An interesting bunch of statistics arrived around the middle of this year, drawn from the most recent national Census.

It found the average age of someone living in the Farrer electorate is 42. You also might have some English or Irish ancestry, be born in Italy or have emigrated from India. Most people are in a relationship, work over 45 hours a week, and do a LOT of extra, unpaid housework, in what’s likely to be a three-bedroom home.

Farrer boasts a very diverse demographic, so of course there’s lots of us who are nothing like this at all. But one clear constant (on every single Census), is that much of our region’s prosperity is dependent on a healthy agriculture sector.

Which is why the cost of living, the cost of doing business and record rainfall over the back half of the year are each top of my mind as we move into the Christmas break.

Many local growers are still waiting for soil and crops to dry off before completing a cutback harvest – many tell me they’ll be burning the midnight oil for a number of weeks yet.

I want to take this opportunity to praise the flood response from our local SES teams, Rural Fire Service, police, ambulance, health agencies, the new National Emergency Management Agency, ADF personnel, Resilience NSW, council officers and many, many more.

Thanks also to anyone who volunteered their time, whether that was to sandbag a town, property, or just phoning a friend to make sure they were coping.

There’s no perfect response to handle what Mother Nature throws at us, but I am communicating regularly with both the NSW and federal governments on what we need here as the clean-up continues. Please get in touch if you or your community needs further assistance.

With changed conditions around many of our waterways, please be extra vigilant with your youngsters over summer and alert any visitors to the unique risks posed when swimming in our local rivers and dams.

If you’re heading away, watch out too for any number of water-damaged roads, and where you can stop, shop, or visit locally, please do, as it benefits all of us.

Here’s to a bright, clear year ahead after spending a little downtime with family, friends or just taking a breather. While my office is closed over the break, we’re always on-call for any critical issue or emergency.

So, whether it’s ‘Mērī karisamasa’, ‘Buon Natale’, ‘Merry Christmas’ or something completely different, I wish you and your loved ones best wishes for the festive season.