Namoi News

Roy Butler MP Member for Barwon



Political News

It's Only Just Begun

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The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party have been told by Treasurer Dominic Perrott that the

proposed public sector wage freeze is “just the beginning” of changes the Government will make to

regain the economy and employment in New South Wales.

Following a meeting, this morning with the Treasurer and leader of the Upper House Damien

Tudehope the SFF’s position remains.

Roy’s Round-Up 25 May 2020

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Hi Folks, 

Ever since the start of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions my team and I have been dealing with the community fall out. Changes made on the fly always have unintended  consequences, consequences that have a negative impact on our community. We’ve been working hard to sort these issues out and lobby the Government for changes on your behalf, I’m pleased to say we have had a lot of success in this area, changing the Health Orders on many occasions to work better for Barwon.

Narrabri councillor Ann Loder removed from civic office while battling breast cancer because she did not fill out an absence form

Northern Daily Leader

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IN the midst of a battle with breast cancer, Narrabri Shire Council councillor Ann Loder learned she had been removed from elected office because she didn't fill out a form.


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Member for Barwon Roy Butler has announced that twelve Sporting Clubs will share in more than $92,000 in funding thanks to the 2019-20 Local Sport Grant Program.

Mr Butler said the funding will allow these Clubs to improve their facilities and remove some hurdles for people who are thinking about getting involved with their local club. 

Roy’s Round up

11 May, 2020

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Hi Folks, 

We are two months into something that will hopefully only happen once in a lifetime. I want to offer my thanks to all of you, the people who have followed the public health advice, and the essential workers who have worked with risks to keep us all safe, and services functioning. 

As we move into an easing of some restrictions on Friday 15 May, please remain vigilant with the basic health advice. If you are a business looking to get back to trade, please be safe, and protect your staff and clients. 


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If there is one positive from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s the widespread realisation that working from home works, says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler.

Mr Butler is calling on the NSW Government to review the suitability of all Public Sector positions for telecommuting, and introduce new requirements for Public Sector roles to be advertised as ‘suitable for telecommuting’. 

The way roles are currently advertised, shows a geographic area where the role is based, inhibiting the attraction of the best possible candidate, no matter where they call home.

“COVID-19 has meant more and more people have shifted to working from home, with videoconferencing for team meetings, and remote access tokens bringing the office to people’s dining room tables and study’s.

Butler calls on the NSW Government to waive car rego fees

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Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is adding his voice to calls for car registration waivers saying motorists shouldn’t be slogged with car registration fees while we’re being told to stay off the roads.

“The cost of car registration is one of the big bills households face every year – alongside mortgages, rent, and energy bills.

“We’ve seen support announced by banks for mortgage holders, protections for renters announced by government, and energy companies supporting their customers with rebates and payment extensions.

Give our clubs a sporting chance

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Member for Barwon Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to provide financial support to community sporting and recreation clubs for fixed expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Sporting and recreation clubs are essential to the social fabric of our communities, but like so many of us they’re struggling to pay the bills at the moment,” said Mr Butler. 

“For many clubs, the closure of their particular sporting code due to COVID-19 has substantially reduced their ability to generate income from the games and events associated with a sporting season.

Regional NSW needs more than Departmental window dressings

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Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to give the new Department of Regional NSW proper powers and put it to work. 

The Deputy Premier's announcement states that the Department's first job will be delivery of recent bushfire, COVID-19 stimulus and drought initiative packages.

“The current description of tasks for this Department is simply Government business as usual with a grander title. Regional NSW needs more than that, it needs a Department located in regional NSW, working for regional NSW,” said Mr Butler.

The reason you support agriculture in tough times – a lesson in listening to your citizens

Op-Ed from Roy Butler MP, Member for Barwon

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The NSW Liberal-National Government failed to adequately support farmers during the drought. This meant farmers increased debt levels, let staff go, sold equipment and de-stocked leaving the whole sector in a vulnerable deficit.

For some people the drought was simply too much, they sold up, or were repossessed and left the sector.

The Government can’t say they didn’t know about it, I spoke about it in every session of NSW Parliament, used every mechanism available to me to get drought, and drought assistance on the agenda.

The tragic bushfires showed that the NSW Government can indeed find money, and get it out quickly… when it wants to.

Independent assessment of social and economic condition in the Basin

Have your Say on the Draft Report

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Media Release Roy Butler Saturday 14 March

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The Government now more than ever needs to provide cash based assistance to struggling regional communities according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler. 

