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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 377


Mr LITTLEPROUD (Maranoa) (10:03): Today I would like to acknowledge Ms Bella Joseland, a young girl from Yaraka, the small town with a big heart, in my electorate. Bella is one of 41 regional Australians between the ages of 16 and 22 to be honoured as a winner of ABC's 2016 Heywire competition. It is quite an admirable feat. Bella's story was one of the 41 selected out of almost 700 entries. The Heywire competition is an opportunity for young storytellers to tell their story of the challenges and opportunities in their part of the world, a place for real honesty where good intentions bring about great opportunities for understanding change and benefiting us all.

Bella tells a momentous, heartbreaking and hopeful story of living on the land and waiting for the precious rain she and many others had not seen in a long time. I encourage all my colleagues to go and listen to this great insight Bella gives us into life on the land. Bella is here today participating in the Heywire regional youth summit to enlighten me, other members of parliament and community leaders on the issues associated with drought and living in small, regional, rural communities like Yaraka.

I would also like to congratulate this year's Australia Day awardees and those in my electorate who received Order of Australia medals. Ms Roberts 'Bobbie' Brazil, of Brookstead in my electorate, was an extremely deserving AO awardee this year. Bobbie has dedicated her life to the pursuit of tertiary education, agricultural and environmental resource management and has been a pillar of strength and inspiration to not only regional and rural women but also all of us in rural Australia. Bobbie and her husband Lyn have spent many years working with and contributing to philanthropic community organisations including Anglicare's women's refuge, the Salvation Army and the AEIOU Foundation, which supports children living with autism. Bobbie's compassion and dedication are traits I wholeheartedly admire.

I would also like to congratulate William 'Bill' McCutcheon on also receiving an OAM for his service to his local community on the Western Downs as a councillor, deputy mayor and mayor from 1985 to 2012, and the countless community groups he has contributed to. I have known Bill and his wife Barb all my life, and I know Bill is a great man with a strong sense of community. He has worked tirelessly to progress the best interests of the people in my home town of Chinchilla.

I would also like to mention: Mr Angus Emmott, of Noonbah Station, Longreach, who received an OAM for his service to conservation and the environment; and Ms Emilee Cherry, formerly of Roma, who received an OAM for her service to sport, in particular women's rugby, which ultimately led her to win a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.