Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Today marks four weeks until Christmas Day, so I take this opportunity to mention some of the fantastic things happening in Macarthur to celebrate Christmas and support others this holiday season. I have had a fantastic response for this year's Christmas for the Troops campaign. Locals have dropped boxes of items into my office to send to Australian troops serving overseas. Students from St Thomas More Catholic Parish Primary School in Ruse have particularly been generous, sending more than 60 packages to our servicemen and women. Christmas can be a very sad time for those spending it away from loved ones, so it is great to see so many people supporting this cause. Our local media has done a fantastic job promoting that program. They even collected items themselves to send overseas. I thank them all for their coverage.
Closer to home, those doing it tough this Christmas will benefit from programs run by Lifeline Macarthur. The charity is raising money to fund these programs by giftwrapping in the centres across my electorate for two weeks leading up to Christmas. I hope locals doing their shopping will stop by to have their presents wrapped by the lovely Lifeline volunteers. All the money raised will help the charity support those less fortunate in our community.
Christmas is always an exciting time of the year in Macarthur with many events for local families to attend. These events are organised by volunteers from the business community, chambers of commerce, local councils, churches and schools to bring people from all over Macarthur together.
The Narellan Chamber of Commerce, Narellan Town Centre, Lifehouse Church Camden and the Rotary club of Narellan put together a committee to kick off the celebrations on 3 November for the Christmas in Narellan festival. Hundreds of locals attended the carols, the entertainment and the lighting of the Christmas tree at Narellan Town Centre. The Camden Chamber of Commerce hosted Light Up Camden on 17 November, which was also a big hit, with thousands flocking to the town for rides, stalls, fireworks and entertainment.
Residents will come together for the Campbelltown City Christmas Carols this Saturday at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, and The Oaks has its Christmas night set for next Friday. On 8 December Warragamba will host its carols in the park with a concert band, puppet show, performances by local schools and a barbecue provided by the Rural Fire Service. On 16 December a finalist from the Channel 9 hit TV series The Voice, Emma Birdsall, will perform at Lifehouse Church Camden's Christmas celebration. Former Cronulla football star Jason Stevens and his wife, Bec, will also be there to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with local families.
In total, there will be more than 25 events across Macarthur between now and 25 December for local families to enjoy. Today I would like to thank all of the local committees, churches, schools, chambers and councils that have organised all of these fantastic events in Macarthur.
These volunteers have worked so hard to make it possible for my community to come together at Christmas time and that is a wonderful thing to see. We are very lucky to have such wonderful volunteers, a supportive business community and dedicated churches in Macarthur to organise these events so that people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds can come together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Jesus. I hope that these celebrations continue for many years to come and I wish everyone in my community a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
I would like to wish all my parliamentary colleagues a very happy Christmas and a safe new year with their family and friends.