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Community & Business

16 April, 2023

Coulton's Catch Up - April 4

Tyron and Jolie excel in shearing

Two young people from the Parkes electorate, Tyron Cochrane from Goodooga and Jolie Orcher from Bourke, recently excelled in the Junior Golden Shears; a prestigious New Zealand shearing competition. Tyron is only 18, and is the first Australian to win the title since 1961 as well as the first Aboriginal Australian ever to win this competition. These outstanding young people are role models for their communities, and an example of the excellent work of the Regional Enterprise Development Institute in connecting young Aboriginal people to their future careers. It was my privilege to bring this accomplishment to the attention of the house last week in parliament.


Where is key funding for the Parkes electorate?

It has been 10 months since the election, and five months since the federal budget, yet key funding for the Parkes electorate, is still to be released by the Labor gvernment. The Growing Regions Program was supposed to be Labor’s answer to the former Coalition government’s Building Better Regions Fund, but is yet to be established. The Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program however was already well-established and was a Coalition initiative, which has been extremely popular, yet neither program has seen funding released. I have called on the minister for transport, and the minister for local government, to prioritise access to this funding, which is so needed by councils and communities in the Parkes electorate.


Supporting the resources sector

Last week in parliament, I spoke in a ministerial statement on the resources sector, highlighting the crucial role of the Parkes electorate as a powerhouse in mining and resources. Broken Hill’s Cobalt Blue Project at Thackaringa, lithium mining at Fifield, gold deposits near Dubbo and Tomingley, as well as a rare earth project at Toongi, are only a few examples of resources projects currently underway in the Parkes electorate. If we’re going to be serious about having a cleaner environment and reducing our emissions, we can’t ignore the crucial role of our resources sector. It is through greater efficiency and technology, that we will become both a cleaner and wealthier economy. Mining and agriculture drive this electorate and are the reason Australia is as strong as it is. We can produce both food and energy for ourselves, and we need to support these industries, rather than crippling them, so I was pleased to stand-up and make this point to the Parliament in my speech.


Rural generalists program is going well

Back in 2021, the former Coalition government put $49.7 million into the Rural Generalist Training Scheme (RGTS) to boost doctor numbers in the bush. Recently in parliament, I caught-up with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) who have been delivering this program, and was pleased to hear of its ongoing success in securing enrolments. The training of doctors takes time, however, with programs like this, my hope is that we begin to see more rural general practitioners emerge and take up positions across the Parkes electorate. I have received many constituent appeals for more doctors in regional areas, and this is only one of many programs established to attempt to overcome the challenge of attracting doctors to the bush. These outcomes take time, and involve multiple complex factors; however I will continue to work with organisations such as the ACRRM and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia to find solutions. It is encouraging to see the popularity of the Rural Generalist Training Scheme.

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