6 February 2018

Our Australia Day celebrations at the East Cessnock Bowling Club were wonderful filling me with a large sense of community and national pride. Thank you to everyone involved in organising this special occasion.

Narelle Campbell our Australia Day Ambassador gave a very insightful, thought provoking address detailing some of her experiences in the remote Australian Antarctic Territory. In particular it was interesting to hear her perspective on community and how her concept of community was changed by working and living in a secluded, small community for months on end. Narelle spoke about the importance of a diverse community that supports each other. Something I think we do very well here in Cessnock.

To all the Australia Day Award recipients, congratulations and well done. Paul Hughes was named Citizen of the Year, Laurence Ellis was announced as the Senior Citizen of the Year and Olivia Palfreyman was named the Young Citizen of the Year. These three citizens do exceptional work in our community and are very deserving of such recognition.

Australia Day was also a very memorable day for those in our community who received Australia Day honours for excellence, achievement or meritorious service and contributions. Congratulations to three local residents who were named on the honour list receiving and Order of Australia Medal, including Branxton’s Pam MacDonald, Jean Martin of Cessnock and North Rothbury resident Peter Vizzard.   

Congratulations to the 14 new Australia Citizens who took their pledge. It was very special to conduct the citizenship ceremony and welcome you as official citizens.

The Mayoral Cup was taken out by the Cessnock District Cricket Association for the second year running. Congratulations to Nathan Hudson who received the best and fairest award and to all the local players who participated.

Last week marked the commissioning and official opening of the Hunter Correctional Centre, an expansion of the Cessnock Correctional Centre. This new infrastructure will inject 238 jobs into our local government area and I welcome the opportunity this generates for existing and new residents. Council will continue to consult with the community and work with Corrective Services NSW to ensure our community’s needs are met.

NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott conducted a soil collection ceremony at Gordon Williams Cemetery, Aberdare as part of the NSW Anzac Memorial Centenary Project. Soil samples are currently being collected from close to 1,700 localities across NSW, which were given as a place of address by First World War enlistees. The soil will be displayed in a civic artwork at the enhanced Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney, opening late this year. Two soil collection ceremonies have been conducted in the Cessnock Local Government Area for this very important veteran’s project.