Matters of State | Local volunteers

Protection: The new rule will begin as a 12 month trial from September 1, 2018 following a comprehensive public education campaign.

Protection: The new rule will begin as a 12 month trial from September 1, 2018 following a comprehensive public education campaign.

Nominate a local volunteer

Local communities will get to have their say in nominating local volunteers in this year’s local health awards. The ‘Volunteer of the Year’ will be awarded as part of the Local Health District’s ongoing commitment to quality and safety improvement and this is a great opportunity for local communities to get involved in their local health service. Volunteers play an integral role in delivering health services to our local communities, we have more than 400 volunteers across our 39 Western NSW health facilities that help out in a range of activities from gardening to running exercise classes and assisting in kiosks and hospital auxiliaries. We want to give local communities the opportunity to nominate local volunteer heroes that do an outstanding job in their local hospital. The Living Quality & Safety Health and Innovation Awards will celebrate and acknowledge the innovation and passion of our District’s commitment to ‘healthy people, thriving communities’. To nominate a local volunteer from your local health facility, please contact your local health facility. A list of local health facilities can be found on the Health District website. The Health District is always looking for new volunteers, so if you’ve ever thought about volunteering, please talk to your local hospital. For more information about volunteering with Western NSW Local Health District, visit wnswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/join-us/engage-with-us/community-engagement. Applications close  April 19. 

Protecting emergency workers

This week I have welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to introduce a new road rule requiring motorists to slow down to 40km/h when passing emergency service workers and volunteers attending to road incidents. Emergency service workers and volunteers are out there every day, often putting themselves in harm’s way to protect us and keep us safe on the roads. They should be able to attend road incidents without fear of being struck by a vehicle themselves. These new measures will help ensure the safety of our dedicated emergency service personnel. The new rule will strengthen current laws and require motorists to slow down to 40km/hr when an emergency vehicle is stopped and has its red or blue lights flashing on all roads. The new rule will begin as a 12 month trial from September 1, 2018 following a comprehensive public education campaign. These rules will give all emergency workers extra protection, and confidence that they can go to work and at the end of their shift, get home safely to their families. The NSW Government will monitor the safety and traffic impacts of the rule over the 12-month period in consultation with NSW Police, emergency service organisations as well as stakeholder groups.

Assistance for drought stricken farmers

I have this week welcomed the creation of a new drought assistance measure that will provide drought stricken farmers with help to sustain livestock through dry conditions. The NSW Drought Transport Fund will provide up to $20,000 in low interest loans, with a two-year interest and repayment free period, to help farmers pay freight costs for fodder, water, or to move stock to agistment. On my recent travels throughout the electorate, I have seen first-hand the impacts that the dry conditions are having on our farmers and their families. The costs of transporting fodder, water, or to move stock is crippling our farmers, as more than a quarter of the state is struggling with drought or conditions approaching it, with the Central West one of the hardest hit areas. Our farmers are the lifeblood of our communities and when they are struggling, the whole community is impacted. The application process for the NSW Drought Transport Fund will be streamlined, via the NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA), to make it easier for our farmers. Visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au to view the full range of assistance measures available.