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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2535

Ms HUSAR (Lindsay) (16:39): I rise to talk about some amazing people in my electorate—AKA the Lindsay brag! Every time I'm on my feet in here, I get to say the people of Lindsay are the best asset to our community. Recently I had an afternoon tea to honour some amazing sporting champions. Each has been awarded a $500 grant. They're competing on the international and national stages, and they're proving that our community is full of proud, driven and extremely talented young sportspeople. Joshua Auld competed in swimming at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide. Jessalyn Brown, Ebene Montgomery and Sophie Petterson represented Australia at the Oceania confederation artistic rollerskating championships in Queensland. Laud Codjoe, Alysha Pearson and Anastasia Williams competed at the Australian all-schools athletics championships, also in Adelaide. Joshua Debritt competed in touch football at the Pacific School Games. Keira Field and Arabella Rice competed in softball. Kyan Roach represented Australia at the Baseball World Cup in Taiwan, and Miracle Su'a competed as part of the Greater Sydney Rams under-15s rugby union team. Charli-Ellen Wilkes is a local basketball player who has twice been selected to play on the Sydney West basketball team and has already represented Australia at the Pacific School Games. They have all worked incredibly hard and it's wonderful to be able to assist them in achieving their goals. Elite sports often mean long days and long nights of training. I take my hat off to these remarkable young people and to their families for their support.

Desmond Harper is a shining example of somebody at the other end of the age scale in my electorate of how to stay active in your 80s. He recently visited my office, as he often does. He takes a great interest in what's happening in our community. He's a retired naval officer who served with the Royal Australian Navy in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was awarded long service and good conduct medals in 1965. Des always marches. He is always leading the march at the Anzac and Remembrance Day events in Lindsay. He is very proud to have served his country.

At the age of 80, though, Des took up ballroom dancing. He had danced with his late wife in the earlier days of their marriage and, despite having a loving family, felt very lonely after her death. In order to reconnect with the community, Des returned to the dance floor and hasn't looked back after more than 12 years. He joined the St Marys Dance Centre and teamed up with Janelle Guff, who is his dance partner and choreographer. His most recent success was receiving an Oscar—a dancing Oscar, I am assured!—for Latin dance last year. He added this to his collection of gold and silver trophies and the silver bar which he won in 2013. His success in dancing and his continued involvement inspires people in his age group to engage in their community in their later life.

A powerful partnership of two local charities in my electorate is changing lives not here but overseas. They are Aussi Bangla Smile and Days for Girls, Emu Plains. Aussi Bangla Smile is a volunteer surgical team, founded in 2007 by staff from the already overworked Nepean Hospital. It is led by co-founders registered nurse Barbara Mitchell, Dr Hasan Sarwar and local anaesthetist Dr Margaret Buckingham. They will visit Bangladesh on 9 March to perform reconstructive surgery for cleft palates as well to treat acid burns. These volunteer surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses will pay their own airfares. They use annual leave to participate and fundraise for their equipment to use while they are there. The Aussi Bangla Smile team has treated 780 people with cleft lips, cleft palates and acid burns since they started just over 10 years ago. This will be their eighth trip.

The charity that is working together with them is Days for Girls, which is an international movement of volunteers organising to help women and girls in developing countries stay in school and work by providing them with reusable feminine hygiene products. Registered nurse and co-founder of Aussie Bangla Smile, Barbara Mitchell, set up Days for Girls, Emu Plains, because she could see that there was a need for both. It's no wonder that she was recognised with an OAM in 2015 for her service to the community of Bangladesh through humanitarian medical programs. It's hard to imagine in 2018 that girls and women all over the world drop out of school and work due to a lack of basic hygiene supplies. These simple kits that are handmade by Days for Girls can change their whole future, their worlds and their lives.

I recently joined the dedicated volunteers who gather monthly to help make kits that will change the lives of women and girls. The day I was there, we made 89 kits from scratch. That was on top of the thousands made over the past 3½ years. It was so easy that I recruited my nine- and 11-year-old children to participate. That also helped them and taught them a thing or two about what's happening in other parts of this world. These kits will accompany Aussi Bangla Smile as they travel to Bangladesh this March. These people all reinforce why I'm so proud to represent the community of Lindsay. We have the best people and, together, they have helped change so many lives.