Coulton's Catch-up | Campaigning for federal election well under way

By now readers will likely be aware that prime minister Scott Morrison has announced a federal election will be held May 18. By convention, the government has now assumed a caretaker role prior to the election, which will continue until the election result is known. The campaign period will see me spending time in communities right around the electorate, as I've done for the past 11 years.

Grants for regional publishers

Regional publishers in the Parkes electorate can apply now for grants to help adapt to the challenges facing today's media environment. Grants of up to $400,000 are available to print and online news publishers based outside major cities, as part of the Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package.

Funding is on offer for a wide range of activities, including acquiring new technology to assist with distributing content, helping journalists with content production, and training and upskilling of staff.

Many regional publishers in my electorate do not have the size and scale to adapt to the challenges facing the media industry, yet they play a critical role in their communities. These grants will provide a much-needed boost for those publishers. Funds will be administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), with applications closing June 14. More information can be found

Sustainable agriculture

Grants of between $250,000 and $4million are now available under round two of Smart Farming Partnerships. This funding encourages the development and roll-out of sustainable agriculture tools and practices in areas like soil health, pest control and farm input use projects. Grants are available to farmers, Landcare groups, universities and others for substantial projects that improve the sustainability of Australian agriculture. Applications are welcome from all ag industries including cropping, livestock and mixed farming, amongst others - applications are open until May 14. For further details visit

Prostate Cancer Conference

The Combined Prostate Cancer Support Groups of Rural NSW is inviting the community to join in on an information filled weekend at the Dubbo RSL Club May 4 and 5. I strongly encourage interested medical professionals as well as members of the general public to attend the event, which will feature guest speakers from a range of medical backgrounds. If you would like to attend, you can RSVP by April 25 to Elizabeth Allen OAM on 0408 682 968 or