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Monday, 8 February 2010
Page: 803

Ms HALL (8:58 PM) —Tonight, I would like to put on record the contributions to the Shortland community that have been made by some really outstanding people. A large number of these people have given their time freely, working as volunteers. In addition to those who have worked as volunteers, there have been others who have made enormous contributions in their working lives, giving a lot more than was required of them.

On the day before Australia Day, 25 January, I held the 2010 Shortland Awards. The awardees were people who had made an enormous contribution to the Shortland electorate and to our region as a whole. The awards are given annually and the awardees are nominated by members of the community. The people who received these awards have made an outstanding contribution, and it was appropriate that they received recognition just before Australia Day.

I would like to go through the names of the people who were successful in receiving these awards and share with the chamber some of their contributions. Robert and Valerie Aspinall are a husband and wife team who have given many years of voluntary service to our community. They have helped in P&C canteens, bushfire brigades and Landcare, and Mrs Aspinall has even knitted for premature babies. Tracey Blair is a young woman who has overcome enormous odds. She suffered from a brain tumour and is confined to a wheelchair. She has done a lot of work for Sailability and she even volunteers in my office. There is Mercia Buck for local government and the arts. Phil Costello works for Alcazar at Windale Public School. He is their ‘head gnome’. He works there daily, watering, weeding and helping everywhere.

Professor Jim Denham’s contribution to prostate cancer research and service to the community has been outstanding. Betty Duddle has worked for many community groups over a number of years, including the arts society at Toukley. Peter Field was nominated by Alcazar and also does work for many other groups. He coordinates the breakfast club, he is a volunteer coach driver for the Active After-school Communities program, and he is a driving force behind Windale Fresh. Mary Fitzgerald, who is also involved with Alcazar, helps with the grandparents group. Una Ford was nominated for her contribution to the Pink Ladies and she is also a life member of the United Hospital Auxiliaries.

Geoff Fry was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has become a prostate cancer counsellor. He has donated $1 million of his own money to setting up a prostate cancer centre in the Hunter. Keith Graham is involved in Meals on Wheels and has made enormous contributions to the Swansea community. Donna Harrison was a teacher at Lake Munmorah Public School for 29 years. The parents at that school nominated her for this award because of the enormous contribution she has made at and outside the school. She even tutored a child in hospital for six months, even though the child was not in her class. Phil Heaton is involved with the environment, the south Budgewoi Landcare group.

Jack and Myra Henry were nominated for their contribution to riding for the disabled. Robert Hopkins has been involved with many volunteer groups, but was specifically nominated for his service to pensioners. Gordon Hughes and John Jenkins were longstanding councillors at Lake Macquarie City Council. Both have retired from the council. Gordon is still very active in Rotary, Charlestown Carers and many other community groups, and John is also still active within the community. Josephine King was nominated for her contribution to the frail aged. She was involved with the Dudley Old Men’s Home, the oceans centre and now the East Lake Macquarie Dementia Service. Peter Laing is a teacher who has made an enormous contribution to children over the years.

Blake Lewin was nominated by the Lake Macquarie Tennis Centre for many years service to tennis, local golf and the neighbourhood watch association. Ricky Lewis is another outstanding member of Alcazar. He has worked with the breakfast club and at the Windale school. Betty Lowe was nominated for her contribution to seniors in Lake Munmorah. Sue McQuillan was nominated for her contributions to the Windale community. Les O’Loughlin was recognised for his contribution to education; he was a longstanding economics teacher at Belmont High School. Don Owers was nominated for his contribution to the environment and the cycling movement; Rosalie and Ron Parkes, for their contribution to the Swansea Belmont Surf Life Saving Club; Peter Payne, for his contribution to the Swansea Lions Club; Mike Peachey, for his contribution to the environment and to Sailability; and Kerri Pointer-Palmer, for her contribution to the Belmont Pink Ladies.

I would also like to acknowledge Dennis Roberts from Alcazar, with our public school; Matthew Ross, for his contribution to the environment in the Budgewoi community; Cathy Sjostedt for her contribution to Eleebana Public School—the principal of that school said that in all his time as a teacher he has never come across a woman who has contributed so much to a school; Dianne Smith, for her contribution to Charlestown Caring Group; Margaret Thirlwall, for her work at San Remo Neighbourhood Centre; Rita Thompson, for her contribution to the Lake Munmorah seniors; Clare Threlfo, for her contribution to the Charlestown Caring Group; Warren Welham, for his contribution to local government and to Lions; and, Trevor Wrightson, for his contribution to the Mannering Park community. All are outstanding recipients of the Shortland Award.

In addition I would like to recognise Garry Prince of Lake Munmorah, who was named the citizen of the year for Wyong Shire. And, in Lake Macquarie, I would like to acknowledge June Cameron from Warners Bay, who was the citizen of the year there, for her contribution to guides and girl scouts. There is also volunteer of the year, Diedre Ham, who has made an enormous contribution in a number of areas.

The community group of the year was the Delta Society, which visits people in nursing homes and hospitals. It takes pets to those places and really makes a difference in people’s lives.

I would like to now turn to Stuart Chalmers. Stuart is a very special person. He suffered a stroke some years ago now—it was in March 1991—and when he suffered that stroke it changed his life. He became very active in the community. He is a member of SADI, which is the stroke and disability information group in the Hunter. He is very active in the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club. He is a life member of the Hunter surf-lifesaving branch and a member of the board of examiners of the Newcastle/Hunter branch of the surf-lifesaving movement. He has been involved in supervision of people on work release at the surf club. His contributions have been enormous. He is a shining light for anyone who has a disability. He shows what can be achieved. He is committed to every group that he has been involved in. He was awarded the Order of Australia this year and he was a truly fine recipient of that award. He shows that you do not have to let any adversity prevent you from achieving and having a full life.

These are fantastic Australians. Many of them are volunteers and have worked as volunteers for a very long time. But they are people who care about their community and they are going to make long-term, ongoing commitments to the communities in which they live, mostly on a volunteer basis, but some of them through the work that they do. I commend the actions of these people to the House and hold them up as shining lights for all Australians.