From the Mayor

28 May 2020

Mayoral Column

Bushfire-impacted dairy farmers, fruit growers and forestry businesses have up until Tuesday, 16 June to apply for Recovery Funding from the NSW Government, for details visit here.

There are also Red Cross grants for our community members whose circumstances have been affected by the bushfires. The closing date for Red Cross grants has been extended to Tuesday, 30 June. I hope this will help many local people who have been impacted in the Hawkesbury.

Please note that immediate assistance is available for our bushfire-affected community members who are in financial hardship. These cash grants are available:

  • Emergency grant for people who have lost their homes.
  • Injury grant for people who were hospitalised due to the fires.
  • Primary residence repair grant for home owners whose homes have been structurally damaged. Eligibility has also been extended to include destruction or damage to critical private water, septic and/or power infrastructure.
  • The former Rebuild grant for owner-occupiers to assist with early stages of rebuilding is now called the Reestablishment grant, and it has extended eligibility criteria. This grant offers $30,000 per household for home owner occupiers and $10,000 per household for people who were renting a home or whose primary place of residence was a caravan or mobile home.

You’ll find more information and grant applications here.

If you need help in applying for these grants, please contact Step by Step Recovery Support. To access the Step by Step Recovery Support Service, please call 0417 298 832 or email or online here.

If COVID-19 restrictions are impacting your ability to provide the required information for a grant, you can also contact Red Cross on 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 276) for assistance.

21 May 2020

Mayoral Column

It’s been wonderful to hear from our community members in Bilpin, Colo Heights and the Macdonald Valley over the past few weeks through our community project surveys. The survey results will help us to determine the priority projects that Hawkesbury City Council will deliver in these areas, particularly in light of the recent bushfires that have had such a significant impact in the Hawkesbury.

For those of you living in Bilpin, Colo Heights and the Macdonald Valley, since you have let us know your ideas, we can now create a plan and a timeframe for the projects. We are listening to you so that we can tailor the projects to your needs as a community, using what you have identified in the community surveys as your top priorities.

Thank you for completing our community surveys, and for getting on board with these priority projects. Our next steps will be to focus on our planning so that we can implement these projects to achieve the best outcomes for you. We will also ensure that the money we spend on these projects actually helps you in the recovery from the 2019/2020 bushfires and provides long lasting benefits.

I’ll be letting you know about the results of these community surveys over coming weeks, and details about the priority projects that will be delivered to uplift and revitalise Bilpin, Colo Heights and the Macdonald Valley.

14 May 2020

Mayoral Column

National Families Week is celebrated every year between 15 and 21 May and this year, it will be celebrated as National Families Week@HOME. While COVID-19 restrictions are being eased, physical distancing is still vitally important, so we are all being are encouraged to do home activities which can be shared through social media.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of the theme of National Families Week – Stronger Families,Stronger Communitiesand the role families play by working together to support each other and provide care for those in the broader community. It is a time for us to show kindness and to help to protect the health and wellbeing of our community members. The National Families Week Top Ten Tips provide some ideas – but please adhere to physical distancing and government imposed restrictions.

Resources available on the website can help you celebrate at home. Download some of the activity sheets, colouring-in pages etc. and post your efforts to on Council’s Facebook page and on the National Families Week Facebook page as well as Instagram by following nationalfamiliesweek and using #nationalfamiliesweek, #strongerfamilies, #strongercommunities.

What form will your celebration take - will it be a short video, a drawing, a poem, a family photo, a walk in the park to collect autumn leaves to trace, or some other innovative and creative idea?

You could also explore your local area with your family and post photos of the beauty to be found in the beautiful Hawkesbury during this beautiful autumn weather. I’d love to see how you are celebrating your family and community at home.

National Families Week is an initiative of Families Australia and you can find out more here.

7 May 2020

Mayoral Column

With Mother's Day being this Sunday, Council is encouraging you to shop locally.

There has never been a better time to support our local businesses – and they need us more than ever. Personally, I’ve always preferred to shop at local businesses because they are a part of our community and they are nice and close to home. Many local shops also offer online shopping and delivery too.

Local retailers in the Hawkesbury will benefit from your support, and you can purchase some great products from the many unique products on offer.

When you shop local, you’re not only helping the business, you are also supporting the local economy and the employment of local people. It also means that businesses can thrive in the Hawkesbury and make themselves a good business to keep growing and employing more people.

So when you’re giving mum that something special, make sure you let her know that it was locally sourced. If you decide to cook her something special, remember we have a lot of local producers that can supply the vegetables and other produce too.

If you would like to find out more about our local businesses and what they have to offer, take a look at our new business directory If you have a local business, visit the directory link above to add your business so we can help connect you with our local community. To all the wonderful mothers out there – Happy Mother’s Day.

16 April 2020

Mayoral Column

Council has set up the Hawkesbury Business Hub to offer our business community centralised business information, particularly as it relates to the impact of COVID-19 and bushfires on businesses. I encourage you to visit the Hawkesbury Business Hub.

Sole traders will be keen to know that they may be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if their turnover has reduced relative to a comparable period one year ago. For more information, visit here.

For more information about employer and employee eligibility guidelines, visit here.

Friends, family and business owners seeking information on small business support, please visit the Service NSW information hub for small business impacted by COVID-19.

National Cabinet has also endorsed the advice that workers classified as vulnerable to serious illness if they become unwell, must undergo a risk assessment and be redeployed to non-customer-based roles where possible. Where risk cannot be appropriately mitigated, arrangements should be considered to accommodate a workplace absence. People classified as vulnerable are: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions; 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions; 70 years and older; and those with compromised immune systems. Visit for more information.

9 April 2020

Mayoral Column

Did you know that our Hawkesbury Regional Museum, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery and Hawkesbury Library Service all offer great ways for you to connect with them online? Our Cultural Services staff have thought about new ways to create fantastic new programs for everybody to enjoy right now through their website, Facebook and Instagram. You can find great online content at their sites.

Go to the ‘Museum Online

One downloadable fact sheet and a kids’ activity sheet are currently available and more added weekly. Recorded historical object talks will be available soon!

