Weekly Column

Full marks to Cessnock Rugby League for a very successful Motor Neuron Disease fund-raiser last Friday.  Guest speaker and Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett proved himself to be great drawcard, crowd pleaser, and good bloke.

A special mention also to Cessnock’s Stephen Peters who shared with the large gathering the challenges Motor Neuron Disease sufferers face.  I don’t know how much money was raised but I’m sure it must have been substantial.  Well done to all involved. 


Last week I was very pleased to announce that forty four local organisations were successful in the latest round of the Australian Government’s 2013 Volunteer Grants program. Volunteer Grants helps not-for-profits community organisations to meet the new and ongoing needs of their volunteers. This year $16 million has been provided to assist more than 4,600 organisations across Australia, supporting over 173,000 of their volunteers.

The successful Hunter electorate organisations are Abermain-Weston Hawks Rugby League $4,510, Baerami Public Hall Reserve Trust $4,500, Branxton Greta Men's Shed $5,000, Cessnock City Hornets Football Club $2,875, Christian Outreach Centre $1,400, Scone and District Branch Country Women's Association $3549, Girl Guides Kurri Kurri $1,100, Glendon Brook Hall Incorporated $1,840, Hunter Valley Combined Wild Dog Association $3,998, Jerry's Plains Colts Cricket Club $2,500, Kandos Rylstone Waratahs Junior Rugby League Club $3,800, Kurri Kurri Community Centre $4,400, Lions Club of Cessnock $3,569, Lions Club of Singleton Incorporated $1,639, Maitland Region Suicide Prevention Network $4,079, Maitland Repertory Theatre $4,338, Mangoola Rural Fire Brigade $1,009, Merriwa Railway Society Incorporated $2,950, Metropolitan Speleological Society Incorporated 4,980,Mulbring Public School Parents and Citizens Association $1,000, Murra County  $1318, Muswellbrook Carelink Incorporated  $5,000, Muswellbrook Ladies Touch Association $2,500, Upper Hunter Community Services Incorporated $5,000, New South Wales Formula 500 Association Incorporated $1,480, Police Citizens Youth Club New South Wales $2,850, Putty Community Association  $5,000, Real Life Church $3092, Rotary Club of Greenhills Maitland Incorporated  $4,340, Rutherford Technology High School Parents and Citizens $1,868, Rylstone-Kandos and District Volunteer Search and Rescue Organisation $1,800, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society $1,500, Scone Arts and Crafts $1,320, Scone Junior Rugby Union Club $3,377, Scone Swimming Club  $1,930, Singleton Clay Target Club  $1,697, St Luke's Parish Scone   $2,480, Muswellbrook Stroke Recovery Association $3,100, The Salvation Army Community Welfare Centre (CWC) Cessnock $1,478, The Upper Hunter Mens Shed Incorporated  $1265, Towns With Heart Incorporated $3,943, Singleton Branch Wheeling and Able $1,000, Wheeling and Able Cessnock Branch $1,000, Wildlife Aid Incorporated Muswellbrook  $5,000                                         


Registrations opened recently for events to be held on the United Nations sanctioned International Day, which is marked annually on 3 December to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability.

Last year the day was a real success, with more than 550 registered events across Australia, with activities ranging from egg and spoon races, surfing and golfing, through to art and film festivals, rock ‘n’ roll concerts featuring ‘Elvis’, and tea parties.

I encourage communities to start thinking about imaginative ways that they will celebrate 21 years of International Day of People with Disability raising awareness and promoting understanding of people with disability.

To register an event visit www.idpwd.com.au or call 1800 440 385. TTY users please phone 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 440 385.


For those of you who are on my Pensioner and Seniors information kit mailing list, an updated kit has just been posted. 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, please contact my office on 4991 1022.


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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