It was great to visit several towns for Australia Day ceremonies in the last week including Gunnedah, Dubbo and Dunedoo.

It’s so important to celebrate our nation and to welcome newcomers to our great country.

It’s also been wonderful to applaud those who have made exceptional contributions to their communities or the wider nation through the Australia Day awards, and I congratulate all of the nominees and award winners, especially those from the Parkes electorate.

Farewelling Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison has recently announced that he will retire from politics after more than 16 years as a federal Member of Parliament.

I was elected on the same day 16 years ago and had the honour of serving in several positions in his ministry during his time as Prime Minister of Australia.

During the COVID-19 pandemic I worked closely with Scott in my role as the Minister for Regional Health, and saw first-hand the enormous effort he put in to keep Australians safe during what was a highly challenging time.

I want to thank Scott for his service and wish him well for the future.

MindSpot free mental health support

While the holiday season can be a great time it can also result in a large amount of stress, especially if it involves contact with difficult family members, reminders of loss, or the daunting prospect of a new year with further challenges on the horizon.

I want to draw attention to MindSpot Clinic, which is a free resource, funded by the Australian government, which provides free digital mental health clinics to any Australians who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain or chronic illness.

Rebuilding Regional Communities grants

The final round for the Rebuilding Regional Communities Program is now open, but not for long!

This program is a stream of the Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) Program initiated by the former Coalition government, which aims to give small remote, rural and regional communities access to funds for community-led initiatives.

Applications will close 5pm on February 26, 2024.

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