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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12449

Ms SAFFIN (Page) (20:34): I too want to speak in support of Meals on Wheels, and I thank the honourable member for Parkes for bringing this motion before the House. My seat of Page has seven branches of Meals of Wheels: Lismore, Ballina, Casino, Kyogle District Care Connections, Meals on Wheels Iluka Association Incorporated, Maclean Lower Clarence Meals on Wheels and Grafton Meals on Wheels. The dedicated Meals on Wheels committees lead about 1,200 hardworking volunteers across Page. As I have said in this House before, I suppose that makes it two battalions of people. They cook and deliver an average of 600 meals a week and they operate on Meals on Wheels New South Wales values of compassion, care, respect, teamwork and integrity.

One of what I call my Page priorities was to help the Meals on Wheels Iluka Association Incorporated secure a new meals kitchen. I am pleased to say I opened that kitchen in August last year. I was able to help them with a good grant so they were able to build that kitchen. The modern kitchen is named after two local Meals on Wheels stayers: Mrs Ida Johnson, in her early 90s, who had a stroke earlier this year and now lives in aged care in nearby Maclean, and Mrs Dorian Cupitt, in her early 80s, of Iluka. So it is called Ida and Doreen's Kitchen, and it is a great kitchen. Doreen is a foundation member of Iluka Meals on Wheels from when the organisation was first established in 1979 and she is a former treasurer. Ida volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 44 years in Iluka, where she was Meals on Wheels committee president and, before that, in the Central Coast. Her daughter, Marion Kurz, is the current treasurer and managed the kitchen project, so it is quite a family affair and a very local affair.

I would like to pay tribute to the Meals on Wheels committee president Kingsley Cornwall, vice president Colin Kempshall, secretary Kaye Becker, Marion Kurz, Olive Pavey and Aileen Cameron for sticking with their six-year mission to secure a new kitchen. They did not only lobby; they got out and did a lot of hard work and raised funds as well. Iluka Meals on Wheels coordinator Eleanor Moor, relief coordinator Desiree Auer, new cook Natalie Cook and 70 volunteers love their spacious kitchen. They use fresh ingredients and cook hot lunchtime meals for more than 30 elderly residents in Iluka and Woombah.

I would like to praise the Iluka community, including the Iluka Bowls Club, Iluka Golf Club and Sedgers Reef Hotel, for raising a total of $77,000 from raffles, donations, a garage sale and a cent auction sale. A lot of hard work went into raising that $77,000. This was a mammoth effort from a small but strong community and testament to what can be done with a will.

It is the same will that I was able to bring to bear to advocate to get the crucial funding—the extra $240,000—that came by way of a FaHCSIA grant to enable the kitchen to be built. Because the community demonstrated the need, did the hard yards and also raised funds, that always makes the job of lobbying easier. Again, it was not easy, but like the community effort, it was one worth doing and persisting with, and I did, and it paid off with this great community asset.

I also thank Iluka builder Tony Smith and his local subcontractors and Geoff Wotherspoon, of Wotherspoons in Lismore, for going the extra mile in constructing and fitting out the meals kitchen. It is built on land gifted by the New South Wales Department of Lands, so I thank them, and under Clarence Valley Council's caretakership, so I thank them as well. The total cost of the project was just shy of $400,000, with other contributions coming from Iluka Meals on Wheels, $45,000; New South Wales Ageing, Disability and Home Care, $33,000; and the Department of Veterans' Affairs, $4,500. It really was a wonderful effort and it is great to see that kitchen up and operating, serving wonderful, tasty, nutritious meals.

Debate adjourned.