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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1723

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (12:45): I had the great pleasure this year again to be involved in the Hume City Council's Australia Day ceremony, which annually involves the conferment of citizenship for many people who live in my electorate. It also involves the conferment of awards to the local community. As always, the event takes place at the Broadmeadows Town Hall.

I always value the opportunity to celebrate Australia Day and the Australian story with my constituents. In celebrating the Australian story and Australia Day in Calwell—a very diverse and multicultural community—I acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we find ourselves in Calwell—the land of the first Australians, the Indigenous Australians. I pay my respects to their elders past and present. Our community has a very high regard for the Gunung-Willam-Balluk people's living culture and their unique role in the life of modern Australia.

This year's Hume City Council Australia Day celebrations saw the awarding of the annual Hume Citizen of the Year award. This year, for the first time, it was shared between two very deserving female recipients. The Hume Young Citizen of the Year award was also rewarded to a very deserving female recipient. I would like to say a few words about these three very worthy recipients, who play a significant role in our local community.

The recipients of the Hume Citizen of the Year award, in recognition for services to the local community, are Zahra Baho, a resident of Roxburgh Park, and Elwyn Davis, who is a resident of Sunbury. Zahra arrived here some 21 years ago as a refugee and settled in our area. She is a sole parent with three children. In the time she has lived in the area she has managed to raise her family and establish an early learning centre. She has assisted many women who, like her, are from refugee backgrounds, to undertake courses to better themselves. She has been a very active participant in many of our local communities. She is by nature a very active person who is very much a volunteer. In all that time she has also managed to better herself by completing an MBA. She is an inspirational character and a very worthy recipient of the Hume Citizen of the Year award.

Elwyn Davis, a long-term resident of Sunbury, is the founder of the Sunbury Action Group. She has been heavily involved in local community organisations. Elwyn says that her main passion is her commitment to charity work. She has raised money and awareness for a leprosy mission. She is one of the driving forces behind the local historical society.

The Hume Young Citizen of the Year is 20-year-old Nadine Kotob from Craigieburn. She is a very impressive young lady who has a passion for community work. She is a very young person who has already made an incredible contribution and if that is any indication of what she is going to do in the future I think I have spotted a future leader in my community.

Nadine is committed not only to her local community but to the broader global community. She has been an active participant in campaigns to eradicate poverty from the world. She is very much a global citizen—a young person who sees her role as not only making her mark in her local community but also in the global community.

I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of former Hume Divisional Superintendent Jack Blayney, who was one of 33 police officers from across Australia to receive an Australian Police Medal. Our local police work tirelessly to assist our community and I want to commend Superintendent Blayney for his work and congratulate him for his achievement. (Time expired)