I can't think of a better way to start the new year than hitting the road and going on a regional tour to talk to you about what's happening in regional NSW. The traditional National Leaders "Wombat Trail" was in full swing last week as I headed through the Central West, New England and Upper Hunter regions with a swag of announcements and a keen ear to listen to the issues.
I began in Dubbo where four local clubs across the Central West region, including Orange, Lithgow, Parkes and Dubbo received grants to improve their emergency service response capabilities. Our clubs are the hearts of our community and during a natural disaster it's no different so the State Government, through the ClubGRANTS program, is making sure they have the equipment they need to help us in our times of need.
Tamworth was the next stop where local champion Kevin Anderson is tackling the drug Ice in his community head on by convening a forum of local experts to map out a way forward. Through the help of local police, health and community workers we were able to put together a plan to stamp out the problem. The hard work begins now though as the plan is implemented, I look forward to watching Kevin's progress.
Finally, I joined the member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen in Dungog to announce emergency assistance for the Hunter following last week's storm. Dungog has been ravaged by storms and flooding twice in nine months, but in a testament to the spirit of regional communities the residents are standing strong. Through the disaster assistance the State Government will do everything we can to make the recovery efforts as easy as possible.
The best way to understand the needs of regional NSW is to get out there and see it for yourself. It's something I look forward to and will continue to do as the leader of the NSW Nationals. So keep your eyes peeled and I might just see you out on the Wombat Trail.