Swansea E-News 

Welcome to the latest issue of my fortnightly e-newsletter. 

It has been a busy couple of weeks in local news. Many of us have been impacted by the recent severe weather conditions that led to flooding across the Hunter and Central Coast regions. Meanwhile, a year has passed since the Government announced that Swansea Channel would benefit from their $6.2 million dredging program. Despite this, dredging has not been completed. Last week we also had NAIDOC Week, with local community groups and organisations hosting events inline with this year's theme, Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! 

In state news, we have seen the Government adopt Labor's plan to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, instead of splashing $25 million on a new flagpole. There has also been an increase in COVID and Influenza cases, with health officials encouraging the community to go and get vaccinated. 

This issue's Community Noticeboard contains a solar energy survey, as well as information on Blind Citizens Australia's upcoming employment symposium, Regional NSW and ACT Community Achievement Awards, Belmont Neighbourhood Centre Volunteers, Swansea Mobile Shower Van and Orange Sky Laundry. 


Hunter and Central Coast Floods 

Over the past couple of weeks we have seen parts of the Hunter and Central Coast battered by heavy rain and floods. As a result, locals have been stranded and experienced damage to their homes. 

During these dangerous weather conditions, many of our local volunteers have put their own health and safety at risk to help people in need. Shane Dowsett and and Lee Archer of Swansea-Belmont Surf Life Saving Club rescued a baby boy and his mother from Hunter flood waters when the baby needed urgent medical assistance because he had stopped breathing. Volunteers from other local surf clubs, the SES and our emergency services staff have also worked hard during this crisis to protect the impacted communities. I thank them for their efforts. 

Although Lake Macquarie has been impacted by the rain and flooding, it did not initially receive a Natural Disaster Declaration like the Central Coast. I wrote to the Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience seeking a Natural Disaster Declaration for Lake Macquarie and it was pleasing to see this declaration issued within 24 hours. Now impacted locals can apply for financial assistance to help with the clean up via both the Service NSW and Services Australia websites.

Dredging Yet to Take Place 

On Wednesday a year passed since Taylor Martin MLC - Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter announced that Swansea Channel, would be the first of five NSW waterways to benefit from the NSW Government’s $6.2 million dredging program. This funding was announced as stimulus funding.

The Government has now confirmed that a contractor is still yet to be appointed to carry out delayed dredge works, and Transport for NSW have stated that they are working as quickly as possible to carry out the works, but this wont be until at least September. 

The lack of dredging has prevented local and visiting boaties from travelling through Lake Macquarie because sections of the Channel, including Swan Bay, continue to silt and reduce the depth of the Channel. Boaties not being able to access this key waterway has had an impact on the success of local sailing events like the Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta. Such events hold the potential to drive visitors to the region and boost local business, but this is limited because the NSW Government is yet to rollout their dredging program.


Time and time again I have raised with the Government the urgent need to dredge the Channel, as well as the importance of developing a permanent solution to the silting. However, the Government have failed to take appropriate action. The dredging of Swansea Channel is well and truly overdue. It is time for the Government to deliver this crucial dredging program. 

NAIDOC Week Celebrations 

Last week was NAIDOC week, which is a time when we celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and take the opportunity to learn about First Nations cultures and histories. To encourage people to spark systemic change and support Indigenous Elders and communities, this year’s theme was Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! 

During this year's event, Lake Macquarie City Council announced that they have commissioned local Aboriginal artists Shellie Smith and Daniella Chedzey, along with fellow artist Julie Squires, to create a major artwork for the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track that recognises Belmont Lagoon's significance as a campsite for the Awabakal people. The work, which will include sculptural interpretations of a ‘gunya’ shelter, a bark canoe and other features of a traditional Aboriginal camp. This is fantastic news for our local community. 

I also had the pleasure of attending Belmont Neighbourhood Centre's NAIDOC celebration and Lake Macquarie City Council's Indigenous flag raising ceremony. 


Aboriginal Flag to be Permanently Flown on Sydney Harbour Bridge 

In the latest State Budget the Perrottet Government announced that they had allocated a whopping $25 million to install an additional flagpole on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to fly the Aboriginal flag. The Government's decision to install a $25 million flagpole showed taxpayers that they do not know how to manage their money with integrity and as a result caused uproar from the people of NSW. 

