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Matters of State

Monday, April 30, 2018

Last week I had the honour and privilege to spend time paying my respects to every single grave at the Bomana War Cemetery, an emotional and sombre way to end the NSW Police Legacy Kokoda 2018 Trek. At the dawn service I was also enormously honoured to be laying a wreath for the NSW Government and NSW Police Force where we also honoured the 5 NSW Police Officers who served State and Nation and lay in this cemetery. We remembered with pride all their courage and character that delivers us the freedoms and lifestyles we enjoy today but also how they helped shape the character for which our nation is now renowned.


I would like to express my congratulations to the 234 NSW Police recruits who were formally sworn in at the Police Academy in Goulburn last week and thank them for their extraordinary commitment to the safety and security of the people of NSW.

There will be 5 new recruits in the Central West/ Orana Mid-Western area.

Becoming a police officer is a tremendous honour, however it can be an extremely challenging and demanding profession.

Having recently completed eight months training at the Police Academy, the new officers will continue to receive on the job training under the guidance of experienced police to ensure they are adequately prepared for this important new role.

On behalf of the local communities, I thank the latest crop of men and women in blue for joining one of the proudest organisations in the state and look forward to seeing more boots on the ground.

The NSW Government is committed to increasing the authorised strength of the NSW Police Force to a record 16,795 over this term, and we have achieved that and more.

As a community, we turn to the police in our worst hour and expect them to stand in harm’s way to prevent criminal activity.

While these probationary constables will undoubtably face many challenges during their time in the force, they will be rewarded with the knowledge they have solved major crimes, brought criminals to justice, and given closure to victims and their families.

Class 333 brings the number of sworn officers through the Goulburn Police Academy to 4,596 since 2011.


The NSW Government has allocated more than $40 million for Ability Links, a program helping people with disabilities connect to the community.

Ensuring people with a disability are supported in the early stages of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is priority for the NSW Government.

This Government takes its responsibility of supporting some of the more vulnerable members of our society seriously and will continue to fund Ability Links over the next year.

Ability Links is a fantastic program, empowering people with disability, their families and carers to achieve their goals and build their future.

Staff, known as Linkers, work with people with disabilities to connect them to a number of opportunities including employment, volunteering and education.

Under the program, there will be 295 Linker positions across NSW including 74 Aboriginal- specific Linkers.

Since 2013, thousands of people with disability, their families and carers have benefitted from the program, providing more than 129,000 service connections and more than 1 million community connections.

Under the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government, more than 86,000 people with a disability have successfully transitioned to the NDIS.

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, April 23, 2018

I am urging everyone to attend their local ANZAC day services on Wednesday to commemorate the 103rd Anniversary of the ANZAC spirit. ANZAC day is one of the best ways we can honour the memory of our military’s men and women, from all wars and conflicts, whose efforts and sacrifices have secured the future and safety of this great country.


Last week the NSW Government announced $270,000 in funding to support free specialist perinatal psychological counselling via video call for parents in regional and remote NSW who are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety.

It can be difficult to access mental health support services when living in remote and regional areas and the NSW Government is committed to changing that.

Families in remote areas don’t always have the same access to mental health services as those in the cities, and that is why the Start Talking Program is so important- to assist parents living in regional areas who may be in need of psychological support.

Parents in the Dubbo electorate will now have access to specialist perinatal and infant mental health services, via video call.

Perinatal Depression and Anxiety (PNDA) is a condition commonly experienced by women during pregnancy and the year following the birth of the baby. New fathers are also vulnerable to PNDA.

I am so proud that mental health services are being improved in this region and the NSW Government is backing this initiative.

Parents who are living in regional NSW and experiencing symptoms of PNDA will no longer have to experience the inconvenience, time and expense of traveling long distances to access the support they need.

The NSW Government funding will help facilitate up to seven one-hour video call sessions per client with a trained psychologist, as part of the client’s GP- referred Mental Health Plan.

For more information please visit or telephone 1300 851 758.


I am encouraging sustainability leaders in the region to nominate for the 19th Green Globe Awards, celebrating leadership, commitment and innovation in sustainability across NSW.

These leading environmental awards honour people and projects towards sustainability across all sectors in NSW.

The Green Globe Awards showcase a range of business, local organisations and individuals who are setting the standard for environmental action in our community.

You can nominate yourself or others working on sustainability in any sector from fashion to food, built environment to biodiversity.

The awards encourage a diverse range of entries for 10 categories and will be judged by a panel of independent experts and presented at a gala awards night on 4th October 2018.

