Photo caption: Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt (third from left) and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (second from right) pictured at the Collarenebri Primitive Camping Ground where the Collarenebri Bore Bath will be built, with Collarenebri Health Service Manager Suzanne Mahoney, Registered Nurse Marlise Latta, Walgett Shire councillor Lawrence Walford, Mayor Ian Woodcock OAM and councillor Kelly Smith.
Tour of Basin communities
Last week I had the pleasure of hosting my friend and National Party colleague, Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt on a tour of a number of Basin communities in the Parkes electorate which have benefitted from significant funding through the third round of the Federal Government’s Economic Development Program.
First stop was Collarenebri to inspect the sites where the Collarenebri Bore Bath and Collarenebri Community Health Hub will be built, thanks to more than $1.8 million in funding. The $920,124 bore bath will be a game-changer for Collarenebri, boosting tourism and the local economy, while the $945,000 Community Health Hub being constructed by Rural and Remote Medical Services Incorporated will not only help attract and retain medical professionals to town, but will provide a place for young people to train and learn.
During our tour, Minister Pitt and I met with members of the Wee Waa Community Complex Incorporated to hear about their plans to build two houses to attract medical professionals to Wee Waa, using their $304,000 grant.
We also visited the Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Traps, where a lookout and river walk will be constructed to enhance the popular tourist attraction, thanks to a $920,000 grant.
Tourism will also be boosted in Warren, with Warren Shire Council receiving a total of $1.5 million in funding for four projects – $500,000 for the Carter Oval Sports Lighting Project, $500,000 for the Monkeygar Creek Macquarie Marshes Bird Viewing Project, $250,000 for water reservoirs and grain silos murals, and $250,000 for the Warren Showground Racecourse Improvement Program. Minister Pitt and I joined Mayor Milton Quigley on a tour of these four projects which will each provide a significant economic boost to the town.
It was great to be able to get out on the ground and see firsthand how these economic grants will improve these communities for the better.
Disaster recovery funding
Communities across 12 Local Government Areas in the Parkes electorate will benefit from a $200 million recovery funding package announced last week by the Australian and New South Wales governments to provide support for communities affected by the February and March 2021 storms and floods.
In addition, a $200 million Infrastructure Betterment Fund will be established to support the reconstruction and improved disaster resilience of public assets damaged during the recent storms and floods as well as the 2019-20 bushfires.
Individuals, landholders, businesses and councils in the Brewarrina, Bogan, Central Darling, Cobar, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Lachlan, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Walgett and Warren LGAs have the opportunity to apply for funding being delivered through eight key initiatives, to help with the next stage of recovery for these storm and flood impacted regions.
This third phase of funding is targeted to help industry and job retention, help rebuild community infrastructure, deliver a range of projects to safeguard mental health and community wellbeing, and ensure impacted regions have resources that they need to bounce back.
People requiring ongoing flood assistance, support and referral are urged to contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or online via service.nsw.gov.au/floods. Information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at disasterassist.gov.au
Farewell to Ev
Last week I sadly farewelled my longest serving employee Ev Barber, who has decided to retire after just over 25 years of working in the Dubbo electorate office, 14 of which she served as my office manager.
Ev has been with me right from the start, joining my team as office manager when I was first elected as the Federal Member for Parkes in 2007.
She brought with her a wealth of experience, after nearly 10 years of working for three previous members of Parkes – Michael Cobb, Tony Lawler and John Cobb – and over the past 14 years has been a valued and dedicated member of my team.
Ev has helped hundreds of people over the years; in fact a lot of people have had their lives changed because of her. In particular, she has had some great successes in the immigration portfolio, reuniting families across the Parkes electorate and helping many people in dangerous situations overseas.
Her kind, calming personality is not only going to be missed by myself and all the staff she’s worked with over the years, but the many hundreds of people who have spoken to her in my Dubbo office. I wish her well in her much-deserved retirement.