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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2745


Mr SHARP(7.32) —I wish to draw to the attention of the House tonight the fact that just recently at the Bomaderry Returned Services League club the Shoalhaven life education centre was officially launched. The Shoalhaven life education centre is a mobile van which will be servicing the schools of the Shoalhaven area to help to educate the children of those schools about the dangers of drugs, how they can best avoid them and, in the process, teach the children what drugs do to their bodies and minds so that they have a very good reason to say no if they are ever confronted in their future life with the heinous problem of drugs.

Honourable members would be familiar with life education centres. I know, for example, that the honourable member for Throsby (Mr Hollis) and the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Snow) are familiar with the Shoalhaven life education centre, principally because that life education centre will be operating in their own electorates. I know that I can count on their support when I say that congratulations are due to all those people who have been instrumental in raising funds and giving their support to ensure that the Shoalhaven life education centre is now active and operating in our region. Many people have contributed in many ways towards the establishment of this life education centre. I can recall when the Reverend Ted Noffs first came to the city of Shoalhaven in July 1985 to address a public meeting called by the then Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council, the late Alderman Harry Sawkins. From July 1985, with Ted Noff's efforts, a committee has been established, chaired by Mr David Halliday from Nowra. That committee has been active in attempts to raise what is a very large amount of money to put this life education centre mobile unit into practice.

All the service clubs in the region have contributed very generously towards this centre. I know from a number of functions I have attended that a great deal of effort was put into raising the necessary funds. I also know that people such as the former Mayor, the late Harry Sawkins of the Shoalhaven City Council, supported this effort tremendously. All the people in the district miss Harry Sawkins. I know that I share that sentiment with the honourable member for Throsby, who also knew him. We congratulate the late Harry Sawkins on his efforts. We also congratulate the Reverend Ted Noffs on his efforts. He really is the founder and driving force behind, the life education centres.

I am so pleased to see today in the media that the Reverend Ted Noffs has regained consciousness and is expected to be home within the month or so after a very serious illness which he suffered as a result of a stroke some seven or eight weeks ago. I am sure that every Australian is pleased to hear that the Reverend Ted Noffs is now making a speedy recovery. We wish him well and know that the thoughts and best wishes of every young Australian who has been through a life education centre go with him. All those people believe, as I do, that the Reverend Ted Noffs is truly one of today's great Australians.

I will complete my speech by saying that much is owed to those people who have contributed to the Shoalhaven life education centre. The contribution that they have made in whatever form will help to ensure that the children of the Shoalhaven district are the best educated and informed children in Australia about the dangers of drugs. I am proud to say that the completion of that centre sees the finalisation of the complete coverage of the electorate of Gilmore by life education centres. There are now three mobile life education centres operating in the electorate of Gilmore. I might add that it is the only Federal electorate that has complete coverage by mobile life education centres. I urge all honourable members to lend their support to life education centres because if they do they will make a great contribution not only to themselves but to every young Australian in their electorates.