Livvi’s Place Albert Park Opening

A new playground, designed with elements to enable inclusive play for all children has been opened at Albert Park, Cootamundra, thanks to joint funding of $200,000 from the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play grant scheme and $200,000 input from Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council, in conjunction with the Touched By Olivia Foundation.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said it was an honour to be at the opening of this unique playground which would provide a place to challenge and encourage active play in an environment designed to incorporate nature.

“This playground has been created as a space where children can delight in the giant treehouse, swing on all sorts of different types of swings, and have their imaginations sparked by water features,” Ms Cooke said.

“Everyone feels welcome here. Every child can play here. This project has been designed so that all children can enjoy this space, regardless of ability. The vision that has been shown in regard to diversity and inclusion is remarkable.”

“I also recognise the efforts of Mayor Charlie Sheehan and Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council staff in seeing this vision come to life along with the Touched by Olivia Foundation.”

Extensive community consultation and feedback was sought throughout the process of the design of this playground. Thoughts and ideas from children regarding how they wished to play was an integral part of the process and contributed to the overall design.

Along with connecting children to nature and providing an inclusive space, this playground also acknowledges the Indigenous connections to the park, incorporating the theme of a long-neck turtle.

Temora Town Band Inc to Scale New Heights After Funding Boost

Temora Town Band Inc is one of 20 NSW-based community brass and concert bands successful in receiving funds under the 2022 Community Band Development Grants Program, administered by the Band Association of NSW on behalf of Create NSW.

Temora Town Band Inc will use its funding of $2000 to increase band activity and grow audience numbers within the community.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the funding would directly support the musical volunteers and Temora’s cultural sector.

“It’s music to my ears that we are supporting our home-grown musicians and volunteers of Temora Town Band, and I am confident this investment will give them a real boost to play on into the future,” said Ms Cooke.

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said that the funding will increase musical activity within NSW communities and support the growth of audience numbers across the State.

“The Community Band Development Grants Program recognises the special role bands and live music play in our community life, and provides an excellent upskilling opportunity for musicians while promoting arts and culture around NSW,” Mr Franklin said.

“What I like most about this program isthat it invests in our local communitiesby providing support to local talent and volunteers, while also increasing band activity, lifting performance standards and growing audience numbers.”

Band Association of NSW is the peak organising body for community brass and concert bands in NSW.  In 2021/22, Band Association of NSW received $55,000 as part of Multi-year Funding for Service Organisations (Negotiated); this includes$30,000 to deliverthe Community Band Development Grants Program.

This year’s Community Band Development Grants Program has supported community bands across NSW, including the Regions, Western Sydney and Metropolitan Sydney.

NSW Government Funding to Support Community Infrastructure in Coolamon

Coolamon Cricket Club Inc will benefit from $51,532 in funding under the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this funding will help the Coolamon Cricket Club to continue providing a fit-for-purpose location for local clubs and the community to enjoy participating in sports and hosting events.

“The Coolamon Cricket Club Inc is receiving $51,532 to replace and upgrade their water system to improve the quality of the playing surface at the grounds,” Ms Cooke said.

“This funding will provide upgrades to these facilities to ensure that it is a safe environment for all competitors and community sporting groups.”

Mr Shane Rudd, President of Coolamon Junior Cricket Club said the benefit of this watering system is not just for the cricket teams, but all sporting teams and anyone that uses the grounds, including visiting schools.

“This watering system, which utilises recycled water means that we can ensure that the grounds are always maintained in peak condition and provide the highest degree of safety possible for anyone participating in any sport,” Mr Rudd said.

Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the latest round of ClubGrants funding has awarded more than $4.2m to 43 projects across sport and recreation, arts and culture, community infrastructure and disaster readiness.

“Each year $12.5 million is made available for projects to build, repair or upgrade facilities across arts and culture, sport and recreation, disaster readiness and community infrastructure,” Mr Anderson said.

“The latest round was one the largest yet in a response to weather events including drought, bushfires and flooding, as well as the ongoing recovery from the COVID pandemic.

“A focus of the Infrastructure Grants funding is to help local community groups repair, rebuild and upgrade their facilities in areas where it is most needed, which is why it is so important that we support organisations like this in the Cootamundra electorate.”

The Infrastructure Grants program is made possible by Clubgrants Category 3, a fund which re-invests profits from registered clubs’ gaming machines into community projects.  Since 2015, the NSW Government has funded more than 520 community projects worth more than $81 million under the Infrastructure Grants program

Narrandera Sportsground Clubhouse and Changerooms Officially Opened

The new clubhouse and changerooms located at the Narrandera Sportsground were officially opened on Saturday with the Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke joining the Member for Farrer Sussan Ley, Narrandera Shire Council Mayor Neville Kschenka and the local community at the event.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said project funding has been a collective effort with the NSW Government, Federal Government, Narrandera Shire Council, AFL Riverina and the Narrandera Imperial Football-Netball Club all providing support to the development.

“I would like to acknowledge all the hardworking individuals involved in making this dream project a reality, including Project Manager, the late Noel Crichton, Narrandera Shire Council Deputy General Manager Shane Wilson, and the Narrandera Imperial Football-Netball Club Clubrooms Committee, Joyleen Hutchins, Mark Savage, Graham Flynn and Gavin Sullivan,” Ms Cooke said.

“Enhancing these multi-sport facilities will greatly help local clubs like the Narrandera Imperial Football-Netball Club on training and game days.”

“These upgrades will also hopefully help put the Narrandera Sportsground on the map as a perfect space to attract national sporting fixtures such as the AFL which would be a huge boost to the community and local business owners.”

Through the NSW Government’s Stronger Countries Community Fund, the Narrandera Imperial Football-Netball Club was awarded $100,000 for the project under Round 3 and a further $160,000 was given to the Narrandera Shire Council for the development under Round 4.

