Matters of the state with Phil Donato | Shows to return from January

SHOWSTOPPER: Phil Donato enjoying the pre-COVID traditions of community gatherings for country shows. Shows will finally resume from January 9, 2021. Photo: Submitted
SHOWSTOPPER: Phil Donato enjoying the pre-COVID traditions of community gatherings for country shows. Shows will finally resume from January 9, 2021. Photo: Submitted


In response to the despair of people who were relying on work in the country show industry, I asked the NSW Government back in September if they would consider saving the carnival and show industry from economic ruin by allowing shows and carnivals to be held for attendees between 500 and 10,000 people.

Lo and behold, the NSW Government has responded in the media last week that they'll now allow country shows to return from January 9, 2021.

This is great news for the industry, and fantastic news for country communities who really need these events to bring everyone together.


Mental health and suicide is as serious an issue as there is.

I have been raising community awareness of this issue and working in the background with stakeholders who are at the coalface.

When the NSW Government announced a $10m mental health support package, naturally, I was very interested in knowing more about where counselors would be placed and how they could be accessed, etcetera.

I submitted a question to Minister for Mental Health, Bronnie Taylor MLC, asking where the counselors would be based.

Curiously, Minister Taylor palmed the question off to the Health Minister, but his answer failed to detail where the counsellors would be placed around the state.

This curious response is no longer a mystery, because we now know, as reported in The Daily Telegraph on August 23, 2020, that two of the counsellors will be based in Jindabyne and Cooma, the very electorate Minister Bronnie Taylor lives in!

I won't deny either of those two communities these resources and service, because truth be told they need counsellors too, however it's critically important we know where the government-funded counsellors will be located elsewhere in the state so country folk can access them, especially in rural and remote NSW where suicide is occurring at an alarming rate.

Minister Taylor, it's not a trick question - you're the minister who was happy to jump in front of cameras to announce this, so just tell us where the counsellors will be located.


The systemic failures in the management of public health here in rural and regional NSW astonishes me. I've had Gulgong locals and doctors, and elsewhere out here in the country, raising this and other public health management issues.

Their local member hasn't overtly responded to the tragedy at Gulgong, either.

I'm here to advocate for the people of the bush, and help make our lives better.

When I learned of the tragic death of a patient at Gulgong MPS last month, I wasn't going to let the issue be smothered with Gladysgate or any other news topic of the day.

I asked Health Minister Brad Hazzard a question on the floor of Parliament last parliamentary sitting week about what he was doing to recruit or contract a medical practitioner for the Gulgong MPS.

By coincidence, an advertisement was made for a doctor at Gulgong later that same day!

It shouldn't take me raising this issue in parliament to set the wheels in motion to try and recruit a doctor in a role that has been vacant since June this year.

Recently I had a very frank telephone conversation with the Acting Chief Executive of Western NSW LHD about the vacant position, and other issues which I raised in parliament concerning the management of our health district. Lo and behold, a news article was published later that same day, announcing a doctor has now been contracted for Gulgong - surprise, surprise!

I'll let you join the dots on how this all panned-out, but lazy political representation and failures of government, and their bureaucrats, to deliver basic services such as health, won't be tolerated by fair and reasonable country folk anymore.

I will keep standing up for all people of rural and regional NSW, because we expect and deserve better than what we're getting.