Adjournment Debate – End of year wrap up

Thursday, 30 November 2023

Mr PITT: Christmas and the new year are rapidly approaching, and I think it’s an appropriate time to look at the year in review, the challenges that have been overcome and the great things that have happened in the electorate of Hinkler in the last almost-12 months. The predominant role of a member of parliament is to help your constituents. Whether it’s a challenge inside Veterans’ Affairs, Aged Care or other federally funded and supported government departments, the role of an MP is about helping people. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to once again highlight the great outcomes for some of our local constituents.

Firstly, Hervey Bay athlete Ethan Parry was a Local Sporting Champion recipient, and he represented Australia at the Virtus Global Games in France in June, where he won bronze in the long jump. These games occur every four years, and what a remarkable achievement for a young man from Hervey Bay.

George Rowland is another individual from Hervey Bay. He is 11 years old. I love George. He’s actually known by Senator Ross Cadell as well—from the other place and from New South Wales—which is a surprising connection to me. George wrote to me about Dyslexia Awareness Month. He told me it was in October and that he has dyslexia. He hopes that all teachers undertake a training program to help them support students with dyslexia. What a marvellous thing for George to do—to take the time to write to his federal MP. I know he has approached state and local governments as well and I hope he gets the outcome that he wishes for and desires.

Ann from Burrum Heads came to Canberra to raise awareness for early-onset bowel cancer. Ann’s daughter Carrie-Ann was in her early 40s when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and sadly passed away last year. Ann is calling for the age required to take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to be lowered, and that’s been recently recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Judith Stutchbury, a now famous primary-school teacher from Kalkie State School in Bundaberg, won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools for providing ‘unique and engaging, deep-learning science experiences and opportunities to students at a regional and international level’. Once again, this is a remarkable achievement from someone from Bundaberg at what is a relatively small state school.

On behalf of my office and all the individuals, I want to thank the almost 500 people we sent certificates to as local volunteers—to thank them for the contributions that they make to our community. The work that you do is so important. It is the heart of what happens in our local region, and I encourage you all to continue to volunteer your time and help support local people who desperately need help at times.

LifeFlight Bundaberg, the rescue helicopter service, celebrated 25 years. They are co-located with the RFDS in a facility that was jointly funded by the Commonwealth, the RFDS and LifeFlight a number of years ago under programs which unfortunately have now been cut by the federal Labor government. This is a critical service, and I congratulate them on their 25 years. Another shout out to John Kennedy, a long-term servant at LifeFlight who retired this year.

The YMCA Vocational School in Bundaberg was officially opened, and it provides alternative education for local students. What a remarkable thing.

That’s not to forget infrastructure. We have the Torbanlea-Pialba Road upgrade, which is flood-proofing this important link road to the Bruce Highway from Hervey Bay. That is underway and almost completed. The Boundary Road extension is almost finished. The Royal Flying Doctor Service Aviation Training Facility, part of the Hinkler Regional Deal and which the Commonwealth provided $15 million for, is almost complete.

I’ve got to say that success has a lot of fathers. There seem to be a lot of people coming out and claiming this facility as one that they helped deliver. But I particularly want to point out the support that the RFDS received from QCoal and others. This will mean that the individuals who fly the new King Airs will do a number of their hours at the simulator in Bundaberg. That’s great for our economy. It’s a new strand, and I’m very pleased to have been part of it.

I don’t want to forget Paradise Dam, the biggest infrastructure failure in this country’s history, which took place under a Labor government. They’ve now had to knock down the wall of Paradise Dam, and it will cost $1.2 billion to repair. We committed 50 per cent from the Commonwealth—$600 million. That’s still there, and it has to remain. We need to ensure we have reliability of water supply for our agricultural industries because without it we go back to broadacre crops of low value, and we know that horticulture—macadamia nuts and others—helps to drive our economy. Our growers need certainty.

Just lastly to every single constituent: this Christmas, please be safe on our roads. If it’s flooded, forget it. Remember the fatal five. I wish you and your families a very joyous Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. Thank you for your continued support.

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