• Annemarie Taylor

As we near the end of “one hell of a year” Susan Templeman shares her thoughts on 2020

In her Christmas message to the community, Macquarie MP Susan Templeman looks back on a year none of us will ever forget, and tells us what she hopes for in 2021.

“No-one could have predicted the year that 2020 was. From bushfires to COVID-19, sports rorts to Cartier watches, it was a rollercoaster.

“Twelve months ago, residents from Colo Heights to the Macdonald Valley, from Bilpin to Bowen Mountain were living under the threat of bushfire. As a result of those fires, the Hawkesbury Local Government area lost 19 houses and suffered an estimated $33 million in damage to the local economy.

Susan Templeman delivering treats from Bligh Park's Humble Bakery to nurse Kerrie at Hawkesbury Hospital in May to say thank you to frontline workers during the pandemic

“Just as people began picking up the pieces, COVID hit. And then, just as we all made plans to catch up for Christmas, it hit again.

“Never has the intervention of government been so crucial as in the worst recession the country has experienced, and my office helped hundreds of people forced to seek government assistance, often for the very first time.

“In fact, analytics consultancy Taylor Fry tracked the financial impact of the pandemic of every Australian postcode and last month found 2756 – specifically Bligh Park – was fifth on the list of NSW postcodes hardest hit by cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments.

“But I know many small businesses that seized opportunities and many workers who reinvented themselves, embracing technology and a new way of working for the ‘new normal’.

“Our teachers stepped up to go above and beyond during the pandemic. They made massive changes very quickly to ensure students weren’t being left behind, and to them I say a heartfelt thank you.

“To those on the front line – our nurses, our cleaners, our supermarket and shop workers, childcare workers and teachers, bus and train drivers, Centrelink staff - all those who continued to put themselves at risk so the rest of us did not go without healthcare and necessities, thank you.

“And where governments failed to meet needs, our community stepped up.

"An army of amazing local volunteers continue to provide food, funds and mental health support to those in need.

"They give selflessly of their time to help the most vulnerable in our local community, and to them we also express our gratitude.

“In 2020, I have walked this journey with you as your Federal Member of Parliament. My office helped solve many phone and internet issues as people worked from home. We helped people leave the country or return. We helped with JobKeeper and JobSeeker problems. And my wonderful team of volunteers reached out to the older members of the community with a phone call, just to check in and see if they were ok. Sometimes they were, but in a few cases they weren’t, and we were able to put them in contact with services who could help.

“There have been many promises made by the government, but also many not delivered yet, and after the cameras have stopped rolling and the photo opportunity is done, I’ll be holding them to account.

“To everyone in our community: please stay safe. This latest COVID outbreak has proved we must continue to be cautious.

"Follow the advice from official sources, and please be mindful of what is shared on social media. When in doubt, go to the NSW or Australian Government websites for information.

“As we end one hell of a year and start a more hopeful one, I am here for you, to make sure no one is left behind.”

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