COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT - Community Advocate Ramona Cocco
Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland)—I wish to place on the Parliamentary record the community's gratitude to Ramona Cocco, who campaigned for years to raise awareness about the notorious 'Rutherford Stink' that plagued West Maitland for more than two decades. Ramona agitated about the mystery odours that regularly invaded the community, permeating homes and sometimes necessitating the evacuation of businesses. Ramona also served for several years on the Rutherford Air Quality Liaison Committee, and was a committed NSW EPA informant.
In my role as Member for Maitland I've had the honour of working alongside her as we have fought to cut to the root of the problem and force those responsible to restore amenity to the community. The Rutherford Stink forced many people to sell up and leave the area, while others sat tight and endured – often at great personal cost. Ramona, who has lived in the Rutherford area for around 50 years, herself suffered more than 20 years of asthma, skin rashes, headaches and bouts of a sore throat. While the odour problem has been addressed, a great deal of work remains to be done, and I thank Ramona for her continued resolve and tenacity in this ongoing saga.