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NSW Premier visits the Dubbo electorate

Monday, October 08, 2012
It's pleasing to see that three significant health projects in the Dubbo electorate have been accorded a high priority in the State Infrastructure Strategy (SIS). The proposed redevelopment of the Forbes Hospital and construction of the Parkes Hospital ranked second place among the 24 health related projects recommended to commence within the next ten years. The Dubbo Base Hospital redevelopment stages one and two ranked third and stages three and four ranked fifth. This reflects a growing recognition within Government that this region offers enormous potential for growth and with that comes an expectation that we will be able to provide the infrastructure and services to match the demand. The Dubbo Base Hospital Redevelopment and Forbes and Parkes Hospital projects high priority on the list demonstrates their importance as regional facilities that will be expected to cater for a larger population through migration to the area from elsewhere within the state. It also reflects the NSW Government's determination to deliver improved health services to the region in response to community expectation for better access to and higher level of care provided. The SIS lends further weight to the argument that Federal and State Governments ought to be setting aside additional funds to complement existing health services in particular radiotherapy and cardiology. I will continue to work with my Federal colleague Mark Coulton to advocate for more services and funding in the region. I am determined to deliver improved health services through effective representation to a Government that I am honoured to represent on your behalf.

For far too long the bridges linking our important regional roads have suffered from a lack of attention. This practice will cease with the announcement of the Government's Bridges for the Bush infrastructure program. The Warroo Bridge over the Lachlan River between Forbes and Condobolin is one of many bridges to be upgraded over the next five years at 17 key locations in regional NSW. The NSW Government will spend $10 million on the Warroo Bridge to enhance road safety and provide better access for freight trucks servicing the region’s agricultural industries. Bridges for the Bush is an initiative to help rebuild the NSW economy by investing in critical infrastructure to remove a number of significant freight pinch points and bottlenecks on the state road network.

Transport assistance grants are being offered to enable women in isolated areas the opportunity to attend the NSW Rural Women’s Gathering in Parkes. Six thousand dollars will be made available by the NSW Government to subsidise CountryLink fares, assist with the cost of privately chartered buses and hire buses to transport participants between venues in Parkes. The NSW Rural Women’s Gathering is a three day event to be held on the 12th to 14th October and includes educational workshops and presentations by prominent women in the community.

I'm encouraged by a renewed level of interest in the progress over the proposed redevelopment of the Forbes Hospital and construction of the Parkes Hospital since the recent Local Government elections. The level of support displayed by both Forbes and Parkes Council's for the upgrade of facilities demonstrates the community's desire for better targeted health services in the Lachlan region. Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) representatives met with the Mayors of Forbes and Parkes recently to be briefed on progress with these projects. Council support for both hospital upgrades is a crucial element in spreading the word among residents of the benefits each community will derive from the health services provided.

Dubbo artist Eddy Harris has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize. Eddy's work 'Baka Billabongs' is currently on display at NSW Parliament, along with the work of 37 other finalists from around the state. It is heartening to see that the rich artistic talent possessed by the local Indigenous population in the Dubbo electorate has been recognised in this way. Born in Wilcannia, Eddy now resides in Dubbo and is a descendant of the Bakandji Naton. He has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, with his works held in various private collections in Asia, the USA, the UK and Europe. Eddy drew inspiration for his work 'Baka Billabongs' from the Bakandji Aboriginal people that lived traditionally along the banks of the Darling River near Wilcannia. The winning artist will receive a $40,000 cash prize and their work will become a permanent part of the Parliament's art collection.


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