2022 Cootamundra Electorate Local Achievement Award Winners

Seniors who help the Cootamundra electorate thrive have been recognised for their efforts, with member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke announcing six recipients of the Local Achievement Award as part of the 2022 NSW Seniors Festival celebrations.  

Ms Cooke said this year’s recipients showcase the qualities of seniors who make our region a diverse, active and inspirational place to live.

“I congratulate and thank them for their generous contributions, remarkable skills and extensive knowledge which continues to benefit our community,” Ms Cooke said.

“The award winners were nominated by the community and highlight the many ways seniors support their families, communities and society more broadly.”

Recipients for the Cootamundra electorate Local Achievement Awards are:

  • Mrs Fay Richards of Temora for her work with St Paul’s Anglican Church Temora, Temora Swimming Club, Temora Rural Museum and Temora Probus Club.
  • Mr Kevin Richards of Temora his work with St Paul’s Anglican Church Temora, Temora Swimming Club, Temora Rural Museum and Temora Probus Club.
  • Mrs Beth Firman of Temora for her work with Temora Shire Council’s Australia Day celebrations, Temora and District Debutant Ball and Temora Town Hall Theatre.
  • Ms Rita Broad of Junee for her worth with Can Assist Junee and the Junee Regional Heritage and Transport Association.
  • Ms Mavis Bracken of Cootamundra for her work with Can Assist Cootamundra.
  • Mr Peter Stead of Coolamon for his work with Coolamon Landcare.

The Local Achievement Awards are among an array of celebrations that took place across the state as part of the 2022 NSW Seniors Festival.

Minister for Seniors, Mark Coure, said the awards program and festival are key initiatives in the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting seniors.

“NSW has an ageing population and we continue to respond to the challenges and opportunities that come with this,” Mr Coure said.

“We are striving towards our vision of creating a state where residents experience the benefits of living longer, while being able to contribute, be included and actively participate in their communities.”

The NSW Seniors Festival ran from 25 March – 3 April 2022 and is the largest festival for seniors in the Southern Hemisphere

For more information about NSW Seniors Festival and the Local Achievement Awards, please visit: seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au

Funding For Crown Lands Facility Upgrades And Weed Control

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced the NSW Government will deliver over $1.3 million in funding to improve Crown Land reserves and community facilities in the Cootamundra electorate.

Ms Cooke said the funding being provided by the NSW Government under the Crown Reserves Improvement Fund program will be a great asset to each community involved in this round.

“Crown reserves provide land for recreation, community organisations and facilities, and protect our environment including habitat for native plants and animals,” Ms Cooke added.

“I know how important the improvement and upkeep of these areas is for our communities, which is why this funding has been secured for 14 projects across the electorate for everything from weed control to facility upgrades.”

“Maintaining and enhancing our Crown reserves means residents have access to quality spaces for sports and fitness, or to just relax, rejuvenate and get in touch with nature and each other.”

Coolamon Rovers President Bryan Buchanan said the club is very excited to receive $622,761 in funding for Kindra Park which is fully maintained by volunteers.

“These dedicated volunteers have spent many hours on this grant proposal and it is a great reward for their tireless effort,” Mr Buchanan said.

“The funding will go towards Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Coolamon Rovers Kindra Park Master Plan, which focuses on upgrading lighting facilities and the construction a change room and accessible toilet.”

“These upgrades will collectively increase the suitability of the precinct for multi club events for all users including our local football and netball club, touch football and cricket clubs.”

Crown Lands projects in the Cootamundra electorate receiving funding include:

  • $4,620 for the control of invasive weeds at Illabo Showground.
  • $69,066 for repairs and maintenance to public areas at Weethalle Showground.
  • $268,786 for the construction of an amenities block and entrance and parking upgrades at Narrandera Racecourse.
  • $8,392 to upgrade the kitchen area at Tumorrama Recreation Reserve.
  • $65,965 for electrical upgrades at Junee Showground
  • $70,311 to upgrade the amenities block at Gooloogong Park including accessible showers and toilets.
  • $17,974 for the control of weeds at Little Spring Creek Reserve in Young.
  • $29,100 for the installation of water supply, water tank and other upgrades at Wallaroobie Public Hall.
  • $21,224 for the control of weeds in Young at Victoria Gully, Back Creek and Betty Booker Park.
  • $49,585 to upgrade fencing and lighting at Ganmain Sports Ground
  • $10,279 for the control of weeds at Cowra TSR.
  • $622,761 to upgrade facilities at Kindra Park in Coolamon including lighting and accessible toilets and change rooms.
  • $66,000 for upgrades to the grandstand pavilion at Grenfell Showground including flooring and verandah repairs.
  • $10,008 for the control of invasive weeds at Koorawatha.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said Crown reserves play an important role in business, tourism, recreation, well-being and the biodiversity of the state which is why the NSW Government is delivering this funding.

