Trains resume after devastating bushfires
Limited passenger and freight train services will resume along the Blue Mountains Line between Mount Victoria and Lithgow next week as the NSW Government continues work to restore critical infrastructure impacted by the bushfires.
The bushfires had left a trail of destruction along a 25 kilometre stretch of the state's main western line, causing extensive damage to signalling and rail infrastructure.
We recognise how important this rail connection is to passengers travelling to and from the west and to moving freight and we are doing everything possible to resume full services as soon as possible.
Sydney Trains' engineers have worked tirelessly to develop temporary systems that will allow us to restore rail connectivity and safely operate a limited number of freight trains from Monday evening and passenger trains from Tuesday, January 21.
But this will be a long recovery process as we are essentially rebuilding some parts of the operating system from scratch. Crews have already removed more than 300 damaged trees from the corridor and are working to relay thousands of kilometres of communication, electrical and signal wiring.
We understand customers' concern and frustration, and we appreciate their patience while the repair work continues. Customers travelling along the affected lines can check the latest information and plan their journey through trip planning apps or online at http://transportnsw.info.
Funding to combat pests and weeds
Another $10 million will be delivered to drought-affected farmers and land managers to fight feral animals and weeds, with every local council in my electorate eligible to apply for the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program.
Applications to fund projects are now open, and will close February 5, 2020. Those interested to review the program guidelines for the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program - Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds - Round 2 at www.communitygrants.gov.au
Youth program sets sail
If you're aged 16 to 23 and looking for an opportunity to develop valuable life skills, a voyage on board the Royal Australian Navy ship Young Endeavour could be just the experience for you.
The next generation of young Australians are building their leadership, teamwork and resilience skills on board the Young Endeavour, which has started the New Year setting sail from Tasmania for an 11-day voyage with a crew of 24.
The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme is recognised internationally as a leading youth development program. It's challenging and inspiring, with the group needing to successfully work together to sail a traditionally rigged tall ship as they begin their journey along the Tasmanian coast. Since 1988 the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme has taken almost 14,000 young Australians on voyages. Applications to join a voyage are now being accepted at www.youngendeavour.gov.au
Grants of up to $10,000 are available to community groups and organisations to help conduct commemorative activities to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day. The Saluting Their Service (STS) Commemorative Grants program was recently expanded to place a focus on the Second World War and later wars, conflicts and peace keeping operations.
Victory in the Pacific Day marked the end of the Second World War - a war that impacted the lives of so many Australians. Applications for this program are now open on the Community Grants Hub at www.communitygrants.gov.au and will close on March 31, 2020.