THE Kempsey Shire has had a colossal 12 months.
From floods to facemasks and everywhere in between, those who made trying times more bearable to help the community cope should be recognised and applauded.
Each year Council uses the occasion of Australia Day to acknowledge people who have made a difference to their local community.
We know that Australia Day evokes mixed feelings, but it presents an opportunity to reflect, show respect and salute our local heroes.
Therefore, Council invites you to come along to the Australia Day Citizenship and Awards event at the Slim Dusty Centre on January 26 2022.
There will be a free breakfast from 9am, entertainment and a morning full of celebrations.
This year's Australia Day Ambassador is Dr David Kirkpatrick.
These days, David lives on the Central Coast with his family but his connection to the Kempsey Shire area remains stronger than ever.
While he is the son of our local legend Slim Dusty, he has certainly made a name for himself, not only as a singer, but also becoming a medical doctor and Chair of the Slim Dusty Foundation.
As you one could envisage, growing up on the road with Slim and wife Joy is not our typical upbringing but a unique Australian story that David will be sharing with us.
In the true spirit of the Australian song "We are one but we are many and from all the lands on Earth we come", we will also welcome the shire's newest Australian Citizens with 16 people officially joining our great nation.
South West Rocks Lions Club will also have a flag raising ceremony and announce the South West Rocks Citizen of the Year at Horseshoe Bay beginning at 8am.
Unfortunately, the usual barbeque breakfast will not be going ahead but the invitation is open to celebrate and applaud the South West Rocks Citizen of the Year.
I acknowledge some people don't accept the date and that aspects of our history make us question celebrating Australia Day at all.
I do see the conversation surrounding Australia Day changing and I see it as a day to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian spirit and the best of this country, to continue reconciliation actions by hearing and learning from First Nations people, including the Thungghutti/Dunghutti people of our shire.
I hope that we can use the occasion of Australia Day to come together as one to congratulate the local heroes, welcome our newest citizens, reflect on the year that was 2021 and acknowledge our past and the need to work towards inclusivity of social justice, equal rights and opportunity.
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