“Crown land covers around 34 million hectares or 42 per cent of NSW and we have about 35,000 Crown reserves that accommodate parks, community halls, nature areas, showgrounds, sporting facilities, camping areas and walking tracks,” Mr Anderson said.

“They also provide support to community groups like Men’s Sheds, Police Citizens Youth Clubs, Surf Life Saving clubs Scouts and Girl Guides. These groups all do amazing work which is why it is so important the NSW Government continues to support them.

“These projects funded by the NSW Government will benefit many thousands of people and contribute to the cultural, sporting and recreational life of hundreds of communities with the potential to provide stimulus to local economies and create jobs.”

For more information about the fund, please visit: https://reservemanager.crownland.nsw.gov.au/funding/crif

More Funding on the Way for Community Projects in Cootamundra and Gundagai

The communities of Cootamundra and Gundagai are set to benefit with $1,566,786announced for local projectsunder the NSW Government’s latest round of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke made the announcements while in the region on Thursday at the Gundagai Racecourse, The Gundagai District Services Club and the Cootamundra Ex-Servicemen’s and Citizens’ Memorial Club.

“Increasing female participation in sport was identified as a priority element in applications by the NSW Government under round four of the fund so I am pleased that these projects reflect that criteria,” Ms Cooke said.

The funding from Round 4 of the Stronger Country Communities Fund has been allocated to three projects:

  • $965,136 for the construction of a new treated effluent irrigation system in Gundagai at the Gundagai District Services Club which will service the nearby golf course, bowling greens and sporting ovals
  • $409,250 to replace exterior walkways and install a new synthetic bowling green and boundary fence at the Cootamundra Ex-Servicemen’s & Citizens’ Memorial Club
  • $192,400 for upgrades to female jockey and public spectator amenities and an extension to the spectator viewing platform at the Gundagai Racecourse

“These projects aim to accommodate everyone whether you’re a player, coach or spectator, making facilities more inviting to get more people outdoors enjoying an active and social lifestyle,” Ms Cooke added.

“The townships of Cootamundra and Gundagai are home to some of the strongest sporting clubs in the region who take pride in their sporting grounds so it is important that we continue to see participation rates increase in the area well into the future.”

General Manager of the Gundagai District Services Club Michael Bolger said the Club in partnership with Cootamundra–Gundagai Shire Council, is extremely excited to have been awarded the funding for the project.

“This irrigation system will complement the newly completed water treatment plant and will improve the lives of people of regional NSW, particularly our iconic town of Gundagai,” Mr Bolger said.

“We are very grateful to Steph Cooke and the NSW Government for supporting this project which is critical in maintaining and improving our community sporting assets such as the golf course, bowling greens and local sporting fields.

“The many stakeholders involved in the groundwork for the application must also be commended for their tireless efforts and we look forward to getting started on this project in 2022.”

President of the Cootamundra Ex-Servicemen’s and Citizens’ Memorial Club Michael Willis said the future of the bowls in the region is looking bright thanks to the NSW Government.

“Along with our growing number of members, we get a lot of requests to use the green from local school groups wanting to develop their skills, businesses wanting to host their Christmas parties here, charity day events and travelling bowls groups,” Mr Willis said.

“Having a state-of-the-art synthetic bowling green will not only benefit our bowlers but the entire district with further usage from members and visitors.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole announced that 435 projects across every single one of the state’s 93 regional Local Government Areas (LGAs) would receive funding under Stronger Country Communities Fund Round Four.

“The Stronger Country Communities fund delivers guaranteed investment in every single regional LGA in NSW, and has seen $500 million invested across more than 1900 local projects since 2017,” Mr Toole said.

