Lessons learned at the North Coast Conference
While some are winding down for Christmas, I was very proud to see the North Coast Nationals moving full steam ahead on the weekend at the first regional conference we’ve had in over a decade.
I had the privilege to attend the conference in Lismore, which was convened by our North Coast MLC Ben Franklin and attended by more than 120 members.
It was a great opportunity to speak openly and frankly about the lessons we need to learn and the opportunities the NSW Nationals need to explore on the North Coast heading into 2017 and onto the 2019 election.
Despite what has been an extremely busy and sometimes difficult year, the North Coast Nats are as enthusiastic as I am in pushing forward and ensuring our communities remain at the heart of this Government’s decision-making process. The regional conferences have been reignited thanks to the work of Jenny Gardiner and the Leader’s Taskforce, and I very much look forward to the Southern conference in March.
Across policy debates, breakout groups, guest speakers and Q&A panels a wide range of issues were canvassed. Motions included a call to expedite the development of a whole-of-government Koala Strategy – good work that is already underway thanks to the launch of our koala strategy just one week prior to the conference. Motions and debates like this mean that the Nats have their finger on the pulse when it comes to what their communities need, and we are calling on members to speak up on these issues.
The conference also supported the use of seeds grown and developed in Australia for medicinal cannabis trials. This opportunity to commercialise medicinal cannabis will create jobs for regional NSW and create an opportunity for farmers to greatly benefit from a new market, with NSW placed to be a world-leader in this research and the development of a new industry.
In other news, I’m also excited to tell you about the newest developments at TAFE NSW.
Our Connected Learning Centres (CLC) will contain state-of-art-facilities, opening doors of opportunity for our students. These next generation facilities include optimised wireless access, interactive digital touchscreens, and tools for video and web conferencing.
The CLCs will offer students across regional NSW access to a wider range of courses such as technology and computer skills, accounting, digital and social media, customer care, hospitality, food safety, tourism and first aid.
The first four will be based in Quirindi, Coonabarabran, Glen Innes and Tenterfield before they are taken to another eight locations. Corowa, Deniliquin, Grenfell, Murwillumbah, Scone, Singleton, Narrandera and Yamba will each receive a Connected Learning Centre next year, enabling students to have unparalleled access to new skills and opportunities.