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Matters of State

Friday, March 30, 2018

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing long weekend over Easter. Last week I had the pleasing task of officially opening the Lions Pride Land at the Dubbo Zoo with Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Gabrielle Upton. The $9 million joint investment between the NSW Government and Taronga Conservation Society Australia is the largest investment in an animal exhibit in the Zoo’s history, it is simply spectacular. I was also happy to present the 2018 volunteer awards to eight deserving locals recognising their service to the community.


I’m thrilled to announce that the NSW Government’s investment into recently completed or underway regional infrastructure projects has tipped over to $16 billion this financial year.

$16 billion is an enormous milestone and we are incredible proud to share what we have been working on to get here.

This is why the NSW Government have developed a new website called ‘Our Regions’ that will give communities across NSW, a chance to learn more about these projects and incentives happening in their own backyard.

With a simple click on the Our Regions interactive map, you can access details about projects recently wrapped up or about to get underway. Community members can click on this map to see where the project is located, which stage it is at and how much has been invested by the NSW Government.

This includes information about the $70.2 million redevelopment of Mudgee Hospital, the $10.1 million Dubbo specialist school and everything in between.

What’s more, the our regions website highlights other ways we are making a difference for communities in regional NSW through initiatives that aim to reduce domestic and family violence and services that aim to grow healthier communities.

I urge you to take a look and see for yourselves, visit


I am calling on residents to nominate local seniors, who make a positive impact in the community for a 2018 NSW Seniors Festival Local Achievement Award.

The awards are a wonderful way to showcase the talents and contributions of seniors living in the region, as part of the special 60th Anniversary celebrations of the popular NSW Seniors Festival.

Seniors make a real difference to local families, recreational groups, businesses and organisations and we want to celebrate them.

I am sure everyone knows an older person who deserves to be recognised, so I encourage you to nominate them and show them how much they are appreciated for all they do.

The NSW Seniors Festival Local Achievement Awards are a special way in which every community can thank local seniors for their hard work, skills and generosity.

Winners of the NSW Seniors Festival Local Achievement Awards will be announced on the 10th of April 2018.

For further details on how to nominate senior contact the Dubbo electorate office on 68823577.

The 2018 NSW Seniors Festival runs from Wednesday 4th to Sunday 15th of April. For more information on exciting events in the region, Sydney and across the state in the coming weeks, visit

Until next week


Matters of State

Friday, March 23, 2018

I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter and a safe and enjoyable long weekend. Double Demerits will be in place from the 29th of March until the 2nd of April, and with 88 people unfortunately having already lost their lives this year on NSW roads I urge everyone to please think twice before breaking the road rules this long weekend.


Minister for Early Education and Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell and I announced in Dubbo last week that Aboriginal children across NSW will benefit from a new program targeting the quality enhancement of Aboriginal early childhood services.

The NSW Government’s Quality Support program was developed following close consultation with the sector and aims to identify and address challenges faced by Aboriginal services across the state.

Minister Mitchell expressed that this program is delivering what the sector expects and children and families deserve.

The Quality Support program is yet another way the NSW Government is ensuring all families, regardless of their background, have access to top quality early childhood education services for their children.

This is also a fantastic opportunity for Aboriginal services to come together and discuss how Aboriginal culture has been embedded to everyday practice at their service. It is absolutely vital for Aboriginal children across the state to have a strong sense of culture and heritage and this program will support that.

Aboriginal services with exemplary ratings and compliance history will be delivering sessions to showcase how Aboriginal culture has successfully been integrated to pedagogy at their services. These sessions will then be translated into a series of guides for services to keep and refer to.

The NSW Department of Education will also work directly alongside identified Aboriginal services to ensure they are meeting quality standards. Support will include visits, training, online follow-up, telephone support and additional resources to boost quality.

Sessions will be held in Wellington as well as Sydney, Newcastle, Mogo, Lismore, Walgett, Griffith and Kempsey.


I also have the privilege last week to present some more Community Building Partnership funding to local community groups to help improve local facilities at Dubbo’s South Dubbo Oval and the Dubbo Model Railway Club.

South Dubbo Oval was presented with $15,440 for two new grandstands to be built for the viewing of junior, women’s and men’s sport with room to expand for more seating.

Whilst the Dubbo Model Railway Club accepted $10,517 which will be used to replace their kitchen including, sink, storage cupboards and benchtops. As well as replacing the floor coverings, sewer line and existing stormwater line to an external pit.

Congratulations to these two deserving groups that are putting this funding to good use. The applications for the 2018 round of the Community Building Partnership fund will be opening in May.

Until next week


Matters of State

Friday, March 16, 2018

It was an eventful week in State Parliament and the electorate where I had the opportunity to present cheques to Narromine Shire Council for over $1.5 million and Mid-Western Regional Council for over $1.7 million from round two of the NSW Government Stronger Country Communities fund. As well as attending the opening of the Impatient Unit as part of stage 3 of the Dubbo hospital and the launch of the NSW Local Health District Disability Inclusion Plan.


The NSW Government-funded whooping cough vaccine for pregnant woman has reduced the chance of infants with the illness being hospitalised by 94%.

A NSW Health study showed that the $6 million the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has spent so far to provide free whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine since March 2015 had been a great success.

Not a single child has died from whooping cough since the NSW Government introduced a free whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women.

We have invested $22.75 million in NSW immunisation programs in 2017-18. We are committed to protecting babies and young children in this state from potentially deadly, vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The Australian-first study, published in the journal Vaccine, included 234 infants from NSW, half of whom had contracted the highly contagious respiratory disease.

