House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018


New South Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards, World Air Sports Federation, Norco Milk

4:35 pm

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This week the 2018 New South Wales regional volunteer of the year awards were held at the Lismore Workers Club to recognise the great work that volunteers do in our community. I'd like to congratulate Wendy Dalton, who was awarded the Adult Volunteer of the Year and Overall Regional Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated work with the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group at South Grafton. I'd also like to congratulate Karin Brown, who was named the Senior Volunteer of the Year for her work with the marine rescue at Evans Head. Both women were acknowledged for their years of commitment and passion for the areas they volunteer in. I say thank you to all the volunteers who were nominated. They come from a diverse range of organisations across my community, including the Australian Red Cross, the SES, the Cancer Council, the CWA and the rural fire brigades. I thank everyone who makes the community an even better place to live.

Fifty-five years ago, the mighty Clarence River was the birth place of modern hang-gliding. John Dickenson, Rod Fuller and Pat Crowe were all members of the Grafton Water Skiing club and they were all known for their skiing capabilities, particularly around the iconic Jacaranda Festival. Inspired by the sport of waterskiing, John designed a kite so that people could be pulled behind a boat. The design became the first controllable glider. It was the birth of modern hang-gliding. From there, the three men made history, with Rod Fuller volunteering to pilot the new invention and Pat Crowe volunteering to drive the boat that hoisted it some 140 feet into the air. I have seen footage of this, and they were very brave men.

For many years the New Zealand hang-gliding champion Graeme Henderson, who now lives in Tabulam, campaigned to have the trio recognised for their achievements. In 2012, John was awarded the Gold Air Medal by the World Air Sports Federation for the invention of the modern hang-glider and Rod was also recognised in 2012 by being awarded the hang-gliding and paragliding diploma. Sadly, Rod passed away before he could receive his. Last Saturday Pat was honoured with a hang-gliding diploma from the World Air Sports Federation on the banks of the beautiful Clarence River near the spot where that inaugural flight took place. I congratulate the three pioneers and thank Graeme for his diligence in having them recognised for this wonderful and significant achievement in the history of aviation.

If you look into the fridges of most people on the north coast, you are going to find Norco Milk. The story of Norco starts with 40 farmers gathered under a tree in the village of Clunes in 1892. In fact, it's the village I now live in. It was to establish a stable future for the community's dairy farmers. Out of that, Norco was born. Many of the farmers who are providing milk to Norco today are descendants of those first 40 farmers and others have obviously joined the cooperative over the last 120 years. There are 200-plus dairy farmers who belong to the cooperative supplying over 200 million litres of milk to its two bottling factories and ice cream factory. They are also now exporting fresh milk to China.

Norco announced early this month it would increase the price it pays to its farmers by 5c a litre. That is really important to our local dairy farmers right now. Norco is so much part of the psyche of north coast residents that, when a local newspaper shared a photo of a carton of Norco milk on its Facebook page, people started taking photos of their own Norco milk in their fridges to show their support. It's an important local enterprise employing 830 people directly. I congratulate the directors, Greg McNamara, Michael Jeffery, Leigh Shearman, Heath Hoffman, Elke Watson and Greg Billings, and the executive, including Cam Hogan, and the GMs, Andrew Burns, Damon Bailey and Rob Randall, and all the staff and owners of Norco who have kept the passion and community spirit alive for nearly a century and a quarter.

I'd also like to acknowledge dairy farmers I know personally, people like Craig Waddell, Andrew Wilson, Peter Graham, Paul Weir, and all the wonderful dairy farmers who have kept a very vibrant industry alive in our region. We have much to do to continue to support them.