Common sense has since prevailed and the Perrottet Government has dropped this plan and instead have adopted Labor's call to replace the NSW State flag with the Aboriginal flag. I am also pleased that the allocated funding will instead be reallocated to Close The Gap initiatives.

COVID-19 Boosters and Flu Vaccinations

This winter we have seen a new wave of COVID-19 Omicron subvariants that has led to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the state. Many people have also caught Influenza and RSV.  To protect ourselves and our loved ones against these viruses it is important that we all stay up-to-date with the latest health advice. This advice includes getting COVID-19 booster vaccinations. 

Fourth doses have now been recommended for people who are:

  • aged 50 years or over
  • a resident of an aged care or disability care facility
  • aged 16 years and over and severely immunocompromised launch (this will be a fifth dose)
  • aged 16 years and over years and have complex, chronic or severe conditions

People aged 30 years and over are also eligible to receive an additional winter booster if they wish. 

Free flu shots are also available across the state until Sunday. 

More information on these vaccinations is available at the NSW Government website. 

I encourage you all to take the opportunity to go and get vaccinated against these viruses. 


Australian Households and Solar Energy Survey 

The University of Sydney is conducting a survey on Australians' views on using solar energy to meet their electricity needs. This survey is part of a ARC Linkage Project to find solutions for solar energy to reduce household energy bills. 

Participation in the survey is voluntary, all answers are confidential, and it will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Blind Citizens Australia Free Employment Symposium 

Is your business one of the 83% of Australian businesses that lack confidence in hiring someone who is blind or vision impaired?

Join Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) and Key Note Speaker Graeme Innes AM in exploring misconceptions about employing someone who is blind or vision impaired. 

This free and fully catered event is on Monday 15th August and will give businesses, organisations, HR agencies, and government departments an opportunity to develop organisational diversity and inclusion, hear from employers and managers on their experiences with hiring staff who are blind or vision impaired, learn what funding is available for employers when they employ staff with disability, create new business and government contacts, and hear from employees who are blind or vision impaired and what assistive technology they use in the workplace. 

To register for the event please visit the Humanitix  website. More information about the event can also be found at the BCA website, or by contacting Cheryl.gration@bca.org.au if you have any questions.

Regional NSW & ACT Community Achievement Awards 


Nominations for the Community Achievement Awards for Regional NSW & the ACT are now open until 23 August. The Awards are designed to encourage, acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions individuals, communities and businesses are making throughout regional and rural NSW & the ACT.

Award categories include:

  • NSW Government Crown Land Management Excellence Award 
  • NSW Government Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management Award 
  • NSW Government Council Crown Land Management Excellence Award 
  • Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award
  • TransGrid Leadership Award
  • Awards Australia Connecting Communities Award
  • Fairmont Resort Small Business Award

For more information about the Awards or to make a nomination visit the Awards Australia website

Belmont Neighbourhood Centre Volunteers

Do you have a Centrelink requirement? Are you looking for a way to give back to the community? Do you want to build life long friendships? Looking for something to keep active during the day? Belmont Neighbourhood Centre is looking for volunteers.

Roles include gardening, maintenance work and cleaning. All volunteers are required to obtain a Working With Children Check before commencing at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre.

For more information please contact Belmont Neighbourhood Centre on 4947 0031.

Swansea Mobile Shower Van

The Lions Club of Belmont's shower van visits Swansea Community Cottage every Tuesday from 10am. All are welcome to use the facility. 

Orange Sky Laundry

Orange Sky Laundry is also operating at Swansea Community Cottage. Drop into the Cottage on Thursday between 11am and 1pm if you wish to use the service. Last wash is at 12pm. 

Get in Touch

Click here to email Yasmin Catley MP

Shop 1

204 Pacific Highway

Swansea NSW 2281

PO Box 306

Swansea NSW 2281

Phone: (02) 4972 1133

Fax: (02) 4972 1494

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Authorised by Yasmin Catley MP, Shop 1, 204 Pacific Highway, Swansea NSW 2281.
Produced using parliamentary entitlements