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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 664

Dr GILLESPIE (Lyne) (10:52): I rise to bring to the attention of the House, and to congratulate, Citizens of the Year in the Lyne electorate. I recognised them in my Australia Day speech but I would like to formally mention that in the Manning Valley the Greater Taree City Citizen of the Year was Maureen Turner. She received that award for her years of dedicated service for Riding for the Disabled.

Young Citizen of the Year and Sports Star were also announced, as was the Community Event of the Year. Community Event of the Year went to a wonderful group of people in Wingham. They got together a wonderful festival that really unites the town and brings in a lot of trade and business: the Wingham Akoostik Music Festival. Sports Star of the Year was Arlene Blencowe.

In Port Macquarie the Hasting Citizen of the Year was Ally Costanzo, who has worked tirelessly and helped some of the most vulnerable in our community—those with hearing impairment and those suffering from deafness and blindness. She has been a Trojan in working as solace and support for that community. Senior Citizen of the Year in the Hastings area was local Rotarian and former local journalist Laurie Barber. Young Citizen of the Year was Ahlia Westaway-Griffiths.

In Gloucester, I had the pleasure of being on hand at this year's Australian Day ceremonies to see Norma Fisher named Citizen of the Year and Jack Wilson named Young Citizen of the Year. Yarning our Country was named Organisation of the Year. In the Macleay valley to the north, Maurie Fuller was named Citizen of the Year.

Clay Frist was named Young Citizen of the Year, and the Community Group Award went to Kempsey PCYC. All of these community groups do amazing work in their own communities. People underestimate the value to the community and the value to society as a whole the support and encouragement they give to groups like Riding for the Disabled or to the blind and hearing impaired. Teaching signing or supporting the group is a wonderful thing for anybody to do.

So many other people do great work in the community but on this occasion we chose those who were selected as the winners. But, really, all of those nominated were winners because they are all doing a great job, they are all appreciated deeply by the community, and I encourage them to continue their great and rewarding work.