G’day Folks,

There will come a day sometime in the future when I’m not starting my column with a warning about COVID-19, its not that day yet.

Unfortunately we’re now seeing a possible second wave of the virus in NSW and Victoria. It’s really important that we follow the public health advice, practice social distancing, wash our hands and use sanitiser, and make common sense decision for our own health and the health of our families.

This week I am around the western side of Barwon visiting Baradine, Coonabarabran, Dunedoo, Leadville, Coolah, Rowena, Burren Junction, Come-By-Chance, Narrabri, and Cryon, meeting community groups to talk about health, community development, drought support, and a whole raft of other topics. If there’s an issue you’d lie to raise with me please get in touch with my offices. I look forward to seeing you out in the community.

Stay safe, look after yourself and your community.


Telework bill isn’t ‘grandstanding’

Telework – working online from home – is a huge opportunity to decentralise government departments and create employment in regional NSW.

I’ve drafted a Bill, that would require the State Government to assess more than 300,000 public sector positions for suitability for teleworking.

The Bill is weighted towards working in the regions. It bans a person based in a metropolitan area working in a job earmarked for a regional area, but permits working a Sydney job in a regional area.

Last week the Deputy Premier dismissed these efforts to get more jobs to the bush as ‘grandstanding’.

My aim with this Bill is all about bringing increased employment opportunities and cash to our communities. It’s odd that the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW would suggest that a bill bringing employment opportunities to regional areas in NSW is ‘grandstanding’.

I’ll give notice to introduce this Bill when Parliament returns at the end of the month.

We should be concerned about population

There’s been public talk recently about the size of the Barwon, and the potential for the electorate to grow in size before the next election. This talk comes off the back of redistribution work by the NSW Electoral Commission, this work happens after every second State Election.

In NSW there is a requirement that each electorate has an approximately equal number of eligible voters.

This is important as in NSW each member must represent approximately the same number of voters. This is the concept of ‘one vote one value’.

What’s not being talked about in this discussion is the reason why Barwon may grow in size – shrinking population.

Population is one unarguable metric that defines success of Government.

This metric transcends every other data set, including announcements around how much “record investment’ has been made in a given area.

The NSW Population projections gathered by Government are used in the planning of services and infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, transport and community services. We should be concerned about the projections for Barwon.

Current Government modelling shows that for the combined Local Government Areas in Barwon – our population is to shrink by over 10,000 people over the next few years.

This will have an impact on our services, but the Government can start pulling levers to turn this around. I’ll be showing the Government those levers, and holding them to account on pulling them – for the sake of our communities.

Update on Barwon Black Spots

Since putting the call out to Barwon for information on Mobile Black Spots responses have been rolling in.

A number of people have also got in contacted confused about why I am gathering this information when responsibility for telecommunications sits with the Federal Government.

It comes back to a $400 million pot of money the NSW Government announced in the lead up to the 2019 Election, and their commitment to make NSW Black Spot free.

Check out the areas reported to me, at www.roybutler.com.au/barwon_black_spots.

Get in contact if you have anywhere to add.

Nominate a woman who makes your community a better place to live

The Hidden Treasures Honour Roll recognises the outstanding efforts of women volunteers in NSW and promotes the valuable role of volunteering to the community.

You can nominate a friend, family member, colleague, community worker – any rural woman who you believe makes your community a better place to live.

To nominate simply complete the Nomination Form and complete a short ‘story’ about why your nominee is worthy. All rural women nominated will be included in the 2020 Honour Roll.

Nominate at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/rural-support/rural-womens-network/hidden-treasures

To order photos from this page click here