It’s been a tough campaign but finally, the New South Wales government has heard our plea for an inquiry into crime in regional NSW.

Most of us have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, crime in Gunnedah shire in the past 18 months, whether it be car theft and arson, a break-in, theft of tools or another form of crime.

And we are not alone in this. The statistics show that many crimes have become more prevalent in rural and regional areas than they are in the city.

The announcement of the Inquiry into Community Safety in Regional and Rural Communities is the opportunity we have been waiting for – a chance to bring the real, lived-experience stories of our community to the doorstep of parliament. This inquiry needs to hear the devastating impact of crime in our own words.

It is absolutely critical that people who have been impacted by crime, know someone who has been impacted by crime, who work or have previously worked in related services, or who come from another state or country that has implemented great working strategies, make their voices heard.

This inquiry is open to everyone, and that is exactly who needs to respond – everyone. Whether your submission is two sentences or two pages, tells the story of a loved one or makes a suggestion to improve safety, this is our one chance to tell it like it is.

We will also be calling for one of the inquiry hearings to be held in Gunnedah shire so the committee can hear from local people first hand.

You can send in your submission by mail to: Edmond Atalla MP, Community Safety in Regional and Rural Communities Inquiry, c/- NSW Parliament House, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000; or send it online at Community safety in regional and rural communities ( . If you need assistance in sending your submission, you can call our Customer Service Team on 6740 2100.

There are a few great events coming up in Gunnedah shire. We will be celebrating 2024 Youth Week with a number of activities, including fishing, futsal and facials. The main event is, of course, the Youth Expo at the Gunnedah Town Hall on Thursday, April 11 from 9am to 3pm.

The expo includes a range of career and education options, with stands to include local businesses and organisations showing just how much there is to pursue here in Gunnedah shire.

Council, with the support of the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network and sponsorship from Whitehaven Coal and the NSW State Emergency Service – North Western Zone, will also host a free Get Ready & Resilience Expo on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

The event will bring together emergency service organisations, government and non-government organisations, council and local not-for-profit organisations for an expo at Wolseley Park from 11am to 2pm, and a forum at Gunnedah Town Hall from 5pm to 8pm.

The free forum will feature guest speakers retired Detective Senior Constable Allan Sparkes CV, OAM, VA FRSN, and noted Australian actor and philanthropist Samuel Johnson OAM who will talk about resilience.

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