13 December 2017

Cessnock City Council has officially launched the Youth First Program Toolkit giving councils across Australia the tools to support young people to be job ready. The Cessnock City Youth First initiative was born following the Hunter Valley Youth Unemployment Symposium facilitated by Council that saw a region wide approach to tackling the critical issue of youth unemployment.

The ground-breaking pilot program enabled local young people to undertake a training program seeing them obtain relevant industry qualifications in retail and hospitality. We are extremely proud to share this toolkit with every council in Australia and hope other councils roll it out.

The NSW Government’s Department of Industry’s Training Services and Office of Regional Development worked in partnership with Council to make the program a reality. Council also thanks Yancoal Austar Coal Operations who proudly supported the program.

You may have noticed our illegal dumping campaign that kicked off with some local buses featuring local faces. The message is ‘you better not mess with Cessnock’ urging people to report illegal dumping and to dispose of items correctly. The campaign has been launched following a grant received by the Environmental Protection Authority and will run over the next year in a bid to reduce the amount of illegal dumping occurring on a local level.

More than 3,000 people gathered at Cessnock Sportsground on Friday evening to sing in the festive season at the annual Carols in the Park event.  We have been hosting this event for more than 10 years and it continues to get bigger and better each year.  The performers and the band were outstanding, Tara Naysmith did a fantastic job as MC, Santa arrived in a helicopter and it was all topped off with a fantastic fireworks display! Thank you to everyone who was involved in making this event such a success including the team at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre and other Council staff, the wonderful volunteers and our event sponsors.

A huge thank you to all the community members and staff who gave so generously to Council’s Christmas Gift and Food Appeal. All donations were picked up by the Kurri Kurri Community Centre and Samaritans Information and Neighbourhood Centre (Cessnock).

As this is the last Mayoral Column of 2017 it is an opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. In my home, Christmas is a special time we share together, particularly now our sons no longer live with us.  It is about families coming together and sharing. On behalf of Cessnock City Council I offer you best wishes for a very happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous new year.