Weekly report for Friday 12 October, 2018

Community gets behind $80 million campaign for new Moree Hospital

I was bowled over by the fabulous support the Moree community gave me during the week at the launch of a new public campaign calling for a full redevelopment of Moree District Hospital, estimated to cost about $80 million. The first signature on the petition was the Moree Plains Shire’s Mayor Katrina Humphries with about 50 community right behind her.

This public push would seriously add weight to the lobbying I’ve already undertaken with Ministerial colleagues and people power is a powerful and essential ingredient when it comes to political push on this scale.

When I mount a case on behalf of the community to the Health Minister and Treasurer to secure a new hospital, it makes an enormous difference to be able to show that everyone in Moree is right behind this project and the campaign for it. The Moree community is entitled to the best health and patient care in a hospital built to modern standards and with an eye to demands in the next few decades.

This approach was successful in Armidale, and again in Inverell for the $60 million hospital redevelopment and I want to ensure we give ourselves the very best chance to make it three from three.

Uralla aces funding for sports with three major wins this week

URALLA sports enthusiasts (and spectators) hit the jackpot this week with almost $1 million announced across three major projects. The Uralla Tennis Club will get new synthetic courts with a $198,582, the Uralla Pool scored a $274,471 splash of cash and the Uralla Sporting Complex will receive a $247,292 hit – all NSW Government-funded upgrades.

The Uralla tennis club plan to resurface six courts which is part of the Uralla Sporting Complex – giving them a better playing surface on four and turning two ‘goat track’ courts into playable places.

The Uralla Shire Council plan to upgrade large areas of the public pool facility, including shade structures, fencing, seating, barbecues with shelter, public art, plumbing and relining the old surface.

The sporting complex at Uralla is used by a number of sporting groups including cricket, soccer, athletics, rugby league, rugby union, squash, netball and basketball. The planned upgrades include bitumen car parking areas, new socketed goal posts, mini grandstands, barbecues, bubblers and exercise stations.

It’s a great win for the Uralla district and I look forward to announcing other projects in the village areas of the shire in coming weeks.

Saumarez Homestead awarded Hall of Fame status

The heritage-listed Saumarez Homestead at Armidale has earned another historic milestone that marks its claim to fame as a true tourist icon, elevation to the coveted Hall of Fame status by the online travel website TripAdvisor.

The latest accolade comes after the National Trust property ranked in TripAdvisor’s Award of Excellence annual list for the past five years. This would considerably add to the tourist potential of Saumarez – especially on the back of a $2.77 million upgrade project announced only six months ago.

Saumarez is one of our tourist gems and the upgrade project coupled with the latest travel tick of excellence will drive more tourism numbers to this region. It will make one of our regional heritage icons a place that’s also significant as a tourist attraction both on a state and national scale, and that’s great news.

The modern building project, financed by a $1.77 million grant announced by Mr Marshall and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, in April this year, with $730,000 from Armidale Regional Council and another $200,000 from the National Trust, is underway. It will see 10 heritage style cabins built onsite, which will sleep up to 45 guests behind the existing farm buildings, as well as an additional accommodation space built near the old coach house.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy local produce in a newly renovated restaurant, which will be doubled in size to seat over 90 people. It is one of the most exciting tourism projects in the area in years that is expected to attract up to 185 visitors a day to Saumarez Homestead.

More event funding available for new festivals in our region

Organisers of any new local events planned to be held between January to June next year, should consider applying for grants from the State Government of up to $20,000 to help attract more visitors and boost local economies.

The 2019 Incubator Event Fund is now open to applications for events in rural and regional NSW to assist in areas such as marketing, public relations, venue hire and attendee research.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the event owners in our region who need extra support to help their event get off the ground or help it grow into something bigger.

The funding grant will assist in attracting more overnight visitors to our region, in the hope they stay longer and spend more time exploring everything our communities have to offer.

The Chill ‘n’ Glen Festival and the Outlander Outlandish festival, both in Glen Innes, were funded in the previous round, helping to attract more overnight visitors and as a result, stimulating the local economy.

The 2019 Incubator Event Fund is available to organisers staging an event for the first or second time. Applications are now open and close on 4 November 2018. For more information and to apply, visit www.destinationnsw.com.au/rfep

Region’s tradies set to save big bucks under licencing reforms

Around 230 tradies in the Northern Tablelands will save approximately $430,000 over the next decade by not having to renew their licenses every three years, as part of the NSW Government’s Better Business Reforms.

This is a fantastic outcome for consumers and our local tradies, because it maintains important protections, while also reducing costs. We’re keeping all 13 home building licenses because we need skilled and qualified tradies, but we’re also reducing the financial burden on our small businesses.

Renewal fees will drop from up to $605 every three years, to just a $51 processing fee for tradies to update their details every five years. That gives them more money to pay the bills, put food on the table, or grow their businesses.

The licenses that will become ongoing include decorating, painting, fencing, glazing, kitchen and bathroom benchtop installation, splashback installation, paving, shower screen installation, ducting/mechanical ventilation, shade sails and shade systems installation, dry plastering, wet plastering and minor maintenance/cleaning.

This is about getting back to basics and putting money back in the hands of local businesses. When business is made easier, both traders and consumers are better off.

Making it easier to do business in the Gwydir Shire

Businesspeople in the Gwydir Shire could now set up a café, restaurant or small bar in less than 90 days, with the local council ‘going live’ with the NSW Government’s Easy to do Business program.

The decision by Gwydir Shire Council to join the program paved the way for the emergence of a new foodie industry and café culture in the local area. Starting up a hospitality business used to mean completing up to 48 forms, talking to 13 government agencies and waiting up to 18 months.

With Easy to do Business, local entrepreneurs can now complete one online form, call one phone number and open a café, restaurant or small bar in 90 days or less. New cafés, restaurants and small bars create jobs and I’m delighted Gwydir Shire Council has gone live with this program and been proactive in supporting small business throughout the region.
I encourage other local councils across the region to follow Gwydir Shire’s lead and sign up to this program as well.

Businesses wanting to start up a café, restaurant or small bar can apply at https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/easy-do-business or phone 13 77 88.

Today and the weekend

I’ve spent the day in Glen Innes and red range catching up with community members and discussing some local projects. Despite the cold weather, it was encouraging to see that some wet stuff was falling out of the sky and the northern part of the electorate is certainly showing the benefits or a little rain.

Tonight I will be joining a few friends at NERAM for the new exhibition opening as well the announcement of the recipient of the 2018 Helen Dangar Memorial Bursary. The Dangar family continue to be wonderful supporters of the arts in our community.

Tomorrow, it’s in the car and off to awesome Ashford for the annual Ashford Salami Festival. This is a cracker of a day and I hope to be a judge in one of the categories. The salami-making tradition in this part of the electorate is strong and highly competitive. Family recipes are closely guarded secrets.

Then I head over the Glen Innes for the Drought Relief Family Fun Day and Pig Races at the beautiful showgrounds. This will be a terrific day out and kicks off at 11am and will go through the day and into the night. Organisers have planned a full day of activities – there will be barbecues, fashions in the Field, jumping castle, food stalls, face painting and a farmers’ challenge. I have a sneaking suspicion I will be roped into the challenge which could be interesting.

I’m assured the fun day will go ahead – rain or shine – the grounds have plenty of shelter and it will be a great family day out to round off the last weekend of the school holidays.

On Monday, I am launching a petition at the Glen Innes Hospital from 10am and then I will be making a major funding announcement at the Netball courts. If you’re around – come and join us.

Member for Northern Tablelands