12 February, 2023
Roy's Round Up - February 8, 2023
It has been an interesting two weeks, getting
out on the road again, talking to people, businesses
and councils, getting updates on their concerns
and letting them know what things I have been
At the risk of sounding like a verse
from a Slim Dusty song I’ve been to Nevertire,
Tottenham, Tullamore, Condobolin, Tullibigeal,
Lake Cargelligo, Cobar and Nyngan. Hopefully I’ll
soon be out your way soon, stop and say hello if
you see me.
Cashless gaming card
I am often being asked about my thoughts on
the plan to introduce a cashless gaming card to
deal with problem gambling and money laundering.
However, the government has only just passed the
scheme by cabinet and the premier has only just
announced his plans - which includes a specific
fund to help regional clubs implement the cashless
technology (in the form of no-interest loans).
I agree that something definitely needs to be
done about problem gambling and money laundering,
but we will need to look carefully at the details,
assess the merits of the scheme and consult with
the communities in Barwon to see what the impact
would be on those communities, and the venues
that have to implement it.
Then we can see where
we go from there. I have heard concerns from
many small clubs out in the bush, where they don't
have the same amount of patrons, employees or
gambling revenue coming through as big
metropolitan clubs, about whether this reform is
affordable for them to implement (even with the
availability of no-interest loans).
Many are already
struggling under increased insurance premiums
and the need to meet other requirements of Liquor
and Gaming laws, such as putting on extra security
staff at live music events, although the government
is also offering one-off grants to fund alternative
revenue streams to pokies.
The cashless gaming card will also only treat
one symptom of the problem, but not the root causes,
it will not do anything to stop people turning to
the multitude of other forms of gambling available.
Something definitely needs to be done, but whatever
party forms government they will need to
make sure that their gambling reforms will have the
desired impact on problem gambling, and money
laundering, and not adversely affect other community
members or the clubs and pubs.
I was out and about around the electorate on
Australia Day. We had perfect weather and some
great local celebrations. I acknowledge Australia
Day can mean different things for different people.
For me it is an important day to reflect on our
history but also to think about where we are headed
as a nation. Just imagine what sort of a country
we could have if we all unite to pull together to
make our communities better places.
Although Barwon is too big an electorate to be everywhere on Australia Day I managed to get to a couple of events. Warren Shire Council put on a memorable Australia Day ceremony and had one person become a citizen. It was very well attended, and there were plenty of nominations for awards. The pride in the achievements of nominees was clear.
The Australia Day ambassador was Keith
Potger of The Seekers fame. He spoke about inclusion,
respect and compassion. He used anecdotes
from his experiences in the music industry and life
to illustrate, and also played a couple of classics for
us singing, with acoustic guitar.
The crowd got right
into it. A very warm and welcoming atmosphere.
I was also privileged to attend the Warrumbungle
Shire Council Australia Day Awards at the
Coonabarabran Golf Club. The weather took a turn
for the worse, so proceedings had to be moved
inside. Again, I experienced a warm and friendly
community proud of its award winners.
Australia Day ambassador was Ron Delezio, father
of Sophie. He told an inspirational story of tragedy
and hope talking about his daughter and her survival.
Thanks to all involved in the day for putting on
such a memorable celebration.
Australia Day Honours
Just on the topic of Australia Day, I would like to
congratulate all recipients of Australia Day awards
and honours. Every year these awards give much
needed recognition to a great bunch of people who
work hard and selflessly, usually without much fanfare,
making their communities better places to be.
Congratulations to Dr Sally Jean Torr, of Bourke
who has been awarded a Member of the Order of
Dr Torr has held many significant posts in
healthcare administration and is a member of the
Community Advisory Council, Western NSW
Primary Health Network as well as being active in
Congratulations also to Elizabeth (Nan) Nalder
of Gilgandra, who has been awarded a Medal of
the Order of Australia, for her numerous community
roles including with the Red Cross, Probus Club,
the Gilgandra Entertainers and the Women's
And congratulations to Susan Hilary Brookhouse
of Coonabarabran for being awarded a
Medal of the Order of Australia for services to
wildlife care and rehabilitation.
I also applaud all the winners of local council
awards such as the winners of citizen of the year
and sportsperson of the year. It is great to see all
of these people getting the recognition they
deserve for their contributions to communities in
Broken Hill Airport
I was delighted to hear recently that Broken Hill
City Council’s grant application for major redevelopment
works at the Broken Hill Airport has been
successful. This has been something that I’ve supported
since being elected.
In my regular meetings
with Broken Hill City Council, the necessity for
apron and runway upgrades along with the benefits
to tourism, health and business were discussed
and funding sources identified.
I wrote to the state government’s chair of the
Rural Health Inquiry, and he endorsed the proposed
airport upgrades and spoke to senior executives
within the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Neither were able to fund an upgrade to a council
asset, but saw the necessity for this to occur. I
also put it on the premier’s radar and wrote a letter
of support for the council’s application in the
Resources for Regions grant funding round nine.
It fits so well with the funding program objectives:
- “support the ongoing prosperity of mining
communities by providing economic opportunities,
improved amenity and positive social outcomes.”
Even with the money being matched by the
Federal govt, more funds are needed, but it’s a
very good start.
Investing in Regional Health
The deputy premier and the regional health
minister were both in Broken Hill last week
announcing what they said was "record funding"
for various health services in the far west.
They talked about the $10 million the government
is investing to upgrade the Broken Hill health
service emergency department, which they said
will complement a major enhancement of the hospital’s
mental health unit that is being delivered as
part of the $700 million state-wide mental health
They also toured the virtual intensive
care service. The funding announcements are
nothing new, they were in the budget last year, but
while they are a good thing, they fall short of what
I have always said that I welcome any investment
in Barwon, particularly in health, but this sort
of piecemeal approach doesn't do enough to
reverse the years of government neglect of the
regional health system.
That neglect was detailed
in last year's report handed down by the inquiry
into health outcomes and access to health and
hospital services in rural, regional and remote
It has also been confirmed in a report by the
Royal Flying Doctor Service, Best for the Bush,
which has found that women in the outback die an
average of 19 years earlier than women in the
cities, for men it is 13.9 years earlier.
That report also found that about 44,930 people
in remote or very remote areas across Australia
have no access to primary care less than an hour’s
drive from their home. These are startling statistics.
As I say, any funding to improve hospitals, levels of medical staff and generally bring better health outcomes in the bush has to be good, but much more needs to be done. It needs a more structured approach to overhauling the system, a bigger commitment to funding and we need to continue to implement the recommendations of the regional health inquiry.