“About half of this latest $100 million round will deliver 189 female sporting projects, including the construction or upgrade of female change rooms, additional amenity blocks and bathrooms, and playing surfaces like netball and tennis courts.

“It will also deliver hundreds of projects that make everyday life in the regions easier, for things like new playgrounds, clubhouse, art gallery renovations, streetscape, accessibility, lighting upgrades and community programs.”

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is part of the $2 billion Regional Growth Fund, which alongside the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund is delivering infrastructure and programs that generate opportunities, investment and jobs.

For more information, go to: www.nsw.gov.au/SCCF.

Station Upgrades for Junee and Cootamundra

Work will begin this month on station upgrades at Junee and Cootamundra under a NSW Government initiative to improve accessibility and safety for rail travellers.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said Junee and Cootamundra were among 37 regional and intercity stations to benefit under the latest round of the Transport Access Program (TAP) – delivering safe, modern and accessible public transport infrastructure across the state.

“The upgrades will make these stations more accessible to those with a disability, limited mobility, carers or parents with prams and customers with luggage,” Ms Cooke said.

“Commuters at Cootamundra will get a new kiss and ride zone, an improved ticket office, upgraded stairs and better bathrooms including new family accessible toilet facilities.

“The Junee upgrade will deliver an improved station forecourt, a bus and coach stop and a kiss and ride bay on Railway Square.”

Existing accessible parking spaces at Junee station will be improved and commuters will also benefit from upgrades to paths, kerbs and ramps around the station entrance. Heritage aspects of the station will be restored and accessible bathroom facilities will be improved with an ambulant toilet for both male and female bathrooms.

Initial work will begin at both stations tomorrow, Tuesday 23 November and will include removing some existing structures and setting up temporary facilities. All improvements are expected to be completed within six months.

The contract for both sites has been awarded to local construction company Joss Group and planning approval has been granted for these projects.

Almost $600 million has been committed to TAP upgrades in regional NSW since 2011, with more than 470 projects either completed or currently underway across the state.

Improved school facilities at four schools in the Cootamundra region

Students and staff at four local schools are set to benefit from improved facilities, as part of the $484 million 2021/22 Minor Capital Works program.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said she was proud of the continued investment in public school students in the electorate.

”I’m delighted that school communities will benefit from continued upgrades, such as new fencing and continued improvements to accessibility,” Ms Cooke said.

“It’s essential for our students, that they can thrive in a great learning environment, no matter where they live or what their circumstances may be.”  

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the projects at local schools in the Cootamundra electorate was part of the NSW Government’s record investment in public education infrastructure and complements works that have commenced across schools as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Across NSW, thousands of students are benefitting from new and upgraded schools and improved learning environments,” Ms Mitchell said.  

“These projects also provide hundreds of jobs for local businesses across NSW.” 

The NSW Government is investing $7.9 billion over the next four years, continuing its program to deliver 215 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW. 

School nameProject Summary
Cootamundra High SchoolVision Works
Junee High SchoolLift Access to stage
Temora Public SchoolSafety Fencing
West Wyalong High SchoolAdmin & Staff upgrades

AVL-Tech Revolution for Cootamundra Court

The grand historic exterior of Cootamundra Courthouse will soon contrast with the latest in state-of-the-art audio-visual link (AVL) technology inside the building.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the installation of the $383,000 AVL system would make access to justice easier and more efficient for local people.

“The installation of this technology in the court room could revolutionise the way things are done at Cootamundra Courthouse. This is a win for the people of Cootamundra and it’s an important step forward for justice in our area,” Ms Cooke said.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the government is committed to the technological transformation of the justice system.

“Adding state-of the-art AVL to the courtroom will increase efficiency, lower costs and avoid the need for some people to travel long distances to appear in court. It will also help ensure that witnesses, including complainants in domestic violence criminal cases who are now entitled to give evidence via AVL, can do so,” Mr Speakman said.

The government announced its commitment in the 2020–21 budget last November to deliver a digital transformation for NSW courts to drive a faster, smoother, and more convenient court service.

More than 400 Local Court criminal matters are heard in Cootamundra each year. Court sittings are held three to four days a month, while the registry operates five days a week. The balance of maintaining the heritage building whilst also incorporating modern technology is vital for the sites operation.

