Back in May, I was thrilled to announce that a new grants program would deliver a whopping $21 million to Parkes electorate councils, to support local jobs and businesses.
Since then, funds under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program have been flowing to councils right around the electorate, allowing them to deliver priority projects with a focus on upgrades and maintenance to local roads and community infrastructure.
This is exactly the type of work the Federal Government is pleased to support - to create local job opportunities, while delivering lasting benefits.
More recently, in the 2020-21 Budget, the Australian Government announced an extension of the program following strong community and local government support, meaning a total allocation of $41.4 million for projects across the Parkes electorate.
The LRCI program is making projects possible such as pathway upgrades in Broken Hill's CBD. I was pleased to meet with the local council while I was in Broken Hill last week to discuss the project, which will improve pedestrian safety and enable access for those with mobility issues.
It's also funding initiatives like re-sheeting roads that are critical to local industries in areas such as Moree Plains, and extensive CBD road upgrades in Narrabri, along with many other projects electorate-wide.
It's great to see such practical investments being made in our communities where they are needed most.
Bush benefits from $1 billion agreement
People in the Parkes electorate - especially those in livestock industries - will benefit from a landmark agreement between the Australian Government and Seqirus to secure the nation's Q Fever vaccine production.
The Government has announced a new high-tech vaccine manufacturing facility will be developed in Melbourne to secure Australia's long-term critical health products, including Q Fever, and lifesaving antivenoms.
The new lab, which will see local production secured until 2036, helps ensure the safety of some of the nation's hardest workers.
The potentially debilitating Q Fever bacterium can be carried by both domestic and wild animals - meaning roo shooters, abattoir workers, graziers, and even greenkeepers (along with plenty of others) are at risk of contracting the disease. Their only real protection comes in the form of vaccine.
A strengthened supply of antivenoms will help reduce the chances of regional Australians falling victim to many of the world's most venomous animals.
Producing antivenoms locally means we have the right antivenom, for the right situation, right here in Australia. Without this historic agreement, Australia would need to source these critical products from overseas.
Boosting mobile coverage
The Australian Government is continuing to expand and improve mobile coverage across regional and remote Australia, with Round 5A of the $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program now open for applications.
In Round 5A, we want to support new ways of delivering mobile services to locations that have traditionally been less economic for mobile network operators, as well as giving consumers a greater choice of providers to increase competition.
This round will also have a specific focus on improving mobile coverage along major transport corridors and in disaster-prone regions.
More than 1,200 new mobile base stations have been funded under the first five rounds of the Program, and over 880 of these base stations are now on air.
Mobile network operators and infrastructure providers are encouraged to register their interest by December 16. For more information, visit: communications.gov.au/MBSP