Three New Probationary Constables Welcomed

Three new probationary constables are commencing duties in the Cootamundra electorate after they attested at a formal ceremony at the Goulburn Police Academy on June 24, 2022.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke has welcomed the new police officers to the region, with two to commence at Narrandera Police Station and one to commence at West Wyalong Police Station.

“The communities of Narrandera and West Wyalong are ready to welcome the new probationary constables and look forward to seeing them put their training into action in their new roles,” said Ms Cooke.

“I wish them every success in their policing careers. Being sworn in as a police officer is a great honour and I commend these new recruits for making the brave decision to put the community’s safety ahead of their own.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole congratulated the newest recruits in Goulburn.

“The 200 students of Class 353 have committed themselves to eight months of training at the Police Academy and should be acknowledged for their achievements,” Mr Toole said.

“Our current police officers across the state will welcome the new probationary constables over the coming weeks as they join the beat in regional, rural and metro communities.

“The NSW Government is proud to offer its continued support to the NSW Police Force as we strive to keep the people of NSW safe.”

In 2019 the NSW Government announced a record investment in police, with an additional 1500 officers over four years and committed $60 million to upgrade the Goulburn Police Academy.

Class 353 includes 134 men and 66 women from all ages, backgrounds and regions across the state and country.

Central West Jobs Rush with Gold Mine Approval

Australia’s gold production will get a boost while hundreds of new jobs will be created following the approval of a new underground gold mine 40 kilometres north-east of West Wyalong in NSW.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said mining was a backbone industry for the Central West, and a major source of jobs and economic investment in the Bland Shire.

“The mine will extract an extra 27 million tonnes of gold ore, and generate around $175 million worth of royalties for NSW that will support the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” Ms Cooke said.

“The project will also create more local job opportunities including 160 construction jobs and 230 operational jobs.

“The nearby towns and surrounding communities of the Bland Shire will greatly benefit from this new development.

“This development will provide great economic flow on effects to local businesses that have been doing it tough in recent times through the added foot traffic in the area.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said gold was a critically important resource for manufacturing modern technology.

“Gold is just one of the highly sought after metals and minerals we have in NSW, and projects like this will ensure we continue to be an essential domestic and international supplier,” Mr Stokes said.

“What was once used for currency, jewellery and ornaments, is now powering smart phones, electric vehicles and even modern medicine.

The approval is for the construction of a new underground gold mine near the current open-cut Cowal Gold Mine Operation site. The approval will enable the operator, Evolution Mining, to extract 27 million tonnes of gold ore, or 1.8 million ounces, from the underground operation until 2039.

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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

Weevils Winning with Lighting Upgrades

Andrew Connellan, Steph Cooke MP, Kyle Sturgess and Nick Hunt stand in front of new lighting towers at the West Wyalong Rugby Club

The West Wyalong Weevils Rugby Club’s community spirit is shining with their new lighting project complete.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke joined representatives from the club and the project to open the ‘Light it Up’ project, which was supported through a $839,009 grant from the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Ms Cooke said the project had transformed the ground.

“An incredible amount of work has been undertaken here in West Wyalong and I congratulate both the Weevils and project manager Andrew Connellan for their efforts in getting this done,” Ms Cooke said.

“Sport is one of the glues of our community, bringing people together and giving people a chance to be part of something bigger, the West Wyalong community deserves to have up to date infrastructure to help enjoy it.”

“This is fantastic support from the NSW Government helping to build a stronger community and a project that can be enjoyed for years to come.”

West Wyalong Weevils Rugby Club President Kyle Sturgess said the project had brought the club community closer together.

“This lighting has made a massive difference for us, meaning we can have Friday night games and use this venue for much more than just rugby union. The feel of a Friday night game is so different to a daytime match, it almost feels as if you’re at a professional match,” Mr Sturgess said.

“We’ve started training back on our own ground, our feeling of being part of a club has now intensified and we are able to do more work around the club because we are out there a lot more. It’s given all the players but particularly the younger ones a real sense of community.”

“We want to thank Steph and her team for all their help. This has been a really easy process, it’s been a long process but Steph made us feel from the very start that it was really achievable.”

“We also want to thank our project manager Andrew Connellan who has been fantastic, he went above and beyond and kept his cool, got us through the challenges of COVID and he’s absolutely delivered for us.”

Work on West Wyalong Ambulance Station

Paramedics and Steph Cooke stand in front of an ambulance.

West Wyalong Ambulance Station will get a refurbishment under the NSW Government’s $232 million Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration (RAIR) program, delivering a better work environment for paramedics.

The upgrades include new roller shutters to the vehicle plant room, refurbished office and administration space, refurbished medical storage and staff amenities as well as other internal upgrades.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke welcomed the improvements which add to the ongoing investment in to ambulance stations across the electorate.

“I have met with our local paramedics and they kindly showed me around their station. It’s clear they are passionate about their work, but it’s also clear the station requires upgrades to ensure it meets their needs,” Ms Cooke said.

“The West Wyalong Ambulance Station services a huge area with busy roadways, thriving mining and agriculture sectors, meaning the demands on local paramedics are extensive.”

“These upgrades will help modernise the ambulance station, ensuring our paramedics have the facilities they deserve to keep doing their vital work.”

“The station is housed in a council-owned building and this investment from the NSW Government is removing the cost burden from local ratepayers.”

“This work joins new ambulance stations at Cowra, Grenfell, Cootamundra, Ardlethan, Harden and Coolamon, bricks and mortar testament to our commitment to health infrastructure.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said works are expected to commence later this year on the upgrade to the ambulance station following a competitive tender process. 

“The NSW Government is committed to investing in rural and regional health infrastructure to support better health outcomes for local communities,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Our paramedics need the best possible workplace to provide emergency medical care, and the infrastructure improvements will make a real difference to their working environment.”

The RAIR program is the single largest investment in regional NSW Ambulance’s 126-year history, with 24 new or upgraded ambulance stations already delivered or under construction as part of the $132 million Stage 1 program, with another $100 million worth of ambulance assets being delivered throughout rural and regional NSW under Stage 2.

In 2020-21, the NSW Government is investing more than $1 billion in services and capital works for NSW Ambulance. This includes $27 million of funding for 180 new NSW Ambulance staff across NSW, being the third tranche of the June 2018 commitment to recruit 750 additional paramedic and control centre staff over four years.