We've had a great start to spring with some fantastic local events held over the last month.
I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Grampians Giants presentation night. The Grampians Giants are a community football and netball team for people with intellectual disabilities. The football team plays in the FIDA Western Conference and the netball has various round robin exhibition match days. The presentation night acknowledged the team's Best and Fairest, Team Spirit and Most Improved awards amongst the many achievements celebrated. Well done!
The most recent group of Leadership Wimmera participants graduated from the program last month. I was lucky enough to be there to hear about some of the lessons that were learned and the fun that was had. It was great to see a couple of Stawellites there too! Congratulations to all of the graduates. I look forward to seeing our newest leaders help shape the region in coming years.
It was a pleasure to welcome Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, Sonya Kilkenny, to the St Arnaud Early Learning Centre. Ms Kilkenny announced the State Government's early childhood reforms that will fund three-year-old kinder. Northern Grampians will be able to offer up to 15 hours a week of funded three-year-old kindergarten programs in 2020. She commended the Centre for its vision and, in fact, thought the St Arnaud Early Learning Centre model would be a great guide for other kinders around Victoria.
I had the unique opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion about the future of Australian exports. In attendance were Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham and Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan as well as representatives from across the agriculture industry. The conversation mainly centred on our current growing export market as well as emerging markets and trade agreements. There was also a lot of discussion around branding and geographical ownership of product names and how the issue is part of trade negotiations.
Navarre Primary School recently held their parents and kids night. A great evening was had by all and I certainly appreciated the invitation. And while we're talking about Navarre, I need to mention the new public toilets being installed on High Street. The toilets will be fully accessible for people with all abilities and will, of course, be a great addition for residents and visitors alike.
The 2019 Seniors Festival kicked off in style with a concert by James Blundell and his son Brian in St Arnaud which was followed by a performance in Stawell by musician Jefferson Smith. Both events were a rocking good time. I love the Seniors Festival for both the events side of things as well as the intention behind it. It's all about staying active and taking care of yourself. It's also about taking care of others and looking out for those around you.
I opened the St Arnaud Agricultural Show which as always was a lot of fun. It was great to see lots of community members taking advantage of the displays and activities. The reptiles were a big hit with both the kids and the adults! I didn't see reptiles but there was an animal farm (ducks, geese, baby goats, rabbits and guinea pigs).
I'll close off by letting you know that recruitment for our new CEO is well underway. We've had great interest in the position and the process is progressing well.