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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 674


Ms HUSAR (Lindsay) (10:55): I rise today to congratulate and pay tribute to the exceptional Australians who are recognised on the Australia Day honour roll this year. As has been noted in the motion, the Order of Australia is the highest national honour awarded to Australian citizens for exceptional service and achievement. As illustrated by this year's honours list, we have a nation full of men and women who are doing extraordinary things in their own communities and beyond. They are making a difference to the lives of many and building our country to be a bigger and better place which is more inclusive, more open, more knowledgeable and fairer and kinder for everyone. Looking through the list, we have incredible leaders who have contributed so much to our country and way of life, like former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard AC, who took out the highest honour; Queensland's Anna Bligh; and, of course, the talented Jimmy Barnes.

I spoke in my first speech about the people of Lindsay being our best asset, and I am so proud that two gentlemen from the electorate of Lindsay were awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for their remarkable contributions to our community: Jim Tiberi from Claremont Meadows and Paul Crofts from Cambridge Gardens. Mr Tiberi, who moved to Australia at the age of eight, has contributed a great deal to the Italian-Australian community in Western Sydney. He was the founder and president of the Penrith Italian Seniors Association, and he broadcasts the Italian program on Wow FM each week, bringing beautiful Italian music and culture to the ears of our community. Before his retirement, Mr Tiberi was a civil engineer and worked on a number of large projects in Sydney, including the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, the M5 East Tunnel, the Cross-city Tunnel and the Lane Cove Tunnel. He also helped to build bridges, highways and power stations across the country and overseas. He had an incredible working life, and in retirement he spends much of his time working with the University of the Third Age in Penrith, tutoring other seniors in Italian language and computer studies and sharing his skills of bonsai growing. Mr Tiberi has been a committee member of the Penrith Valley Seniors Computing Club, and was vice-president of Wow FM. This recognition is well deserved and his service to our community is to be congratulated.

Mr Paul Crofts of Cambridge Gardens is a Vietnam veteran who has given nearly three decades of his life to assist other veterans in their unique needs. Mr Crofts was a rifleman in the Vietnam war, serving as part of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment after being conscripted at the age of 20. He spent 314 days in the jungles of Vietnam defending our country, like so many others. Mr Crofts has been remember of the Returned and Services League Penrith sub-branch since 1991. For a large part of that time he was the welfare and pensions officer responsible for arranging funerals of veterans, reflecting on their lives and supporting their families to navigate the difficult realities of losing their loved one. Mr Crofts received the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to veterans and their families. I thank congratulate him for the work he has done in our community.

Of course, reflecting on the incredible men and women in my community who have been recognised with Australia Day awards, I am reminded of how many do their important work day in, day out, year in year out, without fanfare. It reminds me of all the community-minded people in my electorate of Lindsay who are serving in their own way, making our community a better place, creating opportunities for the vulnerable, welcoming and comforting those who need it and building a social network that encourages and supports people. We in Lindsay are lucky to have so many great people who give of their time generously and their energy boundlessly to help others. So this year we thank and congratulate Jim Tiberi and Paul Crofts for their well-deserved honour in being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. Their service to our community is an inspiration and we are indebted to their efforts over so many years. May they continue to make an impact for many years to come.