New plan focuses on better palliative care 

ON its last day of sitting for the year, the NSW Parliament had an important discussion on palliative care.

Palliative care is an extremely emotive issue that's close to the hearts of everyone, and that's why I was very happy to meet Doctor Yvonne McMaster at Parliament House and lodge a petition on palliative care services.

 Seventy per cent of Australians say they want to die at home, but only 16 per cent do.

The NSW Government has just launched its plan to increase access to palliative care from 2012-2016.

The plan is backed by an additional $35 million over four years on top of the current budget of $86 million for specialist palliative care.

The government has also just announced a tender for new community-based palliative care services, with a focus on rural areas.

Through this process, the communities of the central west will have the opportunity to benefit from the $35 million funding boost.

Any organisation with a track record of providing palliative care services can make a proposal to the NSW Government.

The western local health district is preparing a submission.

I would encourage any organisation in the central west, either public or private, to consider this opportunity.

Submissions can be made via the NSW Health website at https//tenders.nsw.gov.au/health/. They need to be lodged by Monday, January 7, to allow implementation to start in March.

Wetlands opening

It was great to attend the opening of the Somerset Wetlands in Orange on Sunday.

The NSW Government contributed $330,000 to the project, and the last of these funds are just about to be drawn down.

It was a worthwhile partnership with Orange City Council which contributed $405,000 and it will certainly make a valuable contribution to both stormwater harvesting and the health of Ploughmans Creek for many years to come.

A number of community groups and volunteers have made a valuable contribution to the project, including many at Orange City Council.  Two individuals from council who particularly deserve a mention are Dave Shea and Mary Anne Smith.

I had a chance to catch up with them on Sunday and their passion and commitment to the project was impressive.

Congratulations to everyone involved in making this new wetlands a reality.

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