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Thursday, 29 November 2018
Page: 12095

Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (10:30): I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those local residents who have supported my Christmas toy drive again this year. The overwhelming generosity and kindness of our community is truly inspiring. Donations of new toys are flowing in from right across our area. This will hopefully put some smiles upon the faces of local children this Christmas. One of the most wonderful things about our region on the New South Wales North Coast is the strength of our community spirit. Last year, local residents donated over 200 toys for my first Christmas toy drive, and we're on track to help even more children this year. We all know there are lots of families who do it tough, especially at this time of year. Unfortunately, that means there's often not much left in the budget for presents, so it's great that, together as a community, we can help bring the magic of Christmas to children in need right across our area. This year the toys will be wrapped by volunteers and distributed to local families by the Salvation Army. I'd like to thank and acknowledge the Salvos for their involvement in the toy drive. I also acknowledge the role of the local VIEW club in collecting presents, and I especially thank Rosie for her role and leadership in this particular project. I'd also like to recognise John Lee from the local charity You Have A Friend, who last year distributed the toys, and I acknowledge his ongoing support for those in need in our community. We're still accepting toys, so I encourage locals if they want to make a donation to please bring new, unwrapped toys to my office by 14 December.

I also want to mention a great number of local projects and funding announcements that are happening in my electorate of Richmond under the Stronger Communities Program, and I want to acknowledge and thank the state Labor candidates for Tweed, Lismore and Ballina for their strong advocacy and support of all these projects. Recently in Murwillumbah I announced more than $9,000 for the Wedgetail Retreat to fund the upgrade of their bathroom facilities. Wedgetail Retreat is a purpose-built hospice providing care for those at the end of life requiring palliative care and support. I commend the remarkable work that they do at Wedgetail: it is outstanding. The Tyalgum Community Hall Association received more than $7,000 in funding from this program to refurbish the main hall and stage floors. This is an outstanding country hall with a rich history, which will greatly benefit from this restoration.

We recently made two other fantastic announcements in Ballina. Firstly, Ballina Jetboat Surf Rescue received $9,000 in federal funding to purchase a replacement rescue jet ski—very important. Ballina Jetboat Surf Rescue has a 43-year record of saving lives. We were also at the Ballina Fox Street Preschool, who received $13,000 for the ongoing development of their outdoor interactive garden space. The kids certainly enjoy that; it's a remarkable garden space they have improved on. I'd like to congratulate everyone on those projects in Ballina. I look forward to further announcements in the Tweed tomorrow: we will have some other announcements under the Stronger Communities Program at the South Tweed Bowls Club, the Salt Surf Life Saving Club and the Kingscliff Mini School, and many more exciting announcements for other projects in the coming weeks.