6 September 2023
Mr COULTON (Parkes—Chief Nationals Whip) (13:45): I’d like to inform the House that construction on the long-awaited Australian Opal Centre at Lightning Ridge has commenced. This project has been in the pipeline for probably 20 years. I’ve personally been involved in it for 16 of those years. It’s brought together funding from the previous coalition federal government and the previous coalition state government, along with local contributions and a lot of support from the Walgett Shire Council. The committee that has been organising the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge has done a mighty job. It’s an architecturally designed project, a two-storey design that is going to be built in a large quarry in Lightning Ridge. It will be state of the art. The Australian Opal Centre will be the master place for trading and training. It will employ Indigenous people. It will be a place where international buyers can purchase the best of Australian opal, and it will put Lightning Ridge on the map. Lightning Ridge is a very unique town. It is underpinned by the opal industry. This Australian Opal Centre will be a drawcard. It will bring people from all over the world into Lightning Ridge to purchase the rare opal that is mined there. I’m very, very proud to be a part of this project. I’d like to congratulate the committee for getting it to this stage.