It was a busy week back at State Parliament catching up on everything that has happened over the past few weeks while I’ve been in Papua New Guinea. I am pleased to announce that the 2018 round of the Community Building Partnership funding Program is open for applications from May 7 – June 15. I encourage all councils and eligible community groups in the Narromine, Mid-Western Regional and Dubbo Regional local government areas to apply. Visit nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/projects-and-initiatives/community-building-partnership/.
As everyone knows an integrated cancer centre is being built in Dubbo as part of the ongoing redevelopment of Dubbo Hospital. This vital piece of infrastructure will be the first of its kind outside of the Sydney metropolitan area and will include a new state of the art PET CT scanner. This technology has the ability to detect cancer earlier than other imaging tests, and as we all know, the early detection of cancer is critical to its successful treatment. The cancer centre will also include an increase in chemotherapy chairs to 16 and a bunker for radiation therapy. The NSW Government is 100 per cent committed to improving health services across the state and the Dubbo electorate has been a huge beneficiary of this. The NSW and Commonwealth Governments just last week joined forces to announce the $41 million in funding cancer research to help apply cutting-edge science to detect, diagnose and treat cancers. The NSW Government is investing $2 million in the project.
A transformational criminal justice reform designed to deliver swifter justice to victims and the community has begun in NSW. These tough and smart reforms encourage serious offenders to enter early appropriate guilty pleas, enabling victims to get on with their lives and police to return to front line duties.
The $93 million reforms will accelerate the wheels of justice and help ease pressure on the District Court’s backlog of criminal cases. Funding for the reforms will enable senior lawyers to manage criminal cases from start to finish, prosecutors to certify the most appropriate charges based on earlier delivery of relevant evidence while the matter is still in the local court and mandatory criminal case conferencing between parties to resolve more matters before they’re committed to a higher court. The NSW Government is investing heavily in Legal Aid and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to facilitate continuity of senior legal representation throughout the case. Additionally we are also expanding our network of audio-visual link facilities in prisons and legal Aid offices to support the increased demand for case conferencing. The reforms will be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure they are working effectively.