Resumption of Parliament
With the resumption of Parliament last week, came extra care with physical distancing and other measures to protect against the risk of COVID-19 spreading – it was good to see so many Members of Parliament and staff being extra cautious.
Some MPs, unable to travel to Canberra for health reasons or COVID-19 border restrictions participated via video, but many MPs (myself included) attended the Chamber in person.
My view is that in order to be most effective, MPs must have a physical presence, however I understand that we must do whatever we can to ensure Parliament can still sit in some form as we progress through these challenging times.
While in Parliament I chaired the ninth COVID-19 special rural health stakeholder roundtable. The pandemic continues to challenge the nation and this regular forum with our front-line rural health providers is proving invaluable. It’s very promising to hear how our health response is rolling out at the community level.
Photo Caption: While in Parliament last week, Minister for Regional Health and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton chaired the ninth COVID-19 special rural health stakeholder roundtable.
Border issues need practical solutions
During the week, I wrote a letter to the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall in an effort to help residents in Far West New South Wales access the health services they need. This was prompted by contact I’ve received from some of my constituents about the burden they face trying to cross the border to access specialist medical care and professional services in service centres such as Adelaide.
I recently raised similar border concerns in a letter to the Queensland Premier, on behalf of the border communities I represent up north. Let’s hope some practical solutions are found for both situations sooner rather than later.
Show of support for ag field days
The Australian Government last week announced a $2.7 million boost for agricultural field days to ensure they can continue to showcase innovation and support regional communities after the pandemic.
This is in addition to the $36.3 million previously announced to support ag show societies.
With so many great ag shows and field days throughout the Parkes electorate, this announcement will be well received and provide a real boost to our country events.
The Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will provide a one-off reimbursement to ag show societies and ag field day organisers impacted by COVID-19.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/infrastructure/supporting-ag-shows
Assistance for sporting champions
It’s no secret we have some outstanding young sporting champions in the Parkes electorate – so I’m pleased this grant opportunity helps aspiring competitors to cover some of their costs.
Those aged between 12 to 18 who are travelling to compete, coach or officiate at a state, national or international sporting championship could be eligible to apply for a Local Sporting Champions grant.
If successful, applicants will receive $500 – $750 towards the cost of attending their championships.
These grants are on offer to help young sportspeople pursue their sporting dreams, so I’d encourage those interested to find out more and apply at www.sportaus.gov.au/lsc before the Round 2 closing date of 30 September 2020.