Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton is pictured at the Big ArmaTree, which forms part of the upgraded Armatree Memorial Precinct.
More LGAs eligible for disaster assistance
Fourteen Local Government Areas in the Parkes electorate will now be able to access disaster assistance for flooding that has occurred from September 14.
The Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Lachlan, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Narromine, Walgett, Warren and Warrumbungle LGAs are all eligible for assistance, which will come as a great relief, particularly as most of these areas are currently experiencing flooding. A number of these LGAs were also disaster declared in August, so it has been a challenging few months. Hopefully this assistance will go some way to helping with the recovery, especially for councils to repair the increasing number of roads damaged by the wet weather.
Assistance available under the Commonwealth-State 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
- 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.
Call for funding to repair water-damaged roads
Our regional roads are suffering as a result of the relentless rain and flooding that we’ve experienced across the Parkes electorate in recent months. This issue will only continue over the summer months as we enter our third La Niña wet season in a row, with already full dams, overflowing riverways and saturated grounds.
Having driven thousands of kilometres throughout the electorate over the past few months, I’ve seen first-hand just how bad some of the roads are – they’re a real danger and are in urgent need of repairs for the safety of all road users.
However, our local councils’ resources are stretched, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to maintain roads due to the combination of wet weather and lack of funding.
I’m calling for the Labor Government to look into providing measures for local councils to fund these much-needed repairs, and have written to Infrastructure Minister Catherine King to highlight this issue. An emergency road repair program would complement the successful Local Roads and Community Infrastructure and Roads to Recovery programs, ensuring these dangerous roads are fixed as soon as possible.
Two great community assets now opened
I had the pleasure of attending the openings of two great community projects, in Cobar and Armatree, last week.
I joined NSW Member of the Legislative Council Sam Farraway, Nationals candidate for Barwon Annette Turner and Cobar Shire Council General Manager Peter Vlatko and staff to open the upgraded Cobar Youth and Community Centre last Tuesday. This fantastic facility provides the young people of Cobar with a safe space to get together with friends, which is so important in our rural towns. It’s also somewhere the wider community can meet and stay active.
I’m pleased the former Coalition Government contributed to this project, providing $304,371 in funding through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program for the installation of a lift. This lift has enabled the upstairs area to be utilised as a gym, community room and viewing area for the squash courts, ensuring the entire community is able to access these great facilities.
On Thursday I then attended the opening of the Big ArmaTree in the village of Armatree, with NSW Minister for Western NSW Dugald Saunders, Nationals candidate for Barwon Annette Turner and Gilgandra Shire Council Deputy Mayor Ash Walker.
The sculpture forms part of the upgraded Armatree Memorial Precinct, which the former Coalition Government contributed to through $73,000 in funding provided under the LRCI program. This funding has helped beautify the area, connecting all elements of the precinct together through pathways, landscaping, lighting and signage boards. I have no doubt that this will become a popular destination for tourists, cementing Armatree on the tourism map.
Best of luck to the Class of 2022
I would like to take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to all the year 12 students in the Parkes electorate about to sit their Higher School Certificate exams this week.
I know this can be a stressful time, but I’m sure your hard work and dedication to your studies will see you through. Remember to look after yourselves and don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family if you are feeling overwhelmed.
This period marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of an exciting new one to come, so take it all in, do your best and remember that there’s more to life than your ATAR. Your future is bright, whatever your results.