Patients across our region are set to benefit from an expansion of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), with the NSW Government investing an additional $149.5 million as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.
I welcome this funding boost, which will see more people eligible for subsidised travel and accommodation if they need to leave their communities to receive specialist care.
We understand travel and accommodation can be expensive, and we're committed to doing what we can to ease the financial pressure on patients.
The devastating reality is that many people simply don't seek treatment to avoid the financial burden on their family. This is unacceptable.
For the first time, the scheme will be expanded so patients seeking non-commercial clinical trials, high risk foot clinics, highly specialised publicly funded dental health clinics and occularists will be eligible for assistance.
The subsidy for people requiring accommodation will be almost doubled, while the NSW Government will also nearly double the private vehicle subsidy rate from 22 cents to 40 cents per kilometre for patients who have to travel more than 100 kilometres for care.
Construction has now begun on the multi-purpose Platypus Conservation Centre at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, made possible thanks to an $8.8 million investment from the NSW Government.
The Centre will support about 65 platypuses, and will include a refuge facility, research centre to observe and understand platypus breeding behaviours, rehabilitation and release facilities, and a public viewing area to educate guests.
A naturalistic creek will also be built to observe the platypuses in a wild-like setting, while helping to build fitness in rehabilitated animals ahead of their release back into the wild.
Farmers across NSW will have ongoing support to build resilience when it comes to future droughts and other natural disasters, thanks to a multi-million dollar commitment in the 2022-23 NSW Budget.
The program has already had significant intake, with farmers across the state receiving support to create their own business plans, bank ready budgets and drought strategies.
Not only will these tools play a huge role in everyday farming operations and future-proofing properties, it gives landowners the opportunity to network and meet people in the same boat as them to further strengthen and diversify their businesses.
The program is an initiative of the Australian Government's Future Drought Fund, which is jointly funded with the NSW Government. For more information, including access to business tools and resources and to register your interest in the 2022 Business Coaching Program, visit: https://www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au/programs/farm-business-resilience-programlaunch.
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