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Matters of State

Monday, September 03, 2018

After months and months of waiting I was very pleased to hear that the Mudgee Return and Earn machine is finally up and running at Jubilee Park, thank you to the community for your patience. In Dubbo more than eight million containers have been returned to the two reverse vending machines at the Delroy Park Shops and Victoria Park and another two million to the reverse vending machine in Wellington. Return and Earn is the state’s largest litter reduction initiative and it already having a positive impact with the latest litter figures showing that eligible container little volume has dropped 33% since November 2017.


I am encouraging the community to apply for the enhanced multicultural grants program.

The NSW Government is investing more money into multicultural festivals and events that celebrate our local communities and bring us together.

One of the best ways to celebrate our diversity, experience new cultures and forge new connections is to attend the many festivals and events held in our local community.

Applications are now open for up to $10,000 to support our local festivals and events and I encourage all eligible community organisations to apply.

Multicultural NSW event grants have previously supported community Harmony Day celebrations, art, music and film festivals and sporting events.

Celebrating Diversity event grants are now open and will close 5pm Friday, 28 September 2018.

For more information about the Multicultural NSW Grants Program, and to apply for the events go to


Our emergency service workers are out there every day protecting and keeping us safe. Our police, fire fighters, ambulance officers, emergency and rescue volunteers do difficult and dangerous work for our community.

That’s why we announced a new road rule, in April, requiring all motorists to slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles displaying blue or red flashing lights.

The new rule commenced on Saturday the 1st of September and will be trialled for 12 months.

The new rule applies to motorists when an emergency vehicle is stopped and has its red or blue lights flashing.

In addition to slowing to 40km/h, motorists will be required to give way to any person on foot in the immediate vicinity of the emergency vehicle and not increase their speed until they are at a sufficient distance past the vehicle so as not to cause a danger to any person in the vicinity.

Motorists who ignore the rule will face a $448 fine and loss of 3 demerit points.

A community education and communication campaign has been rolled out across NSW. The campaign includes television, radio, and social media advertising and will continue after to reinforce driver awareness.

The new rule provides certainty for drivers about how they should behave when emergency vehicles are stationary on the road and displaying blue and red flashing lights.

Until next week


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


Matters of State

Monday, July 30, 2018

I was delighted that three businesses in the region have secured over $2.8 million in grant funding from the NSW Government’s Disability Sector Scale-Up program last week. Royal Far West, MacKillop Rural Community and the Centre for Disability Services received the funding to help them make the most of the NDIS rollout.


More local seniors will be set to hit the courts and sporting fields in the coming months, as a further three sporting codes offer modified rules for players over 65 years of age.

The NSW Government is investing an additional $100,000 to get Basketball, Softball and Table Tennis NSW on board with a modified program, whilst also expanding the successful pilot with Football NSW.

Sport has the power to create community spirit and it is important that all members of our community can join in, regardless of their age.

I encourage all seniors in our community to participate in a modified sport so they can enjoy the benefits of physical activity and social interaction.

Since May 2017, the NSW Government has provided $200,000 to six sporting codes to implement modified sporting programs for NSW seniors.

For more information or to register, please contact the sporting associations below or visit


Adolescents, adults and their families and friends in the region will have better access to mental health support for personality disorders, as staff in the Western NSW Local Health District are set to receive more training about the condition.

The extra training is part of the NSW Government’s further investment of $5.5 million in the Project Air Strategy.

This is great news for people in the region who live with a personality disorder and it is great news for those close to them who are often impacted and need support too.

There are young people in our community who need this specialised treatment and I’m very pleased that project Air will continue to help people with more booster training for our staff and the opportunity for them to join the newly established ‘Air Academy’.

The Project Air Strategy ensures earlier diagnoses of a personality disorder while also reducing the time spent in hospital due to access to more tailored treatments. Today’s announcement will help the strategy expand to all health districts in NSW.

The NSW Government’s overall investment in the Project Air Strategy will now be more than $11 million since 2011.

There are several types of personality disorders including borderline, antisocial, narcissistic and obsessive-compulsive, with treatment often involving evidence-based psychological therapy to help the person understand their feelings and improve their relationships.

