11 December 2019

Merry Christmas to everyone in the Cessnock Local Government Area. Sadly I was not able to wish you Merry Christmas in person due the cancellation of Carols in the Park. The decision was a tough one to make so close to the event however the advice from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment was residents to stay inside as much as possible - particularly the elderly, those with lung or heart issues and young children. We thank residents for their understanding. Earlier last week we also cancelled the fireworks. At tonight’s Council meeting a Mayoral Minute will be considered to donate the money allocated for the fireworks to the Rural Fire Service. Thank you to Ka- Boom Fireworks for their cooperation and understanding.

Community feedback is being sought on the Draft Cessnock Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) which is on public exhibition until Wednesday 5 February 2020. The LSPS is a requirement of the NSW Government and will set out the 20 year vision for land use in the Cessnock LGA. A number of community a drop-in session are planned and residents are encouraged to have their say.

Council is extending the annual Christmas Gift and Food Appeal with donations being accepted from Monday 16 December 2019. This year all donations will go to Soupz On, Cessnock Food wars and Hunter Hands of Hope.  Council hopes the community will show their support and give generously. Donation drop off points include; under the Christmas tree in Council’s administration building and over the counter at Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries.   As we head into the holiday season I would also like to remind people about keeping your car secure and locked. Unfortunately statistics show during this period there is a spike in car thefts. These crimes are opportunistic and it is common for thieves to steal car keys in a home theft. A simple tip is to keep your keys out of sight when at home. Do not leave them in obvious spots like near doors or windows. It is also advised that your keys should not have a tag that has your name and address.

This time of year is also a time to reflect on what has been achieved. We have much to be proud of in 2019. I am certainly proud of the success our Council has had in securing funding for our community to spend on important infrastructure. Last financial year Council attracted nearly $13 million in grant funding. This demonstrates our commitment to seeking every opportunity for the LGA. This will continue into 2020 as we continue to work to meet community needs and expectations. I wish you and your families a safe, happy and holiday season. This is the time we can relax and spend special time with our families.  If you are travelling please make sure you stay safe on the roads.The risk of bush fires across the LGA are also expected to continue. Please make sure you have a plan in place and have downloaded the Rural Fire Services Fires Near Me App at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me. Residents can also tune into ABC 1233 for the latest in a bush fire emergency. 

On behalf of the community I would also like to thank all the fire fighters locally and across the state who will be protecting our community. We are grateful and hope you get some time to spend with your families during the Christmas and New Year Period.