This latest upgrade to the courthouse follows the $220,000 spruce up which included painting the outside of the building and front fence, landscaping and roof and chimney repairs. Cootamundra Courthouse was designed by one of NSW’s most prolific government architects. Construction began in 1901 and the courthouse opened the following year. It replaced a more rudimentary courthouse, built in 1879. The courthouse expanded in 1924, with the addition of the classical portico.

Cootamundra Court Receives a Milestone Makeover

Steph Cooke stands in front of the Cootamundra Court and smiles at the camera.

Cootamundra Courthouse is being given a facelift, 120 years after the foundations were laid for the historic building.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and Attorney General Mark Speakman said the $220,000 spruce up of the courthouse would include painting of the façade and front fence, landscaping and roof and chimney repairs.

“Cootamundra Courthouse has been an important town landmark for generations and it’s wonderful to see the NSW Government investing in the preservation of this charming building,” Ms Cooke said.

“The improvements are being led by Dice Contracting, an Indigenous owned and operated company, so this work is supporting jobs for local First Nations people.”

“Dice has engaged with Wagga Wagga-based Aboriginal companies to carry out the landscaping and painting, providing a boost for the Riverina economy.”

“They will be using the skills of Wollundry Landscapes who beautifully incorporate cultural elements with functional design, celebrating Indigenous art in the landscape.”

More than 400 local court criminal matters are heard in Cootamundra each year.  Court sittings are held 3-4 times a month, while the registry operates five days a week.

Designed by one of NSW’s most prolific government architects, Walter Liberty Vernon, the courthouse displays elements of Federation Free style architecture. 

Other historic buildings designed by Mr Vernon include the Art Gallery of NSW, Customs House, Central Station as well as many other courts, police stations, fire stations and post offices.

Construction began on Cootamundra Courthouse in 1901, with the building opening in the following year. It replaced a less sophisticated courthouse which had been built in 1879. The courthouse expanded in 1924, with the addition of a classical portico.

Mr Speakman said the current makeover of the courthouse would be completed by the end of June.

“With its distinctive columns and chimneys, Cootamundra Courthouse is among the most visually striking buildings in the Riverina,” Mr Speakman said.

“The repairs and improvements are already starting to take shape and the majestic building will soon be looking its best.”

Jubilee Park $2 Million Boost from Open Spaces Program

Wayne Bennett, Cr Leigh Bowden, Mayor Abb McAlister, Steph Cooke MP, Cr Charlie Sheahan stand in front of the new play equipment in Jubilee Park.
Wayne Bennett, Cr Leigh Bowden, Mayor Abb McAlister, Steph Cooke MP, Cr Charlie Sheahan

Cootamundra’s Jubilee Park will be undergoing upgrades supported through the NSW Government’s Public Spaces Legacy Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke announced a $2 million grant from the program for the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council for the enhancement of Jubilee Park project, which will focus on increasing the amenity of the park and expand on the natural habitat for native birds.

Ms Cooke said she was delighted the NSW Government was investing in the long-term future of Jubilee Park.

“I am so pleased to announce this support for Jubilee Park today which will continue to enhance this vital community space,” Ms Cooke said.

“This work will help Jubilee Park be enjoyed by even more people and is an investment in the long term future of Cootamundra.”

“These upgrades join extensive investment in to Cootamundra’s Jubilee Park, including $499,900 for the teen playground from the Stronger Country Communities Fund.”

“To secure full funding for the project, council needs to continue accelerating assessment and determination of local DAs, which will have the additional benefit of bolstering the local construction pipeline through to 2023.”

Mayor of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council Abb McAlister said the grant was a boost for the Cootamundra community.

“This is fantastic to get the $2 million for Jubilee Park, we’ve got a masterplan that includes a wet area and enhancements for the Captain’s Walk,” Cr McAlister said.

“We really want to make Jubilee Park unique to draw more tourists, with work on a wet area, work on the Captain’s Walk, possibly a Women’s Cricket Captain’s Walk, planting more trees and shrubs to attract more birdlife, more accessible walkways.”

“This will help promote Cootamundra and we thank Steph Cooke and the NSW Government for this funding. I also really want to thank our planning staff who have met the planning criteria to get this funding.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the funding being delivered to councils was reliant on them meeting agreed targets to speed up local development applications.

“This program is the first of its kind in NSW and demonstrates state and local government working together to create a legacy of beautiful public spaces that communities, for decades, can be proud of,” Mr Stokes said.

