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Matters Of State - December 18

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I watched on with interest last week when Dubbo Regional Council released the results of its survey into the River Street Bridge proposal.

Much has been said and written about the bridge concept since it was announced, and I feel it is time to correct some of the wrong messages that have been spread through the community.

I understand that politics is a tough game but, when it comes to this project, some people in the community have chosen to politicise the issue rather than just deal with the facts.

So, here are the facts.

Firstly, the River Street Bridge is not designed to ease the day-to-day congestion in West Dubbo.

Sure, it will be used on a day-to-day basis but its primary objective isn’t to mitigate the everyday issues. I will comment on that further in this piece.

River Street’s PRIMARY objective is to provide a second flood crossing for Dubbo to allow traffic to get from one side of a bulging Macquarie River to the other.

When the Serisier Bridge went under in 2010, the LH Ford Bridge was the only way to cross the river. It was utter chaos.

In the event of the next major flood that engulfs the Serisier Bridge, River Street will allow traffic to get into the northern part of Dubbo, and access the Newell and Golden Highways without having to divert through the CBD.

That is a win, and will alleviate the chaos we saw last time when every piece of traffic had to travel over the LH Ford Bridge and go via Cobra Street.

On the issue of congestion, the NSW Government and the Roads and Maritime Service have other plans that in no way, shape or form have anything to do with River Street.

Firstly, the proposed traffic lights at the intersection of Whylandra and Victoria Streets will allow the traffic flow to become much more structured.

When it comes to the concerns of some business owners in Victora Street, I am meeting with an RMS official this week to discuss those and hopefully find a solution that works for everyone.

The second part of our plan to deal with congestion is a ‘bypass’ from Tomingley to Eumungerie that will allow vehicles that don’t need to come through Dubbo to go around Dubbo.

Money was given to Narromine Shire Council to investigate what work would need to be done to upgrade the existing roads, and RMS officials have been researching the link as well.

It is believed that such a ‘bypass’ would drastically reduce the levels of highway traffic, heavy vehicles in particular, that enter West Dubbo and create the congestion.

Let it be said that neither I, nor the NSW government, are against the idea of a bypass or ring road and that is why we have spent money looking into the Tomingley to Eumungerie option.

The end result would be a significant amount of highway traffic not needing to come through Dubbo, a more structured process for local traffic getting through the Whylandra Street/Victoria Street intersection, and flood crossings that allow direct access into both North Dubbo and the Central/South areas in the event of that “once in a 20-year flood”.

No doubt a select few in the community will still look to find issues with the work being done by the NSW Government, but hopefully this gives readers an insight into why we are doing the work we are doing.

As I said last week, if Dubbo Regional Council doesn’t like the concept or believes its ideas are better, I would encourage them to investigate the costs associated with building its own bypass or ring road, similar to what Orange City Council did with the Northern Distributor.

With this being my last column prior to Santa’s arrival, I would like to wish all of my constituents in Dubbo a happy and safe Christmas.

See you all in 2019.

Matters Of State - December 12

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The early days of parenthood are being made much easier in NSW through some new initiatives announced over the past week by the State Government.

The development of the Milk Bank and the Baby Bundle is designed to help parents by providing not only some of the basic essentials needed when a newborn arrives, but also provide potentially life-saving breast milk in the event of a premature birth and complications.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard unveiled the Milk Bank idea last week, with the premise being very similar to that of a blood bank.

Human milk will be pasteurised in a purpose-built centre, run jointly by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and NSW Health.

Around 1000 babies are born every year in NSW at less than 32 weeks gestational age, or of a very low birth weight and many need specialised care, and research shows human milk reduces the risk of the potentially life-threatening gut-disorder necrotizing enterocolitis and bacterial infections.

This initiative will help ease the burden on parents who may already be struggling with the premature birth and the ensuing complications.


The Baby Bundle announcement is also a major win for families in NSW, and will see a sleeping bag, play and change mats, thermometers and a first aid kit as just some of the practical items available to parents as they welcome their newborn into the world.