See the Gallery: ‘Art Online’,

Three downloadable art activities are currently online and more added weekly. Recorded art tutorial videos available soon!

Go to the Library: ‘Storytime Online

Each episode includes an activity to do after the story and a new episode and activity is added weekly. The Library is also launching an adults’ online book club over the next two weeks, visit

The Cultural Services team will continue to add new videos and downloadable activities. As well as accessing these sites, also make sure you are following the Library, Museum and Gallery on Instagram and Facebook for other fun activities and content from other amazing sources too.

2 April 2020

Mayoral Column

Council has set up the Hawkesbury Business Hub to offer our business community centralised business information, particularly as it relates to the impact of COVID-19 and bushfires on businesses. I encourage you to visit the Hawkesbury Business Hub.

Sole traders will be keen to know that they may be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if their turnover has reduced relative to a comparable period one year ago. For more information, visit here.

For more information about employer and employee eligibility guidelines, visit

Friends, family and business owners seeking information on small business support, please visit the Service NSW information hub for small business impacted by COVID-19.

National Cabinet has also endorsed the advice that workers classified as vulnerable to serious illness if they become unwell, must undergo a risk assessment and be redeployed to non-customer-based roles where possible. Where risk cannot be appropriately mitigated, arrangements should be considered to accommodate a workplace absence. People classified as vulnerable are: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions; 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions; 70 years and older; and those with compromised immune systems. Visit for more information.

26 March 2020

Mayoral Column

I know many of you are concerned about what you are reading in social media, news outlets and/or what you have heard from friends and family about Coronavirus (COVID-19). To obtain accurate and official information about COVID-19, please go to the NSW Department of Health website at and the Federal Government website

Council is implementing changes to its operations and services to limit opportunities for transmission of the virus within our local community and to ensure the ongoing provision of Council services to the community.

We have closed all public access to our Administration Building in Windsor and many of our facilities, including Richmond Swimming Centre, Oasis Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Hawkesbury Indoor Stadium, Upper Colo Reserve, Visitor Information Centre, Museum, Gallery, Richmond Branch Library and Hawkesbury Central Library. As this is a rapidly changing situation, a full list of all facilities and services affected by Council’s operational response to COVID-19 is available at and on our official Facebook page

Library members are encouraged to use the wide range of online resources at including eBooks, eMagazines, eAudio, children’s games and activities.

New library memberships - join online and call the Library to complete your membership – you will be issued with an online only membership, which can be upgraded to a full membership upon showing ID when Hawkesbury Library Service reopens.

Essential services are being maintained including all waste collections – domestic, recycling and green waste, kerbside collection and Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter.

Please use Council’s online services at and for any enquiries, including bushfire recovery enquiries, please call Council’s Customer Service on 4560 4444 or email

19 March 2020

Mayoral Column

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting local residents who are keen to help the environment, and save waste from our landfill, by joining the new swap and go coffee cup system from Green Caffeen. The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and Hawkesbury City Council introduced the program at the local café Lime and Coconut in Windsor, who are participating in the program. Residents had the chance to enjoy free coffee and hear about the benefits for our environment just by reusing their cups instead of takeaway cups.

Takeaway coffee cups are plastic lined and other takeaways cups are rarely recycled or composted due to inadequate industrial composting facilities and the difficulty of getting the cups or lids there. Some people already bring their own cups but when you forget your cup you now have another option – the Green Caffeen program.

We’re asking local cafes to join in so that customers can use this program, and it is also free for cafes. It’s not just for coffee drinkers, but for anyone who wants a hot takeaway drink, be it hot chocolate, chai, green tea or whatever.

The Responsible Cafes program, which a lot of our cafes have also joined thanks to all the work of the Hawkesbury Environment Network, will work alongside the Green Caffeen program as well. Responsible Cafes provide a discount to customers who bring their own cups. This a great partnership between WSROC, Green Caffeen, Hawkesbury City Council, Responsible Cafes and local communities in Western Sydney to help our environment.

For more information about Green Caffeen, visit For more information about Responsible Cafes, visit

12 March 2020

Mayoral Column

March 2020 is the second anniversary of the Western Sydney City Deal signing between eight Councils - Hawkesbury, Penrith, Blue Mountains, Wollondilly, Campbelltown, Camden, Fairfield and Liverpool. The Western Sydney City Deal is a landmark agreement between Federal, State and Local Government which lays the foundations for a thriving, liveable and sustainable ‘Western Parkland City’.

Locally, our share of the $150 million Liveability Fund from the City Deal is being used to help revitalise the Hawkesbury, with a renewed focus on opportunities for the retail, commercial, tourism and housing sectors. Hawkesbury residents and businesses will benefit from this significant investment. To access the City Deal funding, local councils will also need to contribute funding. This will enable us to do even more for our community by combining the funds Federal, State and Local government.

Now in our second year of this partnership, we can celebrate our achievements so far in the Revitalisation Program for the town centres of Richmond, Windsor and South Windsor, with Council has launching new murals at Windsor Mall and establishing the Shopfront Improvement Grant Scheme.

Council is asking all community members to provide their thoughts and ideas to help shape the future of these town centres by completing the survey at and by leaving comments on the interactive maps at

Being a part of the Western City Parkland is important for the Hawkesbury as it connects us with the central growth region for infrastructure, jobs and tourism. While the project will think big and look to the future, it will also deliver practical on-the-ground town centre improvements with the allocated funding by 2022.

05 March 2020

Mayoral Column

Our Hawkesbury community has experienced an extremely tough time over spring 2019 and summer 2020 with the bushfires significantly impacting our community. There has been the loss of properties, businesses, native habitat, stock and wildlife across our communities in Upper Colo, Colo Heights, Colo, Bilpin and the Macdonald Valley.

Just like my family, our community members had to evacuate their homes and their businesses, move their loved ones and animals and take their possessions during the fires. Rural Fire Service volunteers had to leave their own homes unprotected, and miss precious family time over Christmas, the New Year and the summer school holidays while they fought enormous fires for us.

