Nancy Bird takes flight to fight fires
The start of the bush fire season had been demanding with more than 6,200 NSW RFS volunteers responding to 2,500 fires in September alone.
Therefore today I welcomed the naming of the waterbombing DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) “Nancy Bird” in honour of renowned Australian aviator Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE. Nancy Bird Walton was the first woman in Australia to obtain a commercial pilot’s licence and was the founder of an outback air ambulance service. Like our NSW RFS volunteers, she provided invaluable emergency response across regional NSW. It was fitting that the VLAT Nancy Bird be tasked with protecting lives and property across NSW.
Our volunteers face unpredictable conditions every time they respond to a fire. We are indebted to the 74,000 NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers who protect this state from the devastation of bushfires, and I’m proud to be part of a Government that is committed to supporting them.
We have seen firsthand the benefit of having the Large Air Tanker “Thor” available to help attack and contain those fires. Our volunteers face walls of fire and step into hellish conditions to keep us safe. They need all the help they can get.
We want them to be reassured knowing Nancy Bird, Thor, and a 100 other aerial appliances are ready to respond in the event of a serious emergency. The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government allocated $38 million in the 2017-18 Budget to secure the use of the LAT and VLAT in the summer bushfire period over the next four years.
Reducing food waste
I am pleased to announce that councils and food relief agencies in our Barwon electorate can apply for a share of $2 million in grants to help rescue surplus food before it is sent to landfill.
Grants of up to $200,000 are available over two years to support projects that raise awareness and improve education on food rescue. We need to increase the volume of food donated and capture more good food before it becomes a waste.
I believe these grants will ultimately lead to less good quality food going in landfill and instead the food will go to people in need. Previous NSW Government funding for vans, fridges and freezers is already helping to divert 6,000 tonnes of surplus food from landfill each year.
NSW EPA staff is available to help charities prepare applications. Applications are open until November 22. For more information, visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/grants/organics-infrastructure-fund
November 11 is Remembrance Day
This Saturday, is Remembrance Day and I encourage the community to pay their respects to Australia’s servicemen and women and observe a minute’s silence.
This year will be the 99th anniversary of the end of the First World War, four years of conflict that devastated so many Australian families. At 11am on Saturday, we remember those men and women, and also acknowledge the service of the tens of thousands of Australians who’ve served in conflicts since.
I congratulate the following Barwon women who have been formally recognised in the 2017 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll for their valuable volunteer roles and outstanding contribution provided to local communities across our electorate.
Local women listed on the 2017 Honour Roll include: Suzanne Bibby –CASSILLIS, Jo-Louise Brown – COBAR, Veronica Chandler –COONAMBLE, Margaret Gilligan – BREWARRINA, Joanne Horne – WEE WAA, Julie Knight – BOURKE, Noeline Lummis – CURBAN, Anna Madden – WEE WAA, Shirley Marks – GILGANDRA, Ellen Pippin – IVANHOE, Barbara Warburton – BROKEN HILL, Jodie Wilton – CASSILIS and Naomi Schmidt - SILVERTON.