Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke was among the state and federal MPs who joined regional industry leaders and stakeholders at the annual Bush Summit in Tamworth, to raise concerns and discuss solutions to issues impacting rural and regional Australia.
“The summit is always a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the unique challenges facing communities across regional NSW, including those in our electorate,” Ms Cooke said.
“The summit canvassed a wide range of topics and priority areas that most certainly deserve the NSW Government’s full attention, especially given Labor’s first budget is just around the corner.
“With dry conditions starting to bite in certain areas, water security and drought preparedness were at the top of the agenda. Some are rightly concerned about issues surrounding the supply of water in parts of regional NSW, in addition to the apparent absence of a much-needed road map to deal with the looming drought.
“The summit also made clear the urgency around housing supply shortages in regional areas, and the need to recognise and plan appropriately for the demands of an ever-changing demographic.
“Measures to help alleviate the chronic shortage of health professionals across NSW are always welcome, but as the summit rightly identified, expanding the cash incentive scheme for health service workers is just the start; the government must do more to address critical workforce shortages across the board, including teachers, childcare workers, and police.
“As many across regional NSW are well aware, more needs to be done to safeguard against the impact of natural disasters, and I along with my colleagues will be closely scrutinising the government’s actions in this space.
“The summit also underscored the urgency in finding a middle ground when it comes to the construction of renewable energy transmission lines on farming properties, which is an issue that The Nationals have long been vocal about.
“The government inherited a range of programs all designed to empower regional communities large and small, and it is incumbent upon Labor to not only retain, but to strengthen this support in the upcoming budget.
“Actions speak louder than words; it’s not enough to simply talk about the issues we’re facing out here in regional NSW, we need to see tangible results on the ground.
“The summit successfully and succinctly identified the areas that need the government’s full attention, and it’s now time the premier and his colleagues show they’re listening, and act collaboratively and decisively to address these concerns, and provide the support our resilient regional communities need, to continue to grow and thrive well into the future,” she said.