“In exchange for legacy funding, councils participating in the program need to speed up their assessment times. They have until June 30 to keep hitting their targets but, so far, the program has seen a 20 per cent improvement.

“It’s been great to see the unclogging of the planning system as part of this program – 42 of 53 planning proposals that had been stuck in the planning system for more than four years have been resolved and 161 of 168 regionally significant development applications have been cleared.”

Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council will be provided with funding for project planning and design and will have until 30 June 2021 to demonstrate they have met DA assessment performance improvements to lock in their full allocation of funding, ahead of construction starting on projects from August this year.

For more information, visit:


Cootamundra’s Community Palliative Care Unit Open

Stacey Heer, Simon Thompson, Dr Jacques Scholtz, Jennifer Apps, Steph Cooke MP and Colleen Flynn cut a green and gold ribbon on the door of the Cootamundra palliative care unit.
Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network At Home Palliative Care Project Manager Stacey Heer, President of the Cootamundra Rotary Club Simon Thompson, Dr Jacques Scholtz, CEO of Adina Care Jennifer Apps, Steph Cooke MP and Treasurer of Cootamundra Can Assist Colleen Flynn.

The Cootamundra community now has more choice in end of life care, with the opening of a new palliative care unit today.

The unit has been funded by Adina Care, a community organisation run by a volunteer board of directors, and the Cootamundra Rotary Club.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke joined representatives from Adina Care, Cootamundra Rotary, volunteers and local health care professionals to open the unit which has been a passion project for the community for the past six years.

Ms Cooke said the new unit was a testament to the community’s dedication to supporting those in palliative care.

“No one wants to think about the end of their life, but this palliative care room gives people the option of spending their final days outside of the hospital and residential aged care, but in a space that is supported by trained staff,” Ms Cooke said.

“The community of Cootamundra has worked incredibly hard to create an environment that will remove some of the stress of palliative care. This unit feels like a home and can be accessed by loved ones at any time.”

“I want to congratulate everyone who has been part of creating this unit, it truly has been a whole-community effort and the end result is a facility that will support people during one of the most challenging periods of their lives.” 

Chief Executive Officer of Adina Care Jennifer Apps said the facility would provide options for palliative care in the community.

“This is great for the community that they have another choice for their end of life care. This unit has been a real labour of love,” Ms Apps said.

“A lot of people don’t want to die in an acute care hospital and they plan to die at home, a lot of people want that. This gives them another choice that they can be somewhere that is like home but there is support available to them.”

“This unit can be made available at short notice and anybody over the age of 21 can utilise this facility.”

Locals to Help Build Train Station Upgrades

Picture of the Junee rail station platform, empty blue benches can be seen in the foreground with a 'telegraph' sign hanging from the roof.

Local businesses are being encouraged to register their interest to help build upgrades improving accessibility and safety for all customers at the Junee and Cootamundra train stations.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said an Expression of Interest (EOI) was now open to construction companies to carry out the work as part of the NSW Government’s Transport Access Program (TAP).

“This is a great investment in to Junee and Cootamundra, providing an immediate boost to local businesses and long term improvements to our train stations,” Ms Cooke said.

“Local businesses have the opportunity to register their interest and get involved, getting a slice of this work which will stimulate our local economy and create local jobs.”

“The upgrades to the Cootamundra and Junee train stations will improve accessibility for all customers, including people with a disability, limited mobility, parents and carers with prams and customers with luggage.”

“We’ll see things like accessible pathways and ramps, accessible parking spaces, upgrades to amenities including toilet facilities, waiting rooms, ticket offices and bus and coach parking spaces.”

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said Junee and Cootamundra stations were part of 11 TAP upgrades rolling out across regional NSW.

“We are building a safer, stronger regional NSW and these upgrades will create more than 500 jobs right across the state,” Mr Toole said.

“We’ve already seen almost $600 million committed to TAP upgrades in regional NSW since 2011, with more than 470 projects either completed or currently underway across NSW.

“Projects like these build on our vision to help make public transport a first-choice option for people living in the regions.”

Following the EOI process concluding on 28 May, shortlisted companies will be invited to tender to deliver the projects. For more information and to register, please visit: https://www.tenders.nsw.gov.au/?event=public.rft.show&RFTUUID=41DA6D04-A795-7490-1718BE3F2AE53C1B