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Thursday, 12 May 2011
Page: 3958

Mrs ANDREWS (McPherson) (12:51): This week, from 9 to 15 May, is National Volunteer Week, when all Australians are called upon to recognise and show our appreciation to volunteers for their contribution. During National Volunteer Week we all have the opportunity to give some thought to, and say thank you to, those Australians who have so selflessly volunteer their time and energy throughout the year. Volunteers provide community service to so many areas of society including surf life saving, aged care, Scouts, the school tuckshop or canteen, and at school crossings, just to name a few. The theme of this year's National Volunteer Week is 'Inspiring the Volunteer in You.' It is intended to help bring volunteering to the forefront of everyone's mind and to encourage people to volunteer and therefore add value to the volunteer sector. I believe this theme will resonate with all Australians and will be successful in inspiring more people to volunteer and lend a helping hand to others. In particular, I am hopeful that the theme will resonate with our younger Australians and highlight the personal growth opportunities available through volunteering, as we need to encourage our youth to support our communities through volunteering their time and skills.

I would now like to take the opportunity to reflect on the value of volunteering. Across the nation more than five million people are volunteers of some description. This continues to grow and grow as a percentage of our population. Australian volunteers contribute more than 700 million hours of community service. There are estimates that in 2010 volunteering was worth about $13.4 billion to the Queensland economy. Volunteers provided work equivalent to almost 300,000 full-time workers. Volunteering Gold Coast estimates that one-quarter of us will volunteer over our lifetime. I hope to bring further recognition to the value of the volunteer and grow the proportion of us who give of ourselves for others.

I believe that volunteers and other community achievers remind us that a kind word to someone who is isolated, or a moment of assistance given to someone who is marginalised, can make an enormous difference to that individual. Australians, and Gold Coasters especially, have always had a reputation for being friendly and part of their community, not just observers on the sidelines. I believe that we are always prepared to lend a hand to our neighbours and will continue to do so well into the future.

Since my election I have met some amazing contributors to the local area: people who I know I can call on to assist our most vulnerable; people who bring community members together where they might otherwise be alone; and people who are generous with their skills and share them with others. On Tuesday, 12 April, I held the inaugural McPherson Community Achiever Awards ceremony, which sought to acknowledge those members of the McPherson community who have given so much to the southern Gold Coast. When I received the nominations for the McPherson Community Achiever Awards it was a great experience for me to be able to read the stories and ultimately listen to those people tell the stories of the work that they had done within our community. And they were certainly truly remarkable stories.

I would like to again congratulate the recipients of the McPherson Community Achiever Awards for 2011. They are Dr Aruni Abeywardena, Antoinette Badenoch, Phil Barnes, Doreen Barnes, Reverend Colin Batt, Les Brodie, Katrina Casaclang, Neville Free, Dulcie Free, Joseph Gates, Mark Goodwin, Ian Grace, Violet Langan, Ron Martinenko, Bobbie Matheson, Cynthia Munro, Merv Rose, Marea Ryan, Toula Singer, Ena Slyp, David Smith, Natalie Tree and Norma Wright. These recipients were nominated for their efforts in both a volunteer capacity and a professional capacity. Each had made a significant contribution to their local communities over a number of years. Without people like them, elements of our economy would crumble. Some essential services would disappear and individuals would struggle. We cannot do without these silent achievers, and it is with this in mind that I will continue to seek to recognise those individuals through these annual awards. I thank them.