The NSW government is delivering on its promise to support families with a bag of essentials, valued at $300, to help take care of their precious babies.

This bundle of help for a bundle of joy will provide parents and caregivers with products and information to support the health, development and well-being of their babies.

To be implemented from January 1, 2019, the Baby Bundle is part of the NSW Government’s $157 million parenting package, and also highlights the offerings of Australian businesses.

All of the businesses supplying goods are Australian, with four based in NSW, guaranteeing parents receive top-notch essentials for their newborns.


It was also announced last week that further money will be poured into school maintenance, with 33 Dubbo electorate schools among the recipients.

The $100 million spend takes the total investment to $847 million over four years, making a mockery of Labor’s stance that we are not interested in schools and hospitals.

After years of having to dig NSW out a financial black hole left by Labor, this current  government has returned the state to a solid financial position.

The additional funding announced is a huge boost for the Dubbo electorate, and will ensure that students and teachers can work in the best possible conditions.

In addition to prioritising maintenance in NSW schools, the Government has also announced the first 900 schools that will receive air conditioning under its record $500 million Cooler Classrooms program, and it is undertaking a record $6 billion school building program over the next four years, which will deliver more than 170 new and upgraded schools throughout NSW.

This is the largest investment into public school infrastructure by any State government in Australian history.

An additional 900 full-time teachers will also be hired this financial year, building on the 5340 teachers that the NSW Liberals & Nationals has added to the public school system since 2011.


During my time in politics I have loved the annual Christmas Card competition, and the drawings offered up by the school children of the Dubbo electorate.

My final competition in office was decided last week, and congratulations to Zayden Berger from Narromine on his ‘Royal Christmas’ drawing that fit the bill perfectly.

The cards have been printed with Zayden’s drawing on them, and will be distributed across NSW, Australia and the world.

I’ll be sending one to Buckingham Palace in the hope it gets the attention of Harry and Meghan, and give them another fond memory of their visit to Dubbo.

Until next week,


Matters Of State - November 28

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Last week was a bittersweet one for me, as I spent my final days in the Legislative Assembly chamber of NSW Parliament.

Thursday was the final sitting day of the Parliament for 2018, and it was also the final sitting day before the March 23 poll next year.

Over the course of the past seven years there have been many ups-and-downs experienced in that chamber, and  while ‘The Bearpit’ can be a tough place at times, I have had the honour of sitting in there and learning from a number of great politicians.

It’s difficult to single one out in particular as everyone has played a role in shaping me as a politician, but I do want to once again make mention of the friendship and guidance offered to me by my Nationals colleague The Hon Thomas George, the Member for Lismore.

Thomas, who is also retiring from politics at the next election, was one of the men who actually convinced me to run for office in the first place.

He has been a pillar of strength for so many from all sides of politics, be it with some gentle advice or just being someone who will listen, and I would like to thank him for that support and wish him and his family all the best for what their future holds.


While Parliament is finished for this term of government, there is still work to be done as we continue to go about making NSW, and in particular the Dubbo electorate, a prosperous place to live.

Last week I had the honour of standing beside Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Commissioner Mick Fuller as we announced a rollout of 1500 new police over the next four years. This is the highest commitment of police numbers in at least 30 years and something the Government is proud of

As you would expect, every region of NSW wants their fair share of those numbers but those decisions will be made by Commissioner Fuller in due course.

It’s not possible to pull 1500 cops out of thin air, so it will be a continual roll-out and I look forward to seeing NSW well-protected into the future.


The NSW Government has continued its commitment to transform the child protection system, passing significant child protection reforms which streamline the court process for permanency, including restoration, guardianship and open adoption.

This means children who cannot live safely with their parents will no longer languish in the foster care system, despite opposition and fearmongering by members of Labor and the Greens.

The successful amendments to the Care and Protection Act will give families a better opportunity to resolve child protection concerns and keep their children safely at home.


Perpetrators of online bullying could face up to five years’ prison time under tough new laws passed in Parliament last week.  

