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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4163

Ms SAFFIN (Page) (10:39): I also thank the honourable members for their cooperation. I want to talk about what has been going on in my electorate of Page over the last month but particularly the last week. The last week feels a bit like a month because there has been so much activity and so many good things happening. I have had the pleasure to open 5 BER projects—all good projects and all welcomed by the local teachers and parents and the local communities. There was Stratheden, which is a small country school in my electorate in between Casino and Kyogle. I also had with me the Mayor of Richmond Valley Council, Col Sullivan, who was a student a long time ago at Stratheden school. There was also Southern Cross in Ballina, a K to 12 school, which is a larger school and a school that also undertakes distance education. It does that extremely well, incorporating languages into the school. The third one was St Mary's Primary School in Grafton. All of them have got new libraries and new halls and, because they were able to work with the local builders and local companies, they managed to get a good deal. They got additional covered walkways and things like that.

I have 96 schools in my electorate, so I have been a bit involved with them and have tried to make sure that we get the best we possibly can out of that stimulus money. All of these schools are using local architects, local builders, local electricians and local plumbers. Then there was St James Primary School in Yamba. I was there the other day, and they did extremely well—they have a multipurpose hall and they have a lovely walkway. The choir performed for me in the hall. On Friday I was at Rappville Public School. It is a great country school; it has 23 students and its numbers are holding. It is on the Summerland Way between Casino and Grafton. It was really pleasing to see the library that they have and a range of other things. They managed to get another shed and a water tank and all the things that they need for good amenities in the area.

Many other things have happened which I will not have time to cover, but there was a wonderful $700,000 Healthy Clarence Communities grant which came through Minister Nicola Roxon, who initiated the National Healthy Communities Program. The Clarence Valley Council put up a submission and was successful, and I was able to announce that on Friday. I also visited Grafton Base Hospital and saw the upgrade there.