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Friday, November 30, 2012
He was one of our bravest of brave. Pilot Officer Rawdon Hume Middleton VC is a story of true courage, determination, strength, mateship and ultimately, of human sacrifice. At the time, his feat was described as an incomparable tale of gallantry leading to the awarding of the Victoria Cross – the highest decoration for valour. Last week I had the honour of attending the unveiling of a bronze bust of Rawdon Hume Middleton near the Cenotaph at Victoria Park in Dubbo. The ceremony memorial marked the 70th anniversary of Middleton's death and his awarding of the Victorian Cross. Middleton, who was educated in Dubbo and learnt to fly at Narromine, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1940. He was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1942. Flight Sergeant Middleton laid down his own life deliberately to save some of his crew, innocent civilians and, if possible, his aircraft. His body washed ashore at Dover on February 1, 1943 and he was buried in the churchyard of St. John’s, Beck’s Row, Suffolk, with full military honours. His example of devotion to duty will forever remain an inspiration. His legacy is recognised in the naming of many roads and streets around Australia including the nation's capital, air-force bases and the Middleton name is synonymous in Parkes. His war time achievement is worthy of greater recognition than that is sometimes accorded to other famous Australians. I was proud to feature Middleton's story in my ANZAC community brochure this year and I congratulate Dubbo City Council and Dubbo RSL Sub-branch who initiated the memorial. I congratulate Wongarbon based sculptor Brett Garling for delivering an outstanding work of art to honour our own national hero.

The NSW Government will provide $4,185 in funding to repair damage at the Forbes Golf Course Reserve caused by flooding in December 2010. This is part of the State Government's commitment to improving facilities damaged by floods in regional NSW. Getting this important infrastructure back up to standard is crucial for the local community. The grant given to Forbes Shire Council is courtesy of the Natural Disaster Relief scheme.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird was in Dubbo last week to address the local community and hear their views on the future of the Cobbora Coal Mine Development. He explained in some detail the long-term benefits of the Cobbora Coal Mine and issues related to its development. The Treasurer was able to address the local community and talk though some of the issues facing the Cobbora Mine and to allay any concerns the community might have in relation to the development. Whilst the decision to develop the Cobbora mine is not straight forward, Mr Baird has made clear that it remains a priority for the Government unless and until a superior alternative is established. He also reiterated that the mine’s planning and approvals process for its development remains on track.

If you know a woman or man who you think should be recognised for their leadership and contribution to their community it's time to nominate them for the 2013 NSW Women of the Year Awards. This year there is a new category, the Male Champion of Change award which recognises the role that men play in brokering change for women. The opportunity to nominate women from within the local community of the Dubbo electorate allows us to recognise the important work being done by women in our patch. There are three categories that are open for nominations from the public: The Premier’s Woman of the Year Award, for leadership and excellence, The People’s Choice Community Hero Award, for work performed in the service of the community and a new award category, the Male Champion of Change sponsored by Deloitte (open only to men). As the local Member for the Dubbo I will be nominating a woman from our community for a separate award category, the Local Woman of the Year Award. Nominations can be made now at: Nominations close on Wednesday 5 December 2012.

Congratulations to Dubbo City Council on their successful application for new project funding under NSW’s Arts Funding Program (AFP). Dubbo City Council will receive $60,000 towards the creative engagement of Apollo Estate residents through a series of art workshops. The workshops will allow residents of the estate to work with artists to reflect their aspirations, stories and experiences through various forms of art. The artworks will be showcased at a cultural event that will culminate in an interactive tour of the Apollo Estate. The NSW Government has approved $1.5 million in new projects funding to be shared by 43 arts and cultural organisations statewide. Through this funding the NSW Government is supporting the professional and artistic development of artists as well as stimulating artistic and cultural activity.

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