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Community & Business

2 June, 2023

Roy's Round Up - May 16, 2023

G’day folks,

State parliament is finally sitting again, and the new government is getting down to business. There have already been some significant pieces of legislation proposed, with the government eager to fulfill its election promises relating to such things as amending the constitution to prevent privatisation of water.

But the first week of a new parliament and a new government, is always a period of ceremony and adjustment. Some of my time has been spent settling into a new office space, which is shared with Phil Donato, the member for Orange. So far it, has proven to be a much better base of operations in parliament. This week, I will be accompanying the health minister around various parts of the electorate, before returning to parliament for consecutive sitting weeks.


Meeting with minister park

I had a meeting last week with the new health minister, Ryan Park, about the situation at Nyngan and Wee Waa hospitals. He gave me his personal assurance, that the Government has no intention of closing either hospital, and that they will work on solutions to staffing problems.

In a media statement issued last night, the minister said: “

The NSW Government has no intention of closing the health services at Nyngan and Wee Waa.”

“We are working closely with Western and Hunter New England Local Health Districts, to ensure these services continue to provide safe and reliable care that meets the community’s needs.

“Due to staffing challenges, services have had to be temporarily reduced at Wee Waa and Nyngan to ensure the well-being of staff and the continuation of safe care to the community,” he said.

“The intention, is for these services to be restored to normal operations and the districts are working hard to recruit staff to ensure this occurs,” he added.

“While these local health districts continue to actively recruit to fill existing vacancies, they’re also working hard to redeploy nursing staff from other areas and engage agencies to cover any gaps in the rosters,” he concluded.

The minister will be heading out to visit some medical centres across Barwon this week.


Parliament resumes

After a long break since parliament rose in December last year, it’s back on again! I have been sworn in for my second term in the 58th NSW Parliament. The opening session of parliament was a long day that consisted of official photos, swearing an oath of loyalty to Australia and to the people of NSW, a smoking ceremony, and a lot of ritual that owes its origin to many centuries of parliamentary tradition.

A significant part of the first week was taken up by maiden speeches, the election of the speakers, congratulations for The King’s Coronation, and the new government and opposition settling into their new roles. It is an honour to be serving the people of Barwon and NSW again. I look forward to getting even more done in this term.


Regional health committee

Last week in parliament, Dr Joe McGirr MP for Wagga moved a notice of motion asking for the establishment of a ‘Legislative Assembly Select Committee on Rural, Regional and Remote Health Outcomes’.

The government acted quickly, and the committee was established last Thursday, with Dr McGirr as its chair. The purpose of the committee is to see that the recommendations of last year’s regional health inquiry are carried out. I want to thank the member for Wagga for his engagement on regional health issues in pushing for the lower house committee. I will continue to work with Joe, and look forward to bringing him out west into Barwon to see first-hand the situation in so many of our health facilities.


Tibooburra airstrip upgrade

The NSW Government is investing $200,000 to repair and regrade Tibooburra’s dirt runway. This upgrade ensures the Aerodrome complies with Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requirements, and can safely operate in a range of weather conditions, ensuring remote communities have better access to air emergency services, and the ability to take-off and land private aircraft in more-challenging conditions.


Young Offenders Act

In the first week of May, I attended an event at Sydney University Law School called “Reflecting on 25 Years of the Young Offenders Act of 1997”. It was interesting to hear how the Act came about, from some of the people who helped develop it and advocate for it in parliament a quarter of a century ago, and how juvenile justice was changed as a result.

I also had a discussion with some of the legal minds who were there about some of the failures of the act in Barwon, and other areas of the state, and some of the ways forward. Resourcing for youth justice and youth programs has not been applied well and, particularly in Barwon, there is a lack of referral options for young offenders.

Youth crime is something common to many towns across the country, which is why it is important to spend the effort reviewing, reforming, and repairing our youth justice system. I will be advocating in parliament for a review of the act and ways that we can improve the act and the way it is applied in regional areas.


Canberra trip

I visited Canberra in the first week of May, where I had a productive meeting with senator David Pocock. We spoke about the failure in successive governments’ policies around gas. We have plenty of conventional gas in Australia, we just export too-much of it at very low prices making energy (gas) more expensive for people in Australia.

We discussed the need for a domestic gas reservation policy, and a public interest test on exports. These changes would negate the need for risky gas projects that could damage ground water and would lower gas prices. Before leaving Canberra, I went to the National Press Club of Australia, to listen to three leading economists give their thoughts on the federal budget and what we could expect from it.

I had some interesting conversations about government policy in regional Australia and talked to Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute, one of the economists who spoke that day and who said she was keen to travel into Barwon.

I welcome any visit from people interested in the electorate, particularly someone who is an expert in their field, because it can only help to broaden and deepen their knowledge of regional NSW.

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