Recently I visited Currajong Disability Services at Parkes. Currajong is based in Parkes, Central West NSW and provides specialist disability services in Parkes, Forbes, Peak Hill, Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo and surrounding areas.
(min cost $8)
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With 75 staff catering to the needs of over 130 clients, Currajong provide an essential NDIS service to, and both direct and indirect benefit to, the district. It was great to tour the new facility, meet clients and staff, and see clients engaging in meaningful work through their on-site printing business, Switch Signs.
I was briefed on their plans to expand the building footprint at their Parkes headquarters in Clarinda Street, for a more holistic operation. Well done to the board and team on their efforts, and I look forward to seeing this not-for-profit grow in-step with the community's needs.
Farming, as with any business in any sector, needs to keep up with technology for greater efficiency, productivity, profitability, safety and security. Unfortunately, an existing NSW law is now stifling the progress of livestock farming, and reducing industry competitiveness. Here in NSW the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 prohibits the use of a certain electrical devices on livestock animals, and as a result farmers aren't presently able to lawfully use virtual fencing.
Virtual fencing is high-tech ag technology that assists in autonomous animal control. Virtual fencing uses a GPS-enabled electronic collars and sensors to construct a digitally mapped boundary to monitor, track and confine stock animals. This fencing technology helps to reduce farmers' costs on internal fencing while facilitating rotational grazing principles, improving animal performance and aiding in stopping stock theft. It can also assist with detecting if animals are sick or when they are cycling - it's potentially a huge game changer for our farmers. A fringe benefit of this fencing system in the freer movement of native fauna within farming properties.
This agricultural technology has been thoroughly studied by the CSIRO since 2005, and it's now being lawfully and successfully used in Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and New Zealand, however due to existing animal welfare legislation in NSW, which pre-dates this technology, NSW farmers have been left behind.
I have delivered a notice of motion in the NSW Parliament, flagging my intent to introduce a bill with the purpose of amending existing laws to legalise the use of this game-changing livestock farming resource.
I wish all students who are now undertaking their HSC exams the very best of luck. Importantly, remain calm and remember that you are not defined, and neither is your future, by these exams. Your schooling has been developing and preparing you for your life ahead, not just an exam or certificate. Thank you to all the families, school communities and educators who have nurtured our students and supported their education and development.
With the change of weather more people getting into or out on the water. In spite of all the warnings, tragically, drownings still occur.
The National Drowning Report 2023 released last month unveiled some shocking statistics about drownings in NSW:
* 107 drowning deaths (up against the 10-year average of 95)
* 78% of drowning deaths were males (83 deaths)
* 57% of drowning deaths were people over the age of 45 years
* 14% aged 75 and over (15 deaths)
* 3% of deaths under the age of 5 (3 deaths)
* 35% of all fatalities in NSW were in rivers and creeks (29% at the beach, 12% from rocks)
* for those living in outer regional, remote, and very remote areas the drowning rate was 1.77 times higher than metro areas.
* fatal drownings are 71% higher in disadvantaged areas compared to the most advantaged.
NSW has almost double the rates of fatal drownings as Queensland and Victoria and triple that of Western Australia!
This report is a sombre reminder of the critical role we all play in water safety and prevention of drowning. We must all reinforce the principles of safe aquatic behaviours, placing emphasis on being equipped with solutions that enhance prevention and resilience.
Please be water safe and be vigilant of others' safety in and on the water, too.
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