I’m proud to announce that on Sunday, 29 March 2020, Hawkesbury City Council will proudly host a Thank You Street Parade at 11am along Windsor Street, Richmond and a Festival from midday at Richmond Park to thank all emergency services volunteers and staff for their efforts during the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Now is the time for us to thank them, and acknowledge their ongoing dedication to our Hawkesbury community and the communities beyond us.

So, bring your family and friends for a picnic. Come along and say thank you directly to our emergency services volunteers and staff and enjoy a special community fun day. See Council’s website and Hawkesbury Events Facebook for details.

27 February 2020

Mayoral Column

Did you know that Hawkesbury City Council’s free End of Summer Pool Party at Richmond Swimming Centre is on this weekend, Saturday, 29 February? It’s for the whole of the Hawkesbury and everyone is invited! It will be held at Richmond Swimming Centre, 65 East Market Street, Richmond from 11am to 3pm. As part of the summer fun atmosphere, there will be:

  • Free entry to Richmond Swimming Centre
  • Free sausage sizzle and snow cones
  • Free activities from PCYC Hawkesbury
  • Meet the Surf Life Saving NSW team
  • Meet Lochie the Lifeguard Mascot from Royal Life Saving NSW
  • Community information about the new PCYC at South Windsor
  • Free rides – jumping castle
  • Pool activities including volley ball and soccer
  • Soccer shoot out!
  • Giveaways for first 300 children
  • Council information tent – find out about Council projects and upcoming events.
  • Bring your family and friends for a splash in the pool, free water activities and enjoy a free sausage sizzle sponsored by Council and cooked by our local Richmond Rotary Club, free jumping castle, waterslide and find out about our new Hawkesbury PCYC, as well as Council’s new projects and upcoming events.
20 February 2020

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council is participating in a new strategy to slash emissions and boost energy

savings for a more sustainable, affordable energy future – the Western Sydney Energy Program. I’m glad to tell you that not only will this have a large and positive impact for our Hawkesbury community but also for Greater Western Sydney. We are working with eight other Councils, coordinated by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, to collectively reduce Western Sydney’s emissions by 200,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent reductions each year. This equates to taking 46,000 cars off the road annually.

Hawkesbury City Council is already achieving excellent results in projects geared towards a low-emissions future, embracing projects and technologies such as increased solar installations and LED street lighting.

The Western Sydney Energy Program will focus on four key areas: renewable energy, transport

infrastructure, supporting communities, and implementing best practice in energy planning and

design for buildings and precincts.

Ensuring that the Hawkesbury and Western Sydney is prepared to transition to an energy efficient and low carbon future is critical for our community wellbeing.

In addition to Hawkesbury City Council, the other councils participating in the program are Blacktown City, Blue Mountains City, Cumberland City, Fairfield City, The Hills Shire, Lithgow City, Liverpool City and the City of Parramatta. I will keep you updated as we progress on this program.

13 February 2020

Mayoral Column

If you are a local farmer or bushfire affected resident who needs extra stock feeding supplies, I encourage you to apply to Council for our discounted baling program.

Silage rolls have been sold at cost by Council as part of a drought assistance program running since November 2018. Council will once again sell the lucerne silage rolls for only $48 each, which are produced at its McGraths Hill Wastewater Treatment Facility using recycled water.

The price of $48 per silage roll represents a significant subsidy from Council in recognition of the adverse circumstances that many of our primary producers are currently facing.

Not only has the drought and the bushfires placed a financial burden on families, but it puts a huge emotional toll on every family member.

We are all doing our best to help and I would like to thank our community members who have rallied around our local farmers and residents by generously supporting many local initiatives during the bushfires and the drought.

To receive silage rolls from future cuts, Hawkesbury farmers and local bushfire affected residents are required to complete an Expression of Interest on Council’s website at Certain eligibility requirements need to be met, which are detailed in the link above, and you are also encouraged to consult with a vet to ensure the suitability of the silage for your livestock.

2 February 2020

Mayoral Column

Masterplans are being developed to help revitalise the town centres of Richmond, South Windsor and Windsor for locals and visitors alike, while investigating new and improved uses that can be implemented across the whole of the Hawkesbury. The Masterplans will recognise Windsor and Richmond as strategic hubs, supported by South Windsor, with a renewed focus on opportunities for retail, commercial, tourism and housing.

As part of this, Council is asking you to provide your thoughts and ideas through our online survey at to help shape the future of the Richmond, South Windsor and Windsor town centres.

We want a sense of place and community to shine through the final designs, and for implementation to create places that instil community pride, which is why we need your help. We want to hear more about what you like, don’t like and what you want to see improved or changed within Richmond, South Windsor and Windsor. You can also leave some comments on the interactive maps of these towns at

While the project will think big and plan for the future, it is also required to deliver practical on-the-ground town centre improvements within the allocated funding by 2022. The Masterplan funding for this project is supported by the Western Parkland City Liveability Program and funded by all three levels of government via the Western Sydney City Deal.

30 January 2020

Mayoral Column

What a wonderful day we had at Australia Day on the Hawkesbury! Council’s free community event at Governor Phillip Park saw families enjoy free family entertainment and a fireworks finale, proudly sponsored by Windsor RSL, Richmond Club and Hillbilly Cider.

We welcomed 45 new citizens at our special Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery. Thank you to Peter Frazer, our 2020 Australia Day Ambassador. We also presented the 2020 Australia Day Awards, which was a great opportunity to publicly thank our Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service volunteers for their ongoing efforts during our bushfire season. I was delighted to present the 2020 the Citizen of the Year Award to Mal Bobrige Deputy Group Captain of Blaxland Rural Fire Brigade. The Hawkesbury has greatly benefited from Mal’s dedication as a protector and first responder when our community members have been at their most vulnerable.

Mal’s passion and devotion to protect and serve our community over the past 27 years has not only saved lives, homes and businesses but he has also prepared the community for natural disasters including the ferocious bushfires of 2019/2020.

