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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13253

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (21:56): I rise tonight to talk about some of the Canberra legends in my community. First, I want to recognise the work of Rod Templar. Rod is a former senior Commonwealth and ACT public servant who has devoted an enormous amount of his time and energy to working for the Canberra community. Since he retired in 1999 because of ill-health, Rod has put to very good use both his organisational skills and his interest in musical theatre. Despite suffering from a chronic and very debilitating disorder, Rod served for seven years on the Board of the ACT Council of the Ageing. In that role, his extensive work background—including a period as ACT Commissioner for Housing—enabled him to make a significant contribution on housing related issues for older people. Even when ill health has prevented him from active involvement, Rod has willingly provided valuable advice to the board on these issues.

Not long after retiring, Rod began a weekly class for the University of the Third Age, or U3A, on the history of musical theatre. From small beginnings, it has developed into a large group with a strong support team and about 120 members. Rod's aim is not just to entertain but to educate members on the background of the shows that they watch. Through group bookings, he has also developed a strong rapport with amateur theatre companies, thus helping to provide support and encouragement to local talent. A long stint as volunteer presenter on community radio and a prominent role in the purchase and upgrading of U3A's audio-visual equipment have added to Rod Templar's accomplishments. His interests, generosity and professional and technical skills—as well as his infectious enthusiasm—have made him an exceptional member of the ACT community and most definitely a Canberra legend.

Another Canberra legend is Gwyneth George. Some of you may be familiar with Gwyneth's son, Peter George, a well-known ABC personality. Gwyneth is now in her mid-80s but her legacy is important to recognise. Gwyneth has won community service awards and she is one of the wonderful legends who have dedicated their lives to helping others and building a better community. Gwyneth set up a group called Spiral in 1970 with the help of many other outstanding volunteers in Canberra. Spiral is now celebrating over 40 years of supporting and entertaining some of Canberra's older citizens. Spiral is a group of about 10 volunteers, most of whom are now in their 70s and 80s. They have about 30 members, mainly women aged between 65 and 95.

These volunteers meet at the St James Uniting Church in Curtin. It is a beautiful part of my electorate. It is a non-denominational group of volunteers who meet every week. They provide food, refreshments and some form of entertainment. Usually, there is a special guest speaker; sometimes there may be a musical performance; and occasionally they go for picnics.

I am proud to have in my electorate so many dedicated and passionate volunteers who help our older citizens and I encourage more people to join groups like Spiral and others who provide much needed services and entertainment to make other people's lives so much better.

Finally, I want to acknowledge Jess McConnell, a young leader in the Canberra community. Through her involvement with Scouting, St John Ambulance, Limelight and various community theatre productions, Jess has held a variety of leadership positions and completed thousands of volunteer hours. Jess was a major driving force behind the Scouts ACT Solomon Islands 2011 project, which is a fully youth-run leadership program. Here, young Rovers aged between 18 and 25 utilised skills gained through Scouts to implement a socially-worthwhile, community based project.

Jess has also completed her senior and advanced first aid certificates, and she has completed hundreds of hours of public first aid duties for Canberra region events such as local shows, football matches, fetes, Anzac Day and other community events. Incredibly for such a young person, Jess has participated in the world jamboree, and she went to Switzerland on a school exchange. Jess Mcconnell is a Canberra legend whose support of her community and voluntary work with children with disabilities and terminally ill children deserves to be widely recognised.

I end my speech in this adjournment debate on a very positive note by speaking about the Rotax Pro Tour go-karting championship I attended just recently in Canberra. Tyra Maranik, who was a competitor in the event, wrote to me:

Dear Ms Brodtmann,

… thank you for coming to the Pro Tour event at Canberra. I know someone in your position is very busy, so I appreciate the time he spent with us.

You spoke to me on the grid, before the final. I had a great Saturday, coming 4th in the heats. (Time expired)