Regional investment must be prioritised

It’s a bit over a week and the dust has settled on what we are being told is a record-breaking budget for NSW. I’ve been having a look over the detail and undoubtedly the state is in a good financial position. The state has an extremely large amount of money and media reports that call it the “envy of the western world” are quite correct. Most of this is to be attributed to the large amounts of stamp duty collected, as well as the sale of assets. That said; there is a very clear case for rural, regional and remote areas to be getting a bigger slice of the pie.

There are some welcome initiatives such as the new Regional Growth Fund which represents an additional $1.3 billion for regional NSW. This will be flowing out via a number of sub-projects and funds, which we are yet to see the full detail on. In principle though, it is an appreciated and sizeable investment. The key for success in the delivery of the projects funded within these programs will be the actual tangible outcomes we see, rather than more money spent on planning. Proof of the success and positive benefits of this funding is a long way off for many of the communities of the west.

In many ways, this is a hard budget to criticize; although I do feel that with so much money, and having sold off large assets; the government have missed an opportunity to do some really visionary and ground-breaking projects, particularly for the bush. Those projects are happening in Sydney, but they are not happening in rural, regional and remote NSW on the same scale. Yet.

There is approximately $70 billion committed in the forward estimates, with $9 billion of that ear-marked for regional areas (so far). We need and deserve a bigger share; so let’s hope we see it next year prior to the election.

We can be thankful for a budget that places the state in a great position to be able to invest in its future, but we will be looking for a larger slice of the pie in the future. Rural, regional and remote NSW not only needs it; it deserves it.

What do you think?

Country

CWA of NSW and Dunedoo community join forces to support Sir Ivan fire victims

Media Release – 16 February 2017

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of New South Wales has today announced a commitment of up to $50,000 from its Disaster Relief fund, to assist the victims of the Sir Ivan fire with their immediate needs. The CWA also formed a committee with the community of Dunedoo yesterday to manage the many generous offers of assistance that are rolling in for people affected by fire.

All offers of help will be dealt with by the committee. Financial donations can be deposited into the CWA of NSW’s Disaster Relief Fund and will go directly to those in need. These donations will be tax deductible and can be made via the CWA of NSW website, or copy and paste this link:

https://cwaofnsw.org.au/donate

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According to CWA of NSW’s President, Annette Turner, 31 properties have been confirmed as destroyed but crop and stock loss assessment has only just begun and is escalating.

“Latest reports late yesterday from the Rural Fire Service indicated the 55,000 hectare fire was only just under control and many farmers have lost absolutely everything,” said Annette.

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“Our Disaster Relief fund is for exactly these types of situations and we are very pleased to be able to assist. Food, clothing and financial donations are what is most needed at the moment and I encourage everyone who is able to to donate and support those affected,” she said.

  • Clothing and food donations are being co-ordinated by Dunedoo Central School office staff (call 02 6375 1489 for details of where and how to deliver or collect). No furniture deliveries will be accepted at this time as those affected have nowhere to store them.
  • Short term accommodation is being organised and those requiring it should contact Sharon Nott on 0428 859 509.
  • Water deliveries can be arranged by contacting Peter McClung on 0428 863 219
  • Hay and grain deliveries are being co-ordinated by Hayden Rhodes and Sandy Cox from Delta Sullivans – contact 02 6375 1209, Hayden on 0428 811 774 or Sandy on 0428 865 299.
  • Counselling for fire victims is being arranged and Dunedoo Central School have a counsellor coming in for student assistance.
  • Townspeople are on hand to do basic things like clothes washing if needed. Dunedoo Central School will be organising this service.16711966_1236282786455422_5133467928900852735_n

“If you know someone who needs assistance, they or you (on their behalf) can contact Joy Beames (0428 751 173) or Sam Barrass (0402 592 436),” said Annette.

“As the fire continues to burn to the east of Dunedoo the advice from the Rural Fire Service late yesterday was that while there is no immediate threat to homes, if you are in the area of Cassilis or Coolah and in the vicinity of Warrumbungles Way, monitor conditions and be prepared to take action if the fire threatens your property.

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An information point has been established at the Coolah Sports Club. NSW RFS community liaison members are available to provide information and updates to residents. Please use caution when traveling in the area as there are reports of livestock and native animals on the road. Roads may also close at short notice for firefighting operations,” said Annette.

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Guest Blog – Quad Bike Industry Action Group

The Country Women’s Association of NSW met with other members of the NSW Quad Bike Industry Action Group in Dubbo last Tuesday to discuss opportunities for farmers and their workers to take advantage of a new $500 quad bike safety rebate from SafeWork NSW.

CWA of NSW is proud to be part of this important initiative, aimed at preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries from quad bike accidents, which we all know have tragic and far-reaching consequences for farming families and communities across the state.

A staggering 220 people were needlessly killed on Australian farms since 2001 and thousands more injured. A target has been set to drive down quad bike-related deaths and serious injuries in NSW to zero by 2020 but it will take a community effort to achieve this goal.

Farmers can play their part by simply taking advantage of SafeWork NSW’s $500 rebates to purchase helmets, operator protective devices, side-by-side vehicles, and a subsidised one-day training course offered by Department of Primary Industry’s Tocal College.

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The course, running in regional areas across NSW is a nationally recognised qualification providing participants the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills in maintaining and operating quad bikes in rural workplaces.

In addition to the $500 available to farm businesses, individual farm workers are also eligible for rebates for helmets and training.

To boost awareness, a series of advertisements are currently running across regional radio and newspapers, encouraging farmers and farm workers to take advantage of the rebates and contribute to the goal of ending quad bike deaths and serious injuries.

The rebate and the Industry Action Group is part of the NSW Government’s $2 million Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program to support land managers to adopt a range of harm prevention strategies to protect workers, family members and themselves.

The Industry Action Group of which Country Women’s Association of NSW is a member, includes a range of stakeholders representing the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, rural sector, government and emergency services.

For further information visit Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program or call 13 10 50. To apply for SafeWork NSW’s $500 rebate, visit www.nswfarmers.org.au

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