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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14795


Mr HOGAN (Page) (11:07): A group of young inventors from South Grafton Public School took part in the FIRST Lego League, in Sydney on Tuesday, 1 December. The Lego League is a worldwide event with 250,000 students from 90 countries competing in the event. The Grafton students were successful and received a $5,000 robotic kit for the league event.

The competition this year had a theme of waste and recycling, and the children had to come up with real-world solutions. The students identified disposal of everyday household batteries as a major concern. Their research showed that 97 per cent of normal batteries—like AA and C batteries—are put into general waste. This puts massive amounts of heavy metals and toxins into our landfill sites. The competition has three aspects. Firstly, the team has to identify a waste or recycling issue in the real world, research the problem and then devise a solution. Secondly, they have to work as a team and show a professional attitude to devise real outcomes. Lastly, they have to build a robot that can complete 12 missions in 2½ minutes. The missions are based on the theme.

Thirty-two teams competed in Sydney. Every school was faced with the same set of parameters. The children then have to code the robots and commence the challenge. The Skydivers, as they named themselves, performed exceptionally well, finishing in 10th place—an outstanding result, given that the age group they entered was the nine to-16 year division, and these students are all 10- and 11-year-olds.

Congratulations to Leah Henderson, Aiden Jenkins, Tia Burchell, Sharys Eggins, Brooke Jackson, Ella Nicholson, Jessica Vasallo, Zlatta Vorontsova and Nathan Banks. I especially thank Ainslie Pope for taking the children on this wonderful journey.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is an icon of the Northern Rivers community. In the lead-up to the Christmas break they have launched a special new fundraising campaign called Rip it for Rescue. This campaign was created by Casino local Samuel Ivers, a young upcoming rugby player. On 1 August this year, Sam was involved in a serious tackle during a rugby match which left him with possible spinal injuries. He was assisted by the Westpac lifesaver rescue helicopter and now wants to give back to this vital service that helped him when he was in need. With this in mind, Sam and community leaders, including Mark Sewell, Kris Beavis, Andrew Gordon and Tom Hulse, have offered to 'rip it for rescue', and are calling on their families, friends and the community to donate to this worthy cause. If the rescue service reaches their target of $10,000 by 18 December, Sam and the leaders in the Lismore community will wax or shave their chests. I encourage everyone to get behind this most worthy cause.

The Northern Rivers Social Development Council is a community based not-for-profit organisation that supports some of the most vulnerable people in our community. They recently held their Community Sector Ball, an awards night to highlight the great work individuals in our community are doing in a number of categories. The Young Star Award winner was Jindeena King. Jindeena works for the Mijung Jarjum Kids in Mind program as a group facilitator and case worker for early intervention in mental health for young people, and as a Links to Learning facilitator for Richmond River High School. The Volunteer Lifeblood award was awards to Dr Ian Tiley. Ian has been a volunteer at Indigenous Community Volunteers for more than five years and has worked on more than 14 community driven projects. In the last year, Ian has worked with five Aboriginal communities on projects ranging from business development, governance, strategic planning, funding submissions and employment programs.

The Most Inspirational Award winner was Sarah Sherlock. Sarah is the program manager of Life on Track—a court support program delivered by Mission Australia. The Centre of the Universe Award winner was Tracey Schofield. Tracey provides IT tech support and development for Northern Rivers Social Development Council and has done with this quiet patience and amazing professionalism. She goes above and beyond the call of duty. The Collaborating Champions—Over 20 Staff—Award winner was the Connecting Home Program through the Northern Rivers Social Development Council. The team works tirelessly and effectively to case manage people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Collaborating Champions—Under 20—Award was the Jarjum Centre Aboriginal preschool. This is a wonderful preschool that I have been to many times. They do wonderful work and I congratulate them. The Social Justice Champion Award winner was Matt Cassels from RED Inc.