What an amazing two weeks culminating with the $1.5 billion contract (for 10 years) to UGL for the operation and maintenance of all infrastructure for the Country Regional Rail Network.
Council has been in discussions with their executive over many months now and we are confident of being able to support the logistics hub of the business.
The hub will provide a range of employment opportunities, including apprenticeships and employment opportunities for folk with disabilities and pathways for school-based apprenticeships/traineeships for indigenous youth.
Much work is yet to be done but no doubt this is a huge boost for not only the Orange economy, but for the region.
On training and employment Council is very involved with school-based apprenticeships/traineeships and we have a number across a range of skills, including library, horticulture, clerical etc.
The Chamber of Commerce/business is increasing its profile and recently held a successful breakfast session and speaker.
Jack Evans is keen to see new members (particularly any younger business owners perhaps new to Orange).
I was delighted to be shown the work he and his parents are doing re-branding their business in Piesley Street.
They are combining the heritage and history of the store with a modern approach to retailing.
This business has seen several generations operate a very successful business and I have no doubt the business will continue for decades to come with such visionary owner/operators.
This week we celebrate Banjo Paterson Week with a range of activities run by the Rotary Club with the support of Orange360.
It started Saturday night with a 'poetry pub brawl' in Molong.
On Wednesday there will be a unveiling of a life size statue of Banjo at the Yeoval's Banjo Museum.
Later that day will be recitals and a gathering at Banjo Paterson Park on the road out to Clifton Grove ... always well organised by the Orange Historical Society (see you there).
There are numerous other activities so google the festival program or get one from the visitors information centre. I have a number of friends coming here for the festival activities (all ex- Orangeites!)
On Friday evening at Duntryleague mansion we will be hosting the Ambassador for Ireland and his wife (to celebrate St Patrick's Day and the life and times of James Dalton).
Friday evening the Orange Regional Conservatorium launched it season and the concert was superb. Let's hope in the not too distant future we can make an announcement on their new building.
How this has grown and made its mark on employment, the city's cultural standing and most importantly how all schools have grown exponentially in their music offerings!
Great news with the netball `elite' teams coming to Orange for a game.
I am sure the big netball fraternity will be on hand to show them our great history (including former Australian senior players, state and national representative players and of course a young lady who is currently in their academy squad).
Council meeting on Tuesday night , a prospective councillors' forum on the March 11. (Hopefully this will be well attended. It should be gauging from the numbers that say they want to see change etc).
On February 25 there will be a forum on the prospective trails on Mount Canobolas also an update on the Independent Environmental Impact study that is being undertaken.
This Thursday I will be welcoming the first cohort of the CSU/Western Sydney University medical students and meeting with the Deputy Consul General of the UK.
Finally this week's council papers has a very comprehensive report on Oranges water management plan and future initiatives.
It's a must read but Council will be putting a summary together for wide circulation to help dispel much of the myth and `false facts' that circulate.
The National Serviceman's Day was held in beautiful Newman Park on Sunday and it was an honour to represent Council and the community.
Great rain on the weekend, a great Summer and moving towards Autumn ...
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