Minister for Agriculture and Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud and I wrote to both the Queensland and New South Wales premiers this week, asking them to extend the Queensland border around the community of Mungindi.
This comes in response to news that services at Mungindi Multipurpose Health Service (MPHS) have been suspended as a result of the hard border closure directed by the Queensland Government.
A majority of the medical staff live on the New South Wales side of town and are no longer able to cross the border to work at the hospital which is located in Queensland.
Now, residents on the New South Wales side of town are being forced to travel the 120 kilometres to Moree to access medical services, which is unacceptable when they have a hospital just over the river, not to mention life-threatening.
I'm calling on the Queensland Premier to overturn this draconian decision immediately. It is absolutely vital that the Mungindi MPHS be reopened.
Phase two for council projects
Shovels are hitting the ground across the region, with 28 projects approved for six councils in the Parkes electorate under Phase Two of the Federal Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program.
Under the second tranche of Phase Two, the following funding allocations have been made to councils in the Parkes electorate:
- Bourke Shire Council - $868,018
- Brewarrina Shire Council - $589,387
- Cobar Shire Council - $845,918
- Gunnedah Shire Council - $1,004,823
- Moree Plains Shire Council - $1,558,515
- Walgett Shire Council - $980,229
I'm pleased that councils in the Parkes electorate are getting on with spending this money, which will not only improve local roads and provide for new and upgraded amenities across the region, it will also support job creation, construction businesses and economic growth.
From upgrades to the Bourke Pool, Gunnedah Aerodrome, Moree Netball Courts and Cobar's Ward Oval to the construction of Goodooga Skate Park and drainage works in the Walgett Shire, I'm proud to be part of a Coalition Government that is investing in regional communities for the long haul.
More information on the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program is available at investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/local-roads-community-infrastructure-program.
Funding for innovative drought resilience projects
Three groups in the Parkes electorate are working on innovative solutions to build drought resilience into the future thanks to more than $465,000 in funding through the Australian Government's Future Drought Fund Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program.
Western Landcare NSW has received $200,000 for a rangeland rehydration capacity building project, Dryland Cotton Research Association has been awarded $198,500 for a project to enhance drought resilience in dryland farming systems by incorporating novel minimum soil disturbance techniques, and Condobolin and District Landcare Management Committee will establish a resilient grazing support group with $66,894 in funding.
These innovative projects will ensure our agricultural landscapes can adapt and regenerate into the future.
For more information about the Future Drought Fund, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund.
Healthy Rivers grants now open
The second round of the Coalition Government's Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program is now open for applications and I encourage community groups, farmers and landholders across the Parkes electorate to apply.
Nine grants were awarded to projects in the Parkes electorate under the first round of the program and this time around we've increased the number of eligible entities and increased the maximum funding amount for small grants to $100,000, to minimise red tape for more applicants.
In addition to the small grants stream for projects valued at $5,000 to $100,000, this round will have a large grants stream for projects between more than $100,000 and $2 million.
Healthy Rivers grants are not only great for the environment, but will support real jobs and local businesses across the Parkes electorate. This will stimulate our economy in its recovery from COVID-19 and drought.
Applications for both small and large grants are now open and will close at 9pm AEST on 6 October 2021. To learn more about eligible activities or to apply, visit the Community Grants Hub at https://www.communitygrants.gov.au/.