Issues & Policies

Orange Electorate Rail Services – Question Time

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 8 February 2024

My question is directed to the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads. Will the Minister provide an update on the extension and stabling of the Bathurst Bullet daily return passenger train service to Sydney commencing and finishing at Orange, and any other related rail infrastructure projects for the Orange electorate?

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Virtual Stock Fencing) Bill 2023 – Second Reading Speech

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 8 February 2024

In 2016 I was elected to represent not only the good people of the Orange electorate but also the interests and needs of farmers across our State. The record will reflect my enthusiastic and vigorous representation in this place and beyond, which I have done on behalf of farmers from across New South Wales who endured the devastating drought that took hold in 2018. It was this representation that “encouraged” the then Government to eventually deliver essential support and aid for those we rely on to provide the food and fibre we often take for granted. Farming is a pillar of my representation. The farming sector is rooted in the history of Australia’s colonisation and is the industry that has supported rural and regional development in the hundreds of years since. Farming has influenced the shape and definition of country people and their communities. Now technological progression shapes and defines farming practices, including stewardship over the land and husbandry of the livestock that farmers care for.

Orange Electorate Passenger Rail Services

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 7 February 2024

The petitions that we, as members of Parliament, debate in this place each week are the result of a substantial number of community members unifying to support an issue they deem of importance and seek to have the Parliament address. Obtaining 10,000 or more handwritten signatures to succeed in a debate is not an easy accomplishment for any country community. During my time as the member for Orange, I have only tabled two from my electorate. Of those two 10,000‑signature petitions, one was successfully achieved by the Orange Rail Action Group, whose members relentlessly pursued improved passenger rail services for the community of Orange and the broader Central West of New South Wales. That petition was debated in this place five years ago and, in spite of the number of petitioners representing a number roughly half the adult population of Orange, the debate was—as I have often described petition debates—a bit of an anticlimax. The issue was debated following years of work but was followed by a discouraging absence of real action from the previous Government.

Central West Floods

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 22 November 2023

Last week in Eugowra the community—along with Cabonne councillors led by Mayor Kevin Beatty and Federal member for Calare, Andrew Gee—gathered for a reflection ceremony remembering two of their own who tragically perished in the floodwaters that devastated their township without warning on the morning of 14 November 2022. The solemn occasion was moving. They gathered to remember Ljubisa “Les” Vugec, aged 85, and Dianne Smith, aged 60. They also heard recollections from survivors of the event, both young and old. Many locals trapped in the flood zone clung to rooftops awaiting rescue. The Eugowra flood event sparked the largest ever helicopter rescue operation in Australia’s history. There were countless acts of selflessness and heroism by those who placed themselves in harm’s way to rescue their fellow citizens from peril. They are absolutely awe-inspiring.

Virtual Fencing Technology

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 17 October 2023

A pivotal change is needed in New South Wales legislation—a change that has the potential to revolutionise the agricultural landscape of our State. I advocate for legalisation on virtual fencing technology and shed light on the many benefits it would offer to our livestock farmers, especially in the Orange area. Before we delve into the significance of this agri-technology, let me provide some context. Virtual fencing is a cutting-edge innovation that has the potential to transform the way we manage our livestock. The technology allows farmers to create virtual boundaries for their animals without the need for traditional physical fences. By using GPS technology, the virtual boundaries are established, and when an animal approaches or crosses the boundary, it receives a mild, safe electrical stimulus to deter it from going further.

Parkes Hospital Maternity Services

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 17 October 2023

My question is directed to the Minister for Regional Health. Will the Minister update the House on the progress being made to reinstate permanent maternity services at Parkes Hospital, a service critical to the health and safety of expectant mothers and their newborn babies, and the future of that growing township?

Flood Insurance

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 1 August 2023

I stand before the Chamber as a voice for the people of flood‑impacted communities across the Cabonne, Forbes and Parkes local government areas who have suffered immensely in the wake of the devastating floods that struck their communities across the Central West in 2022. As their elected representative, it is my duty to shed light on the massive injustice perpetrated by some insurance companies that have denied and stifled flood damage claims for residential homes and businesses in our flood‑impacted communities. That injustice cannot go unaddressed, and it is now time we hold those insurance companies accountable.

Palliative Care

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 1 June 2023

My question is directed to the Minister for Health. The community of Orange is growing rapidly, as is its aging population. Therefore, there is an increased demand for inpatient palliative care. Will the Minister consider funding a 12-bed palliative care hospice in Orange—a service dedicated to pain management, respite care and end-of-life care for palliative patients?

Flood Mitigation, Response and Recovery

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 24 May 2023

I take this opportunity to address our need to reflect on recent flood disasters across my electorate, to learn from them and, ultimately, to install the necessary measures to protect life and mitigate damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure into the future. We need to do more if there is a chance of jumping off the bureaucratic-driven hamster wheel and do what is possible to break the cycle of devastation and despair following inevitable future deluge and disaster. There were failures in both early warning systems and emergency service responses to the flood event at Eugowra and Cudal in November last year. There were obvious contributing factors which exacerbated flooding in Molong, and there were clear mitigating strategies which would have likely spared Forbes the extent of flooding that it experienced.

24/7 Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes

Legislative Assembly Hansard – 10 November 2022

I acknowledge the people gathered in the gallery today to support the Public Health Amendment (Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes) Bill 2020. They seek State‑based legislative reform to improve the quality of life of the residents of nursing homes, including family and friends whom they love and care about or residents whom they care for. The bill is about the people in our lives whom we love, cherish and look after. I introduced the first edition of the bill five years ago, which was especially important to me. Other than being the first ever bill I brought before the House, it sought to right the wrongs that inadvertently resulted from legislative change removing a requisite minimum of registered nursing staff and resulting care for the most vulnerable in our community—the frail and aged living in nursing homes.