Adam Marshall is driving home the effects of hard border closure on our rural communities and the steps he’s take to sway the Queensland Government to change their position.
I cannot begin to describe the frustration I have felt this week on behalf of our border medical patients, farmers, contractors, boarding school parents and all those impeded by the hard border, imposed suddenly by the Queensland Government.
Over the past week, I have sent eight letters to the Premier of Queensland, with more than 300 separate pieces of correspondence from constituents who have been kind enough to write to me, outlining how this decision has impacted their lives.
Each and every one of these stories is heartbreaking and it just astounds me how the Queensland Government can take this position, when the answer to a large number of these cases would be to simply apply the ‘border bubble’, on a local government area basis and apply sensible exemptions.
On Wednesday (12 August), I received a reply from the office of Premier Palaszczuk, more of a flick pass, indicating her office had referred the matter to her Deputy Premier and Minister for Health ‘for consideration’, as the responsible Minister.
To say I’m disappointed with this response is a gross understatement. The Queensland Premier was front and centre last week announcing the hasty ‘hard border’, but is nowhere to be seen now when the tough questions are put about border exemptions, definitions and the ridiculously small and ill-conceived postcode boundary bubble.
I’ve participated in more phone hook-ups, zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings this weeks than any other week in my life to try and get through to the Queensland Government that changes must be made, especially in the lead up to the upcoming harvest.
I’ll leave no stone unturned in my efforts on behalf of residents and communities, to see some sensible changes made to the hard border – and I’ll keep everyone informed of any progress.
The Queensland Government has created an online portal where people can apply for a medical exemption/waiver to access treatment. People must create a login first and then lodge their application.
At this stage it is unknown how long these applications will take to process, if you gain approval, you must still fill out a Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
For questions on your individual case you should call Queensland’s COVID-19 hotline on 134 268.
Again, the frustrating thing about this border closure is Queensland’s blanket statement all NSW is a COVID-19 hotspot.
Yet another week has gone by without a new case in the Northern Tablelands electorate, while State wide the latest figures from NSW Health (Friday, 14 August) show there are only 288 active cases.
Maintaining high rates of testing is vital at this time, and NSW Health urges anyone with even the mildest symptoms to come forward for testing.
I want to congratulate the people of Inverell for their diligence in testing, with more than 1,000 people screened at the hospital’s drive through clinic.
Meanwhile, since the Armidale clinic re-opened three weeks ago 450 people have been tested there.
Contact tracing of a recent Newcastle hotspot has shown the virus was spread by a person who attended a number of pubs in one evening.
NSW Health is now advising those planning a night out should only visit one venue. If you or someone in your group is infectious, and doesn’t know it yet, less people in the community will be exposed.
By also providing your contact details when signing in to a venue, if you get COVID-19, this will help contact tracers and may mean less people have to self-isolate as a result of having attended the same venue.
There is no end in sight for this pandemic, and with that in mind we must continue to social distance, keep up good hand hygiene and look after each other as best we can.
$12.5 million powers up New England solar farm battery
Australia’s largest hybrid solar and battery energy storage facility will soon call Uralla home, courtesy of a $12.5 million State Government grant to support the construction of a 50 megawatt/hour (MW/h) battery at the New England Solar Farm.
This is another huge coup for our region and demonstrating the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is already delivering innovation, infrastructure and industry at a rapid fire rate.
The Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will be included in the project’s first stage and will be built alongside the 400MW solar farm.
The BESS will be capable of dispatching energy to the grid at times of high demand, further progressing the region’s goal of becoming a net exporter of renewable energy.
Construction on the battery is expected to start early next year and will take about 12 months. During peak construction 40 jobs will be created with three ongoing roles once the technology is commissioned.
Combined with the recently announced Sapphire Battery Farm, these two projects will provide enough dispatchable energy to power 118,000 homes for an hour, equivalent to a city roughly ten times the size of Armidale.
It’s astounding to think in just two months since the REZ was announced, our electorate has seen $22 million invested by the State Government in flagship renewable energy projects, helping to create 84 construction and operational jobs and grow the local economy.
When this project is completed, we will proudly hold the mantle as the capital of renewables for NSW and, perhaps in the not too distant future, all of Australia
‘Graze and grain’ study going gangbusters in Glen Innes
‘Graze and grain’ study going gangbusters in Glen Innes
I was pleased to have the opportunity this week to check in on an innovative trial at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station which is giving the region’s croppers and graziers a new insight to help increase their yields during the colder months
Grazing is the mainstay agricultural activity on the Northern Tablelands and this research will help producers consider both grazing and grain production as an integral part of their farming system.
The research station is trialling 20 winter crop varieties across wheat, barley, triticale and oats, with the aim to provide more grazing cereal options that also deliver grain production.
Integrating the right dual-purpose cropping options into existing livestock-based production increases grower profitability and gives farming businesses a more diverse and resilient operating base.
Our local producers have experienced very challenging drought conditions over the past few years, so this type of research is geared to helping their businesses recover sooner.
There’ll be some field days next month where local farmers can come and see the trial first-hand and learn from the experts about what varieties would work best on their properties.
For more information you can view MP Adam Marshall’s web page here