26 July 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Cessnock Youth Week Organising Committee for being shortlisted as a finalist for Best Youth Week Program 2017. Cessnock Youth Week gets bigger and better each year and this is thanks to a group of passionate people who continue to show their dedication to young people in our community.

The Committee is no stranger to the Local Government Awards, having been awarded Most Innovative Youth Week Program in 2014 and taking out Best Youth Week Program last year. This year, the awards will take place in Sydney on Thursday 3 August and as a special recognition of their achievements, Council has decided to send two members of the committee to the event. Irrespective of the outcome at the awards, we also plan to hold a special Mayoral Reception in the coming weeks to congratulate everyone involved in putting the Youth Week program together.  

I was also thrilled with the announcement the Qantas Wallabies will be holding a training camp in Cessnock from Sunday 6 to Friday 11 August ahead of their Bledisloe Cup clash against the All Blacks. The training camp will take place at the Cessnock Sportsground, the same ground that hosted the A-League pre-season clash last year and the Japanese national team training camp ahead of the Asian World Cup in 2015.  

I am proud the Wallabies have recognised the Cessnock Sportsground as a world class facility and this is yet another great opportunity for us to show off our top notch sports ground. I am very much looking forward to welcoming the Wallabies to our wonderful region and we will be sure to announce their schedule to the community when it comes to hand.  

We also have special guest, Jamila Gordon, coming to speak at our annual School Leaders’ Breakfast at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday 1 August. Jamila’s story is nothing short of inspirational as she escaped the Somalian civil war, arrived in Australia when she was just 18 years old and is now a hugely successful businesswoman. Her story proves that dreaming big and remaining positive can lead to great things and I am certain our school leaders will walk away from the event feeling inspired.  

On a more serious note, the notorious illegal dumping ground on McLeod Road in Loxford has been cleaned up and I am hoping it stays that way. Our team worked closely with the NSW EPA, Crown Lands and Goninan & Sons to remove 78.6 tonnes of waste, install fencing and put in three gates for access to services. It is always such a shame to see rubbish dumped in our region and one of the concerning things in this case was the amount of children’s items, indicating families are some of the key offenders. I strongly encourage people to do the right thing when it comes to disposing waste as it affects our environment, tourism and the amenity for the rest of the community.  

If you are yet to have your say on the Kurri Kurri District Strategy, submissions close at 5pm on Wednesday 2 August. I went along to all three community drop in sessions, where Council staff were on hand to explain the strategy in more detail and answer questions. I spoke to many people in our community at these sessions and I was pleased to hear such positive comments about the strategy. To view the strategy and have your say, visit   www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/community/exhibition/kurrikurridistrictstrategy.  

We are also calling on people to have their say on the East Cessnock Flying-fox Camp Management Plan as submissions close on Monday 31 July. We have worked closely with the community on this one and I would like to thank everyone who has given input so far. Visit www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/community/exhibition/DraftFlyingFoxManagementPlan for more information.