Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5980


Mr BALDWIN (9:30 PM) —Tonight I rise to inform this House that on Saturday, 30 May, I attended a very special ceremony at the Bulahdelah Golf Club recognising the outstanding achievement of the members of the Great Lakes District brigades of the Rural Fire Service. I joined with former commissioner the Hon. Phil Koperberg; current Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons; Chief Superintendent Steve Yorke; Superintendent Kam Baker; Inspector Cecil Miller; and many members of the local brigades and their families to recognise these local heroes. The Great Lakes District is made up of 23 brigades comprising 687 members, with 46 firefighting vehicles and two support vehicles. The Great Lakes District brigades attended 283 incidents in 2008 and 121 incidents to date in 2009, with significant out of area assistance in the recent tragic bushfires in Victoria.

The purpose of the event was to present nine National Medals, two First Clasp Awards, two Second Clasp Awards, one Third Clasp Award, 13 15-year long-service medals and 16 long-service awards to members of the Great Lakes District Rural Fire Service. The national medal is presented to members of the rural fire service in recognition of their years of diligent service that have gone above and beyond what is expected of active members within their brigade. Long-service awards are presented to members of the Rural Fire Service in recognition of their years of active service.

The recipients were Arthur Skinner, currently a member of the Tuncurry Catering Brigade, who received the National Medal and the First, Second and Third Clasp Awards for 59 years service; Norman Cunningham, currently a member of the Minimbah Brigade, who received the National Medal and the Second Clasp Award for 46 years service; Neal Cook, who received the National Medal for 25 years service as a member of the North Arm Cove Brigade; Kevin Johnson, who received the National Medal and the 15-year long-service award for 23 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Glyn Davies, who received the National Medal for 19 years service as a member of the Pacific Palms and Bungwahl Brigades; Brent Williams, who received the National Medal, the First Clasp Award and the 15-year long-service award for 18 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Dennis Webb, who received the National Medal and 15-year long-service award for 17 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Gladys Pearce, currently a member of the Great Lakes Communications Brigade, who received the National Medal for 17 years service; Phil McAsey, who received the National Medal and 15-year long-service award for 16 years service as a member of the Green Point Brigade; Phil Hughes, who received the 15-year long-service award for 25 years service as a member of the North Arm Cove Point Brigade; Athol Blanch, who received the 15-year long-service award for 21 years service as a member of the Limeburners Creek Brigade; Max Mehan, who received the 15-year long-service award for 21 years service as a member of the Limeburners Creek Brigade; Mark Rimmer, who received the National Medal and 15-year long-service award for 20 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Paul Murrell, who received the 15-year long-service award for 20 years services as a member of the Green Point Brigade; Robert McMaster, who received the 15-year long-service award for 18 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Kim McDermott, who received the 15-year long-service award for 17 years service as a member of the Monkerai Brigade; Joe Karsenbarg, who received 15-year long-service award for 17 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Dennis Webb, who received the 15-year long-service award for 17 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; Mark Johnson, who received the 15-year long-service award for 15 years service as a member of the Minimbah Brigade; John Murray, who received the 25-year long-service award for 31 years service as a member of the Limeburners Creek Brigade; Alan Witt, who received the 25-year long-service award for 31 years service as the Limeburners Creek Brigade; and Lowell Reardon, who received the 25-year long-service award for 27 years service as a member of the Green Point Brigade.

These fine Australians and their fellow brigade members are our heroes. At a moment’s notice, they regularly put their lives on the line to help people who they may not know to defend and save property that they do not own for a common bond that is uniquely Australian. This has been borne out in fighting fires not just across the region and not just across the state of New South Wales but indeed across all of Australia. They are not paid for their personal sacrifices, but they are truly respected and admired for them. To them and their families I, on behalf of this parliament, say thank you on a job well done. You serve your community and you serve your nation very well indeed.