As many readers would now know, Dubbo is expecting a Royal visit next month. I’ve no doubt the city will be a hive of activity on 17 October as we welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In a speech in Parliament House last week, I spoke about their impending arrival and what a momentous occasion it will be for Dubbo. At the moment Dubbo and its surrounding regions - and indeed the entirety of my electorate - is in the grip of a longstanding drought. The Royal visit to Dubbo will be a very welcome event in what is a challenging time for many. Whether you are a Royal fan or not, I know there is collective excitement growing in the local community in readiness for their arrival.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in the country for the Invictus Games, which was founded by Prince Harry in 2014. The Invictus Games is for serving and former serving military personnel who have been wounded, injured, or become ill during their military service, and will take place from 20-27 October 2018 in Sydney.
The Games will see a team of 72 members of the Australian Defence Force celebrate their fighting spirit. One of those is Broken Hill man, Marcus Wilson, who will compete in the sailing event. Mr Wilson is also the manager of the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in Broken Hill, which itself is an iconic base. His work there is very much appreciated.
I commended Mr Wilson in my recent speech, on his valued service to the Australian Defence Force, and his involvement in the Invictus Games. Mr Wilson has a very interesting story, and I encourage anyone interested to read about him on my website (markcoulton.com.au).
I'm very pleased that the only inland centre that the royal couple will be visiting is Dubbo. Dubbo is a thriving city with a vibrant education sector, and is the service centre for a large agricultural region. It undertakes internationally-acclaimed conservation work through the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and so much more.
Meeting with the Drought Co-ordinator
I was pleased to meet with the newly-appointed National Drought Coordinator, Major General Stephen Day, DSC, AM while he was in Canberra last week to discuss drought issues pertinent to the Parkes electorate.
We discussed a range of topics including fodder for livestock, the increasing need for the coordination of drought charity services, and the pressures felt by local farming communities as a result of the drought, among other issues.
I know that while the drought has had an enormous and direct impact on primary producers right across my electorate, there are also a range of businesses and industries that have been deeply affected by the dry times. Whether that’s a local grain carrier who is getting just a fraction of the usual jobs, or a small business in town that is struggling to keep its doors open, I’d like to let those people know that they have not been forgotten and that I’ll continue to pursue a conversation to promote their interests.
Supporting older residents
A $106 million boost from the Coalition Government will support older residents in the Parkes electorate with better facilities, better care and better standards in aged care.
I believe older Australians deserve our respect and they should receive the very best care available. The overwhelming majority of aged care providers do the right thing - but some have not been up to scratch.
Australia’s tough new aged care cop – the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission – will receive a further $16 million to police quality, boost response teams for complaints, audits and compliance and support consumers when failures occur. Sub-standard care will not be tolerated, and there will be an option to shut down an operator doing the wrong thing.