G’day Gunnedah and thank you for continuing to support the Gunnedah Times as we settle into the new year.

School has returned for term one, 2024, and I’m sure parents across the Gunnedah shire were happy to see their kids back to school today.

It’s been a hot summer at home for our kids, and no doubt they’ve missed their friends and teachers and have been chomping at the bit to get back into the classroom.

I know it’s a very special day for several parents in the region who will have waved off their child for the first day of kindy, and I know it’s a day of mixed emotions for mum and dad.

It’s also a big day for year 12 students as the countdown begins to the end of their school life. The hard work starts now, and I wish you good luck for the year.

I wish every student in the Gunnedah shire all the best for the school year. It will no doubt be one of challenges, one of adversity, but also one of fun, and of growth.

As the school year begins, I’m deeply disappointed that Labor have axed the popular Back to School vouchers. The vouchers gave parents three $50 vouchers per child to go towards school supplies. This was so important to many families because the cost of buying a new pair of Clarks, along with the necessary stationery and uniforms can really add up.

That $150 reprieve per child meant a lot, and it’s deeply disappointing that the Labor government has scrapped the scheme at a time when families are really feeling the pinch.

This latest cut is on top of cuts to the First Lap, Creative Kids and Active Kids vouchers, as well as the scrapping of the Regional Seniors Travel Card.

It’s deeply disappointing that the Labor government is coming after your hip pocket at a time when we can least afford it, and I’m calling on them to come to the table with some meaningful cost of living relief.

I’ll continue pushing for our families, because our kids are the future, and we need to look after them.

In the meantime, there’s good news on the way for Gunnedah this year with plenty of construction on the horizon.

Projects like the Gunnedah Hospital, the Koala Sanctuary, the saleyards, and many more are under construction now or about to begin very soon, and that means jobs for the Gunnedah shire.

It’s going to be a good year for Gunnedah, and I look forward to fighting for the Gunnedah shire to keep the region growing.

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