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Matters of State

Monday, August 27, 2018

What a fantastic turn out to the Dubbo Stampede on Sunday, where I had the privilege of presenting the first place winners of the Cheetah Chase and the Wallaby Wheel. Congratulations to all involved in organising the event and all the participants braving the much needed rain.


The Dubbo electorate will get its fair share of the State’s rapidly growing tourism pie with the NSW Government announcing the State’s first regional tourism target to double the current spend, last week.

The NSW Government would work with industry to reach an ambitious target of $20 billion in visitor expenditure in rural and regional NSW by 2025, rising to $25 billion in 2030.

A regional tourism target is great news for our local tourism operators and other businesses including accommodation providers, restaurants, hotels and retailers, who all benefit from more visitors coming to town.

This is a win for local economies across the region, especially during the current drought conditions where tourism is an important measure to keep the local economy stimulated.

We want international tourists flying into Sydney and heading out to rural and regional NSW, rather than flying to Melbourne or Brisbane.

A tourism target for rural and regional NSW is our commitment to local operators, business, pubs, cafes and hotels that the NSW Government will ensure everyone gets a fair share of the State’s tourism boom.

The regional target will be supported by a range of initiatives by the NSW Government to encourage greater visitation to rural and regional NSW.

This includes increased funding for marketing campaigns, more rural and regional events, improved tourism infrastructure and measures to address skills shortages in the tourism and hospitality sectors.


Consumers are set to save big on time and money, and have disputes with businesses resolved quicker thanks to new Fair Trading powers.

The fair Trading Legislation Amendment (Consumer Guarantee Directors) Bill, granting the new powers passed the NSW Parliament.

The Government’s reform will give the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner the power to direct a business to repair, replace or refund a good.

This means fair, quick and cheap resolutions for consumers and businesses, and will be alternative to the often costly process of courts and tribunals.

Consumers were often confused about their rights and disputes still accounted for more than 20% of legal programs experienced by people in NSW.

The 2016 Australian Consumer Survey also found 76% of people reported a problem within the first six months of purchasing a good.

If a resolution is still not possible, rather than the case going to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or being dropped, consumers can now seek a direction that the trader repair, replace refund the good.

This is about enhancing Fair Trading’s existing powers to get the very best outcome for the region, consumers and give business certainty around their obligations under Australian Consumer Law.

This is a big win for consumers in the region, and will help ensure they get the fair go they deserve in the marketplace, with the reforms taking effect from January 1, 2019.

For more information on the criteria, visit

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, August 20, 2018

The past two weeks were very busy back at Parliament catching up with my colleagues after the winter break. It was also great to get out in the Electorate last week, I had a chance to visit Lue and meet with the locals there.


The region will see four new officers patrolling the streets and attending to incidents, following today’s Police attestation parade of Class 334.

The four new probationary constables will soon begin duties and embark on their new policing career.

I attended the graduation ceremony last week and congratulated the new recruits on graduating from the Goulburn Police Academy after more than eight months of training and university- level education.

Community safety is of paramount importance and I am absolutely thrilled to welcome the new probationary constables to the region.

Becoming a sworn police officer is a tremendous honour. The mere presence of a blue uniform puts our minds at ease, however it also comes with enormous challenges.

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

I commend our newest officers on making the decision to put the community’s safety above their own and joining one of the proudest organisations in the state.

As the Minister fir Police I am proud the Liberals & Nationals Government 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.


Anyone who incites or threatens violence against people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex or HIV/AIDS status in NSW will now face up to three years in prison, under new laws that came into force last week.

The legislation creates a new offence in the Crimes Act of publicity threatening or inciting violence against people on the grounds of race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex or HIV/AIDS status.

These laws will send a strong and clear message to people who think it’s acceptable to incite violence against people because they belong to a particular group.

The new offence carries a maximum three year sentence and a fine of $11,000 or $55,000 in the case of a corporation. It replaces and improves existing offences in the Anti-Discrimination Act.


Tenants who damage public housing and those convicted of rental fraud will face new sanctions and eviction under a bill passed last week by the NSW Government.

The Bill, which amends the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Housing Act 2001, would lead to a fairer, safer and more financially sustainable social housing system.

The Bill also gives the Government the power to make tenants who have caused significant damage to their public housing property pay a rental bond. This will not apply to tenants who do the right thing.

Tenants that wreck their properties, or receive a benefit that they do not deserve are disadvantaging those genuinely in need.

