What's On

15 June 2016

The Lovedale Arts Festival is in full swing and I had the pleasure of attending the launch. This is a great local event showcasing products of our region including art, music, food and wine. If you are looking to enjoy some of our region’s best produce head to

Celebrations have kicked off for NAIDOC Week and as usual Cessnock has a full calendar of fantastic events running throughout June and July. Last Wednesday marked the launch of NAIDOC week with the opening of the Songline Print Project Exhibition featuring works produced by local Indigenous artists in collaboration with Master Printer James Whittington, Crown Street Press and Cessnock Regional Art Gallery. This is a wonderful opportunity to recognise very talented local artists and I encourage everyone to view the exhibition which is open until July 24.  Celebrations finish with the Black Creek Aboriginal Corporation Flag Raising Ceremony and the street parade on July 9. It’s sure to be a great family day featuring a number of local indigenous performers and hip hop stars The Last Kinection. I look forward to seeing you all there and hope for another big turn out after last year’s roll up. For more information go to  

This will be the first NAIDOC week the Cessnock Community celebrate without Les Elvin better known as Uncle Les. He will be sadly missed but our community has been enriched by the legacy he has left us. On July 8 the Les Elvin Education Room will be opened recognising the huge contribution he made to the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery and the broader community.  

Residents are being urged to contribute to the Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The DIAP is an exciting initiative aimed at removing barriers for those in our community with a disability. As a community we must strive to be more inclusive and enable equal access to opportunities. Feedback from the community is crucial to informing the action plan as those living in the community have the best insight into what needs to be improved. The consultation period runs from June until August 2016 and will be integral to formulating a comprehensive plan to improve access and inclusion. Residents can express their views by completing an online survey or can visit Council and have a chat with Council’s customer service staff. I’m very proud of the development of this plan and expect a very positive outcome for our community.  

Last Friday marked the launch of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Outdoor Gym at Miller Park, Branxton. This is a fantastic asset aiming to promote happier and healthier lifestyles in our community. Thank you to Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for the grant totalling $52,000 making this a reality. Recognition must be given to the Samaritans Foundation and Cessnock Healthy Lifestyle network both putting in a lot of work, with Council’s support to apply for this funding.  

It is with great sadness we hear the passing of Damien Wallace as a member of Council’s Events Committee he played a major role in the success of the 2015 Christmas Carols and Australia Day earlier this year. His work in the wider community will be sadly missed particularly the Postie Bike Grand Prix.