While we are heading towards the Christmas season, the pace has not slowed down in Gunnedah shire.

Last week, Gunnedah Shire Council hosted the very successful Crime Prevention and Community Safety Conference, with more than 100 delegates from across the country and 24 speakers.

Gunnedah shire has had more than its share of crime concerns in the past 12 months. We are among the regional and rural local government areas that have followed a trajectory of increasing crime – particularly break and enters and car theft – since the pandemic.

Council has been advocating for more policing resources to support our already stretched local officers.

But Gunnedah shire is far from alone in this matter. This conference was not just about Gunnedah shire or any other shire. It was about bringing together experts across the crime prevention and community safety fields, about hearing the lived experiences of people who have offended or been the victims of offences, and about sharing the latest developments, strategies and ideas to address the concerns.

By working together, councils, other levels of government, agencies, businesses and not-for-profit organisations have much better resources at their disposal to come up with the best solutions.

This conference was a national event that was aimed at helping to find a way forward for communities across the country.

It was also a valuable networking experience for those who make decisions in this space.

December is about to start, and I urge you to share the Christmas spirit if you can with others through the Christmas Tree Toy Appeal.

This joint appeal through Gunnedah Shire Council and The Salvation Army accepts donations of toys for distribution to families throughout the shire.

Unwrapped new toys can be delivered to the Gunnedah Shire Council building at 63 Elgin Street, and Gunnedah Shire Library at 291 Conadilly Street in Gunnedah by Friday, December 8.

Your donation will help bring joy to a child at Christmas.

If you are one of the people who help light up the streets after dark with a festive display at your home, you might want to enter the Gunnedah Shire Christmas Lights Competition. There are a variety of categories, and Gunny Money Gift Cards to be won.

Get your entry in by 5pm on Friday, December 8. For entry forms and more information, visit gunnedah.nsw.gov.au

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