Congratulations to our 2020 Young Citizen of the Year, Jesse Wijnans, a devoted youth leader who actively supports our youth community, and congratulations to our 2020 Volunteer of the Year, Diane Sweeny, a hardworking volunteer at Hawkesbury City Salvation Army now for the past six years. For details on all Australia Day Awards 2020 recipients, visit Council’s website

23 January 2020

Mayoral Column

Selected street trees have been planted in South Windsor and Bligh Park using a State Government grant of $12,500 and matching funding of $12,500 from Hawkesbury City Council. The funding will also enable follow-up management over the next 12 months.

It is hoped that the extra trees will help to offset the urban heat island effect created in Sydney by increased development to meet housing supply targets.

The Five Million Tree program will see five million trees planted in Sydney by 2030 under the $37.5 million NSW Government program.

Many councils throughout Australia have been implementing increased canopies for their regions over the years, including the Hawkesbury, so this is a welcome added initiative. With the increased rate of development across Sydney, research has found temperatures are increasing, so anything we can do to help cool the Greater Sydney region has to be a good thing.

The aim is to grow Greater Sydney's tree canopy by planting more trees in streets, parks, bushland areas neighbourhoods and schools, front and backyards. More tree canopy means cooler suburbs by reducing the heat island effect, more wildlife habitat, more shade and more desirable properties.

As part of the Five Million Tree program, free trees are also being given to people building new homes in western Sydney through the complying development approval process, as part of the Greenfield Housing Code. For more information about the Greenfield Housing Code, visit

16 January 2020

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council has published a Bushfire Recovery Guide to help community members quickly and easily find out the best points of contact for bushfire recovery enquiries.

The Guide has been published on Council’s website and has been made available in hardcopy to residents in various parts of the Hawkesbury including St Albans, Kurrajong Heights. Colo Heights, Kurrajong, Bowen Mountain and Bilpin. Hard copies were made available at Council’s Bushfire Recovery community meetings which were held at St Albans and Bilpin recently. The document was created based on discussions at the Colo Heights community meeting which was held in December 2019.

The Bushfire Recovery Guide includes contacts, information and the responsible organisations for donations, appeals and volunteering; disaster welfare assistance, Federal Government assistance and disaster recovery payments, emergency housing, mental health assistance, animal welfare, domestic and green waste, and more.

We want our community members to know that we are here to help and support you and, as part of this, we have collated these important contacts in one document. If you have further questions or suggestions for us to include, we are listening and ready to help.

The Bushfire Recovery Guide has been created by Council to be used as a communal knowledge tool for contact numbers and assistance points for our community. This is a living document that will be regularly updated on Council’s website. For more information, contact Council’s Customer Service team on 4560 4444.

6 January 2020

Mayoral Column

I’m delighted to invite you to celebrate Australia Day 2020 on Sunday, 26 January 2020 from 5pm to 9:30pm at Governor Phillip Park, Windsor. Council is proud to host this free community event and we thank our wonderful sponsors Windsor RSL, Richmond Club and Hillbilly Cider.

The special event will include an outdoor stage with live entertainment including local artists and the HYPE band, carnival rides, food and drink stalls plus food trucks. There will also be free face painting, children’s activities and games, roving entertainment and emergency services representatives.

Every year the Hawkesbury is privileged to welcome new Australians as part of our Australia Day citizenship celebrations. We will welcome new citizens to the Hawkesbury at a special Citizenship Ceremony at 9am on Australia Day at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor. Our Australia Day Ambassador will be road safety advocate Peter Frazer.

Following the citizenship ceremony, the Australia Day Awards Ceremony will commence at 11am, also at the Gallery. These awards are a special way to recognise outstanding community members who have done something special for our community, people who continue to achieve and contribute to the Hawkesbury. Everybody is welcome to come along and celebrate. Please RSVP to or call 4560 4402. Visit Council’s homepage and Hawkesbury Events Facebook for event updates.

19 December 2019

Mayoral Column

Over the past couple of weeks Hawkesbury City Councillors and I have been attending local school presentation assemblies to award Hawkesbury City Council School Citizenship Awards to deserving students. These students are selected for these awards for a wide range of reasons, such as academic achievements, contribution to the school community or perhaps for displaying personal qualities important to the school’s spirit. It has been a delight to meet so many talented young people within our community who are dedicated to their studies and their school life.

On behalf of the Hawkesbury community I want to pay tribute to our hardworking Rural Fire Service and all emergency services volunteers who have given all of their time and effort to protect both people and property during the fires which are ongoing. There are no words strong enough to convey the community’s gratitude to our self-sacrificing volunteers both those from the local area, from other parts of Australia and from overseas. Thank you!

As in previous years, Council will be operating with reduced staffing levels from

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 until Thursday, 2 January 2020. Importantly, we will have our Customer Service Telephone Contact Centre (phone 4560 4444) operating from Friday, 27 December 8:30am to 5pm, Monday, 30 December 8:30am to 5pm, Tuesday, 31 December 8:30am to 3pm. An after-hours telephone service will operate outside business hours from the general Council phone number, which is 4560 4444. For more details on all Council hours, please visit

5 December 2019

Mayoral Column

While recently visiting Hawkesbury Fire Control Centre again, what was obvious to me is that the bushfire danger facing the Hawkesbury is far from over.

The Fire Control Centre at Wilberforce is located in the old Colo Shire Council building which is not purpose built. The building is stretched to the limits to house the operations staff needed and the RFS has needed to hire portable buildings to house some of the operations units. Unfortunately, it does not facilitate coordination and communication to have operational units housed separately.

The Three Mile fire has the potential to become as large as the Gospers Mountain fire which is expected to burn for weeks yet. The work of Hawkesbury Rural Fire Service to keep our community safe continues, including bulldozing around the Bilpin and Mountain Lagoon areas.

The emergency services volunteers are amazing and on behalf of all our community, I thank them for their continued efforts. Council is providing staff and resources to Hawkesbury RFS and Council remains committed to supporting the RFS as the fire season continues. A major debrief will be held by the RFS down the track later and Council will participate in that process.

