This is without a doubt one of the strangest times any of us has ever lived in. I know many of you are wondering what the future will hold, but I also know that we will get through this pandemic together.

As Nationals we’re used to working hard under a lot of pressure – whether it’s on a farm or fishing trawler, pouring coffees or building highways, or a myriad of other jobs and industries – and I just want to thank all of our people who are under the pump at the moment.

I’m mindful of the incredibly hard role our MPs have at the moment. They’ve all got home lives and families, and are facing the same pressures as everyone else, but they’re also working 24/7 answering a lot of queries under severe pressure. Their electorate offices too may have closed doors, but their staff are working incredibly hard answering more calls and emails than they usually get. The same goes for our Head Office staff, who are working from home and making sure all the calls are answered and the emails responded to, getting information to people who are sometimes confused or frightened. We owe these servants of our party and our regions a debt of gratitude.

Speaking of people seeking information, I’m sure a lot of you have seen some questionable things on social media about this pandemic. The last time Australia faced this kind of threat was 100 years ago, and back then we didn’t have a thousand opinions and self-appointed experts shooting off at the hip.

It is so important we seek out the official information from government and only share that official information.

As responsible members of the community, I believe it is our duty to make sure our fellow man is armed with facts, not fear.

To help in that effort, Head Office has put together a website that acts as a hub, linking you to all of the official information that’s out there. Please have a look at it and feel free to share that information with your family and friends.

Visit the COVID-19 hub here.

The Nationals are leading the way making sure families, small businesses and regions that are suffering from this COVID-19 pandemic are getting the support they need and deserve. We’ve had drought, bushfire and flood, and now this rotten virus on top of it all. That’s why I welcome the creation of the Department of Regional NSW and Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s appointment in heading that up.

We will get through this latest challenge together, as we always have done over the past 100 years. Please be kind and patient with people during this strange time in our lives, and thank you to everyone who is doing the right thing and observing the social distancing rules, limiting their time outside their homes, washing their hands regularly and wiping down every surface.