RURAL REJUVENATION AND COUNTRY SHOWS
Mrs DAWN FARDELL
(Dubbo) [12.35 p.m.], by leave: I want to share with members of this House the rejuvenation of regional New South Wales as a result of the recent rain and to highlight the confidence and renewed hope of the people. In recent weeks I have attended a number of country shows in my electorate and have experienced this renewal firsthand. With glorious autumn weather people have a spring in their step and smiles on their faces as they parade their sleek, fat livestock around the show ring, greet neighbours and friends, and generally celebrate the best that rural New South Wales has to offer. From the small country town of Yeoval to the three-day show at Dubbo, crowd numbers were high, the standard of produce outstanding and the level of entertainment was really impressive. Indeed, a French exchange student visiting Dubbo show commented that they could not believe there was so much entertainment provided in a country town!
The smell of sausages and onions cooking on barbeques was in the autumn air, horses and show jumpers filled the arena and local produce was proudly displayed at both Dubbo and Yeoval shows. Yeoval show celebrated the second year of the show's Wool Spectacular to showcase one of the major commodities produced in the area. Also in attendance was the Little River Landcare Group Inc., which won State and national awards on its work in the local environment. The Yeoval district is looking lush and green following heavy, soaking rains, and farmers are upbeat about the coming cropping season. One farmer jubilantly announced they were sowing 1,000 hectares of wheat and 800 acres of canola. This, of course, augurs well for the State's coffers as everyone in the State will benefit from the rejuvenation of our rural sector.
This year Dubbo celebrated its 137th
annual show with a crowd of around 16,000 people streaming through the gates over the three days and nights of non-stop entertainment. I am thrilled to congratulate Claire McDonald of Condobolin, who was named Miss Royal Easter Showgirl 2010, and Emma McCutheon of Gilgandra, who was runner-up. They are both great ambassadors for rural New South Wales and have set an example for others in their careers. I also hasten to congratulate Marie Colyer of Peak Hill and her dog Becky on another successive win in the confirmation classes for Best of Breed Australian Kelpie at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The Sydney Royal Easter Show has long been a showcase for the best talent in country areas and this year was no exception.
Just in case some members of this esteemed House have never attended a country show, they generally feature horse events, wood chopping, trotting, sheep, cattle, shearing, farming and motor displays, bands and a side show alley, as well as the best sponge cakes, jams, scones and chutneys one will ever taste. I must also mention a great initiative by a group of women in the Central West who are trying to break the world record for the longest piece of French knitting. To celebrate the wool spectacular, held in conjunction with the local show, about 150 people took part in the challenge. The world record is currently held by a man in the United Kingdom who has been knitting since 1989 and his knitting trail is almost 20 kilometres long. After just four months the group at Yeoval has a knitting trail of 6.5 kilometres with a target of 11 kilometres. This was a great community initiative with everyone, from school children to the older residents taking part. With this innovative approach it is no wonder the Yeoval Show has been running for 70 years.
A number of members have spoken in this House to recognise National Volunteer Week this week, and I wish to add my tribute to these wonderful people, volunteers. There can be no better example of how valuable their contribution to the community is than the local show. Through drought, rain, hail and sunshine, local community groups such as the Country Women's Association, Rotary, Lions, the police and community youth club, the State Emergency Service, the Rescue Squad and many more cheerfully volunteer their time to man the stalls at local shows to raise money for community facilities. Add to this the members of the local show society who work throughout the year to organise the event and it is not hard to understand why country towns and cities have such a strong community spirit.
The role of the country show in a country town cannot be over estimated, and nor can the commitment of its people to their community. Despite years of drought, these hardy people maintain their commitment to each other and their local towns to ensure that the local show endures. I am looking forward to attending many more shows in my electorate in the coming weeks. I congratulate the organisers of our country shows and urge members of the House to gather their families and head out to the regional areas for much more of the best entertainment they will find anywhere.