After a month of uncertainty for families and businesses across New England and the North West, it's fantastic to see shop fronts open once again and residents in the region out and about.
The lockdown has hit everybody hard whether it be financially or emotionally.
I hope those areas still under stay at home orders across the state will be given some relief soon whether it be by rising vaccination rates or falling case numbers.
The key to helping our region stay out of lockdown is looking after yourself and those around you.
Please do all you can to follow the latest health advice issued by NSW Health.
In doing this we're helping small businesses stay open, keeping kids in school, and helping the local economy get back on track.
One thing the lockdown couldn't halt is my enthusiasm to keep moving forward with construction of the Dungowan Dam, and big milestones have already been reached.
Design of the main pipeline and pressure reducing valve station is now complete, and orders have been placed for the piping and valves.
A final business case is due to be completed later this year, which will go a long way in helping secure the future of water reliability in the Peel Valley.
It's vital as a community we continue to push for this project.
You can do this by signing up for upcoming community webinars in November and December.
Big steps have also been taken this month to address mental health in regional Australia, thanks to $3.7 million Federal funding to the University of New England (UNE) to lead a collaborative research project into the field.
The UNE will establish the Regional Australia Mental Health Research and Training Institute in Armidale, aimed at better translating its mental health research into help for rural communities.
By conducting this vital research here in New England, we ensure that the new findings and skills developed by researchers will directly benefit our community, while also saving the lives of regional Australians across the nation.
This project will also include important engagement with the local Indigenous community, that will help provide significant health benefits to First Nations people not only here in New England, but across Australia.
I'm proud to be part of a government that delivers for the needs of rural Australians, while also supporting regional universities.