COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT - Mark, Julia and Karen Van Huisstede

Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland) (18:29): I pay tribute to my former travel industry colleagues, Mark, Julia and Karen van Huisstede, for their resilience, enthusiasm, energy and business acumen. I have known Julia for many years, first as a business development manager with Jetset Travelworld Group. Through her excellent mentoring, guidance and leadership, many agencies like mine grew and prospered. When Julia moved to the Hunter to marry Mark, joining Karen to operate some very successful Harvey World Travel franchises, she became a competitor in name only.

The van Huisstedes are visionary businesspeople who know how to work together and collaborate. They have sponsored many community events, were major sponsors for Mai-Wel and have been active members of the Maitland Business Chamber. They have created jobs in Maitland and navigated hurdles such as the global financial crisis, consolidation in the travel industry, Ansett's collapse and much more. This week they closed their final store in the Junction after closing the Maitland store some months ago, but they are yet again diversifying their business. I know they will go from strength to strength to overcome these challenges. I wish them every success in their new online venture and thank them for their enormous contribution to our community.