September 2018

Australian Voices Take Centre Stage at the Inaugural
November 23-24, Pioneer Theatre, Castle Hill

A celebration of pioneering Australian theatre-craft and performance will take centre stage in the heart of Sydney’s Hills district when the inaugural Pioneer Play Festival and Pioneer Play Awards come to Castle Hill on 23rd and 24th November 2018. Part of The Hills Shire Council's launch of the new Pioneer Theatre in Castle Hill the festival, curated by Artistic Director Goldele Rayment and produced by Sydney theatre makers Company of Rogues, is an exciting new program of performances, workshops and activities for all ages. The festival will also include the launch of Australia’s newest playwriting competition, the Pioneer Play Awards. The awards aim to encourage the development of new Australian theatre by rewarding an outstanding novice, emerging or established artist, in two categories – Youth (aged 0 to 17 years) and Adult (aged 18+). The awards will be presented by Mayor of The Hills, Dr Michelle Byrne, at a gala event that will include staged readings of the winning entries and a glamorous Mayoral reception on Friday, November 23rd. Other highlights from the festival include: • Norm and Ahmed – a special 50th Anniversary performance of Alex Buzo’s controversial 1968 play about tolerance, culture and generational change. • Boy Out of the Country – written in Australian prose, Felix Nobis’ searingly funny and darkly observant look at contemporary Australian families, urban development and the progress of life makes it’s Sydney premiere. • Women’s Voices in Theatre – Donna Abela’s Jump for Jordan and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Female of the Species come to life on stage in this interactive performance seminar. • Kid’s Creative Play – designed for young creatives aged 4 to 12, the Pioneer Theatre’s Rebellion Room will become a playground of kids’ performance and fun activations lead by professional performers. Artistic Director Goldele Rayment selected the festival’s theme Australian Voices. Rayment said “Australia creates and shares theatre of the highest calibre, respected and celebrated the world over, yet so many Australians glorify overseas talent above local artists. I’m inspired and honoured to work with the immense talent that populates the Australian theatre community. The Pioneer Play Festival and Awards are our way of creating a new platform to discover future theatre pioneers.” Mayor of The Hills, Dr Michelle Byrne, said “the Pioneer Play Festival, focusing on theatre craft, is an exciting new opportunity to showcase the creativity, inclusion and arts capacity of The Hills Shire. Local artists will benefit from the building of skills, networks and performance opportunities, and our residents will have a great new opportunity to experience original Australian work in the beautiful new Pioneer Theatre.” Submissions for the Pioneer Play Awards are now open. Full details can be found on the festival website. **What:** Pioneer Play Festival **When:** 23rd to 24th November 2018 **Where:** Pioneer Theatre, Cnr Castle and Pennant Streets, Castle Hill **Tickets:** Individual events from $5 - $50. Festival Passes: from $52.75. **Bookings:** via the festival website at **** #**March 2018** #Connect the North-South Rail Link to the Sydney Metro Northwest **Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne - 22 March 2018**
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne is calling on both the State and Federal Governments to launch investigations into how the north-south rail link could be connected to Sydney Metro Northwest, to enable Hills residents, business owners and employees access to the future Western Sydney Airport. Mayor Byrne envisaged the north-south rail link would start at Cudgegong Road Station in Rouse Hill then travel through to Marsden Park and onto the future Western Sydney Airport. “I commend both the NSW and Federal Governments for coming to the table to fund a study to finalise a route and station locations for the new north-south rail link,” Mayor Byrne said. “It’s really exciting news, but I just don’t understand why investigations only extend to Schofields, instead of looking into how the new Sydney Metro Northwest could be linked to the new airport line. “Within the next 15 years, another 100,000 people will call The Hills their ‘home’ taking its population well above 250,000. The Hills is also home to 20,000 businesses employing approximately 80,000 people and these numbers are set to double over the next 30 years. These businesses and residents would likely use the Western Sydney Airport to catch a flight across Australia and to destinations all over the world. “It just doesn’t make any sense to have the connection begin at Schofields, instead of linking it to Cudgegong Road Railway Station to allow north-west residents to travel with ease to the airport. “The Hills Shire Council has continued to voice its support for this very important connection and has done so for many years. “Without easy access via a north-south rail link, hundreds of thousands of residents living in north-west Sydney will miss out on jobs and easy access into the south-west, as well as into the new airport and the education facilities out that way. And, accessible public transport to the airport is vital for economic growth and the success of Sydney’s second airport. “I hope they reconsider their plans and continue the train line to Cudgegong Road Railway Station,” Mayor Byrne added. **** #Launch of the Hills Women's Shed **Alex Hawke MP - 15 March 2018**

