Matters of State | Another soapbox challenge

I was proud to host the second annual Soapbox Challenge last Tuesday at the Western Plains Cultural Centre. It saw students from years seven to twelve from all corners of the Dubbo Electorate compete in four Divisions: junior boys, junior girls (years 7 to 10), senior boys and senior girls (years 11 and 12).

The topic “Young people need to be heard!” was about the kids themselves and why their voice is important. It was really inspirational to hear their perspectives and I left having learnt something from each competitor.

Being Heard: Soap box challenge with years 7 to 12 students from all corners of the Dubbo Electorate. All participants gave great presentations.

Being Heard: Soap box challenge with years 7 to 12 students from all corners of the Dubbo Electorate. All participants gave great presentations.

Ella Geyer from Narromine High School took out the junior girls, Harrison Kater from Dubbo South High School won the junior boys, Maree Pobje from Dubbo College Senior Campus won the seniors girls and James Barton from St John’s College Dubbo won the senior boys.

I was blown away with the calibre of all the competitors and hope more students take up the opportunity to develop some skills and confidence in public speaking, as it’s really important we have those skills in this day and age.

New Conservation Laws

We are delivering laws that strike a balance between protecting our biodiversity and giving farmers the flexibility they need to manage their properties in a more productive and sustainable way. The NSW Government has committed $240 million over five years in private land conservation and an additional $70 million each year in ongoing funding to the new system.

The improved framework will provide greater fairness and flexibility to farmers so they can focus on what they do best, producing some of the best food and fibre in the world.

The old laws pitted farmers against environmentalists, while doing nothing for productivity or biodiversity. Land clearing was continuing and more than 100 species have been added to the threatened species list since the Native Vegetation Act was introduced in 2003.

Seniors Staying Healthy

Modified versions of low impact sport will be available as part of a $100,000 NSW Government initiative to help older people keep active and improve social connections thanks to a new partnership with Football NSW, Netball NSW and Gymnastics NSW. The NSW Government wants to remove barriers that may prevent older people from participating in the games they love, and ensure they are reaping the rewards of sport.

The Modified Sports Program is an initiative of the NSW Ageing Strategy 2016-2020 - bringing government and non-government sectors together to respond to the opportunities and challenges faced by our older population. To register visit: Football NSW – (02) 8814 4400 Netball NSW – (02) 9951 5000 Gymnastics NSW 9763 5011 or

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