Attorney General Mark Speakman thanked the parents of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett for allowing the NSW Government to give their daugher’s name to the amendments to the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act. Dolly took her own life following a campaign of abuse at school and online.

Tick and Kate, who established ‘Dolly’s Dream’ to advocate for the safety and wellbeing of children, have welcomed the NSW Government’s steps to address cyberbullying.

The laws cover sending abusive emails, posting threatening or hurtful messages, photos or videos online or repeatedly sending unwanted messages. It also provides a basis for victims of cyberbullying to seek apprehended violence orders.

The new cyber harassment laws, combined with a best in class anti-bullying strategy and mobile digital device review, illustrate the commitment of the NSW Liberals & Nationals to increase youth mental health awareness.

If you or anyone you know needs help please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Until next week,


Matters Of State - November 20

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Last Wednesday I had the terrific honour and privilege to deliver my valedictory speech to the NSW Parliament.

It was the 406th time I had stood in the Legislative Assembly chamber and addressed the parliament, and I was proud to be able to do so on this occasion in front of family, friends and staff members.

So much has happened since I was first elected as the Member for Dubbo back in 2011, and I am proud that through the collective efforts of the NSW Government, my staff and myself, we have been able to deliver so much for the electorate.

We truly are in the middle of a golden era of investment and infrastructure delivery to the major centres of Dubbo, Wellington, Mudgee and Narromine, and I look forward to seeing that continue under the next Coalition government.

As was the case in my speech, it is hard to thank everyone personally but I feel I must once again thank my wife Toni and our kids Taylor and Hamish.

Politics isn’t an easy game, and I have become used to rigours that come with it.

But for them, they have been without their husband and father for so many nights and for so many special occasions.

After 30 years of service, between policing and politics, it is time for me to dedicate my time to my family.

To everyone who has supported me and my family over the course of the years, through the ups and downs, once again I say a simple thank you.


Two days prior to my speech I had the chance to open the new Tresillian Family Care Centre in Dubbo.

For too long, families from our region have had to travel too far to access these services, which play a vital role in helping parents address issues with their babies and toddlers.

Listening to the ordeal Simone O’Neill and her family have endured, it rammed home just how essential this service is and the NSW Government is proud of the role we have played in bringing it to Dubbo.

So many families battle silently, whether it be sleep or other behavioural issues, but that doesn’t need to be the case anymore.

Hopefully families across the region can make use of this service through the terrific staff that will be involved.


Last week it was also announced that the NSW Government will introduce the toughest sentences in Australia for concealing child abuse, including seven-year prison terms for the worst cases.

Currently, failing to report child abuse without a reasonable excuse carries a sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment, or five years if the concealment was done for a benefit, such as financial gain.

The planned amendment to section 316A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) will introduce staggered penalties for concealment.

NSW and Victoria are the only states in Australia with a concealment offence specifically related to child abuse (NSW) or child sexual abuse (Victoria).  In Victoria, the maximum penalty is three years’ imprisonment.


New South Wales has experienced its biggest lift in annual wages growth in four years, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The NSW Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 1.2 per cent in the September quarter to be 2.4 per cent higher through the year.

More than 70 per cent of NSW industries have seen wages growth accelerate over the past year.  

Among the highlights, workers in the health care and social assistance industry in NSW saw their wages grow by 3.0 per cent followed by education and training at 2.7 per cent.

Wages in the public sector have increased by 2.6 per cent over the past 12 months with the private sector recording 2.2 per cent growth.

Until next week,


Matters Of State - November 9

Friday, November 09, 2018

It gave me great pleasure last week to officially unveil the new Ian Locke Building and George Hatch Medical Library at Dubbo Hospital.

Both men played major roles in the medical sector in this town, and through their work at Dubbo Hospital also served the wider region well.

Dr Locke was a renowned paediatrician, and it was terrific to see his wife Jennifer and other family members on hand to unveil the official plaque.

George Hatch was a doyen of the nursing profession, who worked amazingly hard for this community.