With hot weather and dry lightning storms and other storms predicted, it won’t take much for more fires to start, so let’s not become complacent about preparing our homes and properties. For information on how to prepare your Bush Fire Survival Plan and Emergency Survival Kit visit the NSW RFS website

21 November 2019

Mayoral Column

I know I echo the sentiments of our whole Hawkesbury community when I express my deep sadness at the fire emergencies in the NSW and Queensland bushfires. Already the east cost of NSW has been burning for weeks.

The images and stories of the fires are potent scenes that tell a story of the massive impact that the fires are having on the affected towns and residents of these communities. These reports can only deepen the sympathy that we feel, especially for those who have lost so much in this terrible disaster.

Our community members know only too well from personal experience the potential for loss of life and property that bushfires can wreak. With the hard work of the Rural Fire Service and our emergency services, thankfully so many lives and homes have been saved.

Along with staying up to date using the Fires Near Me website and smartphone app, I have been in contact with the Hawkesbury Rural Fire Service Control Centre for fire updates. Council will continue to do everything possible to support the NSW Rural Fire Service, the NSW Police Force and all emergency services.

We must be ever vigilant to report any fires or suspicious activity by calling 000 and ensure that we do our utmost to prepare for any potential disaster. Use the Fires Near Me App and follow your Bushfire Survival Plan. Further information is available on the NSW Rural Fire Service website

14 November 2019

Mayoral Column

Do you and your family have your bushfire survival plan in place? People spend months planning their holidays and yet it only takes around 40 mins to prepare your bushfire survival plan. It is time well spent.

Much of the Hawkesbury region is prone to bushfires, so you need to have a plan so that you are ready to act if your situation changes. I live in a bushfire prone area and we so have our bushfire survival plan ready.

It is also important to prepare your property against the threat of bush fires by maintaining or cleaning up your property or home of fire hazards regularly. You also need to work out where you will go if you need to leave your home.

Please ensure you have contacts in place before you need them – family and friends in safe locations are the best option if you need to stay somewhere else overnight. During the day, safe areas are places that are well away from bushland areas, such as large towns or shopping centres or local libraries that provide facilities such as toilets and air conditioning.

The NSW Rural Fire Service’s comprehensive website provides the tools to easily make your bush fire survival plan. Prepare your bushfire survival plan today. For information on how to prepare your Bush Fire Survival Plan and Emergency Survival Kit visit the NSW RFS website

7 November 2019

Mayoral Column

Australian Food Safety Week 2019 will be held from 9 to 16 November 2019, so it is timely to consider something that really matters when it comes to food safety - handwashing.

The Food Safety Information Council has released findings that more than 20% of Australians admit that they don’t always wash their hand after going to the toilet. The public health risk could be even greater, as nearly 40% of respondents also admitted that they don’t always wash their hands before touching food.

The research shows young people are less likely than older age groups to always wash their hands after going to the toilet (69% under 34 years versus 86% over 50 years) and before touching food (59% under 34 versus 63% over 50). Men are also less likely than women to always wash their hands after going to the toilet.

This behaviour could be contributing to the estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning each year not to mention spreading viral infections such as cold, influenza and norovirus.

Let’s all work together to share this important message about good handwashing to help keeping our community healthy. Always wash and dry your hands before handling, preparing and eating food; after touching raw meat, fish, shell eggs or poultry; after using the toilet, attending to children’s (or others) toileting and  after nappy changes, blowing your nose, touching a pet and gardening.

Council has created some handwashing stickers that are available free to businesses, schools and community members at the front counter at Council’s Administration Building, 300 George Street, Windsor. An instructional handwashing video and posters can also be found here:

31 October 2019

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council proudly hosted a Community Appreciation Party recently to thank our many volunteers and community service representatives.

The Hawkesbury is unique when it comes to volunteering. The census tells us that one in five people over the age of 15 in our Hawkesbury community are actively volunteering. That seems like a remarkable number and shows us that the sense of giving back to the community starts young in the Hawkesbury.

Our dedicated community members and organisations are enriching the Hawkesbury community and its residents, and that is why we wanted to fully recognise everything they do and express our deep gratitude.

Hawkesbury Citizen of the Year, Ross Matheson, also gave a speech thanking all volunteers, including the many thousands of volunteers who assist with Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association year in and year out.

The enthusiastic Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Community Bushcare Officer Martin Gauci, who interviewed a few volunteers about their work and life in the Hawkesbury in a very entertaining manner.

Our guests were also treated to live entertainment, a roaming magician, a lolly bar and succulent plant gifts as a token of thanks.

The community members and volunteers in attendance represented a broad spectrum of the Hawkesbury community including non-profit community organisations and members of the services sector; business, commercial, educational, arts, historical and cultural sectors; representatives of the Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service; community organisations, committees and Council facilities.

24 October 2019

Mayoral Column

Council’s Draft Community Engagement Framework and Draft Community Participation Plan is on exhibition for public comment until Monday, 4 November at Council’s Administration Building, 366 George Street, Windsor from 8:30am to 5pm and may be also be viewed anytime on Council’s website or via Your Hawkesbury Your Say

The drafts have been prepared to provide a consistent and best practice approach to ongoing and meaningful engagement with local community members and stakeholders. The Draft Community Participation Plan specifically targets engagement on land use planning matters.

The plans will expand on consulting with communities about policies and land use planning as well as provide input for the design of community facilities and a range of other Council activities.

The Draft Community Engagement Framework and Draft Community Participation Plan aims to guide Council staff, and those undertaking engagement on behalf of Council, in how to plan and deliver quality and inclusive engagement as well as to strengthen relationships with the community, local business, community groups and other stakeholders.

When making a submission, please quote Reference: Draft Community Engagement Framework and Draft Community Participation Plan. You can have your say by completing an online submission via or by emailing or by post to PO Box 146, Windsor NSW 2756.

For more information, please contact Council on 4560 4444 or email Any personal information is subject to Council’s Privacy Management Plan and the Government Information (Public Access) Act, 2009.