Mr Butler has renewed his calls for cash based assistance for regional communities following the Government’s announcement banning gatherings of over 500 people in response to COVID-19. 

“Our regional economies, especially  agriculture dependant economies had a small ray of hope with some rain, and a season of local shows, race carnivals, festivals and themed events promising to bring some much needed turnover to small business in regional communities,” said Mr Butler. 

Royal Commission - Nats say YES - Libs say NO

Media Release - Roy Butler MP

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Member for Barwon Roy Butler welcomed the news today that the NSW Nationals are backing his party’s call for a Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party have been calling for a Royal Commission into water for many months now. Pursuing a Royal Commission was one of the commitments the party made in its 10-point water plan. 

“Our political pressure and the pressure from the community has today seen the NSW Nationals finally stand by the comments of their leader in Menindee and support the calls for a Royal Commission,” said Mr Butler. 

Following the issuing of a Media Release today from the Leader of The Nationals backing a Royal Commission, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party sought to suspend Parliament to debate the need for a Royal Commission. The Liberal-National Government voted against this call.

Minister Pavey flip-flops on embargo to create perfect storm of misinformation

13 February, 2020

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The decision to backflip on an embargo and waive restrictions on take in several tributaries and parts of the Peel, Namoi and Gwydir rivers doesn’t pass the pub test according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler.

“Minister Pavey pushes out information in the media about doing all she can to support communities through this drought then comes along with a decision like this that severely impacts on the mental health of everyone in Barwon.

“What Minister Pavey has achieved here is the creation of conflict between communities. Who does that benefit?

“What’s the point of creating this perfect storm of misinformation?

“I haven’t received a single call from anyone in Barwon that’s happy with this decision, what I have received are calls and messages from many people from farmers and irrigators, to people in towns and Aboriginal Elders asking what the Minister is playing at.

“There is a complete lack of transparency from Minister Pavey and the Department of Planning Industry and Environment about this decision.


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“There is no shortage of gas in Australia, there’s a shortage of common sense in Canberra when it comes to gas export policy and domestic gas reservation policy,” says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler. 

Mr Butler’s comments follow the new energy deal struck by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Stop Stuffing Around Bureaucrats and Provide Real Drought Funding

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“It’s disappointing that the Government has decided to shuffle public service positions, and spend more money creating new offices within offices instead of providing real drought support,” said Member for Barwon Roy Butler. 

Mr Butler’s comments follow the sacking of Jock Laurie, the government’s drought coordinator, to make way for the new Office of Drought Response. 

“The drought coordinator’s position was set up to listen to farmers and communicate their views to government – to make sure their concerns surrounding drought had been heard.

Barwon MP fighting for desperately needed drug rehabilitation centres in western NSW

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Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to take action and establish more residential rehabilitation centres in the west of the State.

Drug related crime figures, presentations to emergency departments, and Ambulance call outs for drug related incidents are all on the increase.

In the Far West, amphetamine use and possession has increased by 61 per cent between April 2017 and March 2019 – the highest increase in the State. 

Member for Barwon calls for immediate independent audit of Rural and Regional Public Hospitals

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Barwon MP Roy Butler has renewed his party’s call for an independent audit of rural and regional public hospital services and staffing.

This call follows the deeply concerning revelations in the Four Corners report Health Hazard

Mr Butler says the government needs to undertake an immediate independent audit of rural and regional public hospitals to determine what services are missing or lacking from hospitals; and the distribution of the health workforce across the State. 

“It’s time to make the health, welfare and safety of people across rural and regional NSW a priority,” said Mr Butler.

Mining watchdog suspends Narrabri Coal's exploration licence

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

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THE state's mining watchdog has suspended the exploration licence of Narrabri Coal, for building unauthorised tracks in the Pilliga Forest.

The long-wall mine, which forms part of Whitehaven Coal's operations, was found to be in breach of its licence following a state-wide compliance blitz in June.

More than a dozen hollow trees, which provide important habitat to native animals, were knocked down. The unauthorised paths also failed to divert around environmentally sensitive areas.

Resources Regulator head honcho Anthony Keon said the mine's actions showed a "comprehensive failure" to follow "fundamental regulatory obligations".

"The construction of the unauthorised tracks resulted in significant environmental harm," Mr Keon said.

"Exploration activities are subject to strict conditions in order to ensure appropriate environmental protections.

