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Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Page: 12437

Mr MORRISON (7:40 PM) —One of the great privileges of being in this House and being a federal member of parliament is that we get the opportunity to acknowledge people in our communities, whether at our local village fairs, in our schools or here in this place, as the member for Lindsay has just done—and I seek to associate myself with those comments. I am here tonight to acknowledge quite a number of people in my electorate of Cook. My predecessor to the honourable Bruce Baird started a great program called the Cook Community Awards, and those awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the selfless service of so many in our community who often go unrecognised. Last Saturday week at the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks Leagues Club we had the opportunity to present those awards to more than 40 very worthy recipients, to share with their families and friends their achievements and to celebrate their service. In particular, I would like to mention a few of them for the benefit of the House and to acknowledge their service here in this place.

Andrew Barrs from Camp Kookaburra is a dedicated person who has been making a difference for young children living in families affected by mental illness. For 19 years he has volunteered at camps for these children through Camp Kookaburra. Wendy Brown was an employee of the Sutherland Hospital for 36 years, after which time she became a volunteer and coordinator for the hospital. She helped set up the hospital’s healthy food shop to raise money for hospital equipment, and the store now raises $150,000 to $200,000 a year. Keith Carter has been a member of the Cronulla RSL Sub-branch since 1951. He was a foundation member of the sub-branch’s youth club and took the role of coach for the rugby league team. Keith’s dedication and selflessness in caring for elderly members of the sub-branch is greatly appreciated.

Myra Chalmers is associated with the St George/Sutherland Support Group of Parkinson’s NSW and the Caringbah Garden Club. For the last four years Myra has been a fearless leader of the support group of Parkinson’s NSW and has dedicated her time to helping Parkinson’s sufferers and raising money for the cause. Myra contributes her skills unselfishly and willingly to help the cause. Janice Foulcher came to the Combined Caring Centres for the Sutherland Shire as a volunteer in 2002. She has thrown herself behind that role, being active in everything from lunches and morning teas, social events and the Pink Panthers bowling group to managing the group’s finances. Marian Jones has been a volunteer at the Friends of Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre for the last 10 years in a variety of roles, including that of fundraiser and president. Marian works tirelessly to coordinate events at the gallery and was the brains behind the annual Carols in the Garden event. Jewel Lamberton has been preparing lunches for clients and volunteers of the Caringbah Craft and Activity Centre for the Disabled since 1983. It is said that an army marches on its stomach, and the group greatly appreciates Jewel’s lunches.

This year we initiated a special award: the Cook Community Medal. We singled out one of the many recipients of community awards for their outstanding leadership in community service in the Sutherland Shire, particularly in the electorate of Cook. That inaugural medal was given to Mr Kevin Neilson. Kevin has been a member of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club for many years and was a surf-lifesaving champion in his day. Kevin and Sandra have been a rock of support for the club. In 1966 Kevin became a member of the club and, since then, he has been involved at all levels—most recently, as president of the club during its centenary year.

Brian Nobbs was a foundation member of the Bundeena Lions club and has served with the Bundeena Public School P&C Association. He is currently Senior Vice-President of the Bundeena RSL Sub-branch. Robert and Mary Rimoldi from the St Catherine Laboure Church in Gymea have been foster parents for an amazing 35 years and are currently looking after their 80th foster child, a three-week-old baby boy from Nepal. They stay in touch with many of their foster children, attending weddings and birthday celebrations.

There are many of these great heroes in our community, and I know there are in electorates right across the country. There is not enough time for me to talk about all those whom we were able to honour and celebrate on that day, but it was a great privilege to do so. I look forward to receiving the nominations for next year’s event, where, once again, we can celebrate the great community spirit of the shire.