Thank you Mister President.
Some members of this place and the other place will have you believe that the NSW Government is doing absolutely nothing for Regional NSW, I am here to correct that.
I’m not standing here tonight to start an argument or engage in pointless political games, I’m here to inform this house on what is being done for Regional NSW.
I’m not going to stand here and say that there is nothing more that can be done for our regions that simply wouldn’t be true, there is always more that can be done, no matter the issue.
Even from the Legislative Chamber regionally based Members can play a crucial role in advocating for local projects and I and my Nationals colleagues take this role seriously, we are always focused on the needs and the future opportunities of New South Wales regional communities.
Every day we spend in Government is day we are working to achieve a better deal for people living, working and raising a family in regional NSW.
Our record in regional NSW speaks for itself.
We as a Government have made a real difference to the lives of the 40% of people in NSW who live in our regional communities and this advocacy and hard work will never stop.
The $1.7 billion Regional Growth Fund is the cornerstone of our investment in Regional NSW communities.
In the electorate of Barwon, an electorate I’m sure you are all aware is not held by a Member of the NSW Government over $98 million in funding has been provided for over 200 projects.
In the electorate of Orange, one also held by someone outside of Government over $53 million has been made available for over 70 projects.
This includes critical developments such as the Orange Health and Innovation Precinct – which received $950,000 under the Drought Stimulus Package.
And of course, this Government is fulfilling its promise to fund the $25 million Orange Sports Hub, a commitment we made at the election to the people of Orange, one of many commitments that we delivering on throughout our regions.
These amounts are not the only funding going into these electorates and other regional electorates across the state Mr President.
Yes the Stronger Country Communities Fund does play an important role in the funding of infrastructure across our regions, as it should. If it wasn’t for this dedicated funding the already competitive process would be made even harder with regional projects put up against metropolitan projects. Two weeks ago I announced over $200,000 in funding for applicants to the Language Community Investments Program, over $120,000 across these two seats from the Create NSW Fund for some very impressive projects that showcase how diverse regional NSW and in particular Western NSW really is.
New South Wales first Special Activation Precinct is now one closer with the delivery of the Parkes final master plan, as well a new planning framework that will slash red and green tape so that major employers can start doing business faster, transforming a regional town into a regional city
Regional Showgrounds have received millions of dollars in funding from the Department of Crown Lands for vital upgrades to infrastructure so that when our country shows do continue the pavilions, rodeo arena’s and stables are ready to use and more importantly safe to use for all.
Regional Courthouses including the historical Narrabri and Broken Hill Courthouses have received funding to also improve their safety, taking a great cost burden away from our local councils. Fixing Country Roads is a $543 million NSW Government program providing targeted infrastructure funding from Restart NSW for regional freight projects.
The NSW Government has provided $4 billion towards drought initiatives and is continuing to provide assistance through the Drought Transport Subsidy, the waiving of Local Land Service rates, bee site permits and Western land Lease rent just to name but a few. We are raising the Wyangala Dam and building the Dungowan and Mole River Dams to increase our states water security, creating hundreds of regional jobs and setting up regional NSW for long term prosperity.
Members of this place need to talk to those sitting over in the other place to learn about the Community Building Partnership Fund which is allocated to ALL local members, whether they are part of the Government or not to distribute $300,000 to local community groups, at their own discretion.
The Local Sport Grant Program allocates $85,000 to each regional and drought affected electorate, no matter which party or person holds it.
Mister President, I could go on. These programs wouldn’t exist and thousands of projects across regional NSW would not have gotten off the ground if it wasn’t for the advocacy of members of this place and the other place.
I am here as a member of the Government and one of my favourite things to do is not sit here in the chamber believe it or not but it is to get out there, see these projects first hand. Have the tough discussions with groups around how to best put their project forward and then come to this place, bail up the relevant Minister and lobby as hard as I can for the success of projects across the state and across our regional communities.
I will never apologise for being a strong advocate and voice for regional communities and I will continue to push for more funding in our regional areas, and I will continue to be a Government representative across the Central West and Western NSW providing people on the streets of towns like:
And many more a direct link to Government Ministers and to the decision makers here in Macquarie Street.
As long as there is a National Party in the State of NSW there will be strong, dedicated representation for the people of Regional NSW.