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Community & Business

7 February, 2023

Coulton's Catch Up (Jan 31, 2023)

Australia Day celebrations

It was a pleasure to participate in Australia Day celebrations in Warren and Coonabarabran this year. It’s always wonderful to see our communities come together on Australia Day, to celebrate those people who contribute so much to our towns and villages, and to welcome our newest Australian citizens.

Coonabarabran this year welcomed two new Australians, while one person took the oath to become an Aussie in Warren. They joined dozens of others across the electorate who took this significant step to become a part of our great country. Congratulations to all of our new Australian citizens, as well as all of those deserving individuals and groups who received an Australia Day award this year.

This year we also had seven individuals recognised in the Australia Day 2023 Honours List, including:

- Dr Sally Torr (Bourke), who became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to healthcare administration, and to the community of western NSW.

- Susan Brookhouse (Coonabarabran), who received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to wildlife care and rehabilitation.

- Peter Kierath (Narromine), who received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community of Narromine.

- Elizabeth Nalder (Gilgandra), who received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community of Gilgandra.

- Peter Ryan (Dubbo), who received an Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).

- Kym Stanford (Mungindi), who received an Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).

- Craig Walters (Wongarbon), who received an Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).

Congratulations to each of these people on this incredible honour. You should all be very proud!


Macquarie Home Stay expansion funded

Last week, I was thrilled to hear that the NSW Liberal and Nationals government, had stepped-up to provide the $2.5 million required for the much-needed expansion of Macquarie Home Stay in Dubbo.

This funding will expand the accommodation facility by an additional 26 units, which will make such a difference for so many families in the Parkes electorate who need somewhere to stay while seeking medical treatment in Dubbo. It is, however, disappointing that the federal Labor government failed to recognise the importance of this vital project, despite my best efforts to reinforce the need to multiple Labor ministers.

Over the past eight months, Labor has had every opportunity to honour the funding commitment I made prior to the May election, instead choosing to cut the only program under which this project could still be funded. It just goes to show a complete lack of understanding of the needs of our rural and regional communities, and proves Labor is tone-deaf when it comes to pr-actical projects that can change people’s lives.


Boothenba Road upgrade opened

It was terrific to officially open the $8 million Boothenba Road upgrade in Dubbo last week along with state member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders, Dubbo mayor, Mathew Dickerson, and senator Tony Sheldon.

I’m proud the former coalition government invested $2 million into this project, which has delivered significant safety improvements for trucks accessing the Dubbo Regional Livestock Markets one of the busiest saleyards in NSW.

As a cattle farmer myself, I know just what a difference a safe and reliable road can make when delivering livestock from the paddock to the saleyards, so it was great to see just how these upgrades are benefitting local producers and truck drivers.


Visit to the Far West

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the flooded Menindee to see how the community is going as the water starts to recede. I caught-up with the local NSW SES and NSW RFS crews, as well as Central Darling Shire Council administrator, Bob Stewart, and was given a helicopter tour to see the extent of the flooding.

It’s going to take some time before the water fully recedes and people can get back into their flooded homes, but the volunteers on the ground are doing a great job assisting the community — thank-you to everyone who has worked tirelessly over the past few weeks.

While in the Far West, I also caught up with Broken Hill mayor Tom Kennedy to hear how a $5 million Australian government grant will improve safety at the Broken Hill Airport, ultimately contributing to the major redevelopment of the outback airport which will play a key role in the silver city’s future growth.


Senate “Disaster Committee” formed

A Senate Select Committee on Australia’s Disaster Resilience, was appointed late last year to inquire into Australia’s preparedness, response, and recovery workforce models, as well as alternative models for disaster recovery. The committee will consider the role of the Australian Defence Force, volunteer groups, not-for-

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