Many of his former colleagues and proteges also attended the event, and it is wonderful that the memory of these two terrific men will live on through the new building, which is located in the old maternity ward section.

Debbie Bickerton and her team at Dubbo Hospital are doing a terrific job in maintaining quality medical services at the hospital while the construction work continues.


Speaking of Dubbo Hospital, the outside section of the complex has certainly been in the news this week.

Claims by Dubbo Regional Council that they would gift land to the State Government to build an 88-space carpark have done nothing more than create unrest in the community.

Last week I put out a statement in relation to the council proposal, which outlined some key facts, the main one being that conceptual plans released by Dubbo Regional Council encroached on Crown Land.

For anything to happen on that land, an application would need to be made to change its classification from public recreation to operational.

Dubbo Regional Council manage the land on behalf of the NSW Government, but have not contacted either myself as the local member, nor the Minister for Lands Paul Toole, to discuss the issue.

If they had we could have avoided the whole situation, and the time and expense that council has gone to in order to create the plans could have been saved.

If NSW Health or the Western NSW Local Health District had plans for a carpark in that area, they would create one.

The debate isn’t whether the hospital should have adequate parking, we all believe it should, but some misleading language about an apparent  ‘simple’ solution, which isn’t so simple, needed to be corrected.


During the week I was part of a major announcement with Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Attorney General Mark Speakman in relation to sentencing for people caught deliberately causing fires that endanger the community.

Under the new law, anyone caught deliberately starting a bush fire will face a maximum sentence of 21 years imprisonment – up from 14 years.

Unfortunately, on too many occasions we have seen how devastating bushfires can be, and with the promise of a long, hot summer on the way we need to be ensuring those people that put people’s lives and properties in danger are dealt with accordingly.

In keeping with the theme of bushfire prevention, it was also terrific to announce that the Large Air Tanker (LAT) known as ‘Hunter’ will be based out of Dubbo this season.

The firefighting capabilities of aircraft such as Hunter are amazing, and for the craft to be in our region and ready to respond when called upon is a significant coup for regional NSW.

Having ‘Hunter’ in our region will reduce the amount of time it takes to get assistance to any fires that do break out, and given that every minute counts when it comes to responding to these kinds of situations, we’re lucky to have the tanker on hand.

Until next week


Matters Of State - October 23

Friday, October 26, 2018

It was terrific to see that rain didn’t deter members of the public from getting a glimpse at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Dubbo last Wednesday.

Ever since Kensington Palace made the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan would be visiting our region, residents have been abuzz with excitement.

And didn’t we turn on a show for the Royal Couple?

From their meet and greet with school kids at the airport through to their visits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service base, a local farm, Victoria Park, and Dubbo College, the royals got a true glimpse of so many facets of life in our region.

Dubbo was put on the world stage, and it was terrific to see so many local volunteers and community stalwarts featured in the formalities throughout the course of the day.

Unfortunately we couldn’t control the weather, and while the rain was a minor disruption I think everyone greeted it, and it added to the theatre of the event.


On Friday I was in Mudgee to announce that our electorate will see NRL action again in 2019.

I was joined by Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall, Mid-Western Regional Council mayor Des Kennedy and St George Illawarra Dragons chairman Brian Johnston at the announcement that the Dragons would once again be playing a game in Mudgee.

The NSW Government has partnered with the NRL to assist in the promotion of the match, as well as others that are scheduled to be taken to the bush in 2019. 

Mudgee has already proven it has a strong and passionate NRL fan base, with close to 9,000 fans turning out for this year’s Dragons match against the Raiders.

With the additional promotional support, next year’s match will encourage more supporters to plan a trip to Mudgee, giving thousands of visitors the opportunity to see just how incredible our corner of NSW is.


From a government perspective it was great through the week to announce New South Wales has maintained its status as the nation’s No.1 state for jobs after recording the lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade.

The results mean NSW has now held the lowest unemployment rate amongst the states for 40 straight months.

According to the latest ABS data release, the State’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.4 per cent, nearly a full percentage point below the rest of Australia (5.3 per cent excluding NSW).

