FEDERAL Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the strength and vitality of a community is reinforced on how the members interact with each other.
This Sunday, March 30, is Neighbour Day, Australia’s annual celebration of community and Mr Joyce said as the elected Member for New England he was acutely aware how vital strong communities were to the region, the state and the nation.
“The strength of our communities shapes our national identity and it helps build places where every Australian can feel safe, connected and respected,” he said.
Mr Joyce said since 2003 there had been five principal aims which have shaped Neighbour Day.
“These include strengthening communities and building better relationships with the people who live around us.
He said other aims were to create safer, healthier and more vibrant suburbs and towns, to promote tolerance, respect and understanding and to break down community barriers.
Mr Joyce said the final core aim of the day was to protect the elderly, the vulnerable and disadvantaged.
“I firmly believe healthy relationships are essential for everyone’s wellbeing,” he said.
“We respect the rights of all people, in all their diversity, to live life fully within their families and communities with dignity and safety.”
Mr Joyce said Relationships Australia, the coordinator of Neighbour Day, was running a competition with $200 for the best story of a neighbourly act from each state and story.
He said a national prize winner would be chosen and would win $500. Entries are open until 30 April 2014.
Community members in the New England electorate can find out more or register their own Neighbour Day event and download a free kit at www.neighbourday.org