A belated Happy Easter! I hope you all got some time with family or friends, and spent time doing things that brings you happiness and contentment.
The floods in Sydney, Moree and the coast have been devastating. There is no getting away from the property damage and economic cost of this incident.
The good news for us is that rainfall in our own catchment and flows out of Queensland should see some of the best river flows in years. Well over 500GL should hit Menindee, it’s my priority that water is retained in Menindee to protect the lower Darling for as long as possible. I have asked the minister to review the 480GL/640GL rule that transfers control of Menindee Lakes to the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) when storage is over 640GL. These discussions are ongoing.
Last week I have had meetings in Dubbo, and been catching up on super exciting governance work – that is; the checks and balances that make me pay for the sins of past politicians … declarations, returns, travel diaries etc … all caught up!
This week I am in Nyngan, Bourke and surrounds. I have a number of meetings with councils, community groups and constituents. If you see me on the road, flag me down and say g’day.
Last month marked two years since the people of Barwon elected me to represent them. I do not shy away from saying how much of an honour and privilege it is being here. For decades the coalition treated Barwon like they do any safe seat—as a given. They took the people of Barwon, Orange and
Murray for granted. Now almost half a million square kilometres of New South Wales is represented by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party – 60 per cent of New South Wales.
As a candidate I promised only to work hard and be honest, to bring back representation to the people of Barwon, to listen, to give
people a voice in parliament, to take the concerns of the west all the way to Macquarie Street, and to fight for Barwon and keep fighting until we receive the necessary investment and attention from the government.
It does not sit well with me to talk about achievements because when I look at the Barwon electorate I see communities that have been so severely neglected that many of the things we are achieving are the necessities of life. They are things that electorates in the city would take for granted. Recent rain has been drenching the state, it most certainly was not like this a year ago. It was a dust bowl out west, but we were told by the government to pray for rain instead of looking to the government to provide drought support. I lobbied for drought assistance every chance I got and I am still lobbying the government to actually address drought, drought support and drought recovery instead of developing memory loss and burying their heads in the dust. It must be difficult for them to have a member for Barwon who
cannot be silenced.
A few weeks ago a member of this government made the claim that I like to take credit for things. I have had a look at the announcements that the government makes in the Barwon electorate. Since March 2019 there are a stack of them—hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into the electorate. I tell people to shake their hand, take their money and ask for more.
I would like to point out a couple of things regarding these announcements. I have no problem not being invited. As I frequently say, I am not deluded in thinking that I am important. I just occupy an important position. But I do have a problem with how little respect is shown for the community members, sporting clubs and organisations who put in hours of hard work to apply for grants, who do amazing things in our communities on the smell of an oily rag, and who are forced to beg the government for a little bit of money to keep going or to provide our kids with opportunities like kids in the city have. This is not a generous NSW government seeking out areas of need in towns across Barwon. The money comes because passionate, community minded people slog out application forms. They spend their evenings gathering data, writing proposals, getting quotes and calling people for letters of support. It is their work in our communities that is deserving of any credit, not a government that likes to keep our communities on a funding drip-feed.
Despite what my opponents suggest, working with genuine members of the government has been productive for the Barwon electorate—for example, the Wanaaring Health Centre funding, the repurposing of Ivanhoe and Brewarrina Correctional Centres, vital legislative amendments, a rural healthcare inquiry, the review of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme, funding of wild dog control measures, expanded transport subsidies for restocking and the active engagement of my office by ministers who take their role to govern for the whole of New South Wales seriously.
At the end of the day, politicking belongs at election times. Genuine members of government understand that. Those out for their own gain will probably never understand that.To order photos from this page click here