Citizen science group, the Leard Forest Node, has been monitoring the mine's "progressive incursion" in to the Pilliga forest for a couple of years, spokeswoman Anna Christie said.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, the Narrabri Coal mine has been flying under the radar for several years," Ms Christie said.

She was glad to see meaningful action taken against the mine, rather than just "a fine and a tap of the wrist".

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The suspension will remain in place until the mine conducts a full review of its compliance systems and can satisfy the watchdog that appropriate controls have been put in place.

Five other joint-venture partners also had their exploration licence suspended. The licence holders acknowledged the offending behaviour and offered to suspend all drilling and clearing activities.

The mine will be able to continue operating, however the suspension stops it from expanding or investigating new sites.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn accepted that on this occasion the company failed to properly obverse its exploration obligations

"Based on our inquiries to date, the circumstances and communication failures that led to this outcome are unacceptable," Mr Flynn said.

"Whitehaven took immediate corrective action following the Regulator's site inspection, suspending all exploration activity and commissioning an independent audit and investigation to determine necessary corrective actions.

"The company is committed to ensuring all relevant issues are identified and addressed before exploration activities at Narrabri can resume and will continue to cooperate fully with the NSW Resources Regulator to achieve this outcome."

Coal seam gas moratorium bill put forward by NSW MLC Justin Field

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

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AN independent politician has put forward a bill to establish a moratorium on all coal seam gas projects in the state.

The private member's bill, introduced to the NSW upper house by MLC Justin Field, would put a halt to Santos' Narrabri Gas Project, establish no-go zones for CSG including agricultural land and introduce a public interest test for proposed developments.

Mr Field said the bill was modelled off a moratorium put forward by Labor in 2015, and was hopefully it would be widely supported.

"The Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice Party and Christian Democratic Party have all previously voted for, or supported, legislation or policies that endorse a moratorium on coal seam gas," Mr Field said.

"With those parties on board we can pass a coal seam gas moratorium bill through the NSW Legislative Council.

"The community have long opposed coal seam gas development in NSW and now it is time for the parliament to act."

Mr Field said the bill would renew the pressure on the government, and in particular the Nationals, who lost the seat of Barwon at the recent election to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, in part to CSG and water-related issues surrounding the Santos project.

"Santos have failed to address genuine concerns by the community and government agencies about their project and have breached the agreement they struck with the government in 2014," Mr Field said.

"There are significant water management and waste salt issues that have not been resolved from the company.

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Andrew McConville, CEO of gas industry body APPEA, said there was no reason NSW couldn't have a safe and sustainable CSG industry, like Queensland has had for more than 20 years.

"Repeated independent inquiries, including by NSW Chief Scientist, have found there are no risks associated with onshore gas development that can't be managed, mitigated or eliminated by an appropriate regulatory framework - which NSW has in place," he said.

"The answer to addressing NSW's gas needs is developing new supply - not further regulation or imposing bans on onshore gas development."


Press Release - Roy Butler

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The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party put on the table in Parliament a drought package that would provide real support to farmers and farming communities, disappointingly the Government voted against supporting them.

The SFF drought package includes immediate cash grants, to allow creditors to be paid, cash rebates for local government rates, transitioning legacy loans to zero or low interest loans, the establishment of a re-sowing and re-stocking grant and providing financial support for employers to retain employees on farm and in local businesses.

Clayton Barr visits Moree to grasp water situation as he takes on new role as shadow minister for water

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Cessnock MP and shadow minister for water Clayton Barr was in Moree last week as part of a trip across the region to gain a better understanding of the water situation.

Starting at Dubbo, then moving on to Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Moree on Friday and then Narrabri, Mr Barr wanted to get on the ground and talk to affected people and groups.

"I've only been the shadow minister for water for about six weeks now and I've been trying to read through a whole bunch of reports but for me, the best way to learn was to come and talk to people and see things and be shown how it's working and how it's failing and things like that," Mr Barr said.

He met with the Gwydir Valley Irrigators on Friday as well as local farmer and irrigator to hear their experiences with the low water.

"It's part drought, it's part water sharing, and it's a significant part around priorities of what's most important and what needs to come first, second and third and getting that balance right," he said.

Mr Barr said the reports he has read are mostly facts and figures but they don't detail the social impact on communities, with people being forced to leave town because of the lack of water and therefore lack of work.

"For example, at Walgett they were concerned about losing all of their tradesmen....because the rest of the community didn't have much work so there wasn't much money around," he said.

"So people weren't spending money or doing renovations or building new buildings and improvements, so the tradies didn't have any work but they needed to feed their families.

