Coulton urges patience as COVID vaccine rolls out

Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton (centre) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack (right) inspected DHL Supply Chains large scale ultra-cold storage infrastructure with DHL Australia CEO Saul Resnick last week.
Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton (centre) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack (right) inspected DHL Supply Chains large scale ultra-cold storage infrastructure with DHL Australia CEO Saul Resnick last week.

COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins

This week marks an historic milestone in Australia's COVID-19 Vaccination Program rollout, as the first Australians receive their vaccine.

The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in the country last week, and now these are being rolled out to people in priority groups who are most at risk. These initial priority groups include aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline healthcare workers, and quarantine and border workers.

While there are no towns in the Parkes electorate included in the rollout this week, more locations will be targeted over the coming weeks. Phase 1a of the rollout is expected to take six weeks, so I urge people in the electorate to remain patient, as your turn will come and you will be told when it does.

In the meantime, I encourage everyone in the Parkes electorate to be vaccination ready by linking your myGov and Medicare digital accounts. An online guide is available here.

The government is committed to ensuring every Australian receives safe, effective vaccines, wherever they live.

To receive the latest updates about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout direct to your email, subscribe here.

Find out more about the rollout and priority groups at: health.gov.au

Disaster assistance following storms and floods

Disaster assistance is now available to residents in the Gwydir, Moree, Brewarrina and Warren Local Government Areas (LGAs) following severe storms and floods that occurred in December.

Those in the Brewarrina and Warren LGAs are eligible for assistance following events from December 2, 2020 onwards. Meanwhile, people in the Gwydir and Moree LGAs can apply for assistance following storms from December 10 onwards.

A range of practical assistance is available through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements to help fund recovery efforts.

The Australian Government will continue to work alongside the NSW Government and local communities to ensure that they have all the support they need during this difficult time.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88. To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au

Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au

Mobile Black Spot Program closing soon

The latest round of the Federal Government's successful Mobile Black Spot Program is closing soon - and I'm urging local communities and councils to put in a submission.

Up to $34.5 million is available for round 5A of the Program, which aims to support new ways of delivering mobile services to locations that have traditionally been less economic for mobile networks, as well as giving consumers a greater choice of providers to increase competition.

More than 1200 new mobile base stations have been funded under the first five rounds of the program, and over 880 of these base stations are now on air.

I encourage local communities and councils to identify priority locations in their area, work with landowners on specific sites, and discuss those locations with the mobile carriers or a licensed infrastructure provider.

Further information on round 5A can be found on the Grant Connect website.