Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton joined NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, Lachlan Shire Council Mayor John Medcalf, NSW Minister for Emergency Services Steph Cooke and State Member for Barwon Roy Butler in Condobolin on Friday to assess the flood damage.
Visit to flood-ravaged Condobolin
Following a busy week in Parliament, I was pleased to be able to get to Condobolin on Friday to meet with the Mayor John Medcalf, local SES crews and emergency responders to discuss the flood situation. Condobolin has experienced its worst flood on record with the Lachlan River peaking at 7.6 metres last week.
I joined NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke and State Member for Barwon Roy Butler on a tour of the flood-affected town to see some of the damage first-hand. The water is slowly receding, but many rural families remain isolated by floodwaters and will be for some time. Farmers are facing millions of dollars’ worth of crop losses and it’s going to take a long time for this community to recover.
In the meantime, locals impacted will now be able to access a lump sum payment of $1,000 for adults and $400 for children, with the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment activated for the Lachlan Local Government Area (LGA). Eligible individuals can claim via MyGov or by calling Services Australia on 180 22 26. For more information, visit https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/new-south-wales-floods-september-2022-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment
Further flood recovery support
In addition to the activation of the Disaster Recovery Payment for the Lachlan LGA, a range of other flood support measures were also announced last week to assist all those communities in the Parkes electorate that have been impacted by flooding.
Flood-affected councils will benefit from an additional $1 million in funding to assist with their recovery. I have been working closely with all 18 impacted councils in the electorate, and each of them has a mammoth clean-up task ahead, particularly when it comes to repairing the huge number of roads damaged by flooding. I know this funding will help make a dent in the road repairs.
Meanwhile, recovery grants of up to $50,000 are also now available for small businesses and not-for-profits affected by the flooding, which will help them get back on their feet. Primary Producer Recovery Grants have been increased from $25,000 to $75,000 and Rural Landholders Grants of up to $10,000 are available for landholders impacted by flooding. There’s still plenty of work to do though, and I will continue to advocate for assistance to be delivered to those who need it most.
Celebrating 15 years as Member for Parkes
Last Thursday, November 24 marked 15 years since I was first elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Parkes.
This is a significant milestone for me personally, and I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve been able to achieve over the past 15 years. It’s so heartening to see the progress and development of communities throughout the electorate thanks to funding and programs I’ve helped to secure.
It’s an incredible honour to do this job, and a privilege to represent the wonderful people of the Parkes electorate. The people I’ve met along the way and the relationships I’ve built is what I love most about this job, and it’s what has kept me going all these years.
I’m so thankful for the support I’ve received over the years from the people of the Parkes electorate. Thank you for allowing me to continue being your representative.
Completed Inland Rail track opened
The Inland Rail project has reached another exciting milestone with the Australian Rail Track Corporation opening 83 kilometres of upgraded track between Moree and Narrabri last Friday.
Although slightly delayed due to the prolonged wet weather, it’s great to hear that grain trains are now able to run on the new line, just in time for harvest. This is good news for the Moree and Narrabri communities and farmers throughout the North West who will be able to get their product to market.
Murray-Darling Basin concerns
Last week in Parliament I had the opportunity to speak on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, in response to worrying comments made by the Minister for the Environment and Water about her plan to deliver the Plan in full, including delivering the additional 450 gigalitres to South Australia. That 450 gigalitres was not part of the Plan that I voted for. It was a political announcement that was made prior to the 2013 election to gain votes in South Australia.
It’s impossible for that water to be delivered under the triple bottom line of no environmental, no social and no economic impacts on the community. If that water is delivered, it will be the Basin communities in the Parkes electorate that will once again pay the price.