Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan and State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis officially opened the Yamba Community Health Centre, the Jim Agnew OAM Building, last Thursday April 21.
At the well-attended event, Mr Gulaptis said he was proud to represent NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, whom he said was “instrumental in ensuring” the state ($1.2m) and federally ($4.3m) funded centre was built.
He thanked his predecessor, Steve Cansdell, for the part he played, too.
Mr Gulaptis recalled when he was the Maclean shire’s mayor and his first meeting with Jim Agnew, who was on a “mission to build the Yamba ambulance station”, and how he told him there was “no way” it would happen, as did former Clarence member, Harry Woods.
Mr Gulaptis described Mr Agnew’s persistence as being “like a salmon swimming upstream against all odds, while evading a grizzly bear”.
He pointed out the Mr Agnew had gained wide community support to achieve his goals, particularly through the collection of signatures on petitions.
“It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have Jim Agnew’s name on this plaque; no-one else should claim credit for what we have here today,” he said.
Kevin Hogan briefly acknowledged his predecessor, Janelle Saffin, for championing and obtaining federal funding for the centre.
“We’re here today, not about politics, but about Jim Agnew, the community and the petitions with thousands of signatures,” he said.
In a joint Hogan/Gulaptis/Skinner media release, Mr Hogan said the centre provides services for up to 20,000 local residents
“It’s an incredibly important addition to the health facilities in our region, offering more community and allied health services including physiotherapy, early childhood nursing, women’s health, paediatric clinics and counselling services,” Mr Hogan said.
“Projects like this demonstrate the significant achievement that can be made when governments work hand-in-hand with the community.”
Jillian Skinner, who toured the newly constructed building with Mr Agnew and Mr Gulaptis in 2015, said: “I congratulate all involved in the delivery of this facility, especially Jim, whose tireless efforts and lobbying have delivered new and improved health services to the community.”
After 30 years of living in Yamba, on Friday Mr Agnew and his wife, Grace, moved to an aged care facility in their home town, Warren.