"They've had to move, and often it's younger families, which then drags kids out of schools so then your school numbers drop.

"That's something that hasn't been captured in any of the reports about water but it's a really important social consequence of the absence of water.

"Hearing stories like that has been fantastic in framing my understanding of how the absence of water has impacted the communities."

While Mr Barr has visited Moree and other towns across the region, it's his first visit in his new role as shadow minister for water, and he said it has been a fantastic experience.

He wants to make it clear that he nor anyone in parliament is anti-irrigation, but it's about coming up with a good strategy in regards to the distribution of water.

"While we can't do anything about rain falling out of the sky and drought conditions we can do something about the rules about what happens to the water once it lands," Mr Barr said.

"I think that's where the really important focus needs to be right now because we don't know when it's going to rain but when it does rain we have to make sure the water goes where it needs to go."

He said most of the reports he's read heavily criticise the government while also making recommendations from scientists, commissioners and experts in the area about what the government should do.

He is yet to see anything that proves those recommendations aren't the right way to go.

"They will cause a bit of pain and grief for some people in terms of their business model and farming models but the benefits to society, environments and in other ways will be significant," Mr Barr said.

"But I would hate to make judgmen

NSW pushes back on AWU criticism over backing for LNG imports

Financial Review

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AWU national secretary Daniel Walton late last week rounded on the government for granting the status of "critical state significant infrastructure" to a proposed $589 million LNG import project in Newcastlewhich will now enjoy a streamlined approvals process.

The Berejiklian government has already given the green light for a separate, $250 million LNG import terminal at Port Kembla, backed by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.

The plans for the two import terminals are racing ahead as Santos's $3 billion Narrabri coal seam gas project, which could supply up to half NSW's gas requirements, remains locked in the state government's approvals process.

But Mr Stokes said the Narrabri project has "big potential impacts" on the environment, and that in any case the state is "best served by a competitive market with multiple sources".



Broken Hill pipeline business case should never have been kept from the public

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“This business case should never have been kept from the public,” says Barwon MP Roy Butler. 

Today after a three-year battle, repeated calls from the community and Members of Parliament the Government has passed on a copy of the business case for the Broken Hill pipeline project.  

“For years the community called for transparency around the pipeline project and the Government didn’t deliver.

“Restricting information on the expenditure of public money, or projects affecting local communities does nothing to build trust in government,” said Mr Butler. 


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The Liberal-National Government has denied regional communities the opportunity for transparency, voting down a motion for a Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 

The motion introduced by the Shadow Minister for Water, Clayton Barr to Parliament last night called on the Liberal-National Government to “endorse the position of the NSW National Party Leader and Deputy Premier for a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan for the purpose of openness, transparency and accountability”.

The motion was defeated by three votes (47-44), with Labor and the crossbench voting for it with and The Nationals joining the Liberals to defeat it.

Barwon MP Roy Butler presents Terms of Reference for independent inquiry into water management

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Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to commit to an inquiry into aspects of New South Wales water management and their impacts on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Butler’s call for an independent inquiry comes after consultation with communities, irrigators, graziers, towns, water researchers and ecologists, all of whom raised serious concerns about government decision making in relation to water management.

“I’m calling for an inquiry to restore public confidence, and identify how certain decisions contributed to the current conditions in western NSW,” said Mr Butler. 

“I have discussed the inquiry with Minister Pavey and provided her with the draft Terms of Reference. In our conversation, I emphasised that this inquiry is needed to restore the public’s confidence in the NSW water planning and management processes.

Barwon MP Roy Butler says Santos trying to pressure govt

The Land Newspaper

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SANTOS'S predictions that its Narrabri Gas Project will be approved by the end of the year have been labelled a brazen attempt to pressure the government.

When Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher told Ticky Fullerton on Sky News in May the company expected approval by "year end" there were a few eyebrows raised.

Barwon MP Roy Butler told The Land: "this is not coming from the government, the company is trying to force a government decision on the back of the Adani Carmichael coal mine approval (in Queensland)."

Barwon MP Roy Butler calls on government to immediately funds rates relief

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Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to provide immediate rates relief funding to local government. 
 “Rates relief funding to local government would greatly assist in reducing the financial pressure on our rural and regional communities,” Mr Butler said.
Across western NSW towns and communities are struggling through drought and as a result families and businesses are experiencing extreme financial pressure. 