People experiencing a personality disorder represent about 25 per cent of mental health presentations to emergency departments and admissions to the State mental health inpatient units.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support phone Lifeline 13 11 14. For more information about Project Air Strategy and for resources about personality disorders visit

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, July 23, 2018

With the mercury dropping below -7 degrees in some areas of the Dubbo electorate last week remember to be safe as the winter weather really settles in. Winter is the worst time of the year for fires and as the mercury continues to drop it is important households take care when using heaters and electric blankets and never get complacent when preparing food in the kitchen. Every household should have a fire escape plan that is written down and practiced regularly and remember that in the case of an emergency to: Get Out, Stay Out and Call Triple Zero (000).


Sporting Clubs in the Dubbo electorate are eligible to apply for the Local Sport Defibrillator Grant Program, with the NSW Government providing life-saving technology to people experiencing cardiac emergencies.

The program commenced in 2017 and provides grants to community sport clubs for half the cost of purchase and maintenance of an Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

Access to defibrillators in sporting clubs increases the chance of survival by up to 75% for patients experiencing cardiac arrest.

For many of our residence, access to a defibrillator could be the difference between life and death.

Across the state, the NSW Government will aim to provide more than 2,500 life-saving defibrillators to local communities and I strongly urge eligible local clubs to consider applying.

Clubs receive 50% towards the funding and maintenance of the defibrillator, with clubs in NSW’s Far West region set to benefit from a 75% co-contribution from the program.

Applications close 14 September 2018.

Details about applications and eligibility can be found at


Charities in rural and regional NSW that receive food supplies from NSW & ACT (foodbank), will no longer have to pay a transport fee per delivery after the NSW Government committed $630,000 to bring regional charities in line with their counterparts.

Until now charities in regional and remote areas, which use the services of Foodbank, were paying a $50 delivery fee per pallet of food.

This funding support for Foodbank means charities in regional and rural areas will no longer be slugged additional transport fees for the food supplies that feed our most vulnerable.

Charities in regional areas do such critical work so it is important that they are on equal footing to those operating in the city, and aren’t disadvantaged because of their location.

By helping Foodbank in this way, regional charities will now have more money in their pockets to buy more food and in turn deliver food relief for more people in need.

Recent studies show 15% of the Australian population, or 3.6 million people, experience food insecurity in the 12 month period leading into 2017. What’s more, children are the most vulnerable, with 1 in 5 kids experiencing food insecurity over that same period.

This NSW Government support means on average, our regional charity partners will have an extra $150 every week to put towards food supplies, instead of covering transport costs.  

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, July 16, 2018

Thank you for the overwhelming response to the community survey I sent out a few weeks ago. I have never had such a strong response to a survey in my time as Member for Dubbo.

I began reading through them all last week, but don’t worry you still have time to send yours in if you haven’t got around to it yet. Not everyone takes the step to raises an issue or opinion with their MP, surveys are a great way to have your say and make you opinion known.


I am encouraging local business and community groups in the region to share their crime prevention ideas and apply for up to $250,000 in NSW Government funding.

More than $2.6 million is available as part of the $10 million Community Safety Fund which is designed to help locals make their neighbourhoods safer places to live.

Crime has a significant impact on our community, which is why supporting projects that improve safety and reduce anti-social behaviour and reoffending is a great investment.

Local residents understand crime problems. To ensure these problems are best addressed, it is vital for us to have a say in the solution.

The NSW Government is proud to support local projects to help people feel safe and proud of their community because together we can make a difference to reduce crime and fear of crime.

Applications will close on Friday 10th August.

For more information go to


I am calling on local organisations to apply for a share of $200,000 to host events that encourage older people to join or feature in 2019 NSW Seniors Festival events and activities.

Applications are open for Seniors Festival grants with local councils, volunteer groups and community organisations encouraged to apply to show their appreciation for seniors.

We want our seniors to thrive in the community, and the festival provides opportunities for older people to not only enjoy entertainment, but get involved and share their talents with our community.

The 2019 NSW Seniors Festival will run from February 13 to 24 and organisations are encouraged to plan events now, with three funding categories available:

Tier 1 grants of up to $1000 for small-scale local events or activities targeted at community organisations and schools. Tier 2 grants from $1001 to $5000 for local events targeted at larger community organisations and Tier 3 grants from $5001 to $10000 for broader community events targeted at local councils in partnership with organisations and groups.

