11 July 2018

It was saddening to hear about the passing of former Councillor and Mayor of Cessnock City, Merv Pyne. Merv was a long serving Councillor, served as Cessnock City Mayor from 1995 to 1999 and remained an active member of our community for many years. He was an outstanding individual and community-minded man who will be missed by many. My thoughts go out to Merv’s wife Daphne and his family during this sad time. 

I was extremely disappointed by the NSW Government’s decision to slash library funding by 18% which will impact 368 libraries across the state, including Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Library. Our libraries are vibrant community hubs and play a very special role for residents, both young and old. They are not just a service with great resources, but provide a space where people connect, learn and are entertained. It was decided at last Wednesday’s Council meeting that we will write to the NSW Premier and Treasurer condemning the cutting to library funding in the recent State budget.

While on the topic of our wonderful libraries, school holidays have started and if you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained, Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Libraries have an action-packed program of events! There are workshops, basket weaving, a Lego competition and the extremely popular Harry Potter Escape Room is back! Pick up a program from the library or download it via the library website.

It is changeover time for our service clubs and I’d like to congratulate the outgoing Presidents for doing a magnificent job in supporting our community. Cessnock Lions Club has been working hard for 81 years and Cessnock Rotary club for 65 years and the support these clubs and other service clubs give, particularly to our local young people, is invaluable.

Congratulations to the Central Hunter Business Chamber in assisting small business across our LGA through the information presentation from the Hunter Business Centre. The success of small business is critical to the economic development in our community. Good luck to the Wollombi Road Providore in the next stage of the 2018 Sydney Markets Fresh Awards after being named a finalist.

NAIDOC celebrations are in full swing and it was great to see so many people at Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation’s Family Fun Day on Saturday morning and Barkuma’s Family Fun Day yesterday. Both were wonderful community days filled with food, fun and entertainment! There’s still plenty left on the NAIDOC program including the FREE native plant giveaway at Cessnock Library today and Bush Tukka Cooking for young people at the Cessnock Youth Centre tomorrow from 11am-2pm.

Tallen Howson is the youth member for Cessnock in the YMCA NSW Youth Parliament and has started a petition to get more support services for young people in Cessnock. The closest support services for young people currently are in Maitland. This initiative is just fantastic and I encourage anyone who agrees to jump online and sign the petition. The link has been posted on Council’s Facebook page.

We recently launched a campaign to raise awareness about the significance of our local bushland and just last week Tim Faulkner came out to discover the unique wildlife within. Tim is the General Manager and Head of Conservation at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby and the Devil Ark at Barrington Tops. Tim teamed up with Mick Roderick from BirdLife Australia to produce two educational short films which will be released later this month on Council’s website Facebook page.