17 October 2019

Mayoral Column

Council has recently upgraded the south western section of McQuade Park using a Heritage Capital Works grant of $50,000 from the NSW Government's Office of Environment and Heritage and $400,000 Council funding.

McQuade Park is an important green asset for our community. It is of State Heritage Significance as a rare example of Governor Macquarie’s town planning of a central urban reserve.

The transformation of the swampy pond area of the 1800s to a hard edged freeform pond in 1970 is indicative of Australia’s response to modernism in park and garden design.

The extensive project included restoring the pond’s surrounding area and restoring the pond wall to its original shape.  The pond’s shape and central island was designed by Peter Spooner in 1970 to commemorate Captain Cook and it was this design that saved the pond – the much loved nineteenth-century feature of the Park – from all attempts over the years to fill it in or to securely enclose it.

Native wetland plantings and a new inground fountain have also been installed to improve water quality in the pond. Additional shade trees have been planted as a visual link to the pond, while a second bridge has also been installed and the pathway concreted.

The ornamental pond, with its small island in the centre with a pedestrian bridge, has remained a popular feature of McQuade Park for children and families as well as being the backdrop for wedding and school formal photography. I encourage you to go along and see the new upgrade as it is a beautiful place to have a picnic and relax in a freely accessible open space.

10 October 2019

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council is encouraging residents to prepare and stay safe in a disaster or a time of crisis by downloading and completing the emergency plan available on the new Get Prepared app.

The app has been jointly created by Australian Red Cross and general insurer IAG, to make it easier to prepare for an emergency and to help keep personal emergency plans close to hand.

The app helps you connect with your key support people, accomplish simple tasks to make you and your loved ones safer, and protect the things that matter most to you.

Get Prepared is a free and easy to use, which will help you to:

  • Get Prepared - establish a quick and easy network of support with your three key contacts
  • Review the risks relevant to where you live
  • Create checklists of actions to make an emergency plan
  • Save the emergency plan as a PDF to be printed and shared with others.

For more information and to download the Get Prepared app, visit and search Get Prepared app.

As a participating Council in the Resilient Sydney Strategy, we are collaborating with the Councils of Sydney to create a metropolis that is connected, inclusive and resilient.

Council is also developing its own local Resilience Plan in order to strengthen the community to become more resilient to the challenges that are presented from chronic stresses and major shocks affecting the local government area. The Resilient Sydney Strategy is available at

3 October 2019

Mayoral Column

Each year, some 30,000 Australians will be unfortunate enough to experience a sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest does not discriminate against gender or age. Less than five per cent survive, often because help cannot be reached in time. For the best chance of survival after a person suffers a cardiac arrest, it is vital to contact medical care, start CPR and defibrillate the patient as soon as possible.

The installation of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at various locations in the Hawkesbury is of considerable community benefit to our community members and the many tourists who regularly visit our beautiful region.

The Macdonald Valley Association has recently installed their new defibrillator at St Albans Park. It is a great idea for community members to take some time to read the information and instruction booklet and view the instruction panel and get familiar with the location of the unit.

Congratulations to the Association and Dianne Chambers for this initiative. Council provided the $2000 grant for the defibrillator through Round 1 of the Community Sponsorship Program 2018/2019.

Council also has defibrillators at Council’s Administration Building and Hawkesbury Central Library at Windsor and the Hawkesbury Visitor Information Centre at Richmond (donated by Windsor Rotary).

The Heart Foundation recommends that people aged 45 to 74 years have a heart health check at least every two years, sooner if recommended by your doctor. For Indigenous Australians the recommended age is 30. For more information about heart health, visit the Heart Foundation

26 September 2019

Mayoral Column

The Hawkesbury’s heritage towns, world class bakeries, distilleries, cafes and restaurants, plus nature and adventure experiences are special highlights in three new experience trails that have just been launched on

The experience trails offer the chance to discover your sense of adventure, treat your tastebuds or even become a natural explorer in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Penrith.

The flavour, adventure and nature trails are part of a regional tourism project to attract more visitors to our region. We want to promote the region as a destination, attract more overnight visitors and boost the local tourism economy. Not only will visitors benefit from these great experiences, but our local businesses can also benefit from increased regional tourism.

I encourage our businesses to take advantage of this opportunity to promote their business to our visitors using social media, business listings and digital marketing.

Each trail offers a three-day, two-night itinerary and is available to visitors in an attractive, easy-to-follow printed or electronic document. The trails feature maps, distances, approximate drive times, travel tips, daily itineraries, suggested stops for food and views, adventure experiences, great cafes, hospitality and impressive natural attractions.

Electronic copies of the experience trails are available to view, download and print at and available free of charge in hard copy at the Visitor Information Centre at 328 Hawkesbury Valley Way, Richmond or Hawkesbury Regional Museum, 8 Baker Street, Windsor.

19 September 2019

Mayoral Column

I’m delighted to tell you that the roof restoration works at the Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter are now complete. My congratulations to the Hawkesbury Companion Animal Shelter Working Group and the Council staff who ensured this project was a success. The Working Group was a special network of volunteers and community members that was chaired by Councillor Danielle Wheeler.

The improvement works involved the replacement of the entire roof over the existing dog kennels, which was were made possible using a $100,000 donation from the deceased estate of animal lover Anna Zylstra, as well as an earlier $75,000 private contribution from another donor and additional Council funding. I would like to acknowledge and thank both of these very generous donors as they have given us the opportunity to put in some much needed improvements at the Shelter that will improve conditions for the dogs in both winter and summer.

The new pitched roof minimises direct sunlight during the summer and optimises sunlight during the winter to provide more comfort for companion animals waiting to be rehomed.

As part of the new roofing, new stormwater pipes have also been installed to capture rainwater into new rainwater tanks. This water will then be reused for washing kennels and watering plants at the Hawkesbury Community Nursery next door.

To keep up to date with the Shelter’s Dog and Cat of the Week promotion and other Council updates, Like and Follow Council’s Facebook page at

12 September 2019

Mayoral Column

Council is consulting with our community about Parks, specifically Fernadell Park in Pitt Town, Colbee Park in McGraths Hill and the Draft Masterplan for Deerubbin Park in Windsor. I encourage you to have your say about our parks either in person at a community drop in session, online or by post.

