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Heroes Abroad

Monday, September 10, 2012
The sad passing of five brave Australian soldiers in Afghanistan brought home the reality of the risks undertaken by our armed forces on overseas assignment. They are the latest causalities of Australia's lengthy commitment to helping maintaining order in other countries. My thoughts are with the family of Private Nathanael Galagher, 23, formerly from Forbes, as they struggle to come to terms with their horrific loss. It's rather ironic that we should be mourning their passing during Legacy Week. This organisation has a long distinguished history of offering comfort and support to grieving relatives faced with losing their loved ones in a theatre of war.

During the fifties, sixties and seventies thousands of children were removed from their mothers. While the practice may have received Government approval at the time and met with broad community acceptance, we now appreciate that the forced adoption policy was a needlessly cruel way of addressing a sensitive social issue. The NSW Government is set to issue a formal apology shortly. The occasion will no doubt stir mixed emotions among many families touched by the tragic personal circumstances that led to young mothers giving their child up for adoption. No current Government can write the wrongs of the past however recognising the error in judgement and the needless pain and suffering brought about by these decisions should be appropriately acknowledged. The Minister is to be commended for tackling such a sensitive issue head on in a caring and compassionate way and I encourage those wishing to participate in the day's events to do so.

It's often been said that music soothes the savage beast. I am pleased to announce that the Macquarie Conservatorium is the latest beneficiary of a grant designed to enhance regional diversity, excellence and innovation in music. The $38,250 grant under the NSW Government’s Arts Funding Program (AFP) will be used for a program of six public concerts, four schools concerts and eight public master-classes in the Dubbo and Orana region. Seventeen regional conservatoriums state-wide will share in $718,276 of funding. The AFP is an important component of the NSW Government’s commitment to the Arts, providing program and project funding for arts organisations, and support for individuals.

Work to improve a busy intersection at the Golden Highway and Ballimore Road is complete. The $1.45 million NSW Government funded project now provides a safer option for motorists turning right at the intersection. Work includes the installation of two right turning lanes in response to issues raised by the local community about safety. Previously there was no dedicated right turn lane which affected through traffic. The work is part of Roads and Maritime Services’ (RMS) commitment to improving roads in and around the Dubbo area and was carried out by Dubbo City Council.
Bob Berry lit up Talbragar Street last week with his state of the art digital TV screen display which now adorns his real estate business. I was pleased to be on hand to help flick the switch and launch the display which will become a regular feature and a talking point in town. Bob's trail blazing investment in this new form of digital communication with his clients comes on the back of his many years of experience in the real estate game in Dubbo.

People with a disability in immediate need of care will benefit from an extra 375 respite places funded by the NSW Government. Carers of people with a disability are saints and these new places will ensure they get a well-deserved break. The NSW Government is very proud this boost forms part of its Stronger Together 2 package, which was the largest increase in funding for disability services in the State’s history.

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