A Guided Tour at Grenfell Guide Hall

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has visited the Grenfell Girl Guides for an update on their bathroom renovation project, funded under the latest round of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

“It was a pleasure to meet such a lovely group of girls, who are developing their skills and confidence for everyday life, paving the way for them to be our future leaders,” Ms Cooke said.

“During my visit, it was also great to hear how plans to renovate the bathroom are progressing, which will certainly make the meeting place much more comfortable for all involved.”

Grenfell District Manager for Girl Guides Glenda Howell said they are grateful for the funding provided and appreciate the support from Ms Cooke.

“We are all very much looking forward to the updated bathroom, with building works expected to commence very soon,” Ms Howell said.

The Grenfell Girl Guides bathroom renovation project received $50,974 in funding in the fourth round of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Through rounds one to four of the program, over $3.7 million in funding has been secured in support of 18 projects across Weddin Shire.

As part of her visit, Ms Cooke has also encouraged girls aged five to 17, and their parents, to learn more about guiding and to get involved with their local group.

“Guiding is such a fantastic way to nurture and empower our young women. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to be involved in the program locally.”

For more information about Girl Guides NSW, please visit www.girlguides-nswactnt.org.au

Bronze “Bill the Bastard” unveiling

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke has welcomed the official unveiling of a bronze, life-size sculpture of Australia’s greatest war horse, ‘Bill the Bastard’, at a ceremony in Harden Murrumburrah.

Ms Cooke said it was fantastic to see the statue in-situ at Murrumburrah, the birthplace of the Australian Light Horse.

“This project has been a long time in the works and is an absolute credit to the dedication and perseverance of many deeply passionate members in this community.

“Bill is a source of great pride for all involved and an absolute drawcard to Harden Murrumburrah and the Hilltops region more broadly.”

The project was made possible thanks to over $400,000 in funding from the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund.

Major donations and contributions alongside that of the NSW Government were:

  • $200,000 raised amongst the local community,
  • $100,000 from the Kruger Trust,
  • $80,000 from Harden Regional Development Corporation,
  • $30,000 from Mr Bill Gibbons of Victoria.

The ‘Bill the Bastard’ statue was created by local sculptor Mr Carl Valerius and bronzed by Mr Matt Crawford of Crawford’s Casting.

Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Valerius said it was a fabulous outcome for the community.

“To have an idea and believe in it, you can achieve almost anything. I thank the State Government for their support and belief in a little old sculpture in a town like Murrumburrah.”

Special guests present at the ceremony also included Brigadier Glen Ryan from Victoria Barracks in Sydney, along with 97yr old Mr Keith Taylor who travelled from Uranquinty for the occasion.

The sculpture of ‘Bill the Bastard’ and his five riders can be found at the 1st Australian Horse and Australian Light Horse Memorial precinct in Murrumburrah.

For more information, please visit Home – Bill the Bastard.

Cowra to Benefit From Youth Opportunities Program

Young people in Cowra will benefit from the NSW Government’s Youth Opportunities program, with Cowra Show Society the successful recipient of $46,580 funding for their initiative – Volunteering for the robust real-world experience.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the Cowra Show Society’s planned workshops would provide a great opportunity for young people in the Cowra region to engage with the community and learn new skills to set them up for success in life.

“Young people thrive when they have the opportunity to participate in programs tailored to their needs,” Ms Cooke said.

“This proposal from Cowra Show Society sounds like a fun and engaging way to help them develop the talent and tools they need to reach their career and education goals, as well as encourage greater participation of young people as volunteers – be it with the Cowra Show Society, or elsewhere in the local community.”

Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the Cowra Show Society was one of 47 projects funded under this round of the Youth Opportunities program.

“Youth Opportunities grants are delivering $2 million in funding for youth-led and youth-driven projects across NSW,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

“From initiatives to assist young people to get their first job to workshops that will build vital life skills such as cooking and car maintenance, there will be incredible opportunities state-wide for young people.”

Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin said the program helps provide a pathway for young people, particularly in regional areas, to find their place in their community and live independently.

“The transition from school to work is often challenging, and initiatives like the Youth Opportunities Program are imperative in helping make that transition as easy as possible for young people,” Mr Franklin said.

“This funding helps facilitate a sustained transition into employment and provides young people with a personal development pathway to upskill them into qualified, work-ready professionals.” Youth Opportunities is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, providing $15.3 million to 329 projects across NSW since it commenced.

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

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.

$25 Million to Celebrate and Connect Local Communities Across Regional NSW

People in the Cootamundra electorate can celebrate their community and reconnect with neighbours and friends at local markets, carnivals, festivals and fairs, thanks to the NSW Government’s new $25 million Reconnecting Regional NSW – Community Events Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said with regional residents getting out and about again after the challenges of drought, fire, COVID and floods, the funding will help local communities reconnect once more.

“This program will support eligible regional Local Government Areas to host activities and support the events, hospitality and tourism sectors as increasing numbers of visitors return to regional NSW,” Ms Cooke said.

“The past two years have been difficult for our small communities with people disconnected from family and friends, which is why the NSW Government is backing local events that bring local communities together again.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the funding will help regional councils stage events that bring communities together, while also supporting local job creation and injecting cash into local economies.

“The NSW Government is backing events that will help to reinvigorate communities and contribute to a sense of improved wellbeing and connectedness in 2022 and beyond,” said Mr Toole.

“People are getting out again and we want to see communities thriving and businesses benefitting from more local activities, events and opportunities in the regions.”

The $25 million Community Events Program is part of the $200 million Regional Recovery Package, designed to support economic and social recovery across regional NSW by creating new jobs and supporting community events, shows and festivals to boost tourism.

Applications open Thursday 7 April 2022 for events held over the next 12 months.

For eligibility criteria and program guidelines, go to: http://www.nsw.gov.au/communityevents