Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre) visited FlatTrack in Moree to find out how the organisation will benefit from funding provided under the Safer Communities Fund. He is pictured with FlatTrack Program Manager Krist Grasnick (right) and participant Andrew Pegus.
Investing in safer communities
All of our young people should have the chance to achieve their full potential, which is why I was thrilled to announce last week that two organisations have received significant chunks of funding for early intervention programs which aim to improve community safety and reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
Miyay Birray Youth Service in Moree has been awarded $1,499,999 to roll out a project to help divert high-risk Aboriginal young people from a life of crime. This funding will enable the Street Beat program to resume on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, providing a fun outlet for local children, as well as allowing Miyay Birray to collaborate with other services to further support, mentor and guide vulnerable young people.
The BackTrack Network has also received $1,483,919 to increase its capacity and capability to help at-risk youth get back on track. This funding will be split between the BackTrack Network, including Making Tracks in Broken Hill, LeaderLife in Dubbo, Down the Track in Lake Cargelligo and FlatTrack in Moree, which each do a fantastic job in improving the lives of young people in these communities.
Inland Rail providing endless opportunities for our region
Double-stacked trains will be able to transition on and off the Inland Rail mainline and further boost freight opportunities in northern New South Wales, with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) committing more than $8 million to raise the height of the bridge over the Walgett Branch Line in Narrabri.
This will not only allow double-stacked trains to transition easily from Inland Rail, but will continue to enhance possible future connections, ensuring freight delivery security for Narrabri and surrounding communities.
Inland Rail will be a game-changer for industries and businesses up and down the line, including in the Parkes electorate, and a new study released by the CSIRO shows just how significant the benefits could be for our regional communities.
The study found that a shift from road to Inland Rail could significantly drive down the cost of transporting 22 million tonnes of freight annually, cutting freight transport costs by up to $213 million a year. This will result in huge savings for local businesses and industries that use the line.
It was great to have Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering join me in Narrabri last week to make these announcements.
Funding available to establish Children’s Contact Services
The accessibility of Children’s Contact Services in the Parkes electorate could be boosted, with the Coalition Government providing $40.7 million for 20 new services to fill geographical gaps in operation.
Children’s Contact Services provide a child-focused and safe environment for supervised contact and facilitated changeovers for families who are unable to safely manage contact arrangements for their children.
Following community consultations, funding is being allocated to regions with the greatest estimated demand for the new services, and I’m pleased that the Far West and Orana and the New England and North West regions have been included on this list.
Many families in my electorate do not have access to a Children’s Contact Service in their town, and you can’t expect families, especially those that are experiencing conflict or highly stressful situations, to travel large distances for a visit with their child.
Applications for funding to deliver a Children’s Contact Service are now open. More information can be found on the Community Grants Hub website.