PARKES' MR PERFECT?
On Sunday Carl Smith and I co-hosted the first monthly 'Mr Perfect' men's mental health barbecue in Orange. Being the first of these events, we weren't sure how many guys would actually come along. Thanks to all those who spread the word, we had a better-than-expected turnout.
I was amazed to see so many blokes turn up to our free barbie, and in fact we had to make a quick dash to the shops to get more supplies!
The weather was perfect, and from what I could see everyone had a great time. It was fantastic to see familiar faces, and new ones too.
We had members from the Men's Shed, the Prostate Support Group, Orange Police Station and Cancer Council join us as well.
This is a great proactive mental health initiative from the charity Mr Perfect, and I'm proud to host this along with Carl, who is equally passionate about improving mental health and preventing suicide.
What's this got to do with Parkes? Well, Parkes doesn't yet have a local host for monthly men's mental health barbecues.
I'd encourage anyone out there in the Parkes community who feels passionately about men's mental health to get on board and start up a local monthly event. The cost of consumables is reimbursed by the charity, so they're completely free for the men who participate.
For more information, visit https://mrperfect.org.au/
BOYS TO THE BUSH
I have been following the progress of not-for profit Boys to the Bush since first being introduced to Jared DeMamiel at Forbes in 2019. Since then I've met with Jared's brother and co-founder, Adam DeMamiel.
Boys to the Bush is a fantastic initiative, and it appears to be steadily growing. The organisation is staffed with qualified teachers, and they're running fantastic programs and camps to mentor and guide disengaged boys.
Boys to the Bush is finally receiving the government funding and support it needed to grow and deliver their services across NSW.
The big news is that they're expanding here in the Central West to directly engage boys in the area. I'm a supporter of this great organisation, and I was supposed to join them on camp last year, until COVID-19 foiled our plans. At long last I'll be joining Jared and the Forbes crew on camp in April to see the program in action, which I'm very much looking forward to.
RSPCA TARGETING MUMS AND DADS
A cascade of complaints are being received from hobbyist dog breeders who are now being intrusively inspected from some officious RSPCA inspectors.
The Nationals' Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales, Adam Marshall, has increased funding to the RSPCA for the purpose of targeting what he has labelled 'puppy farms'. A puppy farm is loosely defined as an underground large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where animal welfare standards may be compromised, and of course nobody wants to see cruelty to dogs.
It's unfortunate that mum and dad dog breeders, or hobbyist dog breeders, who sell even a single puppy, even if it's from an accidental pregnancy, are now being subject to the same standards as a full-scale dog breeding facility that has 500 dogs!
People in their own homes who have bred dogs are now being unfairly targeted and unreasonably expected to meet certain standards, such as requiring six-foot-high fences, even if you have a Chihuahua, which has no chance of jumping even a three-foot-high fence.
Another unreasonable requirement is having to place the name and telephone number of the breeder at the point of entry to the property, which unnecessarily exposes personal information to anyone on the street.
The RSPCA has been given extraordinary powers which enable them to enter your property without warning. If a puppy is advertised on gumtree or Facebook, it will certainly attract the attention of the RSPCA and they will probably come knocking.
The thrust of the legislated code which empowers the RSPCA was never intended to target mums, dads and kids who bred their pet dog and sold a few puppies, but the RSPCA isn't differentiating a one-off backyard breeder from a commercial operation. Legislation already exists for welfare of animals, so family pets shouldn't be swept-up in a National Party sanctioned indiscriminate assault by the RSPCA on families in our towns.
This week I met with the Minister's representative to raise the issue, but they've clearly indicated the Minister won't entertain any changes to rectify the situation. It's just not right, it's just not fair and we will pursue this issue in the NSW Parliament.
If you have experienced a recent situation involving an RSPCA inquiry or inspection at your home which you think is unfair and unreasonable, please contact my office on 63632 5199 and let us know.