Ms PRU GOWARD (Goulburn—Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research, Assistant Minister for Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) [6.02 p.m.]: It has been a winter of intense cold in the Goulburn electorate, from Gundaroo to Robertson, with snowfalls we have not seen the likes of in decades. The drive from Goulburn to Crookwell and on to Bigga and Binda was a fairyland of white. I dare say there will be many stunning local Christmas cards arriving in letterboxes this December. The snow caused considerable damage, and the Upper Lachlan Shire Council has been kept busy with repairs and clean-up from the 30 centimetre overnight fall. Clean-up costs are in the millions of dollars, and the job of clearing fallen timber is likely to continue for many months. But that cold did not stop 250 people in Goulburn turning out for a forum on the drug ice hosted by the local Anglican cathedral team and chaired by the police local area command.

Ice has become a serious concern across New South Wales communities, including regional centres. Indeed, any town on a major highway makes a similar complaint because the drug can be moved in easily. This takes a heavy toll on local police and health services. I congratulate Bishop Stuart Robinson, Acting Inspector Evan Quarmby and Carol James on their outstanding efforts in bringing us all together that night. Mission Australia and Anglicare's Simon Bennett gave extremely supportive advice to those many people who wanted to know how they could tell if someone was affected by ice. With great courage, Leigh Pollock told the story of her daughter, Brooke's, ice addiction and its terrible consequences. You could have heard a pin drop. It really brought home to me how very anxious the community of Goulburn is to take responsibility for this problem and to be involved in the solutions. Another forum is planned soon and a Southern Highlands community ice forum has been scheduled.

Like most regional areas, our community groups stay busy over winter with fundraising for local charities that have become regular social fixtures. Congratulations to Sue Hannan on the wonderful lunch she and her committee organised to raise money for much-needed palliative care and oncology equipment at Goulburn Base Hospital and to St Saviour's for a great heritage ball. Finally, I cannot let the opportunity pass without acknowledging the incredible efforts of the Murrumbateman community, headed by Mike Reid and Councillor Jasmin Jones, in collecting 930 signatures for a petition for a primary school in Murrumbateman. This is a very significant proportion of that community and underscores just how strongly this young community—with its hundreds of young families and children—wants its own school. Likewise, a petition in support of improvements to Yass High School was also extremely well supported. I was proud to present both of these petitions to officers of the Parliament. We certainly breed them tough and determined down my way.


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Authorised by Pru Goward, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000