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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.

Matters of State 21/5/12

Monday, May 21, 2012
Don't we all just love a good country show to evoke nostalgic feelings of happy childhoods? Country shows have a real charm about them. Some equate show time with fast rides, sideshow and Dagwood dogs.

But for many the local show honours the agricultural scene. I spent the weekend on the back of the horse assisting the ringmaster during a range of events at the Dubbo Show. It's been a while since I rode a horse but I was honoured to take part in what's known as one of the major agricultural shows in the state. I took pleasure showing the Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson- who officially opened this year's show-how successfully the Dubbo Show combines traditional elements with exhibits and entertainment that draws people to the show year after year. 

For 139 years the Dubbo Show has been a focal point of community activities within the district. From humble beginnings in 1872, the Dubbo Show is currently recognised as one of the top five shows in NSW and the premier inland show. The Dubbo Show Society has a long and proud tradition and members should be impressed with the weekend's event. 

This year Olympic qualifying showjumpers showcased their skills and team penning, one of the fastest growing sports was introduced to the event program.  As mentioned, the show is a place that plays tribute to the agricultural scene. It's important that agriculture is recognised and appreciated for the vital role it plays in the health and wealth of our country. The local show is an avenue in which we can celebrate excellence in agriculture displayed through the many exhibits, animals, machinery and competitions such as wood chopping, sheep dog trials and cooking displays on show.

Promoting agriculture ensures that rural communities and agricultural industries continue to thrive. Shows are also places where traditional crafts like spinning and weaving are demonstrated in an effort to keep these historical skills alive. There are many successful show staged throughout the Dubbo electorate; but country shows only survive thanks to hardworking volunteers. Earlier this month the Yeoval show took place and this year the Parkes Show Committee will celebrate its 131st year. I attended the Parkes Show last year and was taken aback by the dedication of hardworking volunteers. 

The Parkes Show Committee has some 75 voluntary members supported by approximately 150 stewards and a membership of 1200 families.  Did you know that in its long history there are only two times that the Parkes show been cancelled, once in 1942 because of World War II and secondly in 2007 due to the outbreak of Equine Influenza. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank show society volunteers in the Dubbo electorate. I'm proud to be a part of a community that supports its local show and I encourage anyone who wants to give back to the community to get involved with their local show society. I look forward to following the show circuit in Forbes, Narromine, Tullamore, Trundle, Peak Hill and Parkes towards the end of this year. 


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