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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 964

Mrs ELLIOT (RichmondParliamentary Secretary for Trade) (10:39): I rise today to talk about a fantastic event in my electorate last Friday, the opening of the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex. The opening of this more than $16 million complex was an outstanding event. It is project that many people in that community have worked hard on for a very long time, so it was great to be there. What is particularly important is that the federal Labor government delivered $9.5 million for this project. First of all, we committed $1.5 million through the Better Regions Program prior to the 2007 election, which we delivered on; also, the Byron Shire Council were successful in receiving $8 million under the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. So that is $9.5 million towards this great project and shows that the federal Labor government understands how important it is to invest in regional infrastructure like this. What is so important about this project is that we have a massive sports centre, with 10 outdoor playing fields. The scale and size of it are just outstanding. Inside is an indoor stadium with multiuse indoor courts. In addition to sport, this wonderful facility can be used for massive conferences or cultural centres. This is something that the Byron Bay region did not have before, so it is an outstanding project for our region and adds to the economic benefit of Byron Bay and to tourism. A number of jobs were created whilst the project was being built and there are many permanent jobs now, so it is an outstanding addition to that area.

There are a number of people I would particularly like to thank who were very much involved with this project. First of all, is the mayor, Councillor Jan Barham, who has followed this project since day one and has worked very hard towards it. Then there is Paul Irwin, President of the Byron Bay Community Sports Association and also this year's Citizen of the Year in Byron Bay Council's Australia Day awards, who has been absolutely dedicated to this project from day one. Then there is Herb Elliott, the fantastic champion Olympian, who has been involved from day one as well and who has been outstanding. Also, there are John and Delvene Cornell, Byron Bay residents who have had a strong commitment to supporting local community sporting grants. In fact, a sports field has been named in honour of Herb Elliott and another in honour of the Cornell family, recognising their contribution to the local region.

This is an absolutely huge community victory. Everyone in the Byron region was committed to getting this built, and I was very proud as the local member to be able to deliver more than $9.5 million to see this opened and to see the difference it will make to locals. They need to have international standard sporting fields, and it is great for the local community and for international visitors. It is fantastic for what is already the international icon that is Byron Bay now to have a conference centre that will attract people to the region.