The national rate of unemployment (including NSW) is 5.0 per cent.

NSW has added 558,900 jobs since 2011 – more than the entire population of Tasmania or double the population of the Northern Territory.

Since the last election in 2015, employment in NSW has increased by 360,900 more than double the target of 150,000.


We also announced last Wednesday the new 10 per cent Point of Consumption tax on online wagering by NSW residents, which it is hoped will provide $5 million per year for measures.

The  funding boost means the Responsible Gambling Fund can expand its work in preventing and reducing gambling harms.

Online betting is experiencing the fastest growth of all gambling. The additional funds from the Point of Consumption tax will enable the Government to build on the work we’ve already done in this space

The Responsible Gambling Fund is guiding the Government’s approach to preventing and reducing gambling in the community and in 2018/19 will spend a record $25 million to support harm minimisation and prevention programs.”

The Point of Consumption tax will also provide an extra $4 million per year for the new Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission. This is on top of the $41 million already committed to set up the new regulator and improve track safety.

To ensure the racing industry is not negatively impacted by the tax, it will receive two per cent of total taxable net NSW wagering revenue.

This is expected to be around $40 million for a full financial year, split between the three racing codes.

Until next week


Matters Of State - October 9, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I was thrilled to see so many tradies take advantage of a free breakfast put on for them at Brennan’s Mitre 10 last Thursday.

Along with Bruno Efoti of Tradies Insight and the Dubbo Mens Shed, I was proud to make the event happen and it was terrific to be able to make a significant announcement on the day.

Bruno is the man behind Tradies Insight and is doing a great job, while we couldn’t have done it without the terrific support of the Mens Shed, who had their volunteers there bright and early providing the awesome sausage sandwiches and bacon and egg rolls.

The breakfast was the perfect place to announce that through our Better Business Reforms, the NSW government will save tradespeople from having to renew their licences every three years, which it is estimated will save the industry $52 million over 10 years.

This reform will reduce renewal fees from up to $605 every three years to just a $51 processing fee for tradies to update their details every five years.

To be able to make that announcement at an event put on for our local tradespeople was tremendous, as  that industry have been pivotal in helping this government deliver what has been a golden era for investment and infrastructure development in the Dubbo electorate

These reforms will provide significant savings to our tradespeople, and that filters into the work that Tradies Insight is doing because financial strains are one of the main contributing factors to mental health issues within this industry.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean will introduce the Better Business Reforms, which also includes reforms to increase transparency for consumers, into parliament later this month.


During the week I also had the pleasure of heading out to Narromine to announce $1.5 million worth of funding to the town’s council from the NSW Government.

The money comes from the Stronger Country Communities Fund, and Narromine Shire Council was successful in receiving grants for four significant projects within the local government area.

Almost $200,000 will be spent on enhancing Burns Oval at Trangie, a similar amount will be used for compliance upgrades for swimming pools in both Narromine and Trangie, and more than $265,000 will be dedicated to streetscapes in those two towns and also Tomingley.

But the big item was $900,000 for the council to spend on the Narromine Aquatic Park refurbishment and a splash park for the facility.

Congratulations to Narromine Shire Council for sourcing this funding, which will be of enormous benefit to the communities within its LGA


It was announced last week that NSW had once again topped the ladder when it came to tourism figures for the recently completed financial year.

That should come as no real surprise as NSW is a prosperous state moving forward rapidly, but the pleasing aspect of the figures was how much regional centres contributed to our overall statistics.

With facilities such as Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Wellington Caves, the wineries in Mudgee and the aviation sector of Narromine, the Dubbo electorate more than holds its own when it comes to being able to draw people to our region.

For the 12-month period 32.9 million domestic visitors (+9.3%) stayed 103.3 million nights (+6.7%) and spent $19.8 billion (+15.2%) across NSW.

Central NSW posted a 15 per cent increase in visitor growth, and across regional NSW as a whole visitor numbers grew by nine per cent.

