COVID-19 outbreak in Western NSW
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has entered our western community, with positive cases in Bourke, Goodooga, Walgett, Wilcannia, and Dubbo.
Infection umbers have climbed and, as a result, we are still under stay-at-home orders.
In response to this outbreak, I’m pleased that the Federal Government has provided additional Pfizer vaccine doses for use in the affected local government areas, so that we can get as many people vaccinated as possible.
I encourage people to take advantage of these extra vaccines and get vaccinated to protect yourselves, your family members, and your community. Vaccination is our best chance of fighting this virus. Please come forward for testing as well.
And please stay home. The more we limit our movement, the less chance this virus has of spreading. Now is not the time for complacency. We can’t afford to let this virus spread further in our vulnerable communities. This is a difficult time, but if we all do our bit in protecting our communities – by staying home, getting tested and vaccinated - I’m confident we can get through this.
Visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 for the latest information on case numbers, testing facilities, vaccination clinics, health orders and exposure sites.
Increased vaccine opportunities
Regional NSW remains under stay-at-home orders this week, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Western and Far West regions of the state.
Over the past week I have been in regular contact with the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt asking for additional support to affected communities across the Parkes electorate.
I’m pleased that the Australian Defence Force is now on the ground supporting the local response by distributing care hampers and helping police conduct compliance checks.
Most excitingly, the ADF has partnered with the Western NSW Local Health District to provide walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics across 33 communities in the region over the next three weeks.
I strongly encourage all eligible members of these communities to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to get vaccinated. Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will be available, depending on individual eligibility.
In more good news, the Pfizer vaccine will be made available for 16 to 39-year-olds from 30 August, following the arrival of an extra one million Pfizer doses from Poland.
Our vaccine rollout is gaining speed, with significant milestones achieved last week. More than half of all Australians aged 16 and over have now received at least one vaccine dose and more than 16 million doses have been administered overall.
To check your eligibility and book your vaccination, visit https://www.australia.gov.au/
Visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 for the latest information on case numbers and locations, exposure sites, testing facilities, vaccination clinics, stay at home orders and travel restrictions.
Water security for Menindee graziers
I was pleased to announce that the Federal Government will contribute $5 million towards the construction of the $11.5 million Broken Hill to Menindee Graziers’ Pipeline.
The project will involve a pipeline across 320,000ha of farmland between Stephen’s Creek Reservoir and Sunset Strip to provide long-term water security for Menindee graziers.
This vital project will improve the quality and reliability of water infrastructure for 16 graziers and support the expansion of agricultural industries across the Far West.
Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and we are backing our farmers, especially in preparation for future droughts.
The Broken Hill to Menindee Graziers’ Pipeline is one of 40 water projects to share in $108 million in federal funding through the National Water Grid Connections funding pathway. For further information, visit https://www.nationalwatergrid.gov.au/.
Awards for innovative young people
Applications are now open for the 2022 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
There are 12 individual grants of up to $22,000 across multiple categories, with a total of $264,000 available for young scientists, researchers, and innovators.
Grants are open to young people aged 18 to 35 with original projects that aim to keep Australia’s rural industries sustainable and profitable.
Our young people are at the forefront of transforming the agricultural industry and these awards support passionate young Australians who want to make a difference through innovative projects that support and enhance our agriculture.
There are many bright young minds leading the way in the Parkes electorate, and I encourage them to apply now.
For more information and to apply, visit https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/conferences-events/scienceawards. Applications close at 5pm on Friday 1 October.