My first week as the member for Dubbo was a steep learning curve, and while there is a lot to take in I have already got a good indication of what the next four years is going to entail.
After meeting with constituents and community groups in the early part of the week, I spent Thursday and Friday in Sydney getting initiated at Parliament House, learning the ropes and processes to follow when it comes to how things operate in Macquarie Street. And on Saturday night I had the real honour to attend a fundraising dinner at Dubbo RSL Club for the charity Little Wings. For those that don't know, Little Wings is an organisation that transports sick children to Sydney for medical treatment, by both air and road.
Its service means that families don't have to drive hours and worry about logistics. Little Wings flies them to Bankstown Airport, where a volunteer driver is waiting to pick them up and take them to whichever hospital is their destination. Listening to the stories of the four young children in attendance - Grace, Oliver, Matilda and Teagan - and their families was inspirational and a real indication of how terrible circumstances can bring out the best in people.
The good news is that all four seem to be winning their battles, and part of the reason for that is Little Wings enabling them to receive the treatment they need without the stress of access.
The vast bulk of the funding that allows Little Wings to operate is sourced through events such as Saturday night's and other fundraising activity, although it was heartening to hear that the Federal government has recently announced funding to help with the purchase of another aircraft.
Last year I attended a Family Fun Day for the organisation that was held at Wongarbon, and on another occasion had the pleasure of joining with former Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams to present the group with a discretionary cheque for $1000 on behalf of the NSW Government.
It is my intention to try and find other avenues whereby the State Government can help Little Wings, especially when you consider that Dubbo and our region is the region that uses the service the most.