Grant applications close at 5pm on Friday 10 August.

For further information on how your business or organisation can help celebrate seniors during the festival please visit

Until next week


Matters of State

Monday, July 09, 2018

It was a privilege to have NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian visiting the Dubbo electorate last week. She had the opportunity to spend time Dubbo, Wellington, Gulgong and Mudgee,  the Premier also presented $25,000 to Narromine Council for a scoping study and $10,000 to the Henry Lawson Museum. It was great to see the community spirit in full force in Gulgong with the whole town coming out to meet the Premier.


I am encouraging local sports in the region to apply for the latest round of funding under the NSW Government’s Local Sport Grant Program.

It is a key priority of the NSW Government that everyone has the opportunity to take part in local sport or has access to open space.

Sport is a vital part of our community and I encourage all clubs and councils in the region to apply.

$4.6 million is available across the state for upgrading or creating new sports facilities, new sport programs, community events and projects that improve sports participation.

Local clubs can apply for up to $25,000 to fund individual initiatives, with up to $50,000 set aside for every state electorate.

The Local Sports Grant Program is accepting applications until 24 August 2018.

For more information visit or phone 13 13 02


The time has come again to nominate local carers or organisations supporting carers for the 2018 NSW Carers Awards.

Carers are everyday people in our community. They are family members, friends, neighbours and work colleagues.

I encourage anyone who knows of an exceptional local carer or organisation supporting carers to nominate them for this year’s awards.

The NSW Carers Award recognises the remarkable contribution of unpaid carers, organisations, employers and carer groups from across the state.

Nominations for the NSW Carers Awards close on 10 August 2018. For information about the Awards and how to nominate, please go to


Community organisations looking to build new or upgrade current facilities I am encouraging to apply for funding from the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants Program.

Applications can be submitted for sport and recreation, arts and culture, and emergency preparedness until the 23rd of July.

This funding can make a real difference to the local community, funding ranges are $50,000 to $200,000 for arts and culture, $10,000 to $200,000 for emergency preparedness and $100,000 to $300,000 for sport and recreation.

For more information including details on how to apply, visit

Until next week,


Matters of State

Monday, July 02, 2018

A value cannot be placed on the contribution volunteers make to our communities, they run our charities, sporting clubs and community groups.

It was great to be able to award and thank four local volunteers, Garry Dollison, Brian Wells, Errol Grieve and Phillip Blackman in the Dubbo electorate last week for their long-term and life-long devotion, generosity and community spirit.

Each year thousands of people from across the region readily volunteer their time to help others without asking for anything in return.

Volunteers are committed to supporting important local organisations they’re at the centre of our community and help make it the caring, compassionate and kind-hearted place we know.

While their social contribution is immeasurable, recent analysis from the Productivity Commission values their economic contribution at more than $5 billion each year across NSW.

A great way to give something back to all our amazing volunteers is to say thank you by nominating them for the 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. The awards are organised by the Centre of Volunteering and are the largest formal celebrating of volunteering in Australia.

A regional award ceremony will be held in the Dubbo electorate from August, with a number of special volunteers chosen to represent us at the state ceremony later in the year.

You can nominate your neighbours, colleagues or family members for one of seven award categories.

I congratulate and thank everyone who volunteers in some capacity and encourage others to get involved.

Nominations close on Friday July 13.

To nominate your volunteers got to


I am encouraging community members and sporting groups across the region to have their say on key local strategies developed to improve the delivery and planning of grassroots local sport over the next five years.

The plan will assist local sport participation by providing targeted sports programs and facility development for all community members to enjoy.

This is a great opportunity for locals to have their say, and I encourage everyone to view their plans and give their feedback on what they would like to see prioritised.

Nine Sport and Active Recreation plans have been developed with 30-40 strategies, inclusive of proposed initiatives to different regional areas.

The NSW Government is looking to attract more valued sporting events to regional NSW, plan female-friendly sporting facilities and establish hubs to support multi-purpose sports.

Feedback is invited until Thursday 19 July 2018 at the Office of Sport website:

Until next week


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