This Bill will ensure that the Government can take appropriate action against the small minority of tenants who do not value their property.

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, August 13, 2018

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are becoming increasingly present in our rural communities and households due to the drought creating uncertainty for the future, increasing the vulnerability of families across the region and NSW. So it was great last week to see some positivity around mental health when nearly 100 bike riders took off from Dubbo for the Black Dog’s ride to Darwin. This fantastic initiative is raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention present in all walks of life in the local communities that they will travel through between Dubbo and Darwin, congratulations to all involved.


I am encouraging local businesses to register their interest in mentoring and building vocational skills in young people to help divert them away from crime and into education and employment opportunities.

The new RISEUP program was developed personally by NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller APM and will run state-wide in partnership with Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) and local businesses.

The program is designed to help disengaged 15 to 18 year olds remain on the right side of the law and have a bright working future.

This initiative has the potential to make a real difference in a young person’s life.

The RISEUP program links young people with employers to receive real-life, on the job training in the workforce, and includes workshops on leadership, relationship-building, and practical education to boost numeracy and literacy.

As a community it is vital that we work with vulnerable teens so they can develop into thriving, civic-minded individuals.

I am delighted that out community has the chance to be involved in this extremely worthwhile initiative and help boost the employment prospects of our local young people.

As the Minister for Police I am proud the PCYC and NSW Police Force do such remarkable work engaging young people in sport and recreational activities and diverting them away from a life of crime.

RISEUP builds on this success, developing teenagers’ vocational skills, connecting them with business and increasing their self-esteem to take their life in a positive direction.

For more information, please visit


Reducing homelessness is a priority for the NSW Government which has committed $1 billion for homelessness services over the next four years to support new and existing initiatives.

This includes $61 million in new funding over the next four years to implement the NSW Homelessness Strategy, which features more early intervention and extra tailored support to help people to maintain their tenancies.

We are acting early to prevent homelessness, working hard to assist rough sleepers into family accommodation and providing the necessary support to address the underlying causes of homelessness.

Secure and stable accommodation is a key element to breaking the cycle of disadvantaged and helping people reach their full potential.

Providing a person with secure housing and tailored support which meets their needs can help to restore dignity and sets them on a positive path.

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, August 06, 2018

With 99 per cent of the state now in drought and our farmers facing one of the driest winters on record, I welcomed the Government’s Emergency Drought Relief Package last week. This is the land of drought and flooding rains, and sadly this drought is taking its toll with many famers and the local rural communities facing extreme financial and emotional pressure.

A major feature of this package is the introduction of transport subsidies, this measure recognising the fact that many people have been forced to cart fodder, since the beginning of the year. Waivers will also apply on Local Land Services annual rates, fixed charges on water licenses, registration costs for class 1 agricultural vehicles and interest for existing Farm Innovation Fund loans.

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority will begin processing applications from Monday August 6.

For more information on drought relief visit


Farmers can now access grants for the construction of cattle underpasses beneath public roads and the installation of warning signs and flashing lights, to reduce the risk to producers and motorists.

Underpasses remove the need for cattle to cross roads, improving safety for farmers, the farmer’s family, employees and motorists, and lifting farm productivity.

This investment delivers on a commitment from the NSW Liberals and Nationals as part of a Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Farmers Association to improve farm and road safety.

Along with the productivity boost for producers, the scheme will reduce hazards for motorists.

Every application received will be assessed against eligibility criteria listed in the Cattle Underpass Scheme guidelines.

Applications close on 31 October 2018 and will be considered in the order in which they are received.

For more information go to


Public school students in years 5 to 12 across the region will learn about the importance of resilience, service and inclusion as part of an initiative helping to share the spirit of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

The Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Education Project was launched by the NSW Government last week.

The Games are a unique educational opportunity to focus on inclusivity, mental health, physical health and resilience. The Games promote service to the community and they should encourage the community to think deeply about the service and sacrifices that defence personnel make every day.

The chance to secure tickets for students from stages three to stage six to attend the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 is available to all NSW public schools.

All students particularly those living in rural communities, will have the opportunity to take part in activities remotely via online curriculum resources, virtual excursions and other interaction opportunities for participation.

Not only will it allow kids in the region to be involved in the Games, but it will give teachers an opportunity to offer a unique learning experience as the state commemorates the Centenary of Anzac.

The initiative will promote NSW syllabus outcomes, completing the curriculum in various areas of study including PDHPE, English and History. It will include a new history resource aimed at deepening student appreciation of Australia’s military service.

Until next week


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