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Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Page: 1254

Mr ANTHONY SMITH (9:41 AM) —It is a pleasure to rise in this House and share with members the wonderful community spirit of the Healesville community. Last Friday I had the honour and pleasure of attending the opening of the Healesville Community Bank branch of the Bendigo Bank. This was the culmination of around two years of community work. The Healesville community wanted a Bendigo Bank branch and it was in the wake of the tragic bushfires in Victoria that they decided to put together the community bank and work together to achieve this end. It was, as you would expect, a wonderful day of celebration and a real tribute to the community effort, determination and spirit which saw them succeed in opening their very own branch in Healesville.

I want to take the time this morning to pay tribute to the board of directors. I would like to mention Gary Slater, the chair; Neil Skinner, the secretary; Fred Ward, the treasurer; Kerri Goding; Kath Gannaway; Bob Gannaway; Kath Holton; Barb Honan; Jeanette McRae, who is also a local councillor with the Shire of Yarra Ranges; Andrew Ricketson; and Sandra Schoffer. I also wish well all the staff of the new bank branch, led by Suzanne Dixon.

The opening of branches like this cannot happen without the combined efforts of so many people. There are so many community groups in Healesville who pledge support and will support this new bank. They made it possible. There was the mentoring from other community members who have opened bank branches within the Yarra Valley. I would particularly like to mention Jacqui Hall, who acted as a mentor. Jacqui is on the board of the Warburton and Yarra Junction and District Community Bank. Adam Rimington, a Bendigo Bank employee, also provided a great deal of support.

It was a wonderful day and a wonderful opening. The Healesville community were ecstatic, as you can imagine. They were treated to a number of songs from the Healesville Rocky Road Choir and also the Healesville Primary School choir. I would like to congratulate all of the kids at Healesville Primary who made the celebration just that little bit extra special last Friday. Congratulations again to all of those involved and to the Healesville community, who have such a strong community spirit.