'I won't be pushed around': Resources Minister warns Santos over gas

Sydney Morning Herald - Peter Hannam

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The NSW government has blasted Santos for ramping up public pressure to secure approval for a $3 billion coal seam gas project, with Deputy Premier John Barilaro warning he "won't be pushed around".

Mr Barilaro, who also serves as Resources Minister, said the energy giant was to blame for any delays to the Narrabri Gas Project in north-western NSW.

We need to support those who are supporting our Farmers

Roy Butler, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP

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Rural Financial Counsellors are the link between drought stricken farmers and government support.

There is an alarming rate of turnover and vacancies within these financial counselling positions that would appear to be due to the under resourcing and lack of support for these crucial roles.

Currently Rural Financial Counsellors are effectively hosted by the State Government and funded by the Commonwealth Government, this arrangement has varied over the life of this important service.


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Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP Roy Butler has expressed his disappointment in the NSW Government’s budget announcement’s today.

“The Berejiklian Government has celebrated its operating surplus and its record investment in infrastructure across the state and that’s all good - if you forget that western NSW is also part of the state.”

The Barwon electorate is 44% of the state, but hasn’t had a significant school or hospital upgrade funded in this budget.

“All I am seeing in this budget is a continuation of record neglect of western NSW,” Mr Butler said.

Environment Minister floats 'lending' Murray Darling environmental water to farmers

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Australia's key piece of environment legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, is due to be reviewed this year.

Ms Ley said it provided "real opportunity to remove some of the green tape around environmental approvals" while maintaining the integrity of the laws.

"If you're an investor and you've got a proposal … it's reasonable that we accept your investment isn't just going to be parked for years, sometimes, until the issues have been worked through," she said.

"I think we just need to give proponents more assurances along the way."

Ms Ley said she did not intend to shut down court challenges to development decisions, however, "it's not being done in a timely enough manner".

Australian Conservation Foundation nature campaign manager Basha Stasak said talk about cutting green tape was "code for making it easier for the loggers to cut down our forests, the diggers to rip up endangered animal habitat and corporate irrigators to suck more water out of our rivers".

NSW Farmers welcome state government drought funding boost

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NSW Farmers has welcomed the state government's commitment to boost its drought assistance, as farmers and communities continue to battle this intense, long-running drought.

On Tuesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the upcoming state budget would include an extra $355 million to help farmers and rural communities struggling with the drought

The money is in addition to the almost $400 million announced during the March election campaign, bringing the government's total support bill to $1.8 billion.

The new package would include $170 million in funding to fast track investment in regional infrastructure. 

NSW Farmers president James Jackson said while farmers are bearing the brunt of ongoing dry conditions, the severity and long-term nature of this drought is a having a significant impact on rural towns and communities.

Drought assistance package announced

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The state’s record-breaking drought continues to bite with farmers and rural communities bearing the brunt of the crisis.
While some regions have experienced rain during the past few months, 97 per cent of the state remains in drought, and the seasonal outlook remains bleak with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting drier than average conditions.
That is why the NSW Nationals in Government have today announced an Emergency Drought Relief package, bringing the total funding to more than $1.8 billion across the state, to further support farmers and regional communities.
I understand the effect this drought is having on our regional economy, communities and families.

'You’ll send yourself broke feeding cows': drought ravaged communities get budget boost

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More than $350 million in emergency assistance will be set aside for NSW’s drought ravaged regions in next week’s state budget, with close to half of the cash aimed at stimulating the economies of languishing rural communities.

The new drought funding will be split in half, with $170 million allocated to aid the small towns and regional centres that service the state’s farmers.

Barwon MP Roy Butler calls for changes to weight requirements for harvested kangaroo carcasses

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Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to lower the minimum harvested kangaroo carcase weight to 13kg to encourage commercial harvesting. 

Across western NSW, kangaroos are suffering unnecessarily slow cruel deaths due to the lack of water and feed available.

Despite a fall in red kangaroo population reported by the Office of Environment and Heritage, estimated numbers of grey kangaroos has increased[1]. The high kangaroo numbers have failed to be managed by current commercial harvesting rules.

Why does Australia no longer have a dedicated rural health minister?

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The Federal Government has announced that rural health will be one of the responsibilities for Federal Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has been reappointed.
Former Rural Health Minister Bridget McKenzie is moving to agriculture, after last year having her range of responsibilities significantly broadened.
RACGP Vice President and RACGP Rural Chair Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda said the college is disappointed to lose a dedicated minister.
‘We feel it would have been more appropriate to have a rural health minister, since we have very complicated rural issues,’ he told newsGP.

