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 News from Macquarie Street

Paul Toole's Column

24th January 2017

Australia Day – This week we celebrate living in the lucky country with Australia Day celebrations occurring right across the Electorate. It’s a day to acknowledge some of the fantastic, hard-working people in our communities with award ceremonies and special acknowledgments at Australia Day events, as well as getting together with friends and family for a snag on the barbie and a bit of backyard cricket. With the warm weather still about, I cannot stress enough the safety messages around water and not leaving children unsupervised. This summer has seen almost as many drownings as road fatalities – each of these tragic deaths being preventable. Let’s enjoy the day and stay safe. For more information on Australia day activities near you, contact your local council.

School’s back – As we start to prepare the kids for the start of school next week, it’s a timely reminder to also pay special care when approaching school zones from next Monday. With the installation of flashing lights in all school zones across the Bathurst Electorate, these serve as a good reminder to slow down and take extra care when driving through these areas. School children are some of the most vulnerable people on the road and 40km/h school zones are an important way to keep them safe as they make their way to and from school. We know a car that hits a pedestrian at 50km/h is twice as likely to kill someone as a vehicle travelling at 40km/h, and casualties in school zones have dropped by around 30 per cent since they were introduced. Most school zones in NSW operate from 8am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm, but a small number operate at different times. School zones with different operating times have different coloured signage and operating hours clearly displayed – be sure to take note of these and play your part in keeping our kids safe. 

Investment into Local Schools – Fifty eight building and maintenance projects have been conducted at nine NSW government schools in the Bathurst Electorate over the summer break. Projects have included classroom and canteen upgrades, disability access and upgrades to toilets and walkways. This is in addition to painting, wall linings and roof maintenance. This work is essential to ensure our schools remain both a functional and comfortable environment, students and staff will definitely notice some differences when they return next week!

FACS High School Scholarships Now Open – Students from disadvantaged families are being urged to apply for new scholarships worth $1,000 to support their education. The Family and Community Services (FACS) High School Scholarship program is now open to students in years 10, 11 and 12 at a NSW high school or TAFE college. The program will award 240 applicants $1,000 to help with their studies. Twenty successful students will also be eligible to receive both a scholarship and mentoring. Funds can be spent on text books and course fees, or practical supports such as childcare or internet access. Applications are open until 24th February and can applied for online at www.facs.nsw.gov.au/education 

20 Day Challenge – I have continued my challenge to announce 20 days of funding throughout the electorate with a number of local community groups receiving assistance for upgrades and enhancements. Check out my Facebook page and the #20Gofundchallenge for details on projects receiving assistance in your local area.