27 August, 2023
Roy's Round Up - August 8, 2023
Fresh from a week in parliament, I am ready for a busy two weeks that will mostly be spent out on the road. This week I will be at the Western Division Councils Conference in Cobar, followed by a trip to Louth for their first race meeting since 2019; COVID halted it for two years and floods stopped the fun last year. From there I will head out to points further west before returning to parliament for another sitting week at the end of August.
I paid a quick visit to Tottenham on the way to Condobolin, to chat with the mayor and the general manager of Lachlan Shire Council about a range of issues including housing, roads, water, sewerage, staffing at medical facilities and various projects in the shire.
While I was in town, they insisted that I should have a look at the new water tower mural, which I did. It’s an impressive bit of artwork by Australian artists Scott Nagy and Krimsone, another good reason for tourists to slow down and look at this great part of the world. I’ll be back to Tottenham soon for a longer visit.
In Condobolin I had the chance to see some of the projects the mayor and the general manager were talk- ing about. I had a sneak preview of the new visitor’s centre near the famous ‘Utes in the Park’. It is an impressive building that will be a huge asset to Condo and be a boon for tourists. I also drove out to Gum Bend Lake, which is a great place for fishing, water skiing and camping and recent improvements have made it even better with a walking track, playgrounds, barbecue area, and amenities. Then I discovered the lookout and took in the entire town from on high. It’s a great place, Condobolin, already one of the lesser-known tourist gems in the central west and it has the potential to be an even better tourist destination.
There are 13 local council areas in the Barwon elec- torate so, a significant amount of my time on the road, travelling around the electorate, is spent meeting up with each council as often as I can, to talk about what’s happening on their patch and to let them know what I have been working on.
This week I will be in Cobar for the Western Division Councils Conference. Last week, I hosted the mayor, general manager and a councillor from Coonamble Shire Council in parliament, and the week before last I had a meeting with Peter Abbott and Peter Vlatko from Cobar Shire Council.
There are many common issues among the councils in the electorate, but each council also has its own unique issues. One of the big issues for Cobar council is the town water supply which desperately needs its pump stations project and pipeline implemented. As with all my meetings with councils I will be taking up their issues with the relevant ministers and doing whatever I can to bring them to a positive resolution.
Nyngan health working group
The working group on Nyngan Multi-Purpose Service had its first meeting recently. The panel was made up of a range of community stakeholders includ- ing local farmers, a mining representative, members of the Bogan Shire Council, the Aboriginal Lands Council, medical staff and from the Western Local Health District.
The working group discussed the number of beds available in Nyngan, patient transfers, the challenges with recruiting new staff, retaining existing staff, accommodating staff and some possible ways forward.
Hopefully the group will help generate some useful solutions to Nyngan’s issues that I can take to the health minister.
It was great to work with the council on facilitating the first meeting.
Barwon's aging pods
In the heat of a summer in western NSW the local pool is not a luxury, but an essential asset for a commu- nity’s wellbeing and safety - as both a place to cool down and a place where they can learn to swim safely. But many pools around Barwon are coming to the end of their useful life, including Walgett Memorial Pool.
Last week in parliament I asked a question of the minister for western NSW about the government’s response to the closure of Walgett Memorial Swimming Pool, and whether they would consider a program of inspecting pools so that they can plan to avoid closures and work toward their replacement.
The answer, which came from the minister’s repre- sentative in the legislative assembly, Yasmin Catley MP, was that the government will work with councils, including Walgett Shire Council, on planning for future needs to avoid such unexpected closures.
Comeroo Station and National Parks
The declaration of Comeroo Station as a new nation- al park will protect important environmental areas and be a refuge for native species of flora and fauna. But the impact of the new national park on the surrounding region needs to also be considered.
Locking away land as a national park deprives councils of rates, takes money out of the local economy because the land is no longer being used for production and skews land values, because governments always pay higher than market rates for the land.
Past experience also shows that fences around national parks are not usually well maintained, allowing pest species to proliferate in the parkland before spread- ing to adjoining properties.
Last week I put forward a notice of motion in the NSW parliament asking the house to acknowledge the environmental benefits, but also asking for them to con- sider the social and economic impacts and to think about other possible models for conservation such as private stewardship agreements with local landowners. To see the video, go to my website.
As the co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Aquatic Recreation, last week I hosted a delegation of MPs and ministers from major parties and the cross- bench at the Sydney International Boat Show for the opening and a briefing from state, national and interna- tional industry figures.
After the opening and formalities at the Sydney International Boat Show, the delegation of parliament of NSW MPs were invited to check out some of the dis- plays at the show. There were people from all over NSW in attendance.
Some of the very nice boats did come with eye watering prices. But the most common boat in private ownership is the humble tinny. Plenty of those in Barwon too.
As we come into warmer months more people will be getting out on the water, it’s important to ensure your safety gear is ready for use. At the boat show, NSW police minister, Yasmin Catley MP, joined me to record a quick video message about safety in or around water – which you can view on Facebook.