The first Hills Women’s Shed in the Hills was recently launched, a great initiative of the Positive Vibes Foundation and the new Hills office of the Community Migrant Resource Centre. It was great to speak with so many of our Hills community group leaders and workers doing so much to help vulnerable people.
Thank you to Dr Padmini Howpage for her vision to establish a Hills Women’s Shed in the Hills district and to Melissa Monterio and her team for the great work they do at the Community Migrant Resource Centre. I am pleased an office is now located at 16 Arthur Street, Baulkham Hills.

Unemployment rate falls 2% in Mitchell

Alex Hawke MP - 15 March 2018

The latest employment data recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statisticsshows a decrease in the unemployment rate in Mitchell.
The suburb of Castle Hill saw a significant drop in the unemployment rate from 5.2% in December 2016 to 3.3% in the December 2017 quarter, while Bella Vista decreased from 4.3% to 2.6% in the same period. Baulkham Hills fell from an unemployment rate of 6.3% to 4.3%, a 2% drop over 12 months. Kellyville also fell from 4.5% to 3.1%.
I am pleased the unemployment rate in Mitchell is well below both the state and national averages. In fact, I cannot remember a time when the unemployment rate in Mitchell was this low.
Mitchell continues to be an economic powerhouse, with below average unemployment and a median income well above the national average. The Turnbull Government’s agenda for Jobs and Growth is delivering for people in Mitchell and North West Sydney.
The right policy settings have resulted in 1100 new jobs, on average, being created every day. The Turnbull Government will continue to deliver policies which will see even more people get a job in Mitchell.

Fighting for our Rail Link to Western Sydney Airport

Alex Hawke MP - 15 March 2018

The Turnbull Government’s Western Sydney City Deal to provide heavy rail from Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis to St Mary's via Western Sydney Airport is great news for residents and commuters of Western Sydney. Stage 1 of the North South Rail Link builds on the Turnbull Government’s $5.3 billion commitment to build the Western Sydney Airport and develop the region into an economic powerhouse.
I am strongly advocating for Stage 2 of the North South Rail Link, extending the rail line from St Mary's to Rouse Hill. Stage 2 will provide crucial rail infrastructure and capacity for the growing number of residents and businesses within the Hills District. I will be working alongside residents and local businesses to ensure Northwest Sydney puts its best foot forward to fight for this much-needed infrastructure.

Huge Hills Community Donation to Save Babies Lives

12 March 2018

“On Thursday 24th August 2017, the local community came together for the Hills Annual Charity Gala Ball said Raj Kumar, owner, Biviano's Restaurant Dural to raise money for the Grace Centre for Newborn Care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.” “The Grace Centre (ICU) provides intensive care to approximately 600 critically ill newborn babies each year who have surgical, cardiac and other complex medical conditions” said Mag Hosny, Marketing Manager for Biviano’s. “Sadly, the demand for the Centre outweighs their current resources and funds, and we heard their urgent plight by including-ICU in our last year Biviano’s Gala Ball”. "To help ICU to continue its life-saving work, our goal as organisers and supporters was to raise sufficient funds to purchase an urgently needed $24,000 for one Panda Medical Bed." “Through the generosity of sponsors, donors, and guests on the evening, enough funds were raised to purchase not one, but two of these incredible beds” said Mayor of The Hills, Dr Michelle Byrne. “I feel extremely lucky to live in such a generous community and thanks to Biviano’s Restaurant Dural for hosting such a great yearly event”. Dr Jim Taggart -OAM , who was the MC and auctioneer for the night said “I want to thank everyone who attended and donated to the event. It was for such a worthy cause, and I was delighted to be involved with Biviano’s ”. On Friday 2nd of March, the two new Panada Medical Beds were officially presented to Professor Dr Nadia Badawi AM- Medical Director and her team Angela Casey and Robert Halliday of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead- ICU (refer to photos). Member for Castle Hill Ray Williams MP said “I want to thank the generous people of the Hills who donated funds which secured these beds on behalf of The Grace Centre at Westmead Children’s Hospital. These two beds will be vital to saving the lives of hundreds of babies in the future”. **** #Local Woman Of The Year **Ray Williams MP - 12 March 2018**
In recognition of her dedication and hard work in the Castle Hill community, Mrs Anne-Maree Kinley has been selected as the 2018 Local Woman of the Year. Her commitment to bringing positive change to Castle Hill through her dedication of over 21 years to the local schools and community made her an outstanding candidate. Anne-Maree has been a powerhouse within the Castle Hill Public and Castle Hill High Schools P&C’s for over two decades. She has not only been an excellent leader in this capacity, but a role model for many of the young women whose lives she has impacted through her involvement. CONGRATULATIONS ANNE-MAREE! **** #$220 million Western Sydney School Projects ready to start **Ray Williams MP - 12 March 2018**