It's time to work together for the future of Barwon - Roy Butler


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This week I had the honour of delivering my inaugural speech in Parliament. An opportunity to talk about my goals for the next four years.  To you the people I represent I restate my election commitments – to work hard and be honest.   
Across the electorate I have met many people who are incredibly passionate about the future of  their  community.  They  want  recognition  that  at  this  moment  in  the  history  of  NSW  the government is faced with a choice. They continue to treat the communities of western NSW in the same manner they have been or they change their focus and reinvigorate the bush.  


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Energy company Santos has come under fire, for refusing to provide the state government with key information about its Narrabri development.

The company recently submitted an application for the 95,000-hectare coal seam gas project.

But it’s reportedly refused multiple requests for information from the Environment Protection Authority, the Rural Fire Service and Narrabri Shire Council.

The company has also denied an EPA request to assess whether the site can accommodate large volumes of salt waste.

Election lessons from regional Australia: why Labor got the push in the bush

Gabrielle Chan - Guardian

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There were stark differences between the messages of the two main parties, and as it turns out, only one hit the right buttons

Contemptible. Stupid. Dipshits. Morons. Fools and worse.

While there were patches of dissent, rural seats largely stuck with the Coalition in last week’s election, and the torrent of abuse for country people on social media was predictable.

But after a week of rage and reflection, it’s more useful to pick apart why the Morrison government was returned with a slightly larger majority on the back of support in the regions.

Bob Hawke saw unfinished business right up to the end, says Bill Kelty

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A treaty with Australia’s Indigenous people and addressing climate change were two issues of unfinished business that Bob Hawke saw for Australia, according to one of his oldest friends and most important collaborators.

Bill Kelty, a former head of the Australian union movement who knew Mr Hawke for more than 50 years, told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Friday that he had seen Mr Hawke just a few weeks ago.

Survey finds bush voters look beyond major parties

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A decade of leadership turmoil and policy instability has damaged the reputation of major parties among rural voters, and they're turning to independents as a potential solution.

Independent members of Parliament could better represent regional Australia, according to about half of the 1155 respondents to a survey undertaken by Australian Community Media's agricultural mastheads.

With election polls on a knife edge, the results, published in print in the ACM agricultural papers today, will be of particular concern to Liberal and National MPs battling independent candidates in several former safe regional seats across the country.

The lowest blow of this election campaign may have come from a firm of real estate agents

Danielle Wood - The Guardian

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People are being told their rents will go up under a Labor government but that is a jumped-up scare campaign.

The lowest blow of this election campaign may have come from a firm of real estate agents that abused its position of trust to scare renters about Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes.

If you are one of those renters, relax. You have nothing to fear from the changes. You might even benefit from them. The only interests the real estate firm is protecting is its own.

'Send them a message': campaign eyeballs focus on some surprising country seats

Gabrielle Chan - Guardian

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There is an odd vibe about this election that is hard to read, particularly in the country where issues are hyperlocal and fiercely felt

By his own account, Ron Ismay has been a National party member for an awfully long time.

He is the mayor of Hindmarsh council in Andrew Broad’s old seat of Mallee and owns a hardware shop in his little town of Rainbow (population 600), 100km east of the South Australian border.

Farming is the mainstay in the town, though he is also pretty excited about the Eureka pub’s plans for a brewery.

Greens Candidate stands down to become an Independent in Parkes

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Hi friends, I suppose most have heard that I have stood aside for the election following public disclosure of a post I made on a Port Arthur conspiracy site on FB, 8 months ago. The Greens found it difficult to refute in this stage of the election which I understand. I really do apologise to all of you who have helped me get this far.

It appears I was targeted by a journo from The Australian using a firm who does handle searches on social media etc, not sure who they are. I really don't think the tragedies of the past need rehashing like this in public view and it must grieve families and survivors of the tragedy to see it being discussed like some political football. I also apologise to those people who are affected in this way, very much.

A politician always wins, but this time the choice really matters

By Ross Gittins May 15, 2019

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If you judged it by the way Labor's been so quick to match the Coalition’s backdated doubling to $1000-a-year of its tax cut for middle income-earners (good idea) and now the Coalition’s plan to help first-home buyers (con job), you’d be justified in thinking that, despite all their furious arguing with each other, there’s little to choose from between the two sides. For once, however, such a conclusion would be dead wrong.

Not for many moons have voters faced such a clear-cut choice between Labor and Liberal.