Mayoral Column - 29 September 2021

Published on 29 September 2021

Photo of Cessnock City Mayor, Bob Pynsent
With COVID-19 vaccination rates in our local government area well below the state average, I’ve been busy advocating for a mass vaccination hub here in Cessnock. This has been a long process and involved meeting with the Deputy Premier, writing to the Prime Minister and Minister for Health, discussions with community stakeholders and reaching out to the Department of Health to offer up Council facilities. I’m very pleased to announce that through the collaborative efforts of myself, the community and our local Members, NSW Health have officially reached out to Council requesting possible sites for a hub in Cessnock.
It’s so important that we get as many people vaccinated as possible before the state starts opening up again. While access and wait times have been highlighted as an issue, it’s important that the community not wait and keep trying. There are lots of local vaccination options available, including pharmacies taking ‘walk ins’ where no appointment is needed. A snapshot of available sites across the Cessnock LGA can be found on Council’s website and I encourage people to keep trying to book their jabs by talking to their local GP or Pharmacist, or visiting the NSW Health website
On Friday 17 September, it was an honour to welcome 24 new Aussies as part of a special online Citizenship Ceremony, taking place on the 20th anniversary of Australian Citizenship Day. The COVID Safe Ceremony saw residents from all over the world officiated as Australians and residents of the Cessnock LGA. Citizens were welcomed from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. It was fascinating to hear all the different stories from our new Citizens and find out what inspired them to become Australians. Congratulations to all of our new residents and thank you once again for choosing to call the Cessnock LGA home. 
Nominations for the 2022 Australia Day Awards are now open and I’d like to call on the community to jump on Council’s website and nominate locals who deserve to be recognised. The Australia Day Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise those in community who make a difference – whether it be an outstanding achievement during the past year, or a significant contribution over a number of years. I’m also proud to announce that a new award has been added for 2022. The Environment Award – Young Citizen will provide an opportunity to recognise local young people who are championing environmental initiatives in the Cessnock community. Nominations are open until 11:30pm on Sunday 24 October. For more information, including award categories and how to nominate a local legend, visit the Australia Day Awards page
Last week, Council launched a new waste service for our elderly and disabled residents across the LGA, which is just fantastic. These residents are now able to use an approved business to help dispose of their bulk waste, with the use of their annual waste vouchers. Council already offers a service for residents who are elderly or disabled, our drivers jump out of the truck and bring their bins to the kerb, empty them and pop them back. With this additional process in place, it will ensure these residents can get the most out of their annual vouchers. To find out more, check if you’re eligible or to lodge an application, visit our Waste Vouchers page.
Run out of lockdown literature? Never fear, the wonderful team at Cessnock City Library are now providing residents with a free Click/Call & Collect service! Locals who have been wanting to stock up on books, magazines, DVDs or kids’ books during lockdown can now use this service, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. With contactless pick-up, this is a great way to access the resources in our local libraries while we’re in lockdown. Simply call the Cessnock branch on 4993 4399 or Kurri Kurri branch on 4937 1638, or submit the ‘Click & Collect’ form on the Library website.
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