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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1495


Mr SYMON (Deakin) (16:52): On 12 December last year it was my great pleasure to host the Deakin National Volunteer Awards 2012. This was a great opportunity to formally recognise the work of some of our community's greatest contributors across many different and varied community and volunteer services. There are so many people in our community who volunteer their time, energy and expertise to help others, and I am always amazed by the number of groups who provide these services. Volunteers operate in areas such as community welfare, sport, education, recreation, environment, emergency services and health; and, quite simply, without the services of volunteers our country would be a far harsher place for the people who live here.

The Deakin National Volunteer Awards are important because they give the community an opportunity to see what people do—and that is a great thing. The Deakin National Volunteer Awards 2012 were presented to the following volunteers. Jeanette Giles received the MP's Volunteer of the Year award for her outstanding long term volunteering service of over 30 years. In that time, Jeanette has volunteered for Donwood Day Care Centre, the Cancer Council of Victoria, Sing Australia, Heathmont Ladies Probus Club, Ringwood Calligraphy and Heathmont Uniting Church Community Living Centre and has tutored English to migrants at AMES, to name just a few of her many activities.

The Young Volunteer award, for the 18 to 25 years category, was presented to Catherine Pelling for her voluntary work in addressing climate change, including her attendance at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha as a delegate with Global Voices in 2012 and for her work in other volunteer services and her championing of human rights.

The Senior Volunteer award was shared. The first Senior Volunteer award was presented to Trevor Ryan for his service to Life Activities Whitehorse, Uniting Care Strathdon Community, the Stakeholders Advisory Group for the Healesville Freeway Reservation and the Mahoney's Reserve Pavilion Association. The second Senior Volunteer award was presented to Gary Brooks for his work at the Avenue Neighbourhood House @Eley tutoring students in the Refresh program that provides alternative learning options for disengaged youth, along with his work driving the bus and his organisation of fundraising efforts.

There were three recipients of the Volunteers Education award. Meagan Scotto received a Volunteers Education award for her work at the Heathmont Pre-School and Kindergarten as co-ordinator of the fundraising committee, with the kindergarten raising close to $100,000 in the last seven years. Michelle Arandall also received a Volunteers Education Award for her voluntary work at Whitehorse Primary School, where she supports all members of the school community and is a member of the school council and subcommittees. Michelle also provides tours of the school, organises sausage sizzles and volunteers in the school office every day of the week. The Uniform Shop team at Vermont Primary School, comprising Cris Battaglia, Amanda Berryman, Kylie King, Jess drew and Liz Blair-West, also received a Volunteers Education award for their sterling efforts in providing this much-needed service to the school community.

The Emergency Management Volunteer award was presented to the Fundraising and Transport Group at the Maroondah Unit of the Australian Red Cross, who provide patient transport to take people in need to medical appointments and organise local fundraising.

The Volunteers Environment award was presented to Peter Tatman for his contribution to the establishment and the protection of the Ronald E Gray Reserve in Nunawading, which is recognised for its remnant native vegetation and significant ecological values.

The Innovation in Volunteering award was also shared. The Falls Prevention and Wellbeing Volunteer program at the Peter James Centre received an Innovation in Volunteering award for their support of the clinical staff in caring for frail and elderly patients. The Marlborough Trail Blazers at Marlborough Primary School in Heathmont received an Innovation in Volunteering award for their work in promoting exercise to school students, educating students on preparing for exercise and supervising a before school running club along with organising healthy breakfasts after the run.

Two volunteers received a Long Term Commitment to Community Service award. Rhonda Davis received the award for her voluntary work in the kitchen garden and working with migrant and refugee students at Weeden Heights Primary School. Beryl Bloomcamp received the award for her service to the Mitcham Senior Citizens club. She joined in 1983 and has been serving as the club's secretary since 1990.

I congratulate each of the Deakin National Volunteer Awards 2012 recipients and thank them on behalf of our community for their outstanding efforts.