North Sydney) (16:35): I rise today to acknowledge a number of significant events and major milestones in my electorate. This month our community will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Royal North Shore Hospital. It was on Friday 30 October, 1885, when a public meeting was held not far from where the hospital stands today to discuss the idea of establishing a local hospital to give the people of the North Shore much-needed and better access to health services. And so, just a year later, on 18 June, 1888, Willoughby became home to a modest cottage hospital which was to grow to become the Royal North Shore Hospital and become one of New South Wales’ and, indeed, Australia’s leading health precincts. The hospital has served members of the local and broader Sydney community diligently and with incredible care ever since.
In 2017, for example, the Royal North Shore Hospital had more than 80,000 emergency department presentations, including 19,000 by ambulance, and more than 500,000 outpatient services. Royal North Shore Hospital is also a tertiary teaching hospital and a principal tertiary referral centre. It provides statewide services for severe burn injuries, neonatal intensive care and spinal cord injury treatment. The hospital is also the home of the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, which does such outstanding work.
The Royal North Shore Hospital is part of the Northern Sydney Local Health District, and I’m pleased the federal government has been increasing funding for all 10 hospitals in the district. In fact, funding has been increased by our government by some $235 million, or 104 per cent, since we were elected. State and federal support will ensure it continues to be one of Sydney’s pre-eminent hospitals. But, at its heart, the Royal North Shore Hospital has the trust of those in need of care because of the outstanding doctors, nurses and ancillary staff who work at the hospital. To them, and all associated with the hospital, I say congratulations on 130 years of outstanding service to our community.
My electorate is home to over 5,000 people of Indian ancestry, and they are making a wonderful contribution to our community. This time of year is a special one for the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Newar Buddhist communities as families come together to celebrate the festival of Diwali. The five-day Diwali festival celebrates good over evil and light over dark. It is therefore a festival marked by light and colour in ways that mark the vibrancy of Indian heritage and culture, as we have learned to expect and respect. I saw this evident in our own local Diwali celebration which was recently held in Chatswood. Organised by AVSAR, a group that is committed to improving Indian cultural awareness on the lower North Shore, the festival brought together some of the best of Indian food and cultural performances. The festival serves as a reminder of the wonderful multicultural community I have the honour of representing in this parliament, and I congratulate the organisers for such a successful day.
I am pleased the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs is present this afternoon because I know that he is such a keen supporter of the Indian community in Sydney and no doubt will be celebrating Diwali on several occasions over the month ahead. To all my constituents celebrating, I say, ‘Shubh Diwali,’ and I hope the festival is a happy time for you and your families.
Today I also want to acknowledge and thank the organisers of the Crows Nest and Lane Cove festivals which recently took place in my electorate. Now in its 29th year, the Crows Nest Festival attracts 50,000 people, who enjoy the stalls, food and entertainment which are at its core. Stretching along Willoughby Road and its neighbouring side street, the festival brings together residents of all ages and is undoubtedly one of the biggest on the North Shore, if not Sydney. I particularly congratulate the Crows Nest Mainstreet committee, North Sydney council and local and corporate sponsors for once again making the festival such an outstanding event.
Similarly, despite the threat of rain, this year’s Lane Cove Fair was a huge success. There were an extensive number of interesting stalls that showcased local business, an impressive variety of food, great kids’ rides and wonderful music on offer throughout the day. The Rotary Club of Lane Cove helps organise the fair and proceeds assist Rotary’s incredible work, its support for local, national and international programs, and Rotary projects undertaken across Australia and overseas. Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Lane Cove and the Lane Cove Council for all their work on putting together such a great community event.
A highlight of both festivals was my own jellybean guessing competition—well, maybe not! But I do want to congratulate the two young winners, Lily Dean from Crows Nest and Hazel Choi from Lane Cove. Their parents will be delighted to know the prize wasn’t all 460-odd jellybeans, but instead a book voucher. Both events have the common goal of bringing the community together and also supporting local businesses. Both events more than achieve this important goal.