You can have your say about any of these at or email or by post to PO Box 146, Windsor NSW 2756.

The Fernadell Park drop in session will be at Fernadell Drive, Pitt Town on Saturday, 14 September, from 10am to midday. Consultation for this park will close on Thursday, 10 October 2019.

The Colbee Park drop-in session will be held at Colbee Park, Old Hawkesbury Road, McGraths Hill on Saturday, 21 September 2019 from 9am to 11am. Consultation for this park will close on Tuesday, 24 September.

Feedback from the above community consultations will help to prepare a Draft Masterplans for the areas which will guide how the parks will be used and developed in the future.

For Deerubbin Park in Windsor (Cornwallis), there is now a Draft Masterplan available for public comment until Friday, 27 September 2019.This plan provides a long term vision for the park which will improve the general amenity, functionality and capacity of the site.

Some of the opportunities that have been identified include improving the connection to the Hawkesbury River, upgrading and realigning sporting fields, improved parking and access, a dog off leash area and more shade. Visit for more details.

5 September 2019

Mayoral Column

Council was advised last week that the NSW Government would commit a maximum of $500,000 a year in funding to Hawkesbury City Council and The Hills Shire Council to assist in continuing the operation of the Lower Portland Ferry for the next four years. At the Hawkesbury City Council meeting on Tuesday, 27 August, Hawkesbury councillors voted to accept the NSW Government’s funding offer to assist in the operation of the Lower Portland ferry.

I would like to thank the Hon. Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and Roads for NSW, for the contribution and Ms Robyn Preston, Member for Hawkesbury, for advocating to save the ferry for the local community.

The ferry service provides a vital link to our remote communities and provides access to locals, particularly school children in the area. Approximately 500 individual trips are made each week on the free ferry service according to a survey of users in May 2018

Although the operation of ferry services across NSW is generally a State Government function, the Lower Portland Ferry is unusual as it is jointly operated and maintained by the Hills Shire Council and Hawkesbury City Council. The cost of maintaining the service is currently just over $1 million annually.

Whilst both Councils will still be required to meet the remaining costs of operating the service as well as the necessary capital investments, the funding offer provides an opportunity to develop and plan for the ongoing operation of the ferry.

29 August 2019

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council’s work tackling climate change has been recognised on the national stage, with Council’s Hawkesbury City Solar project selected as a finalist in the 2019 Cities Power Partnership Awards. The winners will be announced at the Cities Power Partnership's second birthday celebration tonight, Thursday, 29 August in Sydney.

Council launched the Hawkesbury City Solar Program in conjunction with Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC). The project involves the installation of 700kW in total solar power to generate electricity for 12 Council sites and provide cost savings for the community.

Various sites are involved in the program including the Deerubbin Centre in Windsor, the Waste Management Facility at McGraths Hill, Wastewater Treatment Plants in South Windsor, Council’s Depot in Wilberforce, Oasis Fitness and Aquatic Centre in South Windsor, South Windsor Family Centre and Windsor Function Centre.

The Hawkesbury City Solar project was selected from a competitive field of entries from councils across Australia for the national awards, which recognise outstanding achievement by local governments in the fields of renewable energy, sustainable transport, energy efficiency, community engagement and climate advocacy.

For those of you interested in our solar program, there is a solar panel display is located in the entry foyer of the Council Administration Building, 366 George Street, Windsor. The display solar panel alerts our community to the project that Council is working on to install solar panels at 12 Council sites creating 700kW additional solar capacity. For more information about Council’s projects click here.

22 August 2019

Mayoral Column

Eight non-profit organisations and community groups have shared in $52,425 funding from the local ClubGrants Scheme, which is funded by the local clubs Windsor RSL, Panthers North Richmond and Richmond Club.

Hawkesbury City Council is proud to help Hawkesbury clubs to prioritise funding to local organisations based on projects that address local needs.

At the recent grants presentation at Council Chambers, I had the chance to meet club representatives from the donating clubs, staff from local preschools, as well as members from Windsor South Public School P&C members, Bligh Park Community Services, Australian Foundation for Disability and the Hawkesbury Hospital Auxiliary.

The non-profit community organisations will benefit from a range of projects including outdoor play area improvements for three preschools such as sensory gardens and bike tracks; better appliances for a school canteen; new fencing for a before and after school care/vacation facility; iPads; a bariatric ceiling hoist and a ‘counting for life’ program.

Through ClubGrants, over $1 billion has been provided to recipients by registered clubs to communities across NSW to support schools, charities, sporting groups, health services and other agencies. The Scheme is open to non-profit community organisations that have projects which address community welfare, community development, and community health and employment assistance activities.

8 August 2019

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council is pleased to be a major sponsor of the 2019 Local Business Awards run by Precedent Productions Pty Ltd. Council has been a major sponsor of the Local Business Awards over many years. The Business Awards event is one of the many ways in which Council supports the local business community. Many of you may also know that Council regularly hosts ‘Hawkesbury Business Meet and Greets’ for local businesses to connect with each other and Council, and I hope to see many businesses owners coming along to future meetings.

Many people have voted for their favourite businesses in the Hawkesbury and I wish all of our businesses the best of luck! I would like to acknowledge and congratulate every business that has entered this year’s awards. Your participation gives you the chance to be recognised by our community. There are finalists in many categories including accommodation, cafes, hairdressers, fashion, early childhood, health services, home furniture, new businesses, restaurants and hardware to name few. Awards will be presented for Business of the Year, Youth Business Person of the Year, Business Person of the Year and Business Longevity.

Award winners will receive trophies, gifts and media coverage and other gifts which is a positive way to encourage and promote our local businesses. The Hawkesbury 2019 Local Business Awards Gala Presentation Evening will be held on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 at Windsor Function Centre. For more details and to see all the local finalists visit

1 August 2019

Mayoral Column

As we celebrate Local Government Week from 29 July to 4 August, I have had the wonderful opportunity, along with my fellow Councillors, to meet many of you at our Town Meetings and other Local Government Week events.

