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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


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