Tenison Woods Education Centre will be hosting an evening about building resilience and improving mental health and wellbeing on 15th July at the Cessnock Leagues Club.  Guest speakers at the forum are ABC sports broadcaster Craig Hamilton who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2000 and Jaelea Skehan who is an internationally respected leader in the prevention of mental illness and suicide.

For more information phone 4930 9601 or to register visit www.stickytickets.com.au/27160. The event is by gold coin donation but you must register to reserve seats.

Our electorate boasts many high achievers in a whole range of fields and my position provides an opportunity to meet many of them.  In Parliament House last week I met two more.

Sophie Nichols is a Young Ambassador with UNICEF Australia, the United Nations body devoted to the welfare of children around the globe.  The St Catherine’s Singleton Year 12 student is a young woman going places and I wish her well.

Darren Goodsir sought me out at the annual Press Gallery Ball.  The former Cessnock boy is now Editor-in-chief at the Sydney Morning Herald.  A very senior position in Australian journalism and a big achievement.

It was good to have our local Government representatives in Canberra last week for their annual national conference.
Mayor Bob Pynsent wife Kathy and General Manager Stephen Glen managed to find the time to join us for Question Time on Tuesday and it was good to catch up.  Our democracy works best when all levels of government are working well together.

Nominations for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards are now open.

Each year our nation celebrates the achievement and contribution of Australians through the Australian of the Year Awards by profiling citizens who are role models for us all. They inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to create a better Australia. The Awards continue to offer an insight into the Australian identity and celebrate the diversity of our people.

The Australian of the Year Awards provide all Australians with the opportunity to recognise someone who makes them proud in four categories: Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year (those aged 65years or over), Young Australian of the Year (ages 16 to 30), and Australia’s Local Hero.

Additional information is available at www.australianoftheyear.gov.au  or by calling 1300 655 193.

I want to remind young athletes to apply for funding support to help them realise their sporting dreams and compete in a championship.

The former Federal Labor Government introduced the Local Sporting Champions program in 2008 to help our junior sport stars meet the costs of participation at eligible sporting competitions.

Local junior athletes can apply for a grant to cover the cost of their travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment associated with participating in an eligible championship. This grant program is designed to help families cover the costs of expenses associated with participating in sporting competitions and support our junior athletes and future Olympians.

Individual athletes who are participating in appropriately endorsed state school sport championships or international competitions are eligible to apply for a $500 grant.

I encourage parents, coaches and junior athletes to apply for a Local Sporting Champions grant to help them meet the costs of their involvement in a sporting championship.

Grant applications are assessed three times each year. The next round of grant applications close on 30 June 2015

Black Creek Aboriginal Corporation will be holding their Naidoc Family Fun Day on July 4th in the Cessnock Tafe grounds.  The event will commence at 10am with a Flag Raising ceremony followed by a street parade, various market stalls and entertainment. Everyone is welcome to attend and help celebrate Aboriginal culture.

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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