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Real and positive change in regional NSW

Last week your Nationals team made a number of significant announcements that will bring about real and positive change in regional NSW.

On Monday, Duncan Gay announced an additional $15 million for work to improve the state’s freight rail network, including funding to reinstate the branch line from Maimuru (near Young) to Demondrille. This 56km kilometre section of track, which was closed by the former Labor government, will be the biggest opening of a section of rail line in 16 years. Other freight rail projects at Barellan, Burren Junction, Hillston, Moree, Tamworth and Tarago have also been funded.

On Wednesday the government announced that a number of regional prisons would be expanded, providing jobs not only during the commissioning of extra beds, but on an ongoing basis for a number of our communities. Prisons to be expanded include Bathurst (250 new beds), Kempsey (400 beds), Junee (480 beds) and Nowra (360 beds). These projects, and others including at Cessnock, Grafton and Wellington, will create more than 2,380 additional jobs, with a significant majority of these in regional locations.

And on Friday, I was delighted to announce that the NSW Government is buying back BHP Billiton’s mining exploration licence at Caroona. This licence, issued by the former Labor government, would have allowed coal mining under the famous black soils of the Liverpool Plains – one of our most precious resources. It should have been ruled out well before now, but I’m so happy we’ve finally been able to deliver.

It was also my great pleasure to officially launch a new exhibition for Royal Far West, Fragility and Friendship, which is being hosted at Parliament. The Nationals have a long and close connection to Royal Far West, and it was great to be there as Thomas George, Melinda Pavey, Sarah Mitchell and Leslie Williams were presented with gifts in appreciation for their stoic support of the organisation.

Royal Far West does an amazing job supporting country children and their families through what is often the most difficult time in their lives. This new exhibition captures some of their stories, and offers an insight into the incredible work that Royal Far West does. You can find out more about the exhibition at http://www.fragilityandfriendship.com/.

Pictured: L-R, Troy Grant; RFW Chairman Richard Barron; RFW Business Director Richard Colbran at the Royal Far West exhibition.

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