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Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Page: 87


Mr ZIMMERMAN (North Sydney) (16:04): The backbone of a strong community is often the role played by our local newspapers. They bring us together, keep us informed about local issues and events, and showcase those making a contribution to our communities. At a time when we have seen many of those local newspapers close or move entirely online, I want to speak today about one in my electorate that has endured: The Weekly Times, or TWT, as it is known as.

This year, TWT marks its centenary, a milestone that very few local papers have reached. While many local papers have faltered, TWT goes from strength to strength. Founded in Gladesville in 1921, The Weekly Times has served four generations of local readers and kept them in touch with their local communities. It has fought and won so many battles for our community, which we perhaps take for granted. It has consistently been at the forefront of local community issues and those things that matter most to local residents. It has also fought for individuals in our community and has given a voice to thousands of local people who would have no voice without it. The work done by The Weekly Times to support our local charities, churches, schools and medical services, as well as the police and other emergency services, has been vital to their success.

Like many in my electorate, I am an avid reader of TWT, and I get a well-informed insight into community views through it, especially through its regular columns. Every year, this award-winning publication gets better, but some things don't change—none more so than the one-eyed support for the Balmain Tigers and all our local sports teams and competitors that it always represents. Its support for volunteering also hasn't changed. This newspaper has assisted almost every local resident who has given their time to serve the community, for example, the Scouts, RSLs, the Red Cross and Rotary, to name but a few. Perhaps the most profound change we've seen in 100 years is the impact of Australia's diverse migration program. TWT is now very much a multicultural newspaper that embraces all cultures while upholding and preserving the legacy passed on to us by previous generations of readers.

TWT has a proud heritage, and its success is truly founded on the role of its incredible staff, from the advertising section to the journalists and, of course, the legendary editor, John Booth, or JB, as he has become known, who is so integral to TWT, that it's impossible to think of the paper without him. JB—I won't mention his age, other than to say it's closer to 90 than to 80—has the work ethic of a bright-eyed journalism cadet, despite his years of experience. He's become such a fixture that he has become a local identity himself, with his trademark press hat and his love for crowding as many people into a photo as possible, social-distancing rules or otherwise.

I want to personally thank TWT for so many wonderful memories and great achievements. May TWT continue serving our community for another 100 years.