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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1914

Mr RICK WILSON (O'Connor) (10:33): Last week, I was honoured to witness the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay as it passed through four towns in my electorate. It was an exciting couple of days, with the baton relay visiting Albany, Denmark, Manjimup and Bridgetown. There were some 50 outstanding people chosen to carry the baton, all of whom have done extraordinary things in their community. Pat Martin, to pick one of them, has been an active member of the Manjimup community for over 30 years and a great friend and supporter of mine. Pat is a justice of the peace who is involved in a huge number of community organisations, including the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival, the Manjimup Chamber of Commerce and the Windmills project, which supports and mentors people with disabilities.

John Ryan is a successful Manjimup farmer who's been involved in many different sports throughout his life. He's the founding member of Manjimup Vegetable Exporter Growers, an innovative concept of packing and exporting local produce from Manjimup. But, arguably, his most impressive achievement is as the only completely blind bowler to win the Australian blind bowls championship.

Laura Coles from Manjimup won gold in the skeet shooting at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 and will again represent her country at this year's games. I wish her all the best.

Then there's my very old and dear friend Peter Aspinall, President of RSL WA, who was instrumental in establishing the National Anzac Centre in Albany.

Alice Rule, also from Albany, is a recent recipient of the Order of Australia medal. Alice has been a pillar of the Albany community for more than 60 years, contributing to various community groups such as Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army.

Internationally renowned swimmer Stephen Junk was one of 14 to carry the baton in Denmark. Stephen has swum the Catalina Channel in Southern California and the Cook Strait between New Zealand's north and south islands.

Katy Rutter is a mother of three who has worked hard to set up a highly regarded Denmark gymnastics club, and I am pleased to say that we have been able to support that particular club with a Stronger Communities grant. She has also been heavily involved in the Denmark Surf Life Saving Club.

Two-time Boyup Brook sportsperson of the year Jodi Nield carried the baton in Bridgetown. Jodi is an inspirational role model for young athletes and has made massive contributions to hockey and tennis in Boyup Brook. She has also represented WA in masters hockey for the past three years.

The 2017 Bridgetown-Greenbushes Citizen of the Year, Leonie Eastcott, was the final baton bearer in Bridgetown. Leonie has volunteered in her community for over 20 years, notably coordinating the campaign which secured Bridgetown's win at the 2016 Tidy Town awards. She is a founding member of the Greenbushes Eco Cultural Discovery Centre committee, and a regular volunteer at community events and for the Catholic Church.

I would like to congratulate all the baton bearers from my electorate and thank them for their tireless contributions to their communities.