Photo Caption: Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre) with Lachlan Shire Council Mayor John Medcalf (right) and Deputy Mayor Paul Phillips (left) – Condobolin has received funding under the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.
Three-step plan to combat COVID-19
On Friday the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that National Cabinet agreed to a three-stage framework for easing restrictions to create a COVID-safe Australia.
We have successfully flattened the curve and this is a roadmap for the way forward between now and July.
The Prime Minister made clear that States and Territories will move forward with the plan at different times, based on local conditions. Here in New South Wales, the State Government will implement the framework.
Under the first stage, the framework outlines that people can gather in groups of 10 in public places, people can have up to five visitors in their home, and cafes and restaurants will reopen. The progress of the plan will be reviewed by National Cabinet every three weeks.
The Prime Minister reinforced that there will likely be risks and challenges, but we are well prepared to address them when and where they crop up.
We need to move forward on a path to recovery from this pandemic. With zero active cases of coronavirus in Western NSW, our efforts to limit the spread have proven to be fruitful – and it’s a credit to the efforts of communities doing the right thing across the Parkes electorate. But we should also remain vigilant.
We must continue to maintain the 1.5-metre physical distancing rule, keep up our hand and respiratory hygiene, stay at home if and when we are feeling sick, and importantly, download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app. So far, the app has been downloaded more than 5.2 million times.
Take care everyone – I will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Safer remote airstrips in the works
Remote airstrips in the Parkes electorate will receive some much-needed upgrades with more than $645,000 in funding which I announced last week.
These grants have been allocated to boost the safety and accessibility of aerodromes in Nyngan, Mungindi, Tilpa, Condobolin and Coonamble, under the Federal Government’s Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.
Air services are vital to country areas, and I’m thrilled that the Federal Government is backing five shire councils in my electorate to make sure our airstrips are up to scratch.
Airstrip upgrades will help these communities maintain their access to regional centres and essential goods and services. Full details including the grant recipients can be found at www.markcoulton.com.au/media
Short courses available for upskilling
People in my electorate who want to learn new skills to improve their job prospects can now apply to study short, online courses at leading universities, at a heavily discounted cost.
The Coalition Government has facilitated the roll-out of a suite of six-month courses focussing on areas of national priority such as nursing, teaching, counselling, IT and allied health.
You may wish to gain a new qualification in your current job, or learn new skills to transition to a new career.
The cost of studying these courses has been slashed to support those who have lost their job or had their work hours reduced.
The discounted course fees range from just $1,250 to $2,500 for a six-month course. Students will still be able to defer payment through HECS-HELP.
Information on at least 64 short courses from 11 universities is available on the Course Seeker website (www.courseseeker.edu.au) or directly from universities, with more course offerings to follow.
Country media urged to apply
I’d like to remind news publishers in my electorate to throw their hat in the ring for essential funding to support their operations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The $5 million Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund is open for applications and will close on 22 May.
The 2020 Round of the program has been fast-tracked to assist regional news publishers with the significant challenges they face in the current media landscape.
It will support costs such as staff training, new digital technology and website upgrades.
Full details are available at www.acma.gov.au/innovationfund