News Parliament


Tonight I bring to the attention of the House the work of our wonderful community groups, who play a vital role in keeping our rural and regional communities strong. As a local member, I have had the privilege of visiting many of these groups in the electorate of Calare, and tonight I am paying particular tribute to those in the wonderful Wellington district, an area you yourself have represented, Deputy Speaker Coulton.

Community radio stations around New South Wales do valuable work, particularly in regional areas, which have fewer broadcasting options for listeners. Binjang Community Radio provides a local broadcasting service for the Wellington area, featuring local news and interviews and sports information, and giving the opportunity for Wellington-based organisations to deliver information about their activities. The radio station was formed at a public meeting sponsored by Wellington Development Incorporated at the Wellington Rotary Club in May 2008.

Binjang Community Radio is overseen by a management committee which also helps to ensure the smooth operation of the station. The committee consists of the President and Chairman, Mark Griggs; the Deputy Chairman, Jayson O'Brien; the Treasurer, Anne Jones; the Secretary, Marcus Hanney; Programming and Online Content is Wes Taylor; Membership and Community Activities is Beryl-Anne Altopher; Presenter and Studio Coordination is Cathy Donnelly; Training and Presenter Recruitment is Michael White; and of course the irrepressible Station Manager is Tony Graham, who does a wonderful job.

Whilst the day-to-day running of the station is managed by Tony, the presenters are all volunteers with a broad range of backgrounds. Some are new to radio and some have prior experience. The presenting team at Binjang consists of many people. Cathy Donnelly drives the latest mix of music with a spice of community information about events and offerings during the weekend. Jayson O'Brien, the veteran music entertainer, sets the country music scene alight with his take on the superstars of country every Monday and Wednesday from 9 am; he is also known around Wellington as the 'Irish cowboy'. Farren Hotham, a media superstar for 37 years, was the former editor of the Wellington Times and, whilst he has now moved on to new business prospects, he comes back to Binjang from time to time. Indeed, I recently saw Farren at the Wellington Boot, where he interviewed me about the day's racing and what was happening in the Wellington community. He is also known as 'Wellington's best friend'.

If heavy metal is more your style, Chris Lucas's Super Rock program is the one for you. Helen O'Brien is on air every Tuesday presenting community news. She also produces the stock report with Geoff and Ross Plasto, and can be heard frequently anchoring community service announcements. Good on you, Helen. Wes Taylor is referred to as the 'pride of Yeoval', and you can hear him on air every Thursday morning. His popular specialised show, Discography,is also on air from midday every Sunday. Thomas Broome takes over the airwaves with his mix of music and local information. He has obtained early entry into Arts/Media at Macquarie University, beginning in 2018. Congratulations, Tom. Rick Bremner anchors Tuesday mornings as Radio Rick, delving into the origins and journeys of music, with interesting information about professional music artists. Mumbil resident Dale Elliott broadcasts on Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings with a mix of your favourite memories and musical hits. You can catch Daniel Rutter's program from time to time, where he produces a program with a unique and interesting musical flavour.

Molong resident Jeff McEachen presents his Blues with a Feeling show Monday nights from 7 to 9 pm. Mark Griggs brings his journalism background to most outdoor broadcasts as well as to the Monday to Friday breakfast slot. Phil Denniston presents Modern Country on Wednesday nights from 6 to 8 pm, and Jack Broome presents the afternoon shows when his school commitments permit. Beryl-Anne Altopher presents the More Great Music, Your Music program every Wednesday from 4 until 6 pm, and Dr Mike Augee can be heard regularly on the incisive report segment interviewing local characters about all sorts of subjects, including life stories, upcoming events, history and everything in between. Matt Barry can be heard most days on various productions promoting Binjang 91.5. Geoff Plasto also produces the stock report and Ross Plasto presents the stock report when Geoff is away.

In New South Wales alone there are over 200 Red Cross groups and the Wellington branch is one of them. It was established on 19 August 1914, making it 103 years old. In 2016 the branch raised more than $16,000 for important community projects and causes. There are a range of good works that they do. They do charity golf days and stalls at local market days. They have created a recipe book and have raised money for a number of important appeals, including Red Cross Calling, the Big Cake Bake, the Red Cross Christmas appeal and disaster relief appeals.