The NSW Government is ramping up work on 13 new and upgraded schools in Greater Western Sydney as its record $4.2 billion investment in building public schools shifts into top gear.
The NSW Government allocated $400m in this year’s Budget to build new public schools, including North Kellyville nd Bella Vista, by 2020.
Since 2011, the NSW Government has committed $1.75 billion to over 70 new and upgraded school projects in Western Sydney.

Free flu jab for NSW kids under 5 this Winter

Ray Williams MP - 12 March 2018

Children between six months and five years old will be eligible for free flu jabs this year, under an influenza vaccination program to be offered by the NSW Government.
The program will target more than 400,000 children and ensure better protection for them and the wider community. NSW is now ensuring every child under five has the opportunity to be better protected this winter.
By immunising younger children, those more vulnerable in the community will also be protected, including babies too young to receive a flu vaccine.
The $1.75 million NSW Health immunisation awareness campaign this year will provide parents and GPs with details about the new free influenza vaccine program.

Active Kids - $100 for every child to play sport

Ray Williams MP - 12 March 2018

More than one million school children across the state are now eligible for the NSW Government’s new annual $100 Active Kids voucher contributing towards the cost of sports registration, membership expenses and fees for physical activities such as swimming, dance lessons, football, netball and athletics.
Parents have until 31 December 2018 to claim and use their voucher.
More information: or call Service NSW on 137 788.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles!!

Ray Williams MP - 12 March 2018

It’s no secret NSW is driving the national economy and its beating heart is certainly Western Sydney. The recent announcement of billions of dollars being injected into new road and rail links for Badgerys Creek Airport is certainly welcome news for this region.
The new north/south rail line is designed to meet the goal of connecting western Sydney residents within 30 minutes of up to 200,000 new jobs to be located within the airport precinct.
The Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis as it is known is adjacent to the Western Sydney airport. The area will be zoned for manufacturing, research, medical, education and commercial activities, providing new high quality employment opportunities for the growing communites of Western Sydney.

Get ready to leap into Year One Reading Club

The Hills Shire Council - 15 March 2018

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne encourages budding readers to explore the wide world of literature with the Year One Reading Club. The Year One Reading Club is already underway at The Hills Shire Library and will continue to run until October 31. Members will receive a sticker for their log every time they visit the library and borrow. The more stickers they collect the more rewards they’ll receive. “One of my all-time favourite places is the local library and the Year One Reading Club introduces children to the endless opportunities available to them at their nearest Hills Shire Library Branch,” Mayor Byrne said. “It’s very important for kids to foster a love of reading from an early age and this is the perfect way to start. “I encourage mums, dads and guardians to sign their children up for this club as continuous reading improves reading and writing skills, while broadening their imaginations,” Mayor Byrne added. To join the Year One Reading Club head to one of The Hills Shire Libraries or visit and search for “library” in the search bar. **** #Old Northern Road and Glenhaven Road gets the green light for upgrade **The Hills Shire Council - 13 March 2018**

