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Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Page: 1070

Mr DREYFUS (7:45 PM) —The Rudd government’s economic stimulus plan continues to support jobs and working families in Isaacs and is helping to make our communities better and stronger. I recently opened a new environmentally themed playground at Tatterson Park that will give local families in Keysborough a great place to play and enjoy a picnic in a modern and safe environment. This $1 million project was equally funded by the federal government, under the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, the state government and the City of Greater Dandenong. This kind of cooperation between the three spheres of government is what Australians are entitled to and the Rudd government is delivering. This is a terrific playground which is based on a ‘world of insects’ theme. It is designed to integrate with the natural surroundings of Tatterson Park and gives children the opportunity to learn more about our local environment. It is hard to overstate the importance for new communities, like the one that is developing in this part of Keysborough, of recreation spaces that families can take their children to. So many local families in this area have young children, and this playground is a great recreation facility for these families.

In Braeside Park, a significant parkland in the electorate and part of Melbourne’s green wedge, the federal government has committed $236,500 towards the construction of a shared bike path. The project was proposed by, and will be funded to an equal amount by, Kingston City Council, and I congratulate the council for this project. This bike path, part of the government’s National Bike Path Projects and also part of the economic stimulus plan, will increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians along busy Governor Road. As a keen cyclist myself, I am always pleased to see a safer cycling environment. Both of these projects are not only supporting local jobs but also giving local residents the facilities for better communities and healthier lifestyles.

I also recently announced 23 Community Volunteer Grant recipients in Kingston, who shared in more than $70,000 in federal government funding. These grants recognise the importance of volunteering to our community and the real difference it makes to people’s lives. I would like to mention some of the recipients. Aspendale Life Saving Club and Bonbeach Life Saving Club received $3,000 and $1,925 respectively to support their efforts patrolling our beaches and training the next generation of lifesavers, an important task in the bayside suburbs of our electorate. Chelsea Little Athletics received $4,920 to help the club’s activities. The club competes at events around Victoria, including a very successful meet recently at the Victorian Little Athletics Association State Multi Event Championships in Bendigo. The Carrum Indigenous Nursery received $4,400 to support its work propagating plants indigenous to the unique and vulnerable ecosystem around Port Phillip Bay. I am a regular customer at the Carrum Indigenous Nursery. I recently bought some excellent Banksia marginata, a particularly beautiful banksia native to the Port Phillip Bay area, which the nursery grew from seed.

I also visited the St John Ambulance station in Dandenong South to announce $30,000 in volunteer grants for community groups in the City of Greater Dandenong. Andrew Foran, First Aid Services Operations Manager for St John Ambulance, said about the grant to his organisation:

This grant will have a very positive long-term benefit on the Greater Dandenong Division. By providing funding for essential equipment, our members will be able to continue providing vital community services while ensuring that member experience, welfare and team building is enhanced.

On a more sombre note, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mitsuko Hodgen, a local teacher at Parkdale Secondary College, who passed away in November 2009. Mitsuko was a Japanese teacher at Parkdale, as well as being the home room teacher and mentor for year 8F and the coordinator of the international students program. Mitsuko fought a year-long battle with lung cancer, during which time she continued to teach and to guide her year 12 students through to their final VCE exams. I know that her bravery, her strength and her dedication to her students has been an inspiration for so many in the local school community. The school has established scholarship awards in Mitsuko Hodgen’s memory. I was privileged to be at the first school assembly of the year, on 1 February, to present these awards to the inaugural recipients, Nick Dullard, Josh Churchward and Ramai Harker. I know that Mitsuko Hodgen is sadly missed by the whole school community.