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C O n n E C t I n G C O u n t rY C O M M u n I t I E S – n O v E M B E r 2 0 1 0

Celebrating a great Labor man

Premier Kristina Keneally was the guest speaker at the Annual Harold Mair Dinner. She is pictured with Courtney Roche, Country Organiser, Chris Ryan, President Albury SEC and Glenn Elliott-Rudder, President Wagga Wagga SEC.

Premier Kristina Keneally with Harold Mair, who was honoured at the Annual Dinner in his name.

Country Organiser Courtney roche reports…
A wonderful night was had by all who attended the Annual Harold Mair Dinner in Albury last month. Thank you to the Albury Branch for organising such a fantastic night. It was great to see so many Members come together to celebrate Harold’s tireless work for the Albury community. A special thanks to Sam Dastyari, the NSW General Secretary who made time to attend the dinner in Harold Mair’s honour, and all of the visiting Local Government delegates who attended.

Last month Premier Kristina Keneally was the guest speaker at the Annual Harold Mair Dinner hosted by the Albury Branch to celebrate Harold’s many achievements.
Harold was instrumental in the establishment and development of many facilities around Albury. Harold was the State Member for Albury for 10 years after serving 10 years on Albury Council and is still widely respected as and effective advocate for Albury.

Premier Kristina Keneally with Albury Branch President, Darren Cameron and Labor candidate for Farrer, Christian Emmery.

Courtney roche
NSW Country Organiser

$27.6 million boost for rural and regional hospitals
An additional $27.6 million in funding for new beds and medical equipment in 2010/11 has been allocated to 52 hospitals in rural and regional nSW following Australia’s historic health reforms. The new funding was announced by Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon and NSW Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt, and follows the $1.2 billion allocated over four years to NSW through the health reform agreement with the Federal Government. “We are committed to strengthening health services in regional communities” Nicola Roxon said. This investment includes more than $11 million in new medical equipment for emergency departments and surgery at 51 regional hospitals, and $9.9 million for 33 new beds across Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Ballina Hospitals. “We recognise the particular health needs of communities in rural and regional NSW, and this new funding will go a long way to enhancing services for those communities,” Carmel Tebbutt said.

upgrading the Dubbo to Coonamble rail line
Minister for transport John robertson visited Dubbo to provide an update on the nSW Government’s $33 million upgrade of the Dubbo to Coonamble rail Line and hear from local people about transport issues in the region.

The NSW Government is working

hard to support our local farmers.

“The NSW Government, through the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority, will spend $18.5 million on re-sleepering work and renewal of the major rail bridge over Coolbaggie Creek at Eumungerie on the Dubbo to Coonamble line. “This investment will provide greater efficiency for the movement of grain and other agricultural products along the line,” John Robertson said. The investment includes:

$6 million for 25,000 steel sleepers between Dubbo and Gilgandra $2.5 million to renew the Coolbaggie Creek bridge at Eumungerie John Robertson said the upgrades are part of the NSW Government’s $155.3 million 2010-11 budget commitment to the regional rail network. “The NSW Government is serious about investing in our local agricultural industry and ensuring we support our local farmers,” said John Robertson.

The NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt opening the new health facility at Eugowra.

$10 million for 42,000 steel sleepers between Gilgandra and Coonamble

new visitor facility for Barrington tops
Minister for tourism and Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay officially opened a new visitor facility at the Mountain Maid Gold Mine near Gloucester.
the Keneally Government has invested $820,000 into the upgrade of the facilities, part of an ongoing effort to increase tourist numbers to the area. “This event sees the gold mine site in the Copeland Tops State Conservation Area, in Barrington Tops, re-open to the public for the first time in two years,” Jodi McKay said. Now that these works are complete, visitors can once again access the site, which not only contains remnants of the gold-mining era such as shafts and mining structures, but is also an important wildlife habitat area. As part of the redevelopment of the site, the Government has been working with Gloucester Tourism to develop a ‘Discovery’ program for the general public and tour groups, which help attract even greater numbers of visitors to the area.

The NSW Government has invested $820,000 upgrading the facilities at the Mountain Maid Gold Mine.

The NPWS will also now be offering ‘Hidden Treasures’ tours around Mountain Maid Gold Mine on Wednesdays and Saturdays, explaining the history behind the mine and introducing people to the fauna and flora of the park.

The Hunter region received the highest number of overseas visitors in a decade last financial year, with 122,000 overseas visitors coming to the area – staying nearly 2 million nights and injecting $130 million into the Hunter economy.

Big dry finally broken: Entire State out of drought
nSW has broken free from a historic run of drought years. not a single inch of the State is now officially drought declared.
“October drought figures paint a bright picture for NSW. From western NSW, the north, and through the centre of our State down to the south-west corner the country looks magnificent,” Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan said. “Not since June 2001 has NSW been free of drought and now we are on the brink of a $2.85 billion winter crop harvest. While we do need to recognise that the drought breaking does not mean an immediate return for those farmers who will still need to go through planting and growing new crops, there is no denying this is great news,” Steve Whan said. Even as recently as December 2009, 95% of the State was in drought or considered marginally in drought. The NSW Government has committed $535 million in drought assistance measures since the drought began.
Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan announced the official end of the drought.

Duncan Gay gets award for most scones
Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan awarded the shadow spokesman Duncan Gay with the Scone Organiser of the Year Award as he hit the milestone of 51 meetings and no outcome.
“Mr Gay is to be congratulated for what must be the 51st meeting with farmers and miners that has resulted in the Coalition abandoning farmers and still failing to formulate a policy,” Steve Whan said. “Mr Gay spent the week flip flopping on supporting farmers calls for a moratorium on mining, then saying it was unhelpful, before completely backflipping on the issue. “I marvel that Duncan Gay boasts he’s had over 50 meetings with the Mining industry and Farmers Association, fails to reach any agreement, then puts out a press release saying he’s had yet another meeting. “Of course, this latest meeting, which on Duncan Gay’s own count must be meeting number 51, has failed to resolve a policy position for the Coalition, but managed to alienate the Farmers Association and Minerals Council. “Duncan Gay is to be congratulated for this latest meeting, which surely is a victory for catering as the company providing the scones must love the endless meetings in search of a policy,” Steve Whan said.

Coalition Basin call not even backed by own backbenchers
If the Opposition really believed in its campaign to rip up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, surely its own members would have signed the petition calling to stop it?
Five hours after the Coalition launched a new website calling for signatories, only five of their own members had registered their support for the campaign. “Clearly this is another example of the flimsy grandstanding typical of an opposition desperate to gain political points by any means possible and bereft of real policy on this vital issue,” Primary Industries Minister, Steve Whan said. “It is obvious the Opposition is so lacking in agricultural policy that not even their own team members believe what they’re trying to tell the people of NSW. “The Keneally Government has made it clear we will not be ticking off on any plan that fails to balance properly the needs of farmers, local communities and the environment. “Already my department has been assisting farmers to implement Federally funded water conservation initiatives on their own properties, which return water for the environment while ensuring the productive capacity of the farm. “Having a dummy spit won’t help secure the long term future of agriculture in NSW, it will be through strong advocacy on behalf of farmers and communities,” Steve Whan said.

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