Namoi News

Roy Butler MP Member for Barwon

Namoi News

Roy’s Roundup

Roy’s Roundup

Author: Kate Schwager/Friday, April 02, 2021/Categories: Rural News, Community, Politics

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Hi Folks, 

A belated Happy Easter! I hope you all got some time with family or friends, and spent time doing things that brings you happiness and contentment. 

The floods in Sydney, Moree and the Coast have been devastating. There is no getting away from the property damage and economic cost of this incident. The good news for us is that rainfall in our own catchment and flows out of Queensland should see some of the best river flows in years. Well over 500GL should hit Menindee, it’s my priority that water is retained in Menindee to protect the lower Darling for as long as possible. I have asked the Minister to review the 480GL/640GL rule that transfers control of Menindee Lakes to the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) when storage is over 640GL. These discussions are ongoing. 

Last week I have had meetings in Dubbo, and been catching up on super exciting governance work – that is; the checks and balances that make me pay for the sins of past politicians… declarations, returns, travel diaries etc… all caught up!

I also got to spend Easter with my family. My eldest daughter came back from Wagga Wagga to spend Easter with us. Was amazing to see how the realities of life have matured her. It’s hard for young people leaving home to make a start. I am proud of the steps she has taken. 

This week I am in Nyngan, Bourke and surrounds. I have a number of meetings with councils, community groups and constituents. If you see me on the road, flag me down and say G’day. 

Roy

 

TWO YEARS AS THE MEMBER FOR BARWON 

Last month marked two years since the people of Barwon elected me to represent them in NSW Parliament. I do not shy away from saying how much of an honour and privilege it is representing you all. For decades the Coalition treated Barwon like they do any safe seat—as a given. They took the people of Barwon, Orange and Murray for granted. Now almost half a million square kilometres of New South Wales is represented by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party—60 per cent of New South Wales. 

As a candidate I promised only to work hard and be honest, to bring back representation to the people of Barwon, to listen, to give people a voice in Parliament, to take the concerns of the west all the way to Macquarie Street, and to fight for Barwon and keep fighting until we receive the necessary investment and attention from the Government.

It does not sit well with me to talk about achievements because when I look at the Barwon electorate I see communities that have been so severely neglected that many of the things we are achieving are the necessities of life. They are things that electorates in the city would take for granted. While today we have rain drenching the State, it most certainly was not like this a year ago. It was a dust bowl out west, but we were told by the Government to pray for rain instead of looking to the Government to provide drought support. I lobbied for drought assistance every chance I got and I am still lobbying the Government to actually address drought, drought support and drought recovery instead of developing memory loss and burying their heads in the dust. It must be difficult for them to have a member for Barwon who cannot be silenced.

A few weeks ago a member of this Government made the claim that I like to take credit for things. I have had a look at the announcements that the Government makes in the Barwon electorate. Since March 2019 there are a stack of them—hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring into the electorate. I tell people to shake their hand, take their money and ask for more.

I would like to point out a couple of things regarding these announcements. I have no problem not being invited. As I frequently say, I am not deluded in thinking that I am important. I just occupy an important position. But I do have a problem with how little respect is shown for the community members, sporting clubs and organisations who put in hours of hard work to apply for grants, who do amazing things in our communities on the smell of an oily rag, and who are forced to beg the Government for a little bit of money to keep going or to provide our kids with opportunities like kids in the city have. This is not a generous NSWGovernment seeking out areas of need in towns across Barwon. The money comes because passionate, communityminded people slog out application forms. They spend their evenings gathering data, writing proposals, getting quotes and calling people for letters of support. It is their work in our communities that is deserving of any credit, not a government that likes to keep our communities on a funding drip-feed. 

Despite what my opponents suggest, working with genuine members of the Government has been productive for the Barwon electorate—for example, the Wanaaring Health Centre funding, the repurposing of Ivanhoe and Brewarrina Correctional Centres, vital legislative amendments, a rural healthcare inquiry, the review of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme, funding of wild dog control measures, expanded transport subsidies for restocking and the active engagement of my office by Ministers who take their role to govern for the whole of New South Wales seriously.

At the end of the day, politicking belongs at election times. Genuine members of Government understand that. Those out for their own gain will probably never understand that. 

Hundreds turn up for gas meeting in Ivanhoe

Last week over 200 people participated in a community meeting in Ivanhoe regarding Gas Exploration in the Far West of NSW. Through my efforts and those of the Community, the Public Servants from the Department of Planning finally showed up out west. They were given a clear message from the community in the form of a motion. I love their motion, couldn’t have said it better:

1. We the community members affected by the proposed gas exploration of the Yathong-Ivanhoe and Neckarboo Troughs don’t accept any risk, meaning zero risk to any surface and underground water supplies that are critical to supplying any town and residential water, stock and domestic water, and water for the purposes of irrigation. 

2. We the community members affected by the proposed gas exploration of the Yathong-Ivanhoe and Neckarboo Trough will not accept any harm or risks to Aboriginal heritage and cultural significance, roads and infrastructure, livestock disruption and losses, bio-security threats, insurance and public liability, policies and any cause for potential mental health cases. 

3. Finally we the community member affected by the by the proposed gas exploration of the Yathong-Ivanhoe and Neckarboo Troughs will protect each other, will not allow individuals to be singled out, will not negotiate our future, will not consider any proposal that could potentially ruin the country for all future generations. United we want this gas proposal to stop right now and we are prepared to fight for as long as it takes. 

Well done to the people involved. This is a great start.

 

Inquiry into support for Regional and Rural Learner Drivers in NSW

The Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety - of which I am a member - is looking at the support learner drivers in rural and regional NSW need in order to meet the requirements for getting a driver licence. 

I know young people in the bush can face greater challenges when it comes to meeting the requirements to get their L plates. This can have a huge impact on their ability to get an after school or weekend job, participate in sports and education opportunities.

The inquiry is calling for ideas on how to address issues such as limited access to training and licensing services. It also includes looking at how driver simulators and other technology could assist learners. 

The Committee wants to hear from individuals and community groups in rural and regional NSW about their experiences of obtaining a driver licence and how it can be improved. 

Please make a submission, which can be a few line telling the Committee about your experience here: www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2721

 

FLOOD AND STORM EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE 

A number of Barwon Shire Areas are eligible for flood and storm assistance from State and Federal Governments. Visit the Service NSW website where you can use the “Disaster Assistance Finder” – www.service.nsw.gov.au/floods#disaster-assistance-finder

Alternatively give Service NSW a call on 137788 and they can give advice specific to your situation. I havespoken with them, they are standing by, ready to help. 

Stay safe, ask for help if you need it.

Water is still moving down the river system. The first flood peak for Collarenebri and Walgett is expected to arrive in the coming days and may result in minor flooding. 

If you have an emergency, please call 000, and if it’s flooded forget it.

For more information and assistance during floods:

• Listen to your local ABC radio station, follow /NSWSES on Facebook or www.ses.nsw.gov.au

• For the latest Weather, Warnings, Rainfall and River heights visit: www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood

• For road closure information visit: www.livetraffic.com.au, call 131 701 or contact your Local Council

• For rural animal and livestock assistance, contact your Local Land Services Office: www.lls.nsw.gov.au

• For emergency help in floods and storms, including assistance with resupply during isolation, call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500. 

 

 

 

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