Works at the intersection of Old Northern Road and Glenhaven Road will soon commence after Council awarded a tender to Clearly Bros on Tuesday, February 27.
The construction management company will now be tasked with upgrading the busy intersection, ultimately improving safety for all road users.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said this is a huge step forward in finally bringing the long awaited upgrade to fruition.
“It is a big win for residents who have campaigned for years for upgrades to be made at this busy stretch of road,” Mayor Byrne said.
“Road safety is very important to our community and improving the Old Northern Road and Glenhaven Road intersection has been a top priority for Council.
“After the relocation of services, the next step of the project includes reconstruction and widening of Old Northern Road and Glenhaven Road, and the installation of traffic signals at the Glenhaven Road intersection.
“These upgrades wouldn’t have been made possible without the support of the Minister for Disability Services and Multiculturalism and the local member for Castle Hill, Ray Williams MP, who has continued to work with Council and the Roads and Maritime Services to finalise designs.
“This is a great outcome for residents and I am so happy we can deliver this important project, while improving connectivity, reliability and performance of one of The Hills’ major arterial roads. I thank the residents for their patience in what has been a very long process to get to this point,” Mayor Byrne added.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Robyn Preston said she was pleased to see work finally underway.
“Residents have been crying out for more than a decade to have this stretch of road upgraded,” Deputy Mayor Preston said.
"It's fantastic news that we are finally moving along with this important project,” she added.
State Member for Castle Hill, Ray Williams MP, said the upgrade has been a long time coming.
“There were many obstacles in our way and no one could have foreseen them when the upgrade was initially announced,” Mr Williams said.
“I want to commend the Council, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the NSW Government for funding this very important project, which will improve road and traffic conditions.
“I want to also take the opportunity to apologise to the community who had to wait so long for this road project to begin. But regardless of the outcome, we would have had to go through this same process to achieve the results we need to improve this important intersection.”
The RMS and Council have jointly funded the $9 million road improvement project.
Works will begin in early April 2018.

Improvements being made to the intersection of Arthur Street and Seven Hills Road

The Hills Shire Council - 12 March 2018

The installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Arthur Street and Seven Hills Road in Baulkham Hills is one step closer after Council awarded a tender to MGP Civil Contractors on Tuesday, February 27.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said she was pleased to see the final service relocation works come to fruition.
“Telstra, Optus and Endeavour Energy’s assets have all been relocated and now MGP Civil Contractors will be tasked with completing the last piece of the puzzle and that’s relocating a Sydney Water water main,” Mayor Byrne said.
“The intersection has been a trouble spot for traffic concerns and the installation of traffic signals will help ease congestion and create a safer place for those entering into and exiting the intersection.
“Accidents and traffic take a huge toll on residents and visitors to the area and I am pleased to see work is underway to improve this very busy intersection,” Mayor Byrne added.
Works are expected to commence shortly in consultation with Sydney Water.
The work will involve adjusting a water main that crosses Seven Hills Road and laying a new water main in the intersection with Arthur Street. This work will need to be undertaken at night due to the busy nature of the roads.
Council has committed more than $3 million to making the intersection safer for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle drivers.

The Search is on for the next Sydney Hills Youth Ambassador

The Hills Shire Council - 8 February 2018

The Youth Ambassador Program involves the selection of young people to serve as Ambassadors of The Hills Shire for a period of 12 months.
They will participate in youth events, speak at Council functions, actively participate and provide direction to The Hills Youth Army, as well as acting as a Council representative at relevant events.
They will also receive $1,500 allowance to help fulfil their duties.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said the program would help young adults to achieve their social goals and help them develop into community leaders.
“We’re looking for young people who are passionate about meeting new people, giving back to the public and have a strong desire to represent our Council,” Mayor Byrne said.
“The successful applicants will act as a voice for the youth of The Hills and be provided with further opportunities to develop skills and gain valuable experience and connections,” Mayor Byrne added.
Applicants must be aged between 15 and 24 years and reside in The Hills.
To nominate yourself, a friend or family member, visit The Hills Shire Council website ( and search for “ Sydney Hills Youth Ambassador Program”.
There you will find the online application form, which will need to be filled out and completed.
Nominations close at 4pm on Friday, March 2.