Over the weekend, the NSW Government announced that the Local Government elections will be postponed to Saturday, December 4.
This decision has been made in response to the current COVID-19 situation, after extensive consultation and advice from the NSW Electoral Commission and NSW Health. This is about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates.
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The NSW Government has also been working with the Electoral Commission and NSW Health to implement a comprehensive plan to allow voters to cast their ballot safely in person, by post or online. iVote (electronic voting) will also be available for the first time in the Local Government elections and the NSW Government has implemented changes to pre-poll to ensure that voters have 13 days to cast their ballot, reducing congestion on polling day.
Nominations will now open October 25 and close November 3. More information is available on the Office of Local Government website at olg.nsw.gov.au.
Funding for project Walwaay
It was great to be able to announce some good news last week, with $30,000 secured to continue a successful partnership between the Orana Mid-Western Police District and Education and Training Out West (ETOW).
Project Walwaay - a local initiative by police in Dubbo - engages Indigenous children entrenched in the criminal justice system, and has seen a staggering reduction in juvenile crimes since its inception. ETOW works with the police Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs) to provide targeted, one-on-one literacy and numeracy tutoring to vulnerable kids.
Previously, funding for the one-on-one training has come from philanthropic donations, however when that partnership ended the future of the service was in some doubt. So it was great to be able to secure this funding to ensure the program - and its benefits - can continue for another year!
Please keep up-to-date with COVID-19 restrictions at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/what-you-can-do-nsw.
If you are being impacted by the restrictions and need support, please go to www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/2021-covid-19-support-package and check your eligibility. There's also plenty of support available for anyone struggling with their mental health at this time. Call the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on 1800 51 23 84 or go to www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/health-and-wellbeing/your-mental-wellbeing. Please continue to maintain physical distancing, sign-in everywhere you go, get tested and stay home if you have even the mildest of symptoms. You can find a testing clinic near you at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/health-and-wellbeing/clinics.