I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable break over the summer. It was great to be together as a family and enjoy everything that makes the Shire and St George such a great place to live. A special thanks to everyone volunteering in our community over the break, especially our surf lifesavers, emergency services workers and rural fire service members.
It was terrific that we could all get together once again for Australia Day after the COVID years. Events were held right across the electorate. Congratulations to Georges River, Bayside and Sutherland Shire Council’s for the great job they did hosting this year’s events. After several years as PM spending Australia Day at national events in Canberra it was a real joy to be back home in the Shire, where we just loved the fireworks and concert at Cronulla.
I love Australia Day, its history and the opportunity for our community to come together, to celebrate our great country and all that has been achieved. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge and pay our respect to Indigenous Australians and renew our commitment to addressing the many disadvantages they still face.
As always we welcomed many new citizens to our community on Australia Day. People and families from so many different national, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. As a country we are always stronger together. These ceremonies are a great reminder of this and the privilege we all have to be Australian citizens (and to live in the best part of Australia). None of us are any more Australian than any other. We are all equal under our Constitution, whether we are new migrants, our ancestors came here many years ago (like mine on the First Fleet) or we are Indigenous. I would never want this to change. Our Constitution should be blind to race, as it is to any other attributes that might be used to divide Australians. As our own Col Hardy, the famous Australian Indigenous country singer who lives here in the Shire, put this so beautifully on Australia Day when he sang, I am, you are, we are Australian.
I wish you and your family all the very best for the year ahead. Our country faces many challenges, as does our local community. As your local MP for Cook, l will continue to do all I can to stand up for the values and address the issues that make our community such a great place to live and raise a family. Next week Parliament will resume and I will be returning to Canberra. We will be sitting for five out of the next eight weeks. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact my office if I can ever be of assistance.
Statement following the Christmas edition of the Cook Courier regarding the 2022 Volunteer Grant Recipients. The organisations listed in the Cook Courier were successful in proceeding to the final stage of the 2022 Volunteer Grant process. The Department of Social Services will decide if these organisations have been successful and the organisations will be notified directly by the Department. The listing for Shire Buyer should read as “Reaching”, a Shire based not for profit organisation (https://reaching.org.au/).