4 September 2019

It was wonderful to attend the Kullaburra Awards 2019 and celebrate the success and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the Korreil Wonnai AECG area (Cessnock/Kurri Kurri). We have fantastic Year 12 students achieving in leadership, education and in sport. It was a pleasure for Council to support and sponsor these awards. Well done to all who received recognition.  

It is vitally important Council continues to raise issues and advocate for our community. This week we will welcome the NSW Government’s Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren MP to the Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA). Council will discuss a number of items with Mr Warren including the increase to the Emergency Services Levy, increase to costs associated with local government elections and the motion Council is putting forward at the upcoming Local Government NSW Annual Conference.    

The motion adopted by Council requests the Minister for Planning, Secretary of NSW Planning and Environment and the Director Regions – Hunter NSW Planning and Environment to undertake an urgent review of the current code of conduct for the Regional Planning Panels. Council is concerned about the change to the code that effectively prevents local councillor members of the Regional Planning Panel from voting on development applications on land their local government area if those Councillors also voted on the rezoning of the same land.  

Council will also have the opportunity to address the same issues with the NSW Government’s Minister for Local Government, The Hon. Shelly Hancock MP this month.  

Council is excited to partner with Golf NSW to grow the LGA’s reputation as a great golfing destination. Over the weekend the Vintage Golf Club hosted the NSW Open Golf Championship Regional Qualifying event. Council has secured this event for a three year period, next year it will occur at Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club and in 2021 it will be hosted at the Kurri Kurri Golf Club. Council is proud to support and secure this event. It is a great opportunity to showcase the Cessnock LGA and the Hunter Valley to many of NSW’s amateur and elite golfers.  

It was great to join the RSL sub branches of Branxton, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day - Long Tan Day. I was asked to pay special respects to a fallen serviceman from the township of Greta, CPL Robert Jackson, who was called up as a national servicemen in February 1966 when he was just 20. He joined the Australian Regular Army in 1968 and when to Vietnam as a corporal with 8RAR. Sadly, he was killed in an explosion in Phuoc Tuy Province on 28 February 1970. He was laid to rest in Greta.     

Spring Awakening has arrived and is on this Friday from 6pm to 9pm at the Cessnock TAFE Ground. The parade acts as the official commencement of the evening’s festivities, departing from Cessnock Performing Arts Centre at 5:30pm and continuing via Vincent Street all the way to the TAFE grounds. For more information www.cessnockperformingartscentre.com.au.