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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 680


Mrs SUDMALIS (Gilmore) (11:19): It is not often that we get a chance to put on parliamentary record the outstanding efforts of great individuals in our community. Today I have that opportunity to showcase five amazing individuals. Firstly, Robyn Florance, who lives in Bomaderry, and is a dedicated and focussed local historian. She has now been awarded the OAM for her service to community history and heritage preservation. Robyn is a well-known local history writer and committee member of the Shoalhaven Historical Society and Nowra Museum from 1987 to 2015, serving as president from 1996 to 2005.

Her work for the Shoalhaven City Council Heritage Study between 1995 and 1998 and the Kiama Municipal Council, Kiama Heritage Study Review in 2000 reflect her love and dedication to history. Robyn also coordinated the Centenary Commemoration of Gallipoli and the 2015-2016 Waratah March, which in this simple one line does not do justice to the inspiring work she did to help the re-enactment come into being with local interest and shops fronts decorated and all joining into the taste of history on the day.

Raymond Vincent, a gentle and generous Coolangatta resident and local volunteer, was awarded the OAM for his service to the community with a multitude of organisations, including Berry Apex and the Shellharbour tennis club. Raymond was the fundraising coordinator for the construction of the Shoalhaven Heads Apex Cottage for Kids, SHACK, Foundation, which is a respite accommodation space for families of chronically ill or disabled children. Raymond is currently the chairperson and has been since 1991. Ray has been able to volunteer his building services in a number of other community projects, often in a quiet and unannounced manner.

Then we have the dynamic duo, Bruce and Barbara Smith, a husband and wife team from Moruya, both gaining an OAM for their service to the community in the Eurobodalla region. They volunteer in many organisations, including the Country Women's Association and St Vincent De Paul in Moruya. Barbara is a volunteer teacher at Braidwood Central School as well as a tuckshop volunteer at Moruya Public School and Moruya High School. Barbara is an active member in the New South Wales Rural Fire Service—and hopefully she does not have to come into action in these times—including being captain of the Catering Brigade and Call-Out Officer for the Moruya Brigade. Barbara's volunteering includes the Moruya Show Society and day care at Moruya Hospital.

Bruce is an active member of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, and has been since 1996. He has been captain until 2015. His other volunteering includes the Mogo Hot Fire Training Centre and as a new trainee mentor and driver with the vintage Blitz 1942 fire truck. He has been a member since 1961 and has also volunteered with the SES in the past. Bruce also has a string of organisational recognition medals for his dedicated service.

John Bennett, now also the recipient of an OAM, has been a dedicated and generous worker in the community, especially the Nowra Show Society. However, John has taken his skills and dedication well beyond the local area, taking his energy to the Royal Agricultural Show in Sydney where he has been a popular and well-respected ring master, but he has also taken young agriculturalists to developing nations to help show them basic agronomy skills, how to care for animals in a different way, talk about the way they get their crops growing and generally assist in the increased levels of productivity in regional areas in these nations. Now John is harnessing the energy of others when addressing issues that he encounters at such places as the Commonwealth Agricultural Conference in Singapore in October, where the coming famine and global food security as the planet heads towards 10 billion people in 2050 is seen as a very, very big issue.

Finally, Joanna Gash has been awarded an AM for her service to the Shoalhaven. On the website her list of achievements is impressive and includes federal member for Gilmore from 1996 to 2013. She is my predecessor and current mentor. These listings—shadow parliamentary secretary for tourism, government whip, member, Speaker's panel, Mayor of the City of Shoalhaven, councillor since 2012 and previous councillor on the Wingecarribee Shire Council—do not truly reflect the extent of her service to her community. In her early days as a tourism officer in the Wingecarribee, she develop training modules and connections for New South Wales tourism that still exist today. Joanna has been a part of serving the community since the 1980s and continues still. One incident that comes to mind is that, as a volunteer, she used to drive a busload of kidney dialysis patients to Wollongong for their treatment and helped agitate and advocate for local services to be delivered in the local hospital. She has been the advocate in the parliament to keep HMAS Albatross based in Nowra when it was almost moved to Queensland. Joanna has been a fierce campaigner for local projects to be delivered and her greatest achievement was the delivery of Main Road 92. She is rarely recognised in a public manner for her tireless efforts for the community. Now it is official with the award of an AM, Member of the Order of Australia—more rare than an OAM, but absolutely deserved.