It was great to get out on the road last week, visiting Bourke, Brewarrina, Goodooga and Lightning Ridge in the northern part of my electorate.
In Bourke it was a pleasure to officially open the new teacher accommodation at St Ignatius Parish School. The Federal Government contributed $854,700 for the construction of these two and three-bedroom houses, which provides the school with quality, safe and secure housing to attract teaching staff to Bourke.
While in Bourke I also caught up with Bourke Shire Council and inspected a pathway that is currently being constructed near the Back O' Bourke, thanks to funding through the Federal Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.
In Brewarrina, I joined Brewarrina Shire Council Mayor Phillip O'Connor, Deputy Mayor Vivian Slack-Smith, councillor Angelo Pippos and General Manager Jeff Sowiak on a tour of some of the great projects completed and currently underway in the shire, including the new Goodooga Road Rest Stop and the completed Muckerawa and Dumble bridge upgrades, all funded by the Australian Government. I also enjoyed meeting some of the locals who are currently working on the Goodooga Road upgrade.
Next stop was Goodooga, where I stopped in to inspect the progress of the new Goodooga Store which is being built thanks to $1.7 million in Federal Government funding. I also visited the Goodooga Bore Bath and the Mission Memorial before heading to Lightning Ridge for an update on the Australian Opal Centre.
Funding local child care services
Wonderful news last week that 15 child care services in the Parkes electorate have been allocated an additional $3.3 million through the Federal Government's Community Child Care Fund.
This funding will help local child care services in Bourke, Condobolin, Coonamble, Dubbo, Gunnedah, Lake Cargelligo, Lightning Ridge, Moree, Narrabri, Tottenham, Warren, and Wee Waa improve access to quality care, supporting services that may need support to keep operating, or to fund capital projects to improve services and increase the number of places available.
It will be good for our local kids, good for our hard-working families and ultimately for our community. It will also have a positive economic benefit by allowing more local parents to get back into work or to take on additional hours if they chose.
A full list of the successful recipients in the Parkes electorate can be found on my website at www.markcoulton.com.au.
More information on the Community Child Care Fund can be found on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
Boosting mobile coverage
I was thrilled to announce last week that a number of mobile black spot issues across my electorate will be addressed, with 12 new base stations to be funded under Round 5A of the Australian Government's highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program.
Base stations will be established at Borwon, Bullarah, Collymongle, Hermidale, Little Topar, Strathmore Road Dungalear, Tellegra, and along the Barrier Highway between Broken Hill and Little Topar Hotel, between Canbelego and Hermidale, and at Glenora and Miandetta. A trial roaming base station will also be established at Yamboon.
These sites will provide improved mobile coverage for communities in these areas, allowing visitors and locals alike to stay connected, access health and education services, conduct business and remain in contact with family and friends.
More information about the expected timing of the rollout will be made available on the websites of the successful Mobile Network Operators and Mobile Network Infrastructure Providers.
The full list of base stations funded under Round 5A of the MBSP is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.