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Monday, 12 February 2018
Page: 943


Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:45): As we head into question time, for most people around the country the most important query on a Monday is, 'How was your weekend?' I hope everyone had a good one. I had a fantastic weekend in my electorate of Paterson. I had the great pleasure of attending three fabulous community events. On Friday night, I attended the 10th anniversary of and the launch of the 2018 program for the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre. Deputy Speaker Coulton, I'm sure you've heard of the town of Cessnock, but I wager not in conjunction with the impending performance of Madame Butterfly by the Melbourne Ballet Company. We're all looking forward to it. On Saturday evening, I had the honour of meeting five young women who have made the final of Maitland's historic Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Society's annual Miss Maitland competition. Don't be fooled by the formal title of this event, which has been an institution in Maitland for 156 years. This is no arcane beauty pageant. These young women are strong, they are sharp and they are agriculture ambassadors. My Saturday evening was rounded off with a visit to the Riverlights festival, again in Maitland. This central Maitland event attracts thousands of people for culture, colour and cuisine from around the globe, and it culminates with the release of beautiful floating lanterns on the glorious Hunter River. Congratulations, everyone.