State politics | Offering help during these dry times

TOUGH WORK: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole says the NSW Government is aware of how the drought is hurting farmers.
TOUGH WORK: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole says the NSW Government is aware of how the drought is hurting farmers.

THE state continues to experience prolonged and widespread drought conditions despite some welcome rainfall in March, particularly in the Bathurst electorate.

While recent data shows that some isolated areas like Bathurst have moved into drought recovery, we can never take the rain for granted.

It was wonderful to see farmers in some areas receive their first significant falls in a long time, but unfortunately there is no break from drought conditions.

The NSW Combined Drought Indicator shows that although there has been some shifts in the nature of the current drought, 99.5 per cent of NSW is still experiencing drought conditions.

I am aware of how difficult these conditions are for our farmers, which is why the NSW Government is quickly assessing current drought relief measures to make sure farmers are receiving the best possible support and that this support is ongoing.

The NSW Government has committed almost $1.5 billion to the drought support package, boosted the Farm Innovation Fund from $650 million to $1 billion and increased the value of low interest loans available through the fund up to $1 million.

As someone who grew up on the land, I will continue to support our farmers to keep growing the high-class produce for which the local region is known.

The latest State Seasonal Update and information on a range of services and support available to primary producers is available on


ONE life lost is one life too many and speeding remains the greatest cause of death and injury on our regional roads.

Thirty-nine per cent of the 354 road fatalities last year were speed-related and 71 per cent of those were in country areas.

As Minister for Regional Roads and Transport, I'd like to urge people to brush up on their knowledge to potentially save lives and avoid penalties during Road Rules Awareness Week from April 8-14.

People may consider themselves good drivers, but knowing the road rules, such as who has right of way at an intersection, and what different signs and traffic signals mean, is an important part of road safety.

Learn more at


MY Community Project gives you the chance to develop your great idea to revitalise or renew your neighbourhood, whether that be through the addition of a community garden, a safe and inclusive playground or holding a cultural fair.

Through this program, locals can think about what their community needs, develop that idea with a sponsor like TAFE or a charity, and then work with them to transform their concept into reality.

Once we have the eligible project applications for each area, we will invite the community to get behind them by voting online for the projects they like the most.

A total of $24.4 million will be available, spread across the entire state, for projects valued between $20,000 and $200,000 that will make communities more liveable, cultural, accessible, safe, revitalised or healthy.