There are currently 50 active members of the Wellington Red Cross branch. I need to make special mention of the president, Beverley Hutchinson, and the treasurer, Carol Taylor. I also make mention of Margaret Macarthur and June Hutchison, who assisted emergency crews during the Sir Ivan bushfire east of Dunedoo—which you would be well aware of, Deputy Speaker Coulton. They volunteered in the evacuation centre at Mudgee and at the recovery centre at Coolah. Congratulations to you both. I would also like to mention Kerry Taylor, Jenny Bremner, Annie A'Beckett, Vicki Babicci and Chick Jones. There are many more members who I cannot name tonight because time does not permit, but I congratulate and thank the Wellington branch of Red Cross for their important community work. It was great to catch up with them at the Wellington Boot just a few days ago.

The PCYC was founded in 1937 and has more than 60 clubs and centres across New South Wales. The Wellington PCYC is one of its smallest clubs but boasts more than 500 members. The club has a long and proud history, and there is an open day on 1 April 2017. The centre runs a number of programs in the community, including outreach and school holiday programs, as well as recreational activities such as gymnastics, boxing, archery, soccer, futsal and martial arts. I would like to take this opportunity to make mention of those involved with the Wellington PCYC, including regional general manager of the western area, Nathan Brennan; the club manager, Matthew Devenish; the youth case manager, Senior Constable Leigh Davy; the gymnastics instructor, Katherine Bell; the program coordinator, Wendy Ambachtsheer; and the Bluestar participants, Hayden Mills, Daniel Knibbs and Sarah Samut-Hayter. The Bluestar program creates leaders of the future by providing practical, real-life skills that they can apply to work, family and the community. As part of the Bluestar program, recipients contribute two hours per week for 10 weeks as a volunteer at the PCYC. The PCYC is heavily involved in the Wellington community, and I was able to see this in action when I visited their booth at the Wellington Boot. I will certainly be heading to Wellington to attend their open day, which is coming up very soon.

The Wellington Rotary Club was established in 1937 and will also this year celebrate 80 years. It has 28 active members, with one honorary member, Gary Conn. That is the highest accolade that a member can receive. The club is actively involved in the Wellington community and only last week donated $5,000 to the Sir Ivan bushfire appeal, which went towards fencing material. Although none of the members were directly affected, many friends of the club's members were. That is the spirit that you get in country New South Wales, where all of the surrounding districts to those that are struck by tragedy and natural disaster pull together to get their neighbours through. The club also donated $500 to firefighters battling the Wuuluman bushfire, and that went towards food and drinks. I would like to mention these members: President Ruston Smith—Ruston is an old friend—Secretary Vivienne Wellington, Treasurer Peter Knowles and committee members Greg Wykes, David Ryan, Grant Masters, Deborah Wells, Warwick Brebner and Tony Inder. I would like to congratulate all of those members for the great work that they do.

Another organisation doing wonderful work is the Wellington Show Society. I make particular mention of President Rob Dimmick, Vice-President Danielle Anderson, Secretary Jan Wightley, Treasurer Alan Hutchinson, Showgirl Coordinator Bev Hutchinson, and Junior Involvement Coordinator Kellie Rich. I would also like to make mention of the outgoing 2016 showgirl, Jane Brien. The Wellington Showground at the moment looks an absolute picture.

Another community group that is doing wonderful work is the CWA. The Wellington branch was formed in November 1923. It has got 16 active members and two life members. The committee consists of President Pat Bell, Secretary Pip Smith—another old friend of mine, well known in the Wellington community—and Treasurer Catherine Smith. I also would like to mention one of the Wellington branch members, Helen Norris, who has been a member of the CWA for 50 years. She joined half a century ago simply because, she said, her mother told to. It has made a big contribution to her life and she has made a great contribution to Wellington. These are just a handful of the community groups doing wonderful work in the electorate and it is an honour to pay tribute to them tonight.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): I thank the member for Calare, and I also thank him for the trip down memory lane and mentioning all those wonderful people that I have worked with for so long.