By Dylan J. Stone
Last week, Scott Barrett MLC toured the Far West to represent the NSW government and make some important funding announcements. Mr Barrett has a long-lasting association with the people of our broader region from his previous role as the NSW manager of GIVIT.
GIVIT assists local communities who are dealing with drought, bushfires and floods, and Mr Barrett was connected to Far West communities because of the drought we experienced before his election to the NSW Parliament.
“GIVIT is important in that instead of rocking up with items that we think people might need, we instead worked with local charities and organisations to identify what was actually needed in the community, and then we purchased what we identified as being needed,” Mr Barrett said.
Oftentimes, GIVIT purchased vouchers and other items directly from the local community to ensure that local business was supported as much as the individual residents.
Margot Muscat, from the Menindee Charities Op Shop, met Mr Barrett several years ago when GIVIT “provided resources for students to return to school,” she said, “And they provided fuel vouchers, haircuts, and a shipping container for the Menindee Charities Op Shop for extra storage.”
Mrs Muscat met with Mr Barrett last week and said she was pleased to hear he had become an Upper House MLC.
“We discussed issues our community now faces, which include lack of Council representation, housing, water, and transport,” she said.
Mr Barrett says now he is an MLC he is, “in a unique position to serve as a connection between the community and the government because of my work history in both community and government roles.”
He believes he has a unique perspective because he established community connections as part of GIVIT, and so he is not simply a fly-in-fly out politician.
He says catching the train from Orange, allows him time to mingle with people and to feel truly connected to the community he is now representing in Parliament.
He says his recent tour of the Far West reinforced the fact that, “while there are issues in the Far West that we need to work on, the region is full of great communities with great organisations.
“My goal is to improve the liveability of outback communities, and the more people who know about our communities and the experiences we have on offer, the stronger our communities will become.
“To be able to now travel to the Far West on behalf of the government and to announce money for the community that I know will make a difference, that means a lot to me.