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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3150

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (BraddonParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (09:56): Over the last month, I have been very pleased to host a number of ministers and parliamentary secretaries. I have had the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig, down to meet a number of my farmers and to look at a number of enterprises. Minister Burke was with me recently and we were looking at a number of mining sites in the Arthur-Pieman or Tarkine region. I have had Parliamentary Secretary Jacinta Collins meet with a number of my school communities on the Gonski report. Simon Crean visited twice recently, to announce the Agritas Trade College in Smithton and also the Harcus River Road energy and road upgrade commitments to the Circular Head region, as well as to celebrate the completion of the Burnie waterfront development, which was a $3 million direct investment from the Commonwealth, along with allied projects associated with the waterfront of something like $6 million. I thank all those colleagues for their interest and contribution to my electorate. They are always very welcome and are evidence of this government's keen interest and investment in regional Australia and most especially in my region.

Most recently, I was able to host the new Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, who has also been a regular visitor to my region over the years that I have had the privilege to serve in this parliament with her. We were able to celebrate at the Mersey Community Hospital—where we are committed to $180 million of investment over the next three years—to celebrate the opening of the new accident and emergency centre as well as the outpatients region. I want to congratulate all those that constructed and were part and parcel of the planning of this fantastic development at the Mersey Community Hospital, and of course that is allied with the new high dependency unit, which was opened about 12 months ago. Of course, we are able to also celebrate the University of Tasmania and the Rural Clinical School situated on the north-west coast. It also has a training centre of excellence at the Mersey Community Hospital as well.

Here is the Mersey Community Hospital working in an integrated way with the North West Regional Hospital, where we have most recently opened residential units. We have just made the commitment of $16.5 million to develop a regional Cancer Centre, and I notice too that the state government has just commenced work on the car park at the North West Regional Hospital. So congratulations to all those involved. (Time expired)