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Community & Business

20 May, 2023

Roy's Round Up - May 2, 2023

Roy Butler

G’day folks,

The smoke of the election is finally beginning to clear, and we now have a sitting date for parliament. Meanwhile, the last few weeks have been very productive. I have had several meetings with ministers of the new government, and they have been very responsive to issues in Barwon.

With the new government in minority, it will be a busy year but, hopefully, one that will be very beneficial to Barwon.


Wee Waa Hospital

You may recall Nyngan’s Multi-Purpose Service had to close all but one of its inpatient beds in October last year, a situation that has still not been rectified. But, we are now seeing this in Wee Waa as well, with the emergency department only open from 8am to 5.30pm, seven days.

In response to the situation, I contacted minister for health, Ryan Park, requesting an urgent meeting about the critical workforce shortages that are facing Barwon, and we will work with him to address this as soon as possible.

This request for a meeting has been accepted and we are scheduled to meet next week. I also requested the formation of a community-based working group which has already been actioned. I will be working to keep everyone updated on this developing situation. My team and I, will be working tirelessly to find solutions and to make sure this issue remains at the forefront.

While I know this is alarming for many, and understandably upsetting, we will be working together to ensure people have access to the health services people need. Both the Western and Hunter New England Local Health Districts, are diverting patients to ensure people can still access care, and we thank all the existing staff for the burdens and workloads they have.

We will be updating our communities as often as we can with any new developments. I am confident, that the new NSW Labor government, understands the importance of this, and I am looking forward to working with them.



In my experience, ANZAC Day tends to bring-out the best in people and their communities. Numbers seem to be growing at dawn services, and most people show great respect for the traditions of this important commemoration.

It was my privilege to join the community of Coonabarabran for their ceremony last week. With so many ceremonies across the electorate, I can’t possibly get to them all. Last year, I was in Broken Hill, and next year, I will be somewhere else.

Everything about ANZAC Day reminds me, that we should never forget the sacrifices of our servicemen and women.


Team Meet Up

With four years of experience and learning about how we can provide the best possible service to our customers, and with four years ahead, most of my team came together last week in Nyngan at the Nyngan Riverside Tourist Park, to review our existing processes and see how we could improve on the work we do. We also had a couple of team members who had to come in by Zoom from Broken Hill and it was a very productive meeting.

There were some things that we found we could streamline, things that we needed to improve on, and we found ways that we can make-use of the strengths of all members of the team to deliver even better service to constituents.


Walgett water

Recently, there were stories emerging from Walgett about the quality of the drinking water in Walgett, which was said to be high in sodium and which many residents were reluctant to drink. I would like to thank the water minister, Rose Jackson, for her swift action on getting the issues at Walgett on a path to resolution.

In the short-term, Walgett needs to have domestic water that is palatable, and that the community can confidently use or drink. As I said in my meeting with the minister, we need to establish a baseline of where domestic water across Barwon and regional NSW is up to. It is important to get a clear picture, community-bycommunity, of what the needs are and start to map out timeframes.

As we enter a period of financial challenges for the State, domestic supply needs to remain a priority. The previous government did address some issues — you know I don’t play politics, so I won’t deny that. But we have plenty left to deal with. The minister also paid a visit to Walgett to discuss issues with the water supply and listen to community members and local authorities.

Ms Jackson is also minister for youth, housing, and mental health, so it was a wide-ranging discussion. The minister talked positively about resolving some of the town’s issues, including working to restore confidence in the water supply. She emphasised the need for more consultation and better communication with residents about water.

After the meeting, we took a tour of the water treatment plant where they are preparing for a change-over from bore water to river water. The change-over should be seamless and should improve water quality. I will continue communicating with the water minister to ensure that Walgett and other communities have palatable water in which they can have some confidence.


Sydney meetings

I drove to Sydney a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday to meet with the new premier and several ministers, including the treasurer, on matters relating to parliament, Barwon, and how things would work in the 58th parliament.

Topics included the domestic water supply at many communities including Walgett, the follow-up and public communication from the terrible fish kills at Menindee, and what needs to happen for the 13 councils and the unincorporated area within the electorate.

While the meetings went well, my time in Sydney had one negative note — I was rear ended while stopped at a red light riding a scooter. Just about pulled my arms out of their sockets, but I was unharmed.

My scooter, unfortunately, was not unharmed!


Harmony in Walgett

While in Walgett this week, I went to see work progressing on a mural by well-known Lightning Ridge artist, John Murray, and local artist, Frank Wright, (assisted by Bob Barrett). John, Bob, and Frank, couldn’t have been more welcoming. Locals and visitors were invited to put their handprints on the mural.

This colourful work, titled “Harmony”, not only helps to beautify the town, but will be an extra added incentive for tourists to stop in Walgett, grab a picture with the artworks, and maybe spend a bit of time and money in town.

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