2012 has certainly been another very busy year both within the New England Electorate and the Federal Parliament.
I have greatly appreciated the ongoing feedback I have been receiving from residents across the New England region during the year which has assisted me in taking forward the views of the electorate in the parliament with the aim of providing better outcomes on a range of issues, particularly for our region and country Australia.
A major highlight during the year has been the passing of the long debated Murray Darling Basin Plan by the parliament which aims to address water usage and conservation issues that have beset governments for over a century. This historic legislation has gained broad consensus from both sides of the parliament and is an excellent example of what can be achieved when members of all political persuasions work together. It has certainly been a great privilege to be involved with the multi-party House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia which has consulted widely with key stakeholders throughout the Basin in an endeavour to find a workable solution to this major issue.
It is very pleasing to see the National Disability Insurance Scheme gathering momentum and particularly an agreement being reached between the federal and NSW governments to implement the Scheme throughout NSW. It is also great to see the high level of community support for the recommendations of the Gonski Report on our education system and I am hopeful agreements will be reached in the near future enabling these much needed reforms to be implemented as soon as possible.
The rollout of the National Broadband Network is continuing with a great deal of positive feedback being received from residents within our local communities, particularly in areas where people have had limited or non-existent internet services. A number of world-leading educational and health projects are being implemented in our region due to the availability of high speed broadband and are a great credit to everyone involved with these cutting edge technological initiatives.
Many other important local projects are continuing such as the redevelopment of the Tamworth hospital, the construction of the North West Cancer Centre which is nearing completion, the provision of multi-million dollar funding for medical student and training facilities in Armidale and Tamworth, the $46 million UNE Integrated Agricultural Education Project, the opening of the Gunnedah GP Super Clinic as well as the Manilla and Werris Creek Multi-Purpose Services, ongoing planning for the Tenterfield Bypass and Bolivia Hill realignment projects, the provision of funding and planning activities for the Barraba pipeline, further works on Chaffey Dam set to commence shortly, the recently announced redevelopment of Cole- dale and numerous other projects large and small within the many communities across the New England electorate.
As the Christmas season once again app- roaches, my wife Lyn, our family Andrew, Kate, Tom and my staff join with me in wishing you a very merry Christmas and a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.