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Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Page: 10148

Ms SAFFIN (Page) (19:25): I am here to talk about local issues, but I first want to make a factual correction. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has been to Timor-Leste. I had contact with him when he was there because he was with my old boss, President Jose Ramos-Horta. That is a correction—it is good to get your facts right when you come into this place.

Mr Briggs: It's on the information that his department's released.

Ms SAFFIN: Do some research if you want to get it right.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): Order! The honourable member for Page has the call.

Ms SAFFIN: I could not help but hear it. Now I will go back to local issues.

Mr Briggs: I don't think you're right, Janelle.

Ms SAFFIN: I am right on that one.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The honourable member for Mayo will cease interjecting.

Ms SAFFIN: Back to local issues, I want to congratulate Bob Jarman from Kyogle, a previous dairy farmer, who has just been granted the New South Wales Landcare Australian Government Facilitator-Coordinator Award. Bob does wonderful work through Landcare and other key natural resources organisations in ways too numerous to detail. I want to put on record congratulations to Bob, who recently received his award.

I want to talk about some of the good things that have been happening in my electorate, particularly with the BER and the recognition ceremonies I have been able to go to. I went to Kyogle High School. They got a science lab there, and it was just wonderful to see. The students were so excited; they got facilities they would never have otherwise got. That was through a combination of the BER science money and also the NSP program. I also went to St Brigid's Primary School in Kyogle. They got a wonderful new library, a new lift so that there is accessibility for the students, and much more. One of the things I have been finding when I have gone to these schools is that they have been able to get what the money was allocated for, but with really good builders and good design they were able to get a whole range of other things, additional benefits.

I went to Lismore Heights Public School, where they got new classrooms, refurbishment and walkways. I know a lot of the schools were able to get the covered walkways to link up the classrooms around the school grounds. The Lismore Public School got new student amenities and associated works, classrooms, COLAs and refurbishment—it was just wonderful to see. St Mary's High School received a science BER project and because ag and primary industries is one of their subjects, with a strong focus on that because they are in a rural area, they have established St Mary's Earth Centre. It was lovely that I got to share in the recognition ceremony. Some of the students had just come back from the Brisbane Ekka, where they had been participating.

South Grafton Public School got a wonderful new library plus a whole range of other benefits. Albert Park Public School in Lismore got a fabulous new library, and they were also able to turn a space into a real performing arts area. That was of great excitement to the students, the teachers and the principal. Just recently I was at Iluka Public School and joined the previous P&C president, the principal, the teachers, the students and some locals to participate in the opening of their library, which has a retractable door in the middle, where they can also get a new classroom, a walkway and then some. There have been comments about the BER, particularly from the other side, and yet I am still looking for the ones I hear talked about, because they are certainly not in my electorate. As I go around, principals make the comment that this has never happened and it is a wonderful thing. It did two things: it gave our schools first-class facilities and it also put money into the local economy. It made a huge difference, and we are the envy of the world for where our economy is situated. The stimulus really did the job that it was intended to do, particularly through our schools.

One other thing recently: the Hon. Minister Crean joined me in Casino, and we opened the Casino Cultural Centre. (Time expired)