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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2604


WYATT ROY (Longman) (13:01): I am proud to rise today to announce the opening of nominations for the 2012 Longman Awards. As I shared in this place last year after the 2011 awards, my local community has some truly outstanding achievers. The Longman Awards are an opportunity to recognise these achievers and the remarkable ways they contribute to our community—the hardworking, dedicated locals who all too often go unacknowledged. This year the Longman Awards will have seven categories recognising locals in the areas of environment, sport achievement, seniors achievement, youth achievement, volunteer work, community group achievement and the new addition of small business achievement.

Over the past year I have been witness to two outstanding examples of generosity and community-minded initiatives that have been launched by local businesses. I have been so impressed by what I have observed that I thought it was important to recognise and acknowledge how these efforts are enriching our local community and making it an even better place for everyone who lives in it.

Last year over 320 people attended these community awards. In fact, we had so many people attend that the friends and families of the 50 finalists were even lining the walls at the back of the room at the Caboolture RSL, where the Longman Awards were held. This shows that, given the opportunity, my local community really gets behind its achievers.

I am already getting nominations through for this year's Longman Awards. The nominations are already revealing the hardworking volunteer tradition in my community. For example, Jenny Walters has been volunteering with the Community Visitors Scheme for 10 years and Betty Farren-Price has been volunteering with the Bribie Visitors Centre for over 13 years. I look forward to receiving even more nominations from my community and celebrating the many achievements of the community at the Longman Awards during National Volunteers Week later this year.

This year I am also launching the inaugural Longman Youth Leadership Forum. In my role I spend many hours in the community. From what I have observed, and from the feedback I have received from young people and community leaders, the young people of my local area are seeking more opportunities to gain leadership skills and experience. The Longman Youth Leadership Forum will be unlike many other youth leadership activities. It will be an intense two-day program designed to help young people to be leaders at every level of our community. In fact, the forum will partner with various community groups in our region to work on projects that give back to the local community.

In my community many community services would simply not be possible without the help of volunteers. It is only through their many dedicated hours that our groups are able to serve my region's needs so well. The attendees of the Longman Youth Leadership Forum will be part of a community project and they will be responsible for developing and commencing a task as part of that project. I am looking forward to working closely with the many groups in the community that have already put their hand up to be part of the Longman Youth Leadership Forum. The feedback I have received from my community over the past 12 months has been that the young people of my region have often missed out on leadership opportunities due to financial constraints. I see that as a shame. Young people who have a genuine desire to learn leadership skills should be able to gain them. This is why I am working with the community to coordinate community donations towards the Longman Youth Leadership Forum, so that young people can attend without cost to themselves.

The Longman Youth Leadership Forum is about giving back to the community and investing in our future community leaders. I have opened nominations for the Longman Youth Leadership Forum through my website, wyattroy.com.au, and I look forward to receiving more nominations from schools, youth groups and young people themselves. Already I have had some great conversations with local school principals, who are looking forward to their students having access to the leadership skills that will be explored at the forum. Nominations close on 16 March and I will be announcing the attendees soon after. I look forward to working with the community and the young people of my region at the Longman Youth Leadership Forum in the National Youth Week later this year.