A positive week for infrastructure and health
Last week was momentous with the official sod turn of the nation-building Inland Rail project taking place near Parkes on Thursday – a project which compelled me to get off the tractor on the farm near Warialda and join politics.
Inland Rail is a 1700km rail line between Brisbane and Melbourne which will enable freight to be delivered in under 24 hours. In my maiden speech 11 years ago, I said this rail line would place the Parkes electorate at the transport crossroads of Australia, and that is a statement I believe in strongly today. Along with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, I am proud that this major project and $9.3 billion investment is well underway.
It was also an iconic week for health in the Dubbo region, with the announcement of $7.65 million for The University of Sydney to develop a new Rural Medical School Program in Dubbo under the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network. The School of Rural Health will use the funding to expand and transform the existing premises and construct a new building on adjacent vacant land, offering a wealth of advantages for country-based medical students.
I recently met with Associate Professor Mark Arnold from the School of Rural Health to discuss the School’s plans. This will enable student residents in Dubbo to learn medicine in the same way as their counterparts studying at the University’s metropolitan campuses, and is exactly what the medical profession in Dubbo has been campaigning for. It is a most welcome development which will ensure the School of Rural Health continues its critical role of attracting and retaining local doctors.
Shop local this Christmas
There are many ways you can support your local economy, and one of the simplest at this time of year is to do your Christmas shopping locally.
In the Parkes electorate there are many towns and cities that offer a unique shopping experience, and treating your loved ones is that much more special with a local gift. It’s also an effective way to keep the money flowing in our communities.
The more we support our small businesses, especially in times of drought, the more we build up our rural and regional towns and cities to be strong and vibrant locations. A better economy in the Parkes electorate has far-reaching positive implications for us all.
Our businesses are an integral part of the character of our communities. By spending locally, we can encourage local prosperity and help secure a viable future for the small businesses, jobs and opportunities that make our rural and regional towns and cities tick.
Grain fed beef definition expanded
Beef producers will now be able to market their cattle as “Grain Fed Finished” after feeding them grain for 35 days before sale or export, and will be able to ask a premium for these animals. Previously, only two standards existed: “Grain Fed” and “Grain Fed Young Beef”. This is good news for beef producers in the Parkes electorate.
“Grain fed” required the cattle to be fed on grain for 80 of the past 100 days while “Grain Fed Young Beef” required grain to be fed 50 of the past 60 days for females and 70 days for males.
This new “Grain Fed Finished” standard means farmers can feed the cattle grain for 35 days and reap the benefits of selling as “Grain Fed Finished”. The standard requires the cattle be fed on a specified high energy grain diet. As Australians, we refuse to compromise on quality.
The Export Control Act 1982 Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Orders 2005 will be amended to the Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Amendment (Trade Description Grain Fed) Order 2018 by Parliament as soon as possible.