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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2572

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (12:04): Ipswich and the Somerset region boast some of the hardest-working community groups and members I've ever seen. I recently had the opportunity to see a new cohort of people become part of the Australian family at citizenship ceremonies in Ipswich and the Somerset region. I also attended awards ceremonies hosted by the Ipswich City Council and the Somerset Regional Council. I want to congratulate, acknowledge and thank nominees and winners at those awards ceremonies.

A tremendous applause was heard in the Ipswich Civic Centre when Glen Smith was announced as the winner of the Ipswich City Council's Cultural Award of the Year. Glen is a well-respected member of the Ipswich arts community, having held the role of president of Arts Connect Ipswich Inc. and having been a committee member of both the Ipswich Art Awards and the Regional Arts Development Fund. He's a regular face at the top of town in Ipswich and is well-deserving of recognition.

Head of boarding at Ipswich Grammar School, John Beaumont, adds Ipswich Citizen of the Year to the list of accolades for which his students, their parents and fellow teachers have nominated him. In the 12 years that John has been there, he has been in the role of head of boarding, he has nurtured boarders 24 hours a day and he has helped them ease into life at the school—the oldest high school in Queensland. His boarders are made up of Indigenous, rural and international students who consider John as a surrogate father. Matthew Cox was runner-up for the award. Matthew jogged from Perth to Ipswich to raise funds for the children and families of the Ipswich Hospital children's ward.

Vietnam veteran Ian Dainer was named Ipswich Senior Citizen of the Year. Ian was one of the last RAAF personnel to leave Saigon in 1975 and remains a pivotal part of the Ipswich defence community. Ian continues to advocate for the health and wellbeing of returned service personnel and is a strong voice for his local sub-branch of the RSL and the Willowbank Area Residents Group, where he's served as secretary for many years. He thoroughly deserves this award.

Hannah Hyatt is Ipswich Young Citizen of the Year. She started volunteering with headspace in East Street in Ipswich—I addressed their Youth Advisory Council some time ago—and now she's a headspace employee. She's 23 years of age and continues to be a passionate advocate for improved mental health services for young people in Ipswich while completing her degree in human services at USQ. Her personal testimony and experience gives her a strong connection with young people.

Young residents such as Esk's Emily Heck, who at just 18 years of age involves herself in nearly every aspect of the community, was Young Citizen of the Year in the Esk area. She's a dedicated member of the Somerset Art Society and the RSL and volunteers for Meals on Wheels. For years she's volunteered as a steward at the Esk Show Society and assists in the judging of some of the show's competitions. Despite her age, she's been a Girl Guide for 12 years as an inspiring leader for the group's younger members. She's also a member of the Esk Community Choir, recognised as the best choir in the Somerset region. The founder of that choir, Alexis Fitzgerald OAM, was recognised with the Arts and Cultural Award for her 40 years of dedication to music in the region. The choir boasts 150 members, many of whom were there to see Alexis recognised on the day.

Also in the Somerset region, hobby arborist Peter Bevan has directed his passion towards enhancing a significant portion of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail in Lowood. The rail trail attracts people from all over the region to explore the beautiful Somerset region on foot, bike or horseback. Peter's dedicated revival of the area using native Australian plants from his own private nursery earned him the title of the Somerset region's Citizen of the Year. I thank Peter and his colleague Jean Bray for showing me the great work they've been doing in the Lowood region. Geoff Beattie was a runner-up for the award. Geoff has a long history in the region as a member of the local water board and is a tireless volunteer for Fernvale Lions and the Uniting Church. Since the sad passing of his wife many years ago, Geoff has done a lot of work for the Leukaemia Foundation. I'd also like to recognise his commitment in terms of the Christmas lights. His whole family received an award for the Christmas lights at his property at Glamorgan Vale which enhance the life of so many people.

I congratulate Fernvale Youth Incorporated, recognised as Somerset region's Community Group of the Year. It's an organisation that grew out of the floods in 2011.

I congratulate the many dedicated members and community groups who've enhanced our region to make Ipswich and the Somerset region such a fantastic place to live and visit. I commend all of them on their achievements.