Local Government Week is a chance for councils to promote how they actively support local communities throughout the year.
Along with providing core services that we all use as part of our daily lives – roads, water, sewerage, waste collection, libraries, parks and recreational areas – council works with the community to build a healthy, safe and connected place to live.
The theme for last week's Local Government Week celebration was: Discovery, Diversity, Democracy.
It was a good reminder that in the busy lives we lead, it's important to take time to discover all that the Macleay has to offer. One such gem is the Boyters Lane Wetlands. Exploring the restored wetlands and letting kids observe the birdlife from a purpose-built bird hide is a great way to relax while you discover a unique corner of our valley.
I'm proud that our Council has the largest trainee program of any Council or water utility in the State. Giving our young people an opportunity to gain qualifications, skills and experience in a range of jobs starts them on their career path in a supportive environment.
I was especially pleased to see our organisation embrace the diversity that is so much a part of our world today. Two of our trainees featured last week were young women who are enjoying the challenge of working in our Water Operations team, both succeeding in roles that a few decades ago would have been considered male-only.
Living in a free country like Australia, we sometimes take our democracy for granted. The right to free speech, to worship, to work, to elect our representatives, to travel without restriction, access to media and an education system without censorship, are all privileges we enjoy but rarely think about. When so many communities around the world live without these basic rights, it's important to recognise that, while not perfect, our democracy and the quality of life it enables us to enjoy is something to protect.
I'm so thankful we live in 'The Lucky Country', and especially thankful to live in the Macleay Valley.