I am urging all pregnant women to the whooping cough vaccine, which is free and easily accessible from GPs, antenatal clinics and Aboriginal medical services.

Whooping cough vaccines are given to children at six weeks, four months, six months and 18 months under the Commonwealth’s National Immunisation Program, followed by boosters at four and 12 years of age.

On average, 1500 children under 5 years have had whooping cough in NSW each year since 2009. This sadly includes four infant fatalities, the last in August 2014.


I applaud the major improvements in Dubbo crime rates following the addition of new crime squads and police in the region under the re-engineering of the NSW Police Force.

Although as a community there is still crime challenges, the latest Bureau of Crime and Statistics and Research report illustrates we are moving in the right direction.

I would like to commend the outstanding work of police in the Orana-Mid Western Police District for making inroads into a number of major offences, and praise the determination of officers.

Significant drops of up to 41% were recorded across a number of crime categories including break and enters, motor vehicle lefts and stealing from a dwelling or person.

The community should be more confident than ever the new policing structure for regional NSW will ensure high-quality, targeted services to our region.

Until next week


Matters of State

Friday, March 09, 2018

It was a great privilege to attend the 2018 NSW Women of the Year Awards on International Women’s Day last week. A big congratulation goes to Dubbo local Juliet Duffy who was named the REX Airline Regional Woman of the Year for her role as founder of consultancy Regional Enviroscience and her mentorship of young female science graduates, a wonderful achievement.


With the impact of pest animals on primary production and our environment having the potential to be so severe, I am encourage the community to have their say on the management of pest animals.

The draft regional strategic pest animal plans have been developed and are currently on public exhibition.

The plans identify pest animals risk present in each region, set regional pest animal management priorities and provide for the coordinated management of pest animals within and across Local Land Service regions.

The plans have been developed collaboratively through regional pest animal committees and alongside Local Land Service, to establish strategies and actions to achieve goals that focus on shared responsibility for pest animal management.

The current consultation period is an opportunity for land managers, organisations and interested community members to provide feedback on the management of pest animals in their region.

It is vital these plans are developed with the community to ensure a strong and responsive pest animal risk management that is outcomes focused and based on regional priorities.

Anyone who has a concern about pest animal management is encouraged to comment on the draft plans. Visit to read through your regional plan and submit feedback.

The plan will be on public exhibition until Friday 20 April 2018.


I am urging employers, group training organisations and vocational trainers in the region to nominate deserving apprentices for the 2018 NSW Training Awards.

I want to make sure our best apprentices are recognised for their skills and efforts and given a chance to compete at the prestigious NSW Training Awards in September.

Training an apprentice, trainee or student for their future career is both exciting and rewarding and nominating an individual or organisation for an award will show your pride in their achievements and your commitment to their training.

Students can be nominated if they complete or are due to complete their apprenticeship or traineeship between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

VET should be a front runner when it comes to student career choices as it allows graduates to get into work sooner, get higher pay in a shorter time frame, and train for jobs that are predicted to have the greatest growth over the next five years.

More and more students, parents and teachers are realising that VET is a credible alternative to university for securing a well-paying, quality job.

Lodge nominations now at

Nominations for the awards will close on Friday, 16th March.

Until next week


Matters of State

Friday, March 02, 2018

With NSW Women’s Week on the horizon it is with great delight I congratulate local Wellington Showgirl, Geena Purcell for making history, being the first showgirl candidate ever to be selected to represent Wellington at the showgirl finals at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in the coming weeks.


I am also happy to announce local Jillian Kilby from Dubbo is a finalist for the 2018 NSW-ACT AgriFutures Rural Woman’s Award. I am extremely proud that Ms Kilby who lives and works in our community, has been selected as a finalist in this prestigious award.

The award identifies and supports rural women who have the ambition, commitment and leadership potential to make a greater contribution to our regions.

Ms Kilby’s project is to improve the commercial success of start- ups by increasing the capability, capacity and confidence of regional business owners.

Ms Kilby said the bursary would go towards developing the business concept and include conducting a Regional Start-ups Insight Study. The project lives within a bigger eco system to develop more effective space and service for new and growing business owners within Dubbo and the wider catchment.

The award winner will be announced in April at Parliament House, Sydney.

The winner of the 2018 NSW-ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will receive a bursary of $10,000 along with the professional development opportunities. The three remaining finalists will receive a $1000 Department of Primary Industries Leadership Bursary for skills and leadership development.

The finalists will join a vibrant NSW-ACT Alumni group of over 40 past Award winners and finalists committed to making a difference to regional communities and primary industries.   


This week I have also had the privilege of presenting much needed funds to community infrastructure projects in Wellington, Stuart Town and Mumbil under the NSW Government Community Building Partnership Program.

The aim of the funding is to create more vibrant and inclusive communities and deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes.

Wellington PCYC was presented with $5000 to build large storage cupboards for archery supplies and other equipment. Wellington Golf Club was successful in receiving $24,000 worth of funding for a new roof line.

The Stuart Town Advancement Association has received two grants under the NSW Government initiative. $6737 to construct a new disability approved ramp and construction of safety railings around the verandah, providing direct ramp access to the centre and $15,000 was presented for repairing and painting the exterior walls of the Ironbarks Creative Arts Centre.

The Mumbil Advancement Association was presented $32,208 for the construction of a fully furnished and equipped iron clad building at the existing oval.

Until next week


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