2012 Speeches and Member's Statements - Read More
2011 Speeches and Member's Statements - Read More
HANSARD- Read More
Coongulla Fire Brigade
The coalition government has a strong commitment to ensuring that our emergency services personnel are equipped with the best possible resources to undertake the vital work of protecting the community. In line with this, I recently had the pleasure of joining Country Fire Authority staff and volunteers to celebrate two great milestones for the Coongulla CFA brigade: the 40th anniversary of providing emergency services to the local community and the presentation of the keys for a new $142 000 four-wheel tanker. Coongulla CFA is one of the first brigades in the state to receive the new ultralight tanker.
Queen's Birthday Honours
I congratulate two residents of my electorate who have been recognised for their contribution to the local community, receiving Order of Australia medals. Gil Sheppard of Lakes Entrance was recognised for his years of service to war veterans and their families, local government and the general community. Gil has served with organisations including the Naval Association of Australia and the RSL, and although not a formal representative of Legacy, he nevertheless represented many legatees free of charge. Gil was also a councillor with the East Gippsland Shire Council, serving on two separate occasions.
Don Jarrett of Lindenow South served as inspector of police, inaugural bandmaster of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps band and officer commanding/chief instructor of the Army School of Music and the Third Military District band. Don has also represented the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices. Over a long period of time both Gil and Don have dedicated their efforts to helping others in East Gippsland, and both are to be commended for their volunteer work.
Paynesville CFA Brigade
I acknowledge all Country Fire Authority brigades throughout East Gippsland and the incredible service they provide to the local community. I had the pleasure of attending Paynesville CFA's annual service awards last Saturday night. My congratulations go to Norris May and Albert Ah Yee, who received their 55-year and 60-year clasps respectively. Gary Wood was announced as Paynesville fire brigade's firefighter of the year, and Captain Ross McGregor was presented with the Eric Eaton Memorial Trophy.
Orbost Secondary College - Centenary Celebration
It was my pleasure to attend Orbost Secondary College's centenary celebration last Saturday, a great milestone in the town's history. Orbost Secondary College prides itself on being a caring and progressive college. In 1912, the first senior class consisted of 26 pupils, and the junior class consisted of 16 pupils. Most of those original students' names still remain well known in the Orbost district.
Regional Victoria Living Expo
It was fantastic to see firsthand East Gippsland being so well represented at last weekend's inaugural Regional Victoria Living Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. All stands were extremely busy with constant inquiries from people wanting to relocate permanently, invest in a second residence or find out about East Gippsland as a holiday destination. This was a great initiative by the coalition government, and it was well received by all regions.
I wish to highlight the achievements of Maffra Secondary College year 12 student Patrick Elliott, who was selected from 2000 students across Australia to attend the National Youth Science Forum held earlier this year. Since then he has been announced as 1 of only 10 Australians invited to attend the London International Youth Science Forum scheduled in August. It is extremely pleasing to see Patrick's hard work and effort in science studies combined with his obvious talent and interest in pursuing a science vocation being recognised in this way.
Bairnsdale Mother's Day Classic
Yet another fantastic community event has been held in East Gippsland. Bairnsdale Mother's Day Classic Committee members Gerry Ward and Suzanne Neumann, together with the many volunteers involved in the charity run, once again raised vital funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and for breast cancer research. Despite the very cold conditions on the day, the classic attracted 400-plus entries. I congratulate everyone involved in the organisation of this year's event.
Beaufort Memorial Gardens
One hundred and ninety-two Royal Australian Air Force personnel lost their lives training at RAAF bases in Bairnsdale and Sale in World War II. On Saturday I attended the ceremony to mark the completion of the centrepiece of the Beaufort Memorial Gardens in Bairnsdale, the Path of Remembrance. Its completion was due recognition to Bert Rodd, Alan Martin, Ron Yeates and other hardworking committee members, who received strong support from local business and the community.
