Speech – Stronger Communities Funding – Federation Chamber

February 13, 2018


Speech – Stronger Communities Funding – Federation Chamber

It takes something special to make me dance in public, yet that’s what I found myself doing recently when I visited Sunshine Butterflies disability support service at Cooroibah to announce more than $16,000 through the Stronger Communities Program. Organisations like Sunshine Butterflies are so important and valuable to their clients, families, volunteers, staff and the broader community.


After a tour of their backyard, their beautiful hobby farm and where the new family central facility will be built, with federal government assistance, I saw the joy that Sunshine Butterflies brings, with an all-singing, all-dancing welcome from clients that had me busting out my best moves for a special rendition of ‘Greased Lightning’!

The visit demonstrated the very real, concrete difference that the Stronger Communities Program can make to people’s lives. People are at the very heart of the program—the people who use the services, the people who volunteer for them, the people whose lives are made measurably better by the support and the programs. Stronger Communities funding has the power to not only change lives but save them as well.

The Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club received just over $10,000 towards buying a new all-terrain vehicle for mobile patrols, allowing them to travel farther, travel faster and get to people sooner when they most need help. It has already been put to good use and is making a big difference to the safety of beachgoers. Almost $3,200 was given to the QF5 Noosa Coast Guard for computer equipment and software to help them train volunteers in essential skills—including first aid, seamanship and safety at sea—ensuring the coast guard can continue keeping people safe in the water.

One of the best things about living in beautiful Wide Bay is that people look out for each other in the community. That’s how the Cooloola Coast Medical Transport came about. It was a community initiative to help people get to and from their medical appointments safely. I was delighted to deliver more than $16,300 to enable them to upgrade their vehicles and ensure their group can continue to help people access medical care.

I would also like to acknowledge the dedicated staff and volunteers of Little Haven Palliative Care in Gympie, who have for decades delivered in-home care, comfort and support to people with terminal illnesses or chronic conditions. Little Haven received almost $15,000 to upgrade their patient lounge and meeting room, which will help them continue to provide quality care for people at the end of their lives and for their families as well. Murgon Lions Club received $13,600 to fit out a food van, allowing Lions to support community events, provide a Driver Reviver service and assist the community during disaster recovery.

The beauty of the Stronger Communities Program is that it doesn’t just tackle essential services such as these; the program was created with the understanding that a diverse community is a strong and resilient one and acknowledges the important social benefit that all types of community groups can have. This is shown in the $13,600 given to renovate the Bauple band hall in recognition of the hall’s role as a meeting place, in the more than $16,000 given to the Goomeri and District Show Society to upgrade their kitchens and in the more than $16,000 for a men’s shed to help bring the Kilkivan community together.

Murgon’s Graham House Community Centre will receive almost $10,000 to purchase a new computer server to continue its work assisting families affected by domestic violence and delivering family support services for the South Burnett. The Stronger Communities Program encourages the broader use of existing assets and boosting social interaction.

It also supports recreation and tourism opportunities, with $2,500 for the Queensland Dairy and Heritage Museum in Murgon to weatherproof its barn and more than $16,300 to help the Wide Bay Motor Complex purchase equipment to maintain its grounds, ensuring both places live up to their potential to become significant regional tourism assets.  With the diverse projects found through the Stronger Regional Communities Plan, Wide Bay will be safer, happier and more connected.

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In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.