20 April, 2024
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Bridging Gaps and Building Futures: The East Hills Community Cabinet Kicks Off the Year with Ambitious Plans

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In a momentous gathering that marked the first community cabinet of the year, the East Hills Community Cabinet convened to set the tone for an ambitious year ahead. The event, opened by Julia Finn, the Parliamentary Secretary, brought together a significant assembly of government officials, community leaders, and residents, all united by a common purpose: to address pressing issues and chart a course for progress.

Kylie Wilkinson, MP for East Hills, initiated the proceedings with a warm welcome to all attendees, including special guests Premier Chris Minns, cabinet ministers, and the mayor. The introduction set the stage for an event characterized by unity and a shared commitment to community improvement.

In an evocative address, Dr. Sharon Foster, the East Hills Woman of the Year, delivered the Welcome to Country, grounding the event in a sense of respect and acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land.

The highlight of the cabinet was the address by The Hon Chris Minns, Premier of NSW, who outlined a series of groundbreaking initiatives aimed at bridging social and economic gaps within the community. Among the key announcements was the successful abolition of the wage gap in NSW, a significant achievement that has seen public school teachers move from the lowest to the highest paid in the state. This accomplishment not only recognizes the invaluable contribution of educators but also sets a precedent for equitable compensation across professions.

Premier Minns emphasized the need for further improvements in the education system, particularly in integrating students with special needs into mainstream schooling environments. He acknowledged the challenges faced by these students and committed to enhancing their educational experience.

Turning his attention to healthcare, the Premier announced a $1.3 billion investment in new health infrastructure, with a focus on the Bankstown Lidcombe Hospital. This initiative is part of a broader effort to ensure that Western Sydney receives its fair share of infrastructure funds, addressing the longstanding issue of the region receiving only 23% of such funds.

In a bold move to support law enforcement and address safety concerns, the Premier revealed plans to abolish the wage gap and increase police salaries. This initiative includes paying police recruits while they study in Goulburn, a strategy that has already resulted in 800 new recruits since its announcement.

The cabinet also touched on the pressing issue of the old Western Sydney University Campus in Milperra, deemed “too far gone” by Deputy Premier Prue Car. Additionally, discussions on the rollback of the active kids vouchers and the success of banning phones in schools underscored the cabinet’s focus on improving education and student welfare.

The event concluded with Mayor Bilal El Hayek of Canterbury Bankstown thanking the cabinet for its commitment to the community and highlighting the issues in Gaza as a poignant reminder of the broader context in which local initiatives take place.

The East Hills Community Cabinet’s first gathering of the year laid a solid foundation for a year of ambitious goals and impactful initiatives. With a focus on bridging gaps in wages, education, and healthcare, and fostering a safer, more inclusive community, the cabinet is poised to make significant strides in improving the lives of East Hills residents and beyond.

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