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Winter Electorate Tour

Friday, July 20, 2012

Floods impact both individuals and communities, having large social, economic, and environmental consequences. That's why I was pleased to travel down south this week to present the community of Cookamidgera near Parkes with a $16,500 cheque from Premier Barry O'Farrell for much needed flood mitigation works. The small yet vibrant community of Cookamidgera has suffered from the intangible cost of flooding over subsequent years. Shortly after the election, the difficulty encountered by the Cookamidgera community over obtaining funds to carry out necessary remedial work was brought to my attention. I have been working behind the scenes since then to try and secure the funding required. Having direct contact to Ministers was a vital factor in being able to access funds for the community. The best part about being in Government is the opportunity to deliver outcomes like this which would not normally be possible. I commend Premier O'Farrell for his interest in the Cookamidgera community.

I'm delighted to see that this part of the electorate has received some long overdue recognition and deserved attention recently. Parkes has had a successful Elvis Festival for some years now and it's pleasing to see that the enthusiasm has caught on elsewhere with Trundle hosting its first ABBA festival. Participants brought with them not only the ABBA inspired costumes but entered into the spirit of the occasion giving fresh voice to the rich catalogue of music by Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. I look forward to seeing this become a regular fixture on the Trundle social calendar. I was also pleased to announce recently CountryLink will bring forward its 'Elvis Express' service, due to the overwhelming popular demand, for next year’s CountryLink Parkes Elvis Festival. The ‘Elvis Express’ will now leave a day earlier from Sydney’s Central Station on Thursday, 10 January 2013 rather than the traditional Friday departure date following feedback from festival organisers and Elvis fans. The extra day will give visitors to Parkes the chance to take advantage of more of the Festival’s activities, such as free main stage entertainment and the Miss Priscilla Dinner.

Last week I hosted a visit by the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Member for Lismore Thomas George MP. Mr George was in Dubbo to tour our new office in Dubbo on behalf of the Parliament to ensure that the new facilities met with community expectations given that the reason for seeking new premises was to provide adequate space in which to conduct constituent business in a more conducive environment. Thomas was able to report to the Parliament that the local contractors used in the office fit out had done an excellent job in completing the assignment whilst generating work for local tradespeople. All electorate offices and staff are provided by the Parliament in order to assist elected members serve their electorates effectively.

I took a trip to the Mudgee Field Days to represent the Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson to launch the “The Rural Living Handbook”. The handbook is a joint initiative by the Central West CMA, Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange Council Sustainability Alliance. It provides new landholders and long-term residents with information to ensure the health of the catchment and all the things they value in it by increasing awareness of landholders responsibilities; such as buying a property and moving out of town, managing natural resources, managing their property, and who landholders can get in touch with for help in making the most out of their life on the land.

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