Following reports of NSW growers losing revenue as a direct result of seasonal labour shortage of thousands of seasonal workers, attributed to COVID travel restrictions, I asked Ag Minister Adam Marshall the following question earlier this year in NSW Parliament:
"... small and medium growers have indicated that the initial outlay to access worker schemes is too high when employers are required to pay $3,000 for each worker to quarantine. Will there be a subsidy for quarantine costs for small and medium farming enterprises that are reliant on foreign workers through the Pacific Labour Scheme or Seasonal Worker Programme?"
Well, I'm pleased to say that the Minister has since responded to my question, announcing a $1,500 (50 per cent) subsidy for hotel quarantine of inbound foreign seasonal ag workers.
This is a positive step and will help elements of our struggling ag sector in lowering overheads and getting crops to market.
DINE & DISCOVER
The NSW Government's Dine & Discover voucher program is now being rolled out across the state. All NSW residents aged over 18 can apply for up to $100 in vouchers:
Two $25 vouchers are available for dining in at restaurants, cafés, bars and the like. Two $25 vouchers are available for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues.
You can apply online at: https://bit.ly/3sFDUVR or call 13 77 88 or visit your local Service NSW Centre.
Businesses must be registered with the program to accept the vouchers, if you're a local business that would like to register visit: https://bit.ly/3ufaTjR
CBP GRANT OPENS!
The Community Building Partnership (CBP) Grant is an annual NSW Government grants program, which delivers funding to successful applicants for projects that deliver positive social, environmental, and recreational outcomes while promoting community participation, inclusion and cohesion.
Incorporated not-for-profit community organisations are eligible to apply for grants of between $5000 and $150,000, though the average grant awarded is around $20,000.
Applications are now open and I strongly encourage local organisations to apply for the CBP grant, which is highly successful for applicants in getting funding to benefit their local community organisations.
To find out more and to apply, visit: https://communitybuildingpartnership.smartygrants.com.au/
A BURNING ISSUE
The fire which consumed a storeyed building in Summer Street two weeks ago has devastated local business and people's livelihoods. My thoughts go out to those impacted and I thank all the firefighters for what they did to combat the fire, and for what they do 24/7, year-in and year-out.
The feedback I've received from firefighters is that this fire was a difficult job and that there were issues regarding access.
It is believed that if local firefighters had an aerial appliance available, it would have made a big difference in extinguishing the fire much quicker, potentially saving property from further damage.
It would also have made it a lot safer for the firefighters who were at greater risk without such equipment at their disposal.
The nearest aerial firefighting appliance is in Sydney. I've asked the NSW Government to provide this important resource to be based in the Central West to combat multi-level or complex fires, but still we wait.
I first raised this in NSW Parliament in May 2019, and several times since, including directly in discussions with the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, The Hon. David Elliott. I will continue lobbying the Minister for an aerial appliance in the Central West and for a new fire station here in Orange.
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