Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre), Narrabri Shire councillor Robert Kneale and Mayor Ron Campbell inspect the completed road pavement replacement project in Narrabri’s CBD.
Narrabri forging ahead
It was great to spend some time in Narrabri last week with Narrabri Shire Council Mayor Ron Campbell and councillor Robert Kneale, taking a look at some of the projects that have been completed in town thanks to Federal Government funding.
Narrabri’s CBD is looking fantastic, with the $3.38 million road pavement replacement project now done and dusted. The result is not only a more visually appealing CBD, but improved access for shoppers, residents and visitors, boosting productivity for local businesses. The Australian Government committed $1.47 million in funding through the first round of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program and $977,367 from the Roads to Recovery Program, with Narrabri Shire Council contributing the remaining funds to complete the project.
While in Narrabri I also inspected the completed $598,000 apron extension at Narrabri Airport. Air services are vital to regional and remote communities, and these upgrades will enhance safety and improve access for emergency services. The Federal Government invested $299,392 in funding to the project through the Regional Airports Program, with Narrabri Shire Council contributing the remaining funds.
Caring for country
I was pleased to announce last week that the Barkandji Rangers will be able to continue the great work they’re doing in protecting and conserving country within the Barkandji Native Title Determination Area around Menindee, thanks to a long-term investment from the Australian Government.
The Barkandji Native Title Group Aboriginal Corporation has received more than $4.2 million to fund their operations until 2028, through the Indigenous Ranger Program. This allows them to invest in career pathways, training pipelines and develop new activities so they can continue to care for country in the way they know best.
Meanwhile, I was also thrilled to congratulate two landcarers from the opposite corner of my electorate, Gravesend’s Justin and Lorroi Kirkby from Amarula Dorpers, who have received the Australian Government Landcare Farming Award at the 2021 National Landcare Awards.
This is a massive achievement and couldn’t go to a more deserving and hard-working couple. The Kirkbys have spent years revitalising their land at Gravesend through regeneration and sustainable farming practises, increasing soil health and groundcover to make their property more drought resilient. They’re landcarers we can all look up to and should be very proud of this national accolade.
Grants open for innovative drought resilience projects
Expressions of interest are now open for the Federal Government’s Future Drought Fund (FDF) Drought Resilience Innovation Grants.
There’s more than $34 million available to support innovative projects that drive the development, extension, adoption and commercialisation of drought resilience practices and technologies. Grants are split into three categories – an ideas grant, a proof-of-concept grant and an innovation grant.
I encourage businesses, organisations and community groups in the Parkes electorate with a great idea to apply now. For more information about the FDF Innovation Grants and to apply please visit: https://www.communitygrants.gov.au/ and for more information about the FDF Research and Adoption Program visit: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund/research-adoption-program
Commonwealth Closing the Gap Implementation Plan
Last week the Coalition Government released the Commonwealth’s first Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, committing more than $1 billion in new measures to help achieve Closing the Gap outcomes.
Included in these measures is $254.4 million in infrastructure to better support the critical work of the Aboriginal community health centres, and a $122.6 million early childhood package to lift the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in quality and culturally appropriate early childhood education and care services.
The Government is also investing $66 million to increase access to outcomes-focused alcohol and other drug treatment services, $45 million to ensure the best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through the Healthy Mums and Healthy Bubs program, and $26 million to create partnerships between high-performing city schools and regional and remote schools which will improve leadership, teacher practice, and student outcomes.
These are just some of the measures included in the Implementation Plan, which is about real reconciliation to forge a better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. For more information about the plan, visit www.niaa.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/closing-gap