Tuesday, 21 December 2021
AS the sun sets on another incredibly tough year – one many would like to forget – this Christmas let’s stop, take stock of all we have and give thanks for the love and friendship of those, near or far, who we hold dear.
The impact that COVID-19 has had on the lives of Northern Tablelands’ residents will be felt for a long time.
I want to sincerely thank the entire region for its perseverance and resilience throughout the pandemic.
Because of the outstanding effort of people rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated, the lockdowns which closed businesses, kept families and friends apart and slammed shut State borders are now a thing of the past.
Last year, there were many sitting around their Christmas table with empty chairs where our loved ones from afar should have been sitting.
Along with reunions of family and friends I also hope this festive season delivers a much needed boost to local retail and accommodation providers who really have done it tough over the last five months.
Our paddocks are lush with grass, and our water storages overflowing and I am incredibly optimistic about the year ahead.
I would encourage those who are leaving their Christmas food and present shopping to the last minute to please buy local. This festive season provides us all with a fantastic opportunity to help our local small businesses get ahead.
Next year will see progress made on significant region-shaping projects including the Moree Special Activation Precinct (SAP), Glen Innes and Moree Hospital redevelopments and millions of dollars in local road upgrades.
I personally am excited by what is to come, but am also looking forward to an extended break (my first in many years) to get away and recharge the batteries.
My Armidale and Moree electorate offices will be closed from Christmas Eve and will re-open early in the New Year and my staff joins with me in wishing all Northern Tablelands residents a joyous and peaceful Christmas and a safe, prosperous and wet 2022.