8 August 2018

On Sunday the 29 July a community meeting was held in relation to the potential loss of vital community assets as a result of the Anglican Church rationalisation of churches and property throughout the Hunter region. Council shares in our communities concern and we’ll be contacting the Right Reverend Dr Peter Stuart, Bishop of Newcastle to outline these concerns. Churches and church services meet a number of community needs and are a hub in many of our communities, particularly in lower socio-economic areas. The historic links to churches and the community is not something that can be easily replaced. There is also justified community concern in regards to accessibility of many of the cemeteries, columbarium and memorial gardens associated with various church properties. Last Tuesday we marked Local Government Week 2018 with the School Leaders Breakfast at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre.

Over 200 students heard from Nathan Hulls, about deciding their own destiny. Nathan delivered a very important message that each of us are dealt cards in life but it is about what we choose to do with them. His personal story of growing up with a disability and losing his mother unexpectedly certainly had us thinking about our own lives. In particular each student was encouraged to think about how we measure success and that it should not be measured by those around us rather be determined by each individual. The feedback from students has been extremely positive and Council is extremely proud to be able to offer this unique opportunity to local students. We are now gearing up for the annual Mayoral Debate. This involves students from Kurri Kurri High School, Mount View High School, Cessnock High School and St Philip’s Christian College.

The students will get into a great debate about two very interesting topics, including whether Australia should lower the voting age to 16 and whether we give children too many trophies. The students attended a debating workshop on Monday and are debating next Wednesday in the heats. Good luck to all students, every year we are wowed by the talent of our young people. A big congratulations to Wollombi Road Providore who took out the Service Excellence Award in the greengrocer category at the 2018 Sydney Markets Fresh Awards. It is wonderful to see a local business excelling and we are not surprised. Our local government area is lucky to be home to so many fantastic businesses that put their customers first. Well done to owners Lisa Cussen and Michael Jenness.

Last Thursday Council attended the RH Dougherty Awards in Sydney after our Seniors Week 2017 program was nominated in two categories. The categories included Innovation in Special Events and the Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards.  We are proud to announce Council was named the winner of the Innovation in Special Events category. This was a much deserved nomination. Our celebrations extended well over week and offered a huge range of activities for our seniors to participate in. Thanks to all staff and the community members on our Seniors Week Advisory Committee who worked tirelessly to make this event such a huge success.

Council’s hard hitting illegal dumping campaign, ‘Better not mess with Cessnock’ was a finalist in the Excellence in Communication category. It received a Highly Commended. Well done to Media and Communication Team and the Environment Team who worked together to make such an eye-catching, impactful campaign.