The NSW Government has set the State’s first regional tourism target of $25 billion in visitor expenditure in rural and regional NSW by 2030, so that every corner of NSW gets its fair share of the record tourist dollars and we are working hard to make that become a reality.

Until next week


Matters Of State - October 2 2018

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

It was a pleasure to be at the announcement last week of a cricket tour being organised by the Baggy Blues, an organisation set up for past and present NSW players.

The organisation has teamed up with the Centre for Rural Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) to deliver life-saving mental health messages to multiple locations across NSW.

The tour will visit Dubbo on November 22 to hold a celebrity cricket match, a cricket clinic for 8-17 year olds, and deliver a mental health workshop.

“Cricket brings our community together, and these matches will not only be great day out for the whole family but an important way for our rural mental health teams to reach those who need support,” Mr Grant said. 

“If you notice changes in someone’s behaviour, either in yourself or those around you, reach out and encourage that person to take the first step and see their GP.”

Earlier this month the NSW Government committed $6.3 million over two years to boost rural mental health supports. Part of the funding will provide 20 new ‘farm gate’ counsellors and frontline mental health workers.

If you, or someone you know, needs crisis support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, and for local mental health services call 1800 011 511.

To find out more about the Baggy Blues Tour contact your local cricket association or visit


Keeping with the sporting theme, it was tremendous to see so much activity at Apex Oval on the long weekend for the 48th NSW Aboriginal Knockout.

I took some time to head up and watch some of the action at the carnival, which is a brilliant blend of sport and culture.

Thanks to last year’s winners, the Newcastle Yowies, for electing to bring the event to Dubbo, and congratulations to all of this year’s winners.

I hope everyone from outlying areas enjoyed their visit to the Dubbo electorate and took in the fabulous things we have to offer.


I would like to congratulate Lucy White on her appointment as the new General Manager of the Destination Country and Outback NSW Tourism Network.

Lucy’s task will be to guide and assist the organisation’s board in the growth of the tourism industry in the largest of the six NSW Government Tourism Networks.
She replaces Rhonda Taylor, who has been the Acting General Manager while advertising for a permanent General Manager went ahead. 

For the past two years, Lucy has been the Bathurst Regional Council destination manager and is currently a board member of the peak tourism industry body, Australian Regional Tourism (ART). 

Lucy will commence in the Dubbo Headquarters of Destination Country and Outback on October 8 and brings 22 years of tourism industry experience from previous positions held in local and regional tourism organisations within the central west.
Destination Country and Outback Network covers 61.2 per cent of the State. 

It extends from Tenterfield in the north, to Oberon and Cowra in the south, and from Lithgow in the east out to Broken Hill in the west, and offers an incredible diversity of visitor experiences, precincts and places to attract visitors from across Australia and overseas.


It was announced during the week that $500,000 worth of grants are now available to combat illegal dumping in the local area through the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Combating Illegal Dumping Clean up and Prevention Program.

The program is available to councils, public land managers and community groups to establish illegal dumping baseline data, and to clean-up and prevent illegal dumping through the installation of gates, signs, surveillance cameras and fencing. 

This significantly contributes to the Government’s target of reducing illegal dumping by 30% by 2020.

More information is available at

Until Next Week


Matters of State

Monday, September 17, 2018

It was fantastic to be able to announce with the Deputy Premier $9.3 million in funding last week, for stage one of the $44.5 million Western Region Institute of Sport. This funding is amazing in realizing the dream to build a regional sports and wellness hub, which will have an indoor sports centre at its heart, giving local and elite athletes a premium space to train and perform. This will not only benefit Dubbo but the entire western district, it will mean kids will be able to stay in their country home and their country schools with their mates but still have the best of facilities and the best of coaching without having to move to Sydney.


Last week I welcomed the NSW Government’s landmark business incentive and support package that will ignite investment and create jobs in regional NSW.

The Investment Attraction Package for Regional NSW will boost the number of businesses moving to regional NSW towns by giving businesses incentives, cutting planning red tape and providing grants to skilled workers.

