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Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Page: 12450

Ms OWENS (9:57 AM) —Today is the International Day of People with Disability, and Parliament House will host a gala ceremony tonight for the National Disability Awards. Sarah Cullen, of Toongabbie in my electorate of Parramatta, is one of the finalists in the category of Young Community Contribution Award, which recognises a young person with a disability aged between 12 and 25 years who has made a significant contribution to their community. Sarah is 24 years old and has a combination of physical, sensory and cognitive difficulties as a result of having suffered two strokes. Sarah works to improve the lives of stroke survivors. She has completed a Bachelor of Speech and Hearing Sciences and now works as an active and respected advocate for stroke survivors. Sarah has become an accomplished public speaker and uses her talents to ensure that stroke service providers in New South Wales are aware of the needs of stroke survivors and carers in their community. She has spoken at a number of stroke management and transition care conferences, where she relates her experiences as a young consumer of adult healthcare services.

Her personal experiences assist the Greater Metropolitan Clinical Taskforce to develop methods of supporting young people who are transitioning from paediatric to adult healthcare services. In association with the Stroke Recovery Association NSW, Sarah recently launched Different Strokes, a stroke recovery club that provides support services for very young stroke survivors and their carers. As well as her work with stroke survivors, Sarah volunteers her time to help newly arrived refugees integrate into the community. She not only teaches these refugees to use English but develops and adapts each lesson to suit the learning needs of each person in the group.

The National Disability Awards were launched in 2006 by the Australian government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to recognise the contribution people with a disability make to their community. The Australian government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs manages the National Disability Awards to coincide with the day. The awards recognise people across five categories: community contribution, young community contribution, inclusion, go-getter and personal achievement. The award recipients will be announced during a gala dinner at Parliament House tonight. I congratulate Sarah on her nomination as a finalist in these awards. Her contribution to our community is deserving of this recognition, and I wish her every success in her work with stroke survivors in New South Wales. I also wish her well for tonight and naturally—and I am not biased!—I hope she wins.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.