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Matters of State

Monday, May 28, 2018

It was great to have Minister for Tourism & Major Events and Assistant Minister for Skills, Adam Marshall in the electorate last week to launch both TAFE NSW Dubbo Skills Point and the Destination Country and Outback’s Destination Management Plan. The Skills Point program brings with it 14 new jobs for Dubbo, a win for the region. Also as the Tourism industry already employs more than 2,300 people in the electorate, this new Destination Plan is facilitating growth in the region’s visitor economy at a local level.


Two students and a teacher from Dubbo TAFE have been honoured with awards at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards in Mudgee this week.

Congratulations to Pat Doolan recipient of the Aboriginal Elder of the Year award, Belinda Roach who received the Industry Achievement Award for Health, Wellbeing and Community Services and Cody Towell for receiving the Industry Achievement Award for Infrastructure, Energy and Construction.

TAFE NSW is the largest provider of education and training in Australia and the awards this week shows TAFE NSW in this region is providing young people with the best opportunities.

TAFE students are in high demand because of the quality of their education and ability to hit the ground running with relevant and practical skills and I am thrilled to see students and teachers from the local public VET provider, receive these accolades.

The NSW Government is delivering on its vision for a strong and publicly owned VET provider through its One TAFE NSW reforms.

The TAFE NSW students winning these awards demonstrate what is on offer for students if they choose to study at TAFE NSW in the region.

Congratulations again to the winners, and I look forward to seeing even more local TAFE NSW students and teachers recognised in the future.


Last week I also welcomed the agreement between the NSW and Australian Governments, confirming New South Wales’ long-term commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The NDIS Full Scheme Agreement was signed between Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which sets out the ongoing governance and financial arrangements for the NDIS in NSW.

It provides clarity and certainty for people with a disability in the electorate. We’ve been in the transition phase as we implement the NDIS and now NSW has become the first state to reach a long-term agreement with the Commonwealth.

The NDIS represents a doubling of funding for disability services and next year the Commonwealth and NSW Governments will commit more than $6 billion to the NDIS.

We can be proud of this agreement. The NDIS gives people with disability choice and control over the support they receive, helping them to achieve their goals.

More than 84,000 people are already benefitting from the NDIS in NSW.

People in the region can get more information about the rollout of the NDIS in NSW and how to check that they meet the access requirements, at

Until next week,


Matters of State

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hand washing is one of the first lines of defence against the flu,  so to help fight the flu this winter come and collect your free hand sanitiser from my office. More than 650 people died in NSW from influenza last year, so the NSW Government is committed to tackle the flu this season. The message is simple get your flu shot early, cough into your elbow, wash your hands regularly and stay at home if you’re sick.


Three Preschools  in the region will receive up to $7000 to help increase the number of Aboriginal children and disadvantaged children participating in quality early childhood education in the year before school, as part of the NSW Government’s Community Grants program.

Preschools including Mudgee Preschool and Wellington Community Children’s Centre were successful in receiving funding.

Grants like these go a long way in communities across Dubbo and I am proud the Liberals & Nationals are investing in these initiatives that support our community preschools and the families that use these services.

The Community Grants are flexible and preschools can use the funding for specific individual needs, like transport initiatives for remote parts of the electorate, providing regular healthy breakfasts or new equipment like backpacks for children.

This investment is yet another example of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government making early childhood education more accessible for all families across NSW.

Children have so much to gain from participating in quality early education- so programs like this where we can make preschool services more affordable and accessible for families is a no brainer for me.

Since the Start Strong program was introduced the NSW Liberals & Nationals have already seen average daily fees reduced by 25 percent and participation rates increase by a huge 40 per cent, and we are committed to continuing this positive trend.

For more information please visit:


The first cohort of graduates of the teach Rural Scholarship program will commence work in the state’s public schools across regional and remote NSW this month.

The teach Rural program, part of the NSW Government’s $60 million Rural and Remote Education Human Resources Strategy, offers grants to university students in teacher education courses to subsidise their studies on the condition they teach in a public school in regional NSW for at least three years.

Not only does this program give regional students access to top quality educators, it also gives teachers from the city the opportunity to experience all that is great about regional NSW and the benefits of living in a rural community.

Applications for the 2018 round of Teach Rural open on 18 June. Already, 150 NSW public schools are to benefit from the enhanced incentives and initiatives offered to teachers.

For more information, visit

Until next week,


Matters of State

Monday, May 14, 2018

It was a great privilege to attend a ceremony last week at Parliament House that honoured Justices of the Peace (JPs) who’ve attained 50 years of service. I would particularly like to congratulate local resident William Bleechmore, whom has attained this remarkable achievement providing half a century of service as a JP. As a JP Mr Bleechmore has played an important part in the legal system and in our community by helping hundreds of people at key moments in their lives.

