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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31747

Mr LINDSAY (10:03 AM) —Last night a Work for the Dole project in the electorate of Herbert in Thuringowa was judged the best overall Work for the Dole activity for 2003. That is a marvellous achievement. It is one that I am very proud of and one that my community will be very proud of. Rasmussen State School, under Principal Mrs Jan Metcalfe, and local unemployed people who are looking for work experience, are setting the standard for the entire nation. That is what last night's award meant. This example gives us all food for thought.

Why do I say food for thought? That was the title of the activity that this particular group undertook. It is an outstanding achievement. Diane and Ross Taylor, who were there last night; Kim Holl; Jamie-Lee Sawrey—one of the participants; and Kylie Norris were all as proud as I was when the announcement was made that Food For Thought won the national award for best Work for the Dole activity for 2003.

The caring for people category, which this project won, covers a broad range of activities and shows that local action can make a difference to individuals. This particular project was to provide nutritious meals for schoolchildren. It is something that the Work for the Dole participants really relished being part of because they could see the results. The local council had conducted research that showed that local children's behaviour and academic performance were often related to poor nutrition. The project resulted in noticeable improvements in the children's behaviour and academic performance. Participants learned skills in purchasing and packing food and making craft items which the local schools used to raise funds.

Laura, a student at Rasmussen State School, said:

We have a brain break at 10 am. We are allowed to eat fruit and cheese. It makes our brain work. We do a dance after.

Kylie Fricker, a mother of a student at Rasmussen school, said:

This programme is providing children with an opportunity to learn and develop. Intervention on this level is desperately needed so that the cycle of poverty can be broken. I believe that there have already been some remarkable results.

It makes me proud as a local member to understand that people in my community can make such a difference and that, so far away from the golden triangle in the south of the country, we can get a project up that is judged the best overall Work for the Dole activity for 2003.

On another matter, the government is currently seeking tenders to license another 23 magnetic resonance imaging machines. Those magnets do a fantastic job in the health system. At the Mater hospital in Townsville, Queensland's most complex regional private hospital, patients are currently disadvantaged by the lack of publicly funded MRI facilities. Patients have to be sent to the Townsville Hospital, causing extraordinary delays and inconvenience. Currently the MRI at Townsville Hospital is very busy and there are long waiting times to access that magnet. I very strongly support the MRI at the Mater hospital being publicly funded. It has been there since 1999, doing a marvellous job. Unfortunately the hospital has to charge significant dollars for its use, whereas I believe that it should be a publicly funded machine. I ask the government to look closely at this particular machine, and I hope that it gets chosen as one of the 23 machines that will be funded in the current tender.