Our first Town Meeting for 2019 was a great opportunity to talk about how Council is working with the community in many different ways. A Council video presentation also showcased the works that Council has been doing across the Hawkesbury.

We would love to see more members of our community come along over the next few weeks at any of the Town Meetings which are coming up at McGraths Hill, Wilberforce School of Arts, Bilpin District Hall, Maraylya Community Hall and St Albans School of Arts. For times and more details, please visit

Councillor Amanda Kotlash has also had the chance this week to meet our many talented students who entered the annual Waste 2 Art competition with their recycled art. Their artworks are on display during local Government Week at Hawkesbury Central Library, 300 George Street, Windsor, and I recommend you go along if you can  Hawkesbury Central Library also has an interesting exhibition of local photos from the 1950-60s by the late amateur photographer Harold Burch.

At Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, we also have an exhibition called What We Have to Say, which explores the creativity and expression of women artists - it will run until 8 September. For more information visit

25 July 2019

Mayoral Column

Hawkesbury City Council is launching a ‘Safety First’ campaign which is designed to improve pedestrian safety in and around school zones.

Starting this week until Friday, 2 August, Council’s Community Enforcement officers will be visiting local schools to talk with parents and carers about appropriate parking behaviour within school zones. They will also discuss the penalties for illegal parking.

Our Council officers are aiming to help parents and carers to avoid parking illegally within the school zone; this is to help keep school children safe. Their discussions will work towards reducing unsafe parking habits such as double parking or stopping at pedestrian and children’s crossings.

Following this education campaign, a zero-tolerance approach will be applied from Monday, 5 August 2019 in order to gain practical safety results.

After this time, drivers of illegally parked vehicles in school zones will be issued with penalty notices, which will include 2 demerit points. To reinforce responsible driver behaviour, Community Enforcement officers will provide morning and afternoon patrols at peak times.

Council is supporting this community initiative through targeted information and education for the school community. Several local principals have completed a Council survey to identify key pedestrian safety and driver behaviour issues around their individual schools. Council is using this information as part of its educational strategies to improve pedestrian safety and driver behaviour within school zones. If you have further enquiries about this campaign, please contact Council’s Community Safety Coordinator Judy Wong at or call 4560 4498.

18 July 2019

Mayoral Column

Soon you will have the chance to connect with us when Hawkesbury City Council comes to Your Town from 22 July 2019 until 17 August 2019.

I encourage you to come along and hear about what Council has been doing and our plans for the future at any of the seven town meetings. There will also be a video presentation to showcase Council’s work over the past year. A Town Meeting launch event will kick off our community consultations on Monday, 22 July from 7pm to 9pm at Richmond North Public School. Following the launch, six more Town Meetings will be held at:

  • Colo Heights - Horrie Eley Hall at 7pm on 31 July
  • McGraths Hill Community Centre at 7pm on 7 August - this session will be held at an accessible facility with interpreters and transport assistance available by calling Council
  • Wilberforce School of Arts at 7pm on 8 August
  • Bilpin District Hall at 7pm on 14 August
  • Maraylya Community Hall at 7pm on 15 August
  • St Albans School of Arts at 11am on 17 August.

We will have question and answer sessions and all residents are welcome to attend any meeting. You can also submit questions online at Council’s community engagement site by visiting
To register via Eventbrite search ‘Hawkesbury City Council comes to Your Town’. For further enquiries, please contact Council on 4560 4444.

11 July 2019

Mayoral Column

Soon you will have the chance to connect with us when Hawkesbury City Council comes to Your Town from 22 July 2019 until 17 August 2019.

I encourage you to come along and hear about what Council has been doing and our plans for the future at any of the seven town meetings. There will also be a video presentation to showcase Council’s work over the past year. A Town Meeting launch event will kick off our community consultations on Monday, 22 July from 7pm to 9pm at Richmond North Public School. Following the launch, six more Town Meetings will be held at:

  • Colo Heights - Horrie Eley Hall at 7pm on 31 July
  • McGraths Hill Community Centre at 7pm on 7 August - this session will be held at an accessible facility with interpreters and transport assistance available by calling Council
  • Wilberforce School of Arts at 7pm on 8 August
  • Bilpin District Hall at 7pm on 14 August
  • Maraylya Community Hall at 7pm on 15 August
  • St Albans School of Arts at 11am on 17 August.

We will have question and answer sessions and all residents are welcome to attend any meeting. You can also submit questions online at Council’s community engagement site by visiting To register via Eventbrite search ‘Hawkesbury City Council comes to Your Town’. For further enquiries, please contact Council on 4560 4444.

4 July 2019

Mayoral Column

Council’s annual Hawkesbury Household Chemical CleanOut Event will be held on Sunday, 28 July from 9am to 3:30pm at Hawkesbury Showground, 1 Racecourse Road, Clarendon (enter via Gate 1).

Chemical CleanOut is a free service offered to Hawkesbury residents for the safe disposal of a range of common household chemicals which could cause harm to our health and the environment if not disposed of correctly.

I encourage our local residents to use this free service to correctly dispose of household quantities (20kg or 20L maximum) of paint and paint related products, herbicides, pesticides, poisons, gas bottles, fire extinguishers, pool chemicals, hobby chemicals, acids and alkalis, solvents, household cleaners, motor oils, fuels, fluids, batteries, and fluorescent globes and tubes. By participating in this great program, not only will you help protect the environment but you will also make your home safer from unwanted chemical substances.

Liquid can leak during transport so make sure you wrap containers holding liquids securely and then in plastic buckets or trays and keep them away from passengers (in the boot). Always handle and transport chemicals carefully and never mix chemicals as this may produce dangerous reactions. Wherever possible keep all chemicals in their original containers and ensure containers are clearly labelled and well-sealed. If you do not know the contents, label the container ‘unknown chemical’. For information on storage and transporting chemicals to the event, visit, phone 131 555.

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