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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14201


Mr HOGAN (PageDeputy Speaker) (10:56): Little Athletics clubs in regional areas are a great stepping stone for our young athletes. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting a grant to the Woolgoolga Little Athletics club to help them maintain and upgrade their facilities. They are a great club. In fact, nine of their members qualified for the New South Wales state track and field championships, to be held in Sydney in mid-March. I'd like to congratulate the following competitors: William Bennett, Joseph Birkett, Skye Birkett, Lincoln Chambers, George Cummings, Kweller Happ, Maya Mitchell, Taharna Reid and Ethan Striegher. I'd also like to thank the executive of Grahame Burgess, Craig Hundle, Jasmine Bennett, Janie Mahoney and Jada Johnson for the wonderful job they do with the club.

I'd like to acknowledge some candidates who are running for the Nationals in the upcoming state election, and I'd like to start by acknowledging the Nationals candidate for the Lismore electorate, Austin Curtin, who is already delivering for the community. He lobbied for $8.2 million to start flood-proofing the Lismore CBD. He successfully lobbied the government for this money after he initiated a community petition for work following the flooding of the CBD in March 2017. He has also pushed hard for 280 nurses and midwives in the Northern New South Wales Local Health District to be allocated if he is successful. He has also announced on the weekend a doubling of Lismore Active Kids vouchers, which is obviously helping families with cost-of-living pressures. I wish Austin all the very best.

I'd like to acknowledge the Nationals candidate for Coffs Harbour in the upcoming election. Gurmesh Singh has already delivered for the community. He lobbied very hard to the state government and the RMS on the benefits of tunnels with the Coffs Harbour bypass. He is very well-known in the community. He's a fourth-generation Australian and a third-generation Coffs Harbour resident. He also successfully lobbied the government to increase nursing staff, or medical staff, with 300 to be allocated to the Mid North Coast Local Health District. He has also secured an election commitment of $8 million for a multipurpose centre at Woolgoolga and also a $10 million grant for a new boat ramp at Coffs Harbour. I wish him all the best. He will be a great MP for the Coffs Harbour region.

I'd like to acknowledge Ben Franklin, who is running for the Ballina seat for the Nationals in the upcoming state election. He has already represented the community very well as an MLC in the upper house of the New South Wales parliament. He has done things like kept the old Byron Bay hospital in community hands. He has delivered on traffic congestion by getting a bypass for the Byron Bay CBD. He has got assets like the Mullumbimby Hospital sold back to the community. He has secured funding for the Ballina indoor sports stadium, the Lennox Community Centre and much more. I wish him all the very best.