Eye on Wellington | So many good things now happening in the region

Mayor Ben Shields with Australia Day Award winners and Australia Day Ambassador Paul Featherstone. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Mayor Ben Shields with Australia Day Award winners and Australia Day Ambassador Paul Featherstone. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Australia Day Ceremony: Mayor Ben Shields with Wellington's Citizen of the Year Aunty Joyce. Photo: TAYLOR JURD

Australia Day Ceremony: Mayor Ben Shields with Wellington's Citizen of the Year Aunty Joyce. Photo: TAYLOR JURD

Lately, I have been talking to a lot of people about what makes our region special.

People from so many diverse backgrounds are doing so many great things and I think it is important that we recognise this.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what is going wrong in our region but there are so many good things happening and we tend to forget those.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who have made a successful business from one small idea.

They have a go, put their heart and soul into it and find it works for them.

One such person is Herb Smith. By now you have probably heard of his business Dreamtime Tuka.

It specialises in biscuits and slices with a unique Aboriginal flavour such as lemon myrtle coconut slice.

Herb's biscuits can now be found onboard Qantas regional and domestic flights and NSW State Rail and he is constantly expanding.

It is impressive to see just how quickly he has built up his successful operation.

You only have to talk to herb for a minute to see he is very proud to have been able to integrate his Aboriginal heritage into his work.

In fact, it is central to what he is doing.

However, rather than being content with building his own business, the proud Wiradjuri man has decided to do more. He has expanded his focus to the employment of young Aboriginal people.

Not just in his own operation either. Herb is passionate about ensuring the next generation gets a chance and he is helping them secure opportunities with other companies around the region and further.

Herb understands that giving young Aboriginal people an opportunity is the key and has led by example through his own employment.

But his standing with other businesses means that he is able to talk to them about providing similar job opportunities.

Australia Day Ceremony

It was a pleasure to be in Cameron Park on Sunday for the Australia Day Ceremony.

It was a fantastic event and Australia Day ambassador Paul Featherstone was sensational.

He has been integral in emergency management for some of Australia's biggest disasters including the Granville Train Thredbo disaster, Bali bombings.

Hearing his story about caring for Stuart Diver during the Thredbo landslide was nothing short of inspirational and Wellington was so lucky to have him as our guest.

It was also fantastic to confer Agnes Lourdusamy as an Australian citizen.

This was a major moment because it was the first citizenship ceremony for Wellington in several years.

Well done Agnes and I hope there are more to come.

Congratulations to our award recipients 

Aunty Joyce Williams was a very deserving winner of Citizen of the Year and our other recipients, Lilly Clarke (Junior Sportsperson of the Year), Ben McGregor (Sportsperson of the Year) and Liam Miller (Young Citizen of the Year) were also very fitting.