CESSNOCK ADVERTISER COLUMN 20 JANUARY 2016

Maitland Marist Brothers was my high school and the early-morning daily bus travel was not something we looked forward to, particularly during the winter months.  The truth is that on the occasions when Testers Hollow flooded it did not faze us, it broke the boredom and gave us some time off school – kids are like that, we weren’t so alert to the suffering local flooding caused others.

Forty years on, the road remains subject to flood and it’s a disgrace.  When you think about the amount of housing development in immediate and nearby areas, it’s a scandal as quantity of developer contributions and the additional revenues created would be substantial.  This is an important point because I’ve no doubt there will be those who say there are higher priorities but when development puts pressure on a local area money raised as a result of the development should be invested locally.

The construction of the Hunter Expressway should have been a final signal to state government that something has to be done.  Yet, we are still waiting. 

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Next week we will celebrate Australia Day; an occasion to not only reflect on our achievements as a nation, but to commit ourselves again to dealing with outstanding issues such as inequality in our society.
 
It’s also a time to acknowledge and thank those who have done good deeds for others and those who have proven high achievers in their chosen field of endeavour.  Not all will be recognised on the day so I take this opportunity to thank all those who give their time to help those in need or have put time in to ensure our kids have the opportunity to participate in sport or other healthy activities.

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For those of you who are on my Pensioner and Seniors Information Kit mailing list, an updated kit was posted out just prior to Christmas. These free kits provide up-to-date information about entitlements, payments, services and contact details of relevant government bodies.

If you’re not already on the mailing list and would like to receive a free copy, or if you know of someone in the electorate who would like a copy, please contact my office on 4991 1022.

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Just a reminder, my office can organise official anniversary messages for residents of the Hunter electorate who are celebrating a special birthday or wedding anniversary.

Depending on the milestone, you can receive personal congratulations from the Prime Minister, Governor-General or the Queen.

You will need to provide supporting documentation such as birth certificates or marriage certificates. If these are not available you can provide a statutory declaration which is available at any Australia Post Office.


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With the downturn in the mining industry comes the stresses of financial and job insecurity.  This can lead to physical and mental health issues for employees and their families.

Partners in Mining is a free information and support program for those in the Hunter mining community who support a person experiencing problems with their mental health. 

Programs are being run over two consecutive half-days in two locations (Singleton and Speers Point) by trained facilitators. To register, people can contact the Partners in Mining team on (02) 4924 6870 or HNELHD-PID@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au.

For more information, please go to the following website: http://www.partnersindepression.com.au/partners-in-mining.

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I am always keen to assist with issues or questions relating to Federal Government departments or put you in contact with someone who can, so please ring, write, visit the website or call in.

Why not go the extra step by following me on my Facebook page “Joel Fitzgibbon” or on Twitter and type in the search bar “fitzhunter”. Or by regularly checking my website at www.joelfitzgibbon.com or you can even sign up to my E-Newsletter.

To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit www.joelfitzgibbon.com or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325. 


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