This week, as we celebrate National Volunteers Week, I am proud to acknowledge the incredible contributions of our volunteers.

This year’s Volunteer of the Year Award will be announced on Friday. There were some exceptional entries, and I know you’ll join me in congratulating their efforts.

Volunteers are the backbone of our communities, and we owe them our heartfelt thanks. Narrabri Shire has received an additional $1.4 million in funding for the next stage of our Tourism and Cultural Hub next to The Crossing Theatre, thanks to the federal government’s announcement last Monday.

This funding will further enhance our community facilities, promoting local culture and tourism, and providing a vibrant space for residents and visitors alike. This is an important step forward for our shire, and I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of this investment.

I also had the pleasure of participating in the National Reading event at our local library. I read a storybook to an enthusiastic group of three and four-year-old children.

Research consistently shows that reading with young children is crucial for developing their confidence and proficiency in English.

Encouraging early literacy is a priority for our community, and events like this highlight the importance of fostering a love for reading from a young age.

We have great libraries in our shire and all of us (young and young-at-heart) can benefit from reading. Memberships are free!

I also want to address the changes to the pathology services at Narrabri Hospital. I wrote to the State Health Minister last week and have had discussions with a number of politicians and officials about this issue.

It is crucial that all our hospitals are properly resourced to ensure the health and safety of all communities across Narrabri Shire.

I am working with the local member and will continue monitoring this important issue. We are seeking clarity from the Health Department about this matter. Watch this space!

Next Tuesday, we have a Narrabri Shire Council meeting, and I encourage those interested to attend. This is a good opportunity to observe the wheels of democracy turning.

Additionally, the exhibition period for our upcoming operational budget is ending soon. If you have any concerns or comments, please contact the council or email us at [email protected].

Your input is invaluable in shaping our community’s future.

I want to address the recent Telstra outage in Wee Waa.

While we are thankful that mobile service has been restored, the outage was particularly challenging for our older residents and local businesses.

Mobile phone services are essential lifelines in remote communities.

I have written to the Telstra CEO expressing my serious concerns about the duration of this outage, and I know that both state and federal politicians have also voiced their concerns.

Finally, as winter begins, let’s remember to check in on our elderly neighbours, friends, and relatives to ensure they are prepared for the cold months ahead.

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