OPINION

Member for Orange holds first 'Virtual Town Hall Meeting'

TRUE GENTLEMAN: Phil Donato with true Aussie Helper, the late Brian Egan. Photo: Supplied.
TRUE GENTLEMAN: Phil Donato with true Aussie Helper, the late Brian Egan. Photo: Supplied.

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a safe and very happy Christmas with your loved ones.

After a short break over the Christmas period, I'm now back on deck and really looking forward to what I can achieve for our region in 2020.

Virtual Town Hall

To mark this new and exciting year as one of vision, I recently conducted my very first 'Virtual Town Hall' meeting live on Facebook.

I'm always in search of new ways to engage with our community, so I've taken the brand new step of conducting Virtual Town Hall so that I keep myself approachable, available and accessible to you.

As far as I am aware this is very first Virtual Town Hall being run by any MP in NSW.

Most pollies wouldn't have the guts to face unknown questions thrown at them to answer live on social media, but as your State MP I believe you have the right to question me about all state-related matters and issues pertaining to our electorate.

This live Q&A session was 100% completely unfiltered, unedited and unaltered.

The event was highly productive and beneficial; those who participated responded that this event was a good initiative and well worthwhile.

I'm looking forward to running more Virtual Town Hall events on Facebook throughout the year, so that you can engage with me from anywhere you've got coverage, ask me the questions and I'll give the answers.

I'll be sure to let you know when the next session will be so you can join in.

A True Aussie Helper

I was saddened to recently receive news of the passing of Brian Egan, Vietnam war veteran and co-founder of Aussie Helpers. Brian was a true gentleman and worked tirelessly to help those in need.

The people of the bush, indeed our entire nation, will miss him.

I first met Brian over two years ago when he joined with me in raising the profile of the impact of drought here in the Orange electorate.

Since then Brian responded to the many calls from drought affected farmers to deliver them hay to keep starving stock alive, deliver food, vouchers and other household goods.

My office was a collection point for donations to Aussie Helpers which Brian arranged collection and distribution of to help those who were really struggling from this drought.

Whether Brian knew it or not, his compassion for people and his gentle nature rendered him a bush counsellor, and I've no doubt his support and words of wisdom kept the spirits and lives of countless country folk going.

My deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to Brain's family and friends.

Hidden Treasures

It was an honour and a privilege to recognise the 2019 Hidden Treasures of the Orange electorate whose names will be inscribed on the honour roll, along with 71 other ladies recognised from across NSW.

These ladies are the backbone of our communities and have volunteered themselves and their time to benefit others without seeking credit nor wanting any accolade.

Thank you to our Hidden Treasures: Pamela Bell of Peak Hill, Terese Gunn of Forbes, Betty Newstead of Molong, Cassandra Tyack of Wirrinya, and Rhonda Watt of Cumnock. Also to Karryn Keed of Peak Hill and Helen Karrasch of Orange who were unable to attend this event at Forbes CWA.