Every year, Christmas seems to come around faster and faster, with our ever-increasingly busy lives mere passengers in a greater machine.
It is difficult to slow down, particularly amongst last-minute shopping and navigating the hustle and bustle of Christmas and holiday preparations.
This is why it is so important to rest and reflect at this time of year, to look back at what you have achieved and take a well-earned break before getting back into the daily grind in 2024.
Domestic issues have dominated recent years, from droughts, fires and floods to COVID, and now we face another likely impending drought – but, despite challenges certainly testing the resolve of Riverina and Central West residents, we must remember how fortunate we are to live in a beautiful part of the world which is vastly free of the types of atrocities and upheaval we are subjected to in the news.
We must remember and thank our veterans, who have served Australia faithfully and have given us this opportunity to celebrate Christmas in peace.
Please try to support local businesses and buy Australian-made products where you can when looking to complete your Christmas shopping list.
As I say every year, please take care if travelling on our regional roads over the holidays and, if you plan on using our beautiful waterways, please remember to be sun-smart and water-wise.
We owe a debt of gratitude to those who give their time to support and serve others, often having to work instead of spending time with loved ones – our healthcare workers, emergency service and defence force personnel, and aged-care and disability workers. Thank you for being exemplary, community-minded members.
Thank you to our farmers, who have been harvesting to ensure we have the cleanest and greenest food on our tables.
Please remain cognisant that, for many, this time of the year is associated with painful feelings of loneliness and loss. It is important to display compassion, understanding and, most of all, patience to all we encounter – we never can fully understand what another person is going through. To those who spend time with the homeless and less fortunate – your kindness and selflessness is appreciated always.
It is always important to remember the reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ. It is about spending time with family and friends – winding back and focusing on the things which really matter – extending kindness and gratitude to those you care about the most.
Catherine, my family, my staff and I extend our best wishes to all for a happy Christmas and a safe and healthy 2024.