Governor Makes a Lasting Impression
BY JEM ANSHAW
There was a special guest in the Upper Hunter recently and the region has made quite the impression.
Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC, QC, Governor of New South Wales and Mr Dennis Wilson had a busy three days in the area visiting Murrurundi, Gundy, Scone and Muswellbrook.
The trip is only her second major tour in the state and Her Excellency was impressed by the showing of community spirit and support in the Upper Hunter.
“My sense is that what has come out of this last 12 months, but then going back three to four years when that drought was so bad, these initiatives that have been started and that’s been bringing the community together in hard times is actually brought the community together not only more strongly but I think longer term,” she told The Hunter River Times.
“It just seems to be that friendships have been made, connections have been made, there has been an awareness of the needs of others.
“I think these positive community things are going to have a much longer term impact and that’s just wonderful to be part of.”
While in Muswellbrook Her Excellency attended the laying of the foundation stones of the Donald Horne building which will be the next stage in the tertiary education precinct, and also met with Upper Hunter Shire Council.
“One of the key issues to me has been the way that in both Murrurundi and Scone, in Muswellbrook the community and the community leaders are looking forward,” she shared.
“They are seeing that there are challenges which are coming up and rather than just sitting on their hands, to use a very basic expression, and allow the challenges to overwhelm them there’s real foresight and thinking and there’s planning and it does seem to me that that will ensure that the communities here remain not only viable but vibrant.
“I have just seen the way that the community has come together and I just feel that there’s this solidity within the community which will take everyone forward and will last a long time.”
Her Excellency also spent time at the Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Lands Council meeting with the board, elders and members of community.
They discussed issues faced by the Aboriginal community including underlying racism that still exists within schools and the community, employment, housing and the Girls Academy program being shut down at the end of last year.
Her Excellency and Mr Wilson spent time talking about programs in the community aimed at reducing the Indigenous inmate re-offending rates and ways local business are helping them re-entre the workforce.