Monday, 2 May 2016
Dobell Electorate: Stronger Communities Program
I take this opportunity to share with the House an outstanding imitative by this government to deliver social benefits to communities across Australia, the Stronger Communities Program. Not only is this funding targeted for the community but applications are considered by the community with the establishment of a community assessment committee, which is a key component of the Stronger Communities Program. Each year in my local community, over 16,000 men and women give their time through volunteering. Volunteers provide countless hours to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for our communities. They achieve this through the many voluntary clubs and organisations in our community. Whether it is a sporting organisation or a youth outreach program, they all bring together community members and facilitate social inclusion and participation.
Dobell has an extremely strong sense of community, and I always welcome the opportunity to support projects, to further assist groups and organisations to do what they do best, which is enhance the community with vibrancy, fun and cohesiveness. The Stronger Communities Program is an outstanding example of how the government provides avenues to assist community groups. As a member of parliament, it is richly rewarding to have the opportunity to be involved in projects that directly benefit the Dobell community, with the provision of $150,000 each year for two years, allocated directly to Dobell and the numerous groups within Dobell. I must say that the number of applications from our local community organisations is unprecedented. Each successful application represents an opportunity to assist our outstanding community organisations deliver their programs and services and further enhance their social impact through the provision of assisting with the funding of small capital projects.
In Dobell, the calibre of projects requesting funding, which matches their own contribution dollar for dollar, is outstanding. I will highlight just a few of the successful projects that have received grants. Firstly, the Wyong District Tennis Association was successful in receiving a grant of $8,000 for security and safety fencing, landscaping and pathway construction. The fencing will provide a physical barrier between the car park and spectator seating at the rear of the courts, which is an important safety improvement. Additionally, the club's new fencing will provide a greater safeguard against graffiti and vandalism. These are opportunities to assist sporting clubs to upgrade and improve their facilities. It is very rewarding knowing that the benefit will be appreciated by many in the community.
In July last year, the Ourimbah Razorbacks Rugby clubhouse was destroyed by a senseless arson attack. The fire was absolutely shattering for many of the club members and also the broader Ourimbah community, as many items of necessity were destroyed, including whitegoods, a lawnmower, a line marking machine as well as merchandise and their canteen stock. But through the Stronger Communities Program the Ourimbah Razorbacks were successful in obtaining $20,000 in matched funding to assist them rebuild their clubhouse after this cowardly attack. I was also happy to provide a personal donation to the club to assist in replenishing their canteen stock.
Another Dobell organisation to benefit from the Stronger Communities Program is the Glen drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. I have shared with the House on numerous occasions the outstanding work undertaken by the Glen and the impact of their work within the Central Coast community as the Coast's only male-specific drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. Through the Stronger Communities Program, the Glen will be able to undertake some upgrades to their facilities, including an extension to their existing gravel road, plumbing, footpaths, sewage and resurfacing of sporting facilities. The Glen does tremendous work in our local community and I am always proud to be able to assist and support them in my capacity as the member for Dobell
A longstanding organisation that will benefit from the Stronger Communities Program is the Central Coast Volunteer Rescue Squad. Last year the squad celebrated their 40th birthday. Since 1975, they have faithfully served the Central Coast community by working in conjunction with other emergency services and providing assistance in whatever way they can. Travellers on the M1 may well have encountered the outstanding volunteers of the rescue squad as they operate the Driver Reviver station at Ourimbah interchange. This is an outstanding initiative, demonstrating the squad's commitment to the safety and wellbeing of the community by encouraging drivers to 'stop, revive, survive' throughout the holiday season in recognition of the dangerous consequences of driving when fatigued. The squad relies solely on community donations and government assistance to continue to do what they do best: preserving the quality of life for all residents on the Central Coast. So it is satisfying that through this funding they will be able to replace their heavy vehicle as part of their rescue squad.
These are just a few of the outstanding projects that will benefit from the first round of Stronger Communities Program funding and the positive impact it will have on social inclusion throughout Dobell. Some of the other projects that have received grants are Toowoon Bay Surf Life Saving Club, who will receive a new IRB for water safety; Norah Head Marine Rescue; 1st Berkeley Vale Scouts; Central Coast Women's Health Centre at Wyoming; PCYC; the Central Coast Sporting Association; and Killarney Vale Soccer. It is always a privilege to be able to support these amazing groups and volunteers who give so much of their time towards our community. I am pleased that this government continues to demonstrate in tangible ways their commitment to the development and enhancement of communities across Australia.
It was great to see on Anzac Day the Central Coast community come together to pay tribute to those who gave their tomorrow for our today. I was extremely busy and I started very early, as we all did as members of parliament, at the dawn services. I had the privilege to attend the Toukley RSL Sub-branch's dawn service, where it was great to see Bob Wilson, who is President of Toukley RSL Sub-branch, and his amazing team of volunteers. I would also like to acknowledge the school captain from Gorokan High, who spoke outstandingly. It was wonderful to see young people there paying their tributes to those who have fallen in active service.
I then had the privilege of attending the early morning service at the Wyong Town Centre Cenotaph, which was followed by a march down to the Wyong RSL. Once again, we saw the local schools participating. It was great to see so many young people out there on Anzac Day acknowledging and paying tribute to those who had lost their lives, especially those from the Wyong area. I would also like to say congratulations to Pat Frewin, president of the Wyong RSL sub-branch, for outstanding service.
Later in the morning I attended the late morning service at The Entrance, where there would probably have been in excess of 4,000 people paying their tributes. Once again, congratulations to Alan Fletcher, president of The Entrance/Long Jetty sub-branch, for the outstanding work that the sub-branch does for the veterans community in The Entrance and Long Jetty. I finished the day at Ourimbah. It was late in the afternoon. It was great to see the RSL guys there. The local community marched down the Pacific Highway to Ourimbah Public School. Congratulations to Dave Pankhurst, president of the Ourimbah-Lisarow RSL sub-branch, and to his executive for outstanding Anzac Day services.
Talking about Ourimbah Public School, it was great that last Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit the school. They have a Lone Pine tree all the way from Gallipoli that was planted there many, many years ago. Ourimbah Public School is a hidden gem. It is a beautiful little school there on the hill in Ourimbah, and it has beautiful grounds that are very well maintained. It was wonderful to catch up with the principal, Linda Trigg, who is doing some outstanding work with the young people at Ourimbah Public School. As I said, it is a little hidden gem, because it is a beautiful, nurturing environment. The physical environment is outstanding and provides a great learning opportunity for the primary public school students there at Ourimbah. I look forward to going back to Ourimbah to talk to the kindergarten children and read them a story and to visit the year 5s and 6s before their visit to Canberra.