Matters of the State with Phil Donato

WEATHER ON THE RADAR: In the coming months Brewarrina and Parkes will receive a weather station similar to the Rainbow Radar in Victoria (pictured).
WEATHER ON THE RADAR: In the coming months Brewarrina and Parkes will receive a weather station similar to the Rainbow Radar in Victoria (pictured).

Doppler weather radars

Years ago I personally raised with the Deputy Premier John Barilaro and the then Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair the need for installation of Doppler weather radars in rural and regional NSW, to provide accurate weather information to assist farmers and emergency services.

The Government responded by making a promise to install Doppler weather radar stations in the 2018-19 budget. I'm pleased they've finally started on the work I called on them to do for the people out here in rural and regional NSW. Construction has begun in Brewarrina, with Parkes to follow in the coming months.

I look forward to the radars completion and the benefits they'll bring to our community.

Staying updated with COVID-19

The rules are changing fairly frequently, which I understand can be difficult for many. From 12.01am Friday 24th of July, pub compliance measures will extend to restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. This includes a 10 person maximum for group bookings.

Weddings and corporate events will be limited to 150 people based on the 4m2 rule, with no "high risk" activities like choirs or dancing. Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people based on the 4m2 rule, and gatherings remain the same with 20 people inside the home and 20 people in public. The NSW Chief Officer strongly recommends 10 people inside the home as a general principle as it's a high transmission area.

While the rules are complex, it's important we all just do our best to get through this time.

Regular hand washing, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining social distance are still as important as ever. If you have any questions about the social distancing rules as they apply to your specific situation, I encourage you to visit or call the dedicated contact number on 13 77 88.

Crown Land use

There is an opportunity for feedback from the community on Crown Land use. The draft State Strategic Plan for Crown Land identifies key priority areas to enable the use of Crown land to evolve and meet changing community needs.

The draft plan identifies outcomes for each of these priority areas, as well as short, medium and long term timeframes from 2020 through to 2030.

You can download a copy of the Draft State Strategic Plan by going to

Feedback on the draft State Strategic Plan for Crown land can be provided until midnight Thursday 20 August 2020, either using the online submission tool on the website, or by the postal address also provided.

Parkes bus service changes

It's great news for the community that Parkes will now benefit from an upgrade to bus networks.

Additional weekly bus services and more travel choices from mid-July. For more information go to:

Supporting local business

To look after our local economy, and help ensure our local people stay employed, please shop locally whenever you can.

While it's tempting to click a button and order online from somewhere in the city, or even overseas, doing so sends money outside our community.

We can still visit the local shops while taking care to maintain social distance and practice good hygiene. Country communities are likely to suffer the biggest financial impacts from this virus, but if we work together we can certainly lessen that impact.