This is a great initiative that will proactively seek out businesses and showcase to them the benefits of moving to areas like the Dubbo, Mudgee or Narromine.

Increasing the number of businesses and skilled workers in the region means more jobs will have the beneficial flow on effect of creating more work for our local suppliers, tradies, retailers, restaurants and cafes as well as the opportunity to meet new friends and enjoy diverse cultures.

The Investment Attraction Package features region investment attraction fund of $20 million in grants and interest free loans targeted at offsetting government levies and duties, such as payroll tax to eligible business that want to invest and grow in regional NSW, which will lead to new jobs.

Skills Relocation Assistance of $10 million in grants of up to $10,000 per eligible skilled worker to help meet the cost of moving from the city to the country, such as furniture removal and temporary accommodation for up to three months.

Investment concierge supporting business investing in or moving to regional NSW, working with an appointed Regional Investment Coordinator to provide easy access to incentives, smooth the planning process, help lodge applications and liaise with government departments.

For more information about the Package contact the Investment Concierge service at


Event organisers in the region holding events between January and June 2019 are encouraged to apply for the NSW Government’s Flagship Event Funding, which is now open.

The 2019 Fund will be offered in two rounds per year and with just a single application process.

The NSW Government is continuing to reduce the red tape and for the first time, event organisers no longer have to submit an expression of interest when applying for the Flagship Event Fund.

The change means a more streamlined application process, making it quicker for events in the region to access vital funds and boost tourism in our local economies.

Events can apply for an annual grant of $20,000 or a triennial grant of $27,500 to help market and promote their event to visitors outside of their local area.

The Regional Flagship Events Program is managed by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Applications for Round One of the 2019 Flagship Event Fund close on Monday 8 October 2018. To lodge an application visit

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, September 10, 2018

Last Friday was Braveheart’s national White Balloon Day, Australia’s only national awareness and fundraising campaign dedicated to preventing child sexual assault. White Balloon Day is about breaking the silence and empowering children and young people to speak out and speak up if they feel unsafe. Braveheart’s offer specialised support, education and training services for children, families, schools, childcare centres and organisations. For more information on how you can support Braveheart’s go to


Farming communities facing pressure in the wake of severe drought conditions will have access to 20 new ‘farm gate’ counsellors and frontline mental health workers as part of a $6.3 million commitment from the NSW Government.

More people in Western NSW will now have access to additional mental health supports thanks to an injection of funding by the State Government.

Every day I am getting reports of grief and loss from within our farming communities in the wake of severe and ongoing drought conditions.

It is often difficult to seek help when living in remote and rural areas, and this new funding will link people struggling with their mental health into services appropriate to their needs.

Western NSW was successful in receiving $1.9 million over two years for a ‘farm gate’ counselling and support program as part of the NSW Government’s Emergency Drought Relief Package.

The program will enable engagement and counselling services to occur at the point of need, providing support for issues related to mental health, drug and alcohol use for those who live in drought-affected areas.

The support team will include a senior counsellor and peer workers and increasing peer workforce within rural communities will assist in reducing stigma associated with mental illness and provide hope to people, demonstrating recovery is possible.

Funding over the next two years will ensure individuals, families and businesses have access to 44,000 hours of crucial mental health support close to home.

For crisis support please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information on mental health services in your community contact the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 or visit for rural mental health information.


Community organisations looking to build new or upgrade current facilities are encouraged to apply for funding from the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants program.

This funding can make a real difference to the local community, either by providing new or improved sporting or cultural facilities, or by protecting local residents in emergency situations.

This year will see the NSW Government complete its commitment to invest $50 million into community infrastructure projects across NSW in four years.

The funding is provided through the Clubgrants Category 3 program, which receives a contribution from registered clubs’ gaming machine profits to benefit local communities.

Funding ranges are $50,000 to $200,000 for arts and culture, $100,000 to $200,000 for emergency preparedness and $100,000 to $300,000 for sport and recreation.

Applications for the current round of Infrastructure Grants are open from 3 to 24 September.

For more information including details on how to apply for grants, visit

Until next week


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