By Mark Coulton, Parkes MP

Thirty-one volunteer organisations in the Parkes electorate will share in $66,225 under the 2023-24 Volunteer Grants program.

I know many local groups have been struggling during the current cost-of-living crisis as fewer people have the capacity to donate while their own bills continue to rise.

These grants will help ease some of that pressure and help our community groups to invest in projects that will enable them to continue the great work they do in communities across the Parkes electorate. Recipients include: Dubbo Touch Association Incorporated; Dubbo VRA Rescue NSW Search Dogs; the Coolah District Development Group; the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association; the Condobolin Picnic Race Club; Can Assist in Nyngan; Trangie Central School P&C Association; Neighbourhood Watch in Warialda and the West Darling Fishing Club in Menindee.

Funding for Nyngan airport

Bogan Shire Council has received $116,550 to undertake a lighting upgrade at Nyngan Airport through Round 10 of the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.

Just recently. I met with the mayor and general manager of Bogan Shire Council, who had been anxiously waiting for this funding so that they could begin upgrading the lighting at Nyngan Airport to enable planes to land safely at night.

After months of delay, the Labor government has finally heeded our calls and released this funding. While I welcome this announcement, I know numerous other councils in my electorate applied for this funding and have unfortunately missed out. I’m hopeful that further funding for the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program will be made available in this week’s federal budget.

Calls to scrap Labor’s fresh food tax

Time is now running out to scrap Labor’s fresh food tax, which is due to be implemented on July 1, forcing farmers to pay for the biosecurity risks of their international importers. The new tax makes absolutely no sense, and it will hurt families and farmers who are already under pressure due to the cost of living crisis.

This new tax will hurt almost all Australians because farmers will be forced to pass on costs, meaning families will feel more pain at the grocery checkout. I am standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Australian farmers to fight Labor’s fresh food tax, and I encourage families and farmers in the Parkes electorate to join the fight.

A new petition, Stop the Fresh Food Tax, has been launched by the Coalition to coincide with the National Farmers’ Federation ‘day of action’ to scrap the tax.

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