I am also pleased to report last week the latest data of labour force indicators and trends across NSW regions became available. The Youth Unemployment rate in the Far West & Orana region was the lowest in the state at 4.8%. With the state average of Youth Unemployment at 10.7%, this is a great result for the Dubbo Electorate and the Orana region.


I am encouraging organisations in the Dubbo electorate to take advantage of the NSW Government’s 2018 Grandparents Day event grants, to show grandparents and seniors how valuable they are to the community.

A share of $200,000 is available for organisations across NSW to host events that engage seniors of all ages and abilities. These events can be held on or around Grandparents Day, to be celebrated on Sunday October 28th this year.

Grandparents are true stars in our community, devoting their time and supporting their families and friends near and far.

Last year the NSW Government doubled the amount of funding available, giving organisations more opportunities to deliver better quality events that reach more local residents.

I encourage local businesses, schools and councils in the region to start thinking about what valuable experiences they can offer grandparents and seniors to say thanks for all that they do.

More than 200,000 grandparents in our state give almost 13 hours of unpaid, informal care for children each week and we don’t want this selfless service to go unnoticed.

Applications for the 2018 NSW Grandparents Day event grants program are open until midday on Friday 15th of June 2018.

For the criteria, or to apply, visit


Last week was Privacy Awareness Week (PAW), each year it takes on greater significance as technology evolves and people place more personal information online.

As we conduct an increasing amount of business and socialising online, we must be vigilant about reviewing social media privacy settings, choosing complex passwords and taking care when using public computers to access personal information.

PAW reminded us of the importance of safeguarding our privacy, particularly as new technology enables faster and easier collection, analysis and sharing of information.

The NSW Government is aware of the need for legislation to evolve with technology in our rapidly changing world.

For more information about privacy protection, visit

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, May 07, 2018

It was a busy week back at State Parliament catching up on everything that has happened over the past few weeks while I’ve been in Papua New Guinea. I am also pleased to announce that the 2018 round of the Community Building Partnership funding Program is open for applications from Monday May 7th until Friday 15th of June, injecting $330,000 into our local region for community infrastructure projects across NSW.  I encourage all councils and eligible community groups in the Narromine, Mid-Western Regional and Dubbo Regional local government areas to apply. For more information visit


As everyone knows an integrated cancer centre is being built in Dubbo as part of the on-going redevelopment of Dubbo Hospital. This vital piece of infrastructure will be the first of its kind outside of the Sydney metropolitan area and will include a new state of the art PET CT scanner. This technology has the ability to detect cancer earlier than other imaging tests, and as we all know, the early detection of cancer is critical to its successful treatment.

The cancer centre will also include an increase in chemotherapy chairs to 16 and a bunker for radiation therapy.

The NSW Government is 100% committed to improving health services across the state and the Dubbo electorate has been a huge beneficiary of this. The NSW and Commonwealth Governments just last week joined forces to announce the $41 million in funding cancer research to help apply cutting-edge science to detect, diagnose and treat cancers. The NSW Government is investing $21 million in the project.

The joint investment will support a world-first proteomics project, ProCan, at the Westmead Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI).

The project is analysing and measuring thousands of proteins simultaneously in cancers, and using advance techniques to learn how to predict the most effective treatments for individual cancers.

The NSW Government is proud to support the CMRI and the ProCon project that will support the work to ultimately crack the cancer code. This will also boost NSW’s international competitiveness and reputation for being at the forefront of research and innovation.


A transformational criminal justice reform designed to deliver swifter justice to victims and the community has begun in NSW.

These tough and smart reforms encourage serious offenders to enter early appropriate guilty pleas, enabling victims to get on with their lives and police to return to front line duties.

The $93 million reforms will accelerate the wheels of justice and help ease pressure on the District Court’s backlog of criminal cases.

Funding for the reforms will enable senior lawyers to manage criminal cases from start to finish, prosecutors to certify the most appropriate charges based on earlier delivery of relevant evidence while the matter is still in the Local Court and mandatory criminal case conferencing between parties to resolve more matters before they’re committed to a higher court.

The NSW Government is investing heavily in Legal Aid and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to facilitate continuity of senior legal representation throughout the case. Additionally we are also expanding our network of audio-visual link facilities in prisons and Legal Aid offices to support the increased demand for case conferencing.

Justice agencies including Legal Aid NSW, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Commonwealth DPP and the NSW Police Force have been trained on the application of the new reforms, as have private legal practitioners and the Aboriginal Legal Service.

The reforms will be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure they are working effectively.  The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research will also carry out a review.

Until next week


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