Nominations are now open until 5pm on 8th June. To enter your project, organisation or nominate as an individual, go to

Until next week


Matters of State

Friday, April 13, 2018

I would like to offer Dubbo local Jillian Kilby my congratulations on her fantastic win at the AgriFutures Australia 2018 NSW-ACT Rural Women’s Award. I look forward to seeing Ms Kilby continue to shine a light on regional business and prosper as a leader in our community.

I was also pleased to make two major funding announcements last week. Narromine Council have received nearly $180,000 for CCTV cameras in the town centre, a great boost to security for the town and Minister for Racing Paul Toole and I presented $240,000 for the construction of an Adventure Playground in Gulgong.  This will be a great asset for Gulgong and the surrounding community.


In your letter boxes this week you should be receiving an Anzac brochure to celebrate the spirit of the Anzac.

Sacrifice, mateship, courage and endurance- they’re all qualities our soldiers forged on the battlefields a century ago and are still relevant today as Australia’s military personnel uphold the time honoured ANZAC tradition.

Last week I was privileged to join 14 of my fellow trekkers at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway in Sydney. It was a hugely moving event and put the size of the challenge and the contribution of our diggers who fought and died for our country into perspective.

Wreaths were laid to remember the sacrifices of the fallen and a moment of silence was observed. I have always held our diggers in high regard but my respect for those who served our country has only increased.

I’m looking forward to learning more about their incredible contribution and following in the footsteps of our courageous soldiers at Kokoda over the coming weeks.


Frontline staff caring for people in the community who live with severe mental illness will receive specialised training to improve the care experience for consumers and their families.

The NSW Government will invest $800,000 over the next two years in a new scholarship program for staff who work for non-government organisations (NGOs)

Expanding the availability of community based supports is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to a 10 year reform of mental health care, and a skilled workforce is essential to delivering this.

Our NGO network play a crucial part in helping people who live with mental illness experience a better quality of life by offering specialised assistance.

The Mental Health NGO Workforce Scholarship program will fund up to 300 scholarships to enable NGO staff to study either a Certificate IV in Mental Health or a Diploma in Mental Health.

NGOs in regional, rural and remote parts of NSW will be targeted to ensure staff everywhere across the State have access to mental health training.

Further information on the scholarship application process will be available to participating NGOs in the coming months.

Until next week


Matters of State

Friday, April 06, 2018

After a relaxing Easter weekend with the family, it was a busy week in the electorate which included the release of the first images of the new $70.2 million Mudgee Hospital, the design team have done a superb job on the plans for what will become a state of the art hospital catering for the health needs to the mid-western region into the future. Early works will start mid-year with construction works to kick off before Christmas.  I also spent a day in Wellington visiting the new Service NSW centre which opened last Friday and meeting the team, a great asset for the community.


The SafeWork NSW awards for 2018 are now open for nominations.

Now in their 15th year, the awards recognise individuals and organisations which have shown exceptional commitment to health, safety and return to work practices in NSW.

The awards cover six categories and are open to any NSW business, individual or not-for-profit organisation.

These awards give us an opportunity to recognise workplaces that are putting their employees first, and setting a great example for other organisations.

SafeWork does an outstanding job helping to protect workers across the state but at the end of the day, workplace health and safety is everyone’s responsibility.

This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who has improved safety in their workplace through innovation, forward thinking and positive change to be recognised.

Winning a SafeWork Award can have a direct and dramatic impact on your business, clearly differentiating you from competitors and providing a real competitive advantage when seeking or retaining customers.

Award categories include excellence in workplace health and safety culture (small or large business), best solution to an identified workplace health and safety issue (small or large business), best individual contribution to workplace safety, excellence in recovery to work for business, recovery at work achievement award for injured workers and SafeWork NSW leadership in safety.

Visit for information on the entry process, award categories and prizes. Entries close Friday, 22 June 2018. Winners will be announced on 25 October.

For further information on the 2018 SafeWork NSW Awards, visit the website or email


Small businesses and their staff will now have access to free business skills training thanks to a new $30 million NSW Government initiative aimed at helping small businesses grow and thrive.

The new Skills for Business program meant local companies and their staff could undertake free TAFE NSW qualifications in subjects including digital and financial literacy, cybersecurity and general business management.

This initiative is all about giving small business owners the very best chance of not staying in business, but taking their business to the next level.

Running a small business can be incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly tough, and this is an opportunity for those small business owners and their staff to upskill in an area of need, for free!

For more information visit:

Until next week,


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