Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:29): On 26 August, on a Sunday afternoon, I had the great joy to attend Tournament of Minds in the Hope Theatre at the University of Wollongong in my electorate. I thank the university for their support of this great program. Tournament of Minds is a problem-solving, challenge based program for primary and secondary students. It's designed to foster creative, collaborative and critical thinking.

On this occasion there were 650 students, aged six to 16 years old, from 46 schools across our region, participating. The program's open to all education sectors, but I would like to acknowledge that our public schools made up 83 per cent of those participating this year—38 out of the 46 schools. But all of the schools did a tremendous job.

The New South Wales South Coast region is one of 11 regions in the Tournament of Minds New South Wales, and over 350 students participated across New South Wales in 2018. It's a single event which is the culmination of weeks and months of high-quality extension, enrichment learning and exploration of the challenges that they're addressing. It's run at a regional level by volunteers. It was tremendous to see the Hope Theatre packed with hundreds of students, parents, teachers and volunteers.

I was very pleased to present awards, and I congratulate all of the schools who won awards on the day. They were very excited and still being creative when having their photo taken with their award, doing all sorts of performances—they were obviously still pumped and enjoying themselves at the end of what had been a long session.

The schools that won in some sections had the opportunity to go on and compete at the state finals, and I want to particularly congratulate Warilla High School, who got honours in secondary STEM; Smith's Hill High School, who got honours in secondary Arts, and Smith's Hill High School again, who were the winners of secondary Language Literature. This now means that the Smith's Hill High School team will travel to Darwin in October to represent the South Coast region and New South Wales at the international final. I think their facilitators Bryan Cutler and Amy Kang will be as thrilled as we are.

I want to congratulate and thank David Wassink and the team of volunteers who put innumerable hours in to make this opportunity for our students. You could see on the day that everyone had a tremendous time, and our future is in very good hands if they're the problem-solvers of the future. (time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Gee): If no member objects, constituency speeches may continue for 90 minutes.

Watch Sharon’s speech here.