Raising the BARR – Week ending 07/07/2023

Michael, Vanessa and Clayton Kurri Kurri
Raising the Barr

NAIDOC Week Reminds Us Of Our Rich History


Last week’s NAIDOC Celebrations, with the theme ‘For Our Elders” was yet another reminder of how lucky we are to be living in a country with the world’s oldest living culture.  It was also a reminder to us that great knowledge and wisdom can be learnt if we just take the chance to stop and listen.


It doesn’t really matter what your culture is.  There is great certainty that if you take the time to listen to the story of the elders in your own life, no matter where they come from or what their background is, then you will surely benefit from great knowledge.


I certainly hope that during NAIDOC Week you had the chance to learn something new about the beautiful culture of our First Nations people. I certainly did.


A Focus on Health


During this past fortnight I have had the opportunity to participate in many things that are focused on the health of our local community and the communities of our state.


A fortnight ago I had the chance to discuss the proposed new Ambulance Station for Branxton with senior members of NSW Ambulance.  This is an exciting and positive new service that will support the growing communities of Branxton, Greta and North Rothbury.  I also note that last week public calls were made for “expressions of interest” for persons that might own land that would be suitable for the new Ambulance Station, that they would be interested in selling to the NSW Government.  Bravo!


In Parliament I have been nominated to be a member of the Select Committee that is following the implementation of 44 Recommendations to improve health outcomes for people in rural, regional and remote NSW.  The work of this Committee will have direct relevance to our community because we are considered “regional” for almost every measure of health.  We started our journey on this Committee with meetings during each of the past 2 weeks.


I also had the good fortune to have the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Dr Michael Holland, MP (Bega) come into our community to explore both Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Hospitals last week.  Dr Holland was still delivering babies on the South Coast of NSW prior to being elected to Parliament in early 2022 in a by-election.  In addition he was a gynaecologist in the Newcastle area from 1990-2003 and so will have undoubtedly birthed a bunch of people reading this column.


It is incredible to tour hospital facilities with a person with such deep, rich knowledge of it all, joined by officials from Hunter New England Health that worked with Dr Holland when he was in our neck of the woods.  There are some really exciting things happening in our hospitals at the moment, and yes, there are some challenges too.


In the short term there is much that we need to do to properly value, hold onto and increase our staffing.  In the medium term we have some exciting upgrades to buildings to look forward to, not to mention quite a few that have happened quietly in the background in recent years.  And in the longer term we have population growth that will need to be catered for with expanded services.  So hang on, health is on its way (thanks to the Little River Band).



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For enquiries regarding the State Government or its departments, or to put you in contact with someone who can help, please contact my office.  My office can be contacted by phoning 4991-1466, by email to cessnock@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call into 118 Vincent Street (PO Box 242), Cessnock 2325.


You can also follow me on my Facebook page “www.facebook.com/claytonbarrmp”,  follow me on Instagram at “claytonbarrmp“ or check out my website at www.claytonbarr.com.au