Drought and building stronger regional communities were both on the agenda at the Orana Joint Organisation meeting in Narromine early last week.
I was pleased to hear from member councils including Bogan, Gilgandra, Mid-Western Regional, Narromine, Warren and Warrumbungle Shire Councils about their local issues and priorities.
Member councils discussed the success of the Federal Government's Drought Communities Programme, which has injected $1 million of funding into all 18 local councils in my electorate, as well as the Unincorporated Area (Far West NSW).
We've seen some excellent projects get up off the ground through this initiative, which is stimulating the local economy and engaging local workers.
Narromine Shire Council has used its funding to enhance community infrastructure, improve roads, install bores and deliver a local grants program, and there are equally impressive programs rolling out across the electorate. Under the DCP, individual councils are able to select and carry out their own local projects within a set of guidelines, that deliver real and tangible benefits to the local community doing it tough in the drought.
Remote airstrip upgrades
Applications for the latest round of the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program are now open. I was thrilled that two remote aerodromes in the Parkes electorate were upgraded with $69,281 in funding under the last round - Lake Cargelligo airstrip and Wanaaring airstrip - improving the safety and capacity of both airstrips.
I'm urging owners or operators of remote community airstrips to make an application under Round 7, to fund improvements such as new lighting, navigation systems, runway sealing and fencing. Applications will close November 12. Airstrips in remote areas are crucial pieces of community infrastructure. They are essential for providing mail, supplies, transport and medical services. Nationally, more than $40 million has been spent on 209 programs under this initiative.
For guidelines and other information, see www.business.gov.au/assistance/remote-airstrip-upgrade-program or call 13 28 46.
From this month, more than 500,000 Australians will have access to cheaper medicines. More life-saving drugs will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which in some cases will save patients more than $100,000, including people in the Parkes electorate.
This means that medicines to treat lung cancer, lymphoblastic and acute leukaemia, and nausea associated with chemotherapy will now be available to patients on the PBS for just $40.30 per script, or $6.50 with a concession card. The Coalition Government continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that save lives.