Maffra Secondary College - Beacon Foundation
I wish to acknowledge Maffra Secondary College for being selected to participate in a national program involving 127 schools Australia-wide that is being run by the Beacon Foundation. The foundation's aim is to ensure that all young people experience a positive pathway to further education, training or employment. Maffra Secondary College has always had a strong careers program, and the Beacon Foundation further supports these initiatives.
East Gippsland Rail Trail Association
I congratulate members of the Friends of East Gippsland Rail Trail Association on the work they have done in creating a series of storyboards featuring the history of the region and profiles of some of the local residents. One of the storyboards recently constructed features 92-year-old Clarrie Stephens, a retired sleeper cutter from Orbost.
Matthew and Kerstin Smith - Niemann Pick Disease - Type C
I would like to highlight the battle that one family is bravely facing in my electorate. Matthew Smith and his sister Kerstin from Lakes Entrance have been diagnosed with a rare neurovisceral genetic disorder known as Niemann-Pick disease, type C (NPC). There are only 15 known cases in Australia. NPC affects all the major organs, and in more advanced stages sufferers can do little for themselves, relying totally on carers' support. I acknowledge Matthew and Kerstin and their parents, Stephen and Elizabeth, who together are confronting this illness with love, compassion and dignity.
Maffra Cheese Company - Australian Dairy Awards
The best of the best from the Australian dairy industry showcased their products at Dairy Australia's 2012 Australian Grand Dairy Awards in Melbourne. East Gippsland's own Ferial Zekiman of the Maffra Cheese Company took out the Grand Champion Cheese Award for her cloth-aged cheddar. Maffra Cheese is an example of regional businesses throughout Gippsland that are leading the way in innovation.
Jeanette Severs - Victorian Rural Woman of the Year Awards
Jeanette Severs was a finalist in the Victorian Rural Woman of the Year awards, with a ceremony held at Parliament last sitting week. Jeanette is well known throughout East Gippsland. Her nomination reflects her hard work and the contribution she has made to improving and advancing a sustainable rural sector in East Gippsland. Jeanette said being nominated for the award has been an enormous privilege and learning experience.
Bairnsdale Relay for Life
Once again, I had the pleasure of being present at the Bairnsdale Relay for Life, which raised over $35 000 for the Cancer Council. I commend all the organisers and community members throughout East Gippsland who contributed to this amazing event.
Vic Bream Classic Series
Local anglers Aaron Dyer and Graeme Dear won the Metung heat of the Vic Bream Classics series last weekend. This year the event attracted a field of 110 of the country's best anglers. Metung was chosen by event organisers as being one of the most picturesque locations on the Gippsland Lakes system, providing excellent facilities for anglers. Organisers estimated that the event injected $71 000 into the local economy -- a fantastic result.
Bairnsdale High School - 100th Anniversary
I had the pleasure of attending the centenary of the former Bairnsdale High School on Saturday. Former students from all over East Gippsland, every state of Australia and even Singapore, New Zealand and Honolulu attended the reunion. Amongst the many present was Maisie Collins, who at 97 was the oldest former student in attendance, having undertaken her schooling between 1928 and 1930. Other former students present included Australia's foremost playwright David Williamson, former national heavyweight boxing champion, Foster Diron, and former MP, Bruce Evans, who officially launched his book A Century of Outstanding Achievement.
Biggest Ever Blokes BBQ
I congratulate the organisers of the Bairnsdale Biggest Ever Blokes BBQ, which was held to raise awareness of men's health issues and raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Once again this event was a great success, with 350 blokes bonding together over a barbecue lunch. Chairman of the event David Preston said over $60 000 was raised from the auction and donations. I thank the Minister for Sport and Recreation for making himself available to attend on the day. The additional attraction of visiting celebrities James Brayshaw, Billy Brownless and Gary Lyon made for a great time out for everyone who attended.
I have previously sung the praises of Darcie Morton in this house, and now our young table tennis star has been selected to represent Australia at the International Table Tennis Federation cadet under 15 world cup and the New Zealand open championships on 16 to 20 April. She will be the youngest participant and the only member of the Australian team who is from a regional area, which is quite incredible.