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Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Page: 1324


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (11:01): Today I want to acknowledge two residents of the Blair electorate, both of whom have made enormous contributions and were recognised by Ipswich and Somerset regional councils on Australia Day. First, I congratulate Aunty Faye Carr, who has been named the Ipswich City Council Citizen of the Year for 2016. Aunty Faye is a wonderful and giving person. She is known across Ipswich as a highly respected Indigenous elder and traditional custodian of the Yuggera people. Aunty Faye has dedicated her life to helping Indigenous people within the legal system and in local schools, such as Leichardt and Bundamba.

She ran a breakfast club for Indigenous schoolkids in Bundamba, and I have personally witnessed the wonderful work she and other respected women have done in that location. She organised community programs at the former Purga mission. For 14 years she worked with Indigenous victims and offenders at the Ipswich legal service. This is hard, thankless but necessary work. Her compassion and resilience has endured several personal tragedies, including the day, in 2007, when her own son was tragically taken in an act of terrible violence. For many, the pain of that loss and the ordeal that followed would have seen them retreat from public life, especially life at the coalface of a legal system—but not Aunty Faye. 'I just keep going', she said, and in Ipswich we are so grateful she did.

While illness may have forced her official retirement in recent years, it has not slowed her down at all. In fact, she is busier than ever. She continues to visit prisons, including the Gatton correctional centre, where she visits prisoners, and particularly Indigenous prisoners. She remains a positive and caring influence in the Ipswich community. On behalf of the people of Blair, I extend my congratulations to Aunty Faye on her most deserved recognition as Ipswich's Citizen of the Year 2016.

This year also saw in the Somerset region John Robinson from Kilcoy, in the northern part of the Blair electorate, recognised as the Somerset Citizen of the Year. John is a Vietnam veteran and president of the Kilcoy RSL—a branch he has served with distinction for many years. He is renowned for his energy, dedication and tenacity. He is an unfailing supporter of the community, and I doubt whether there is a committee in the Kilcoy region he has not been a member of. He certainly robustly presses his views to his local federal member whenever I see him.

He is very active in the local community. He has been involved in the Kilcoy and District Community Bank Project and the Kilcoy Cancer Support Group. He is particularly important in the Kilcoy region as an advocate for men's health issues, and has been involved in several notable local health campaigns and events. He expects nothing in return. Last year I honoured John as a worthy recipient of my 2015 Blair volunteer veterans award. This year I am so pleased to see that John has been recognised by the Somerset Regional Council as its citizen of the year. It is truly deserved.