experience periodic outbreaks as the COVID 19 pandemic continues, and our focus is on containing these outbreaks through ‘rings of containment’; working together to slow the spread through distancing, testing and tracing; and helping each other get through to the other side.
My advice to people in the Parkes electorate is to follow the guidance of our medical experts and respect the restrictions that are in place to keep us as safe as possible.
$1.87m for Q fever vaccine
I was thrilled to announce last week that the Australian Government is injecting $1.87 million to progress a new and improved Q fever vaccine to pre-clinical trials.
Q fever is a disease that affects families across the country. I know people who have suffered its ill-effects and I know how important it is to ensure people have access to the best medical products possible.
The bacteria that causes Q fever is spread from animals, mainly cattle, sheep and goats, but can travel up to 30 kilometres in dry, windy conditions and infect people who have had no contact with animals.
The Government is keen to reduce the impact of Q fever and has been subsidising supply of the existing vaccine for many years. One of the potential advantages of the new vaccine is that, unlike the existing vaccine, you don’t need a test before you have it.
I’m excited by the potential of this new generation vaccine, being developed by an Australian research partnership. It could be a breakthrough for not only Australian farmers and meatworkers, but rural communities around the world.