Construction of New Hangar and Club Room Almost Complete at Cowra Airport

The construction of a new hanger and club room at the Cowra and District Aero Club is steaming ahead thanks to the NSW Governments $325,485 investment into the project under Round 3 of the Stronger Country Communities Fund. 

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke recently visited the site at the Cowra Airport alongside Cowra and District Aero Club members and Mayor Bill West to view the major developments.

“The new facilities will be a great asset to the Cowra and District Aero Club who provide high-quality flight training to people of all ages who are interested in aviation, whether it be for leisure or to pursue a career as a qualified pilot,” Ms Cooke said.

“The club is really making its mark in the industry as being an outstanding choice for those seeking out highly professional flight training with students enrolling from as far as Sydney and Canberra.”

“Cowra has become a great hub for those wanting to learn foundational aviation skills in a regional setting.”

The Cowra Aero Club currently offers three types of training including an introductory trial instructional flight, obtaining a Recreational Aviation Australia certificate and the more advanced Cross Country Endorsement.

Cowra and District Aero Club President and Senior Instructor David Shaw said that the previous facilities were no longer meeting the ever growing demand.

“The old hangar had to be dismantled and the old club room acted as the terminal, which ultimately pushed the club into a side room that was no longer sufficient for the needs of training new pilots,” Mr Shaw said.

“These new upgrades will allow us to increase our current capabilities, expanding on teaching and becoming a better facility to introduce young people in particular to all aspects of aviation.”

“The new hangar and clubroom will enable us to continue training future pilots as a Recreational Aviation Australia flying school and act as a stepping stone for those who seek to not only be a recreational pilot, but those who wish to train and become a commercial pilot or pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force, or even those who hope to become involved in the maintenance or engineering aspects of aviation professions.”

The concrete pour is expected next week with door installation to follow before moving onto the construction of the club room section.

The group is holding a club day this Sunday May 1 for all of its 36 members which is a great opportunity to catch up socially and revise their skills.

Junee, Narrandera and Temora Awarded NSW Government Library Funding

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced $456,720 in funding for Junee, Narrandera and Temora Shire Councils under the 2021/22 Public Library Infrastructure Grant program.

Ms Cooke said the grants are part of $6 million worth of funding for 26 public library projects across NSW.

“These are significant grants that will help our local libraries undertake a variety of measures such as increasing the programs offered at their libraries and the purchasing of new furniture,” Ms Cooke said.

“Our close-knit communities take great pride in our libraries that provide a wide range of valuable assets to the community, and cater for all ages. It is important that they have quality facilities, great collections and access to the internet, so it is wonderful to be able to assist in upgrading these critical sources to ensure they can continue to be a source of delight, entertainment, education and information.”

Projects awarded funding under the program:

  • Junee Shire Council, $319,110 to refurbish Junee Library increasing the usable public space in the library by removing a large service desk and office. Funds will also provide flexible furniture throughout the library, and upgrade lighting, electrical and flooring.
  • Narrandera Shire Council, $35,523 to enhance access to collections and increase space for programs in Narrandera Library’s children’s area. The project will include new mobile shelving, furniture, signage and technology.
  • Temora Shire Council, $102,087 for improvements to Temora library as the final stage of an ongoing renovation project. This phase includes painting and new signage, upgraded lighting, automatic doors and accessible entrance.

NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon Ben Franklin said public libraries continue to grow and provide access to services that help people at all stages of their lives.

“This funding is part of the additional $60M over four years the NSW Government is providing to enhance library services and facilities across the state,” Mr Franklin said.

“The NSW Government is committed to working with councils to enhance library services and facilities across the state.

“This funding allocation brings the total of State Government support for NSW libraries in 2021/22 to a record $38.6 million.”

NSW State Librarian Dr John Vallance said the funds will enable councils to develop or improve library buildings and mobile library services.

“Two years of fires, floods and plague have left the people of New South Wales more in need of strong, safe, well-provisioned libraries than ever before. Public library funding is one of the State Government’s most significant contributions to the health of our communities.”

The Library Council of NSW, assisted by the State Library, assessed the applications for grants under the 2021/22 program.

Lachlan Valley Railway Heritage Centre Opens New Entrance Building

After years of setbacks and COVID-19 delays, thanks to grants provided by the NSW State Government, the Lachlan Valley Railway Heritage Centre have been able to cut the ribbon and unveil their new entrance and display building.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is delighted to have been there for the celebration of this opening and said this funding was important in keeping the centre in peak condition.

“The Lachlan Valley Railway Heritage Centre in Cowra draws in crowds of hundreds of visitors each year, contributing to the flourishing tourism sector in Cowra,” Ms Cooke said.

“The team of passionate volunteers at the centre have worked tirelessly and shown real dedication and love in all they have done to enhance this space and grow its capabilities as a tourist destination.”

Mr Ian Cameron, Manager at the Lachlan Valley Railway Heritage Centre said he was very excited at the unveiling of this long-term project.

“What started its life as a storage shed has undergone a magical transformation and become a grand building with displays, souvenirs and even refreshments for guests.” Mr Cameron said.

“After having been postponed due to Covid-19, to be able get together for the opening of this building at our museum has been incredible, it brings joy to see visitors able to walk through and appreciate this new building.”

Further to the funding that has built the new entrance building, Lachlan Valley Railway Heritage Centre has successfully obtained a further grant of $19,690 from The Community Building Partnership Program which will go towards building a 5-metre by 15-metre extension to the existing entrance and display building.

The Lachlan Valley Railway Heritage Centre is not just a museum, but an interactive experience and a functional facility where maintenance and restoration works are carried out. It is widely considered and promoted as Cowra’s most significant industrial heritage site.