Photo Caption (L-R): Paul Richardson (Patterson Building Group), Scott Biggs, Prof Cheryl Jones, A/Prof Mark Arnold and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.
Have a safe and happy Christmas
The tail-end of 2020 represents something different for each of us.
It has been a year that heralds the resilience of regional Australia as we contend with the challenges of COVID-19. This year we’ve seen the sheer strength and vitality of our rural areas, with many farming communities across the Parkes electorate being blessed with rain and a return to a more reliable season.
But it’s also been a testing time for so many individuals, families and small businesses – 2020 has truly been a year like no other.
I’m proud of the successes of the Parkes electorate – we have clearly shown we are strong and resilient in the face of adversity, and have been incredibly effective in combating COVID-19.
While this year’s Christmas celebrations might look a little different to previous years due to COVID-19 measures, I hope you can all enjoy a break and some special time with your loved ones, in whatever form that may take.
Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas, and here’s to a prosperous 2021.
Rural health milestone
It was terrific to celebrate the expansion of teaching facilities at the School of Rural Health in Dubbo last week, to deliver the four-year Doctor of Medicine program from 2022! Congratulations to Patterson Building Group, the successful contractor for this exciting project.
The facility expansion will include a new teaching building with state-of-the-art anatomy and simulation labs and dedicated learning studios.
The Liberal and Nationals Government has invested more than $9 million to start construction, with completion scheduled for October next year.
This is all about creating more opportunities for doctors to train in our region, and stay in our region, through the Murray Darling Medical Schools Network.
Sky’s the limit for local produce
Two Mendooran residents have turned their dream into a reality with their new cheese making business. I was pleased to be invited to meet with Blue Sky Cheese creators, Pip Archer and Deb Kiem, while I was in Mendooran last week, to see firsthand some of their fantastic handmade cheese products.
Pip and Deb asked me to visit and see for myself what Blue Sky Cheese is all about, which they said was a way of “paying it forward” – they told me the JobKeeper payment has made an enormous difference to their small business, giving them the support they needed to get through the recent challenging times.
Pip and Deb were very busy at the time creating their regional Christmas hampers, which have targeted small, artisan manufacturers that have been affected by COVID-19 and unable to sell their products at markets. We really do have so much to offer in the bush, and these hampers are testament to that.
These beautiful handmade cheeses are truly something for the Mendooran community to celebrate. Well done to Pip and Deb for their intuition and hard work, and thank you for having me to visit.
Cooking in Cooee
Last week I visited Cooee Lodge Hostel in Gilgandra to meet with some of the residents and tour the fantastic new kitchen facilities, made possible with $488,750 in Commonwealth funding.
The new kitchens will help to ensure well-deserving residents are getting the very best meals and care.
Cooee Lodge Hostel is an important facility for the Gilgandra community, providing round-the-clock personal care, meals and laundry services to around 50 residents, so it’s crucial we ensure its facilities are of an impeccable standard.