AgQuip, Inland Rail, local government
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I always enjoy my time at AgQuip, and this year was no different. AgQuip is synonymous with primary producers and machinery enthusiasts right around my electorate, and it's a great day out for locals in the region. I took the opportunity while I was in town to catch up with Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor, Jamie Chaffey, and many other Gunnedah residents.
AgQuip is the country's biggest showcase of agri-products and an asset to the North West. It was pleasing to see large numbers of people coming through the gates to enjoy the event, especially given the dry times we're experiencing. In town afterwards, I joined in on NightQuip - a great initiative from Gunnedah which featured market stalls and late night shopping.
On August 21 I was delighted to represent the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, by delivering the Opening Address at the Inland Rail Conference in Toowoomba.
Attended by around 450 stakeholders, the Conference focused on how Inland Rail will transform freight movement in Australia. Critical issues of skills, connectivity, supporting regional growth opportunities and community consultation processes were all addressed. The rollout of Inland Rail means major wins for regional Australia, and I'm glad those benefits are already evident.
It was great to meet with Central NSW Joint Organisation of Councils (CNSWJO) late in the week to address local issues, and matters under my Ministerial portfolios of Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government.
More students will experience study and life in regional areas like the Parkes electorate, with a Coalition Government scholarship that will open up new opportunities outside the capital cities.
The Government has launched its Destination Australia program, which aims to attract more than 4,700 students to study at regional campuses from next year, with scholarships of $15,000.
This will be open to domestic and international students. These scholarships will encourage more students to broaden their horizons beyond the big cities and will ensure regional communities share in the benefits of our vibrant tertiary education sector. This sector creates jobs and business opportunities, drives tourism and promotes cultural diversity - all of which are beneficial for Western NSW.
I'm encouraging tertiary education providers to check their eligibility and apply via Community GrantsHub. More detail is at www.education.gov.au/destination-australia.
National Skills Week
This Government has a strong commitment to our vocational and education (VET) sector, with a $525 million investment in skills. This investment aims to create up to 80,000 more apprenticeships over the next five years. This National Skills Week - August 26 to September 1 - we can be proud that the VET sector in Australia is world class.
National Skills Week also shines a light on the myriad of skills and qualifications that can be achieved through a VET pathway. This year's National Skills Week theme is 'Succeed your Way' and I'm pleased that many of my constituents are excelling in VET careers.
Every day, we all rely on people who have been trained through Australia's VET system. With an amazing array of career paths available, completing a VET course or an apprenticeship has been the first choice of many Australians who are in their dream job.
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