Mitchell Electorate - Australia Day Honours and Awards

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Assistant Minister for Home Affairs) (10:21): It is my pleasure to speak with great pride about some of the great citizens who won The Hills Shire Council Australia Day awards for this year. The Young Citizen of the Year, Sina Aghamofid, is part of the Hills Youth Army and the Youth Volunteer Force, and recently joined the headspace Youth Advisory Council in order to help tackle the stigma surrounding mental health by increasing mental health literacy. One of our Senior Citizens of the Year, Noreen Tait, has been a volunteer with Wirreanda Retirement Village for 18 years and has worked with the RSL sub-branch in Wirreanda, which has grown to include ex-servicemen and women who help facilitate Anzac Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies. The other, Carol Baker, known to so many of us, has been a volunteer in The Hills for over 20 years, helping so many charities raise enormous amounts of money for worthwhile causes. Zoe Graham, our Citizen of the Year, co-founded the Hills Relay Ball, which has raised more than $400,000 for the Cancer Council over the last 11 years, and has participated in many charity missions overseas. She is a fantastic person who has also taken the time to participate in a school P&C and The Hills safety committee.

One of our Community Groups of the Year, Computer Pals for Seniors, is a non-profit organisation consisting of 60 dedicated volunteers providing ongoing and valuable technological skills for all seniors with the aim of enabling them to become proficient in computing—and I'm sending my dad their way! The other is the Gazelles Netball Club, which has run the Gazelles Empowerment Program over the past four years, which utilises the power of sport to improve players' physical and mental wellbeing by creating an inclusive environment and encouraging a sense of belonging. These sessions focus on self-assessment, self-awareness, team dynamics and teamwork. This is a great model, and I praise the Gazelles Netball Club on the work they are doing and the innovation they are showing in this field.

The Mayoral Commendation Awards for Senior Citizen of the Year went to Lyn Bull this year, who dedicates her time in a voluntary capacity, helping students of Baulkham Hills North Public School to improve their reading, literacy and numeracy skills; and to Jennifer Crouch, who donates her time to help so many students improve their reading skills as well. The Mayoral Commendation for Citizen of the Year this year went to Azita Abdollahian, who volunteers her time to help homeless people by providing food and clean clothes and cutting their hair, and is a strong advocate against abuse, including domestic violence. She is a fantastic citizen.

Another collection of fantastic people received OAMs in our honours awards, including David Sansoni; the late Glenys Chapman of Kellyville, for service to nursing and outreach programs at the Sydney Adventist Hospital; Philippa Lovely, for service to the community through the Riding for the Disabled Association NSW 'Tall Timbers' Centre, which I'm privileged to have in my electorate; Moya McGuiness, for her service to education; and Gerald Anderson, for service to welfare organisations. Evelyn Lester, the commander of our SES in The Hills, received an Emergency Service Medal for distinguished service throughout her years at the SES. I pay tribute to Evelyn, as we do regularly, and I look forward to the awards ceremony coming up in a few weeks.

I congratulate in a big way Eddie Woo, who was named Australia's Local Hero for 2018 at the Australian of the Year Awards. As the head mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High, he started innovative video tutorials—a fantastic Australian and a great contributor. Eddie is a champion of our community, and I praise him.