Australia Day Awards 2020

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for International Development and the Pacific and Assistant Defence Minister) (10:45): It's a pleasure to draw attention to some remarkable people in the electorate of Mitchell who were recognised in the recent Australia Day honours list, including Justin Dowd AM, for his significant service to family law and to professional associations; Paul Field AM, for his service to the arts, particularly children's entertainment, and as a supporter of charitable endeavours; Ray Palmer OAM, for his community service; and Ron Ray OAM, also for his service to the community through a range of roles, including as a founding member of the Friends of Bella Vista Farm and his current role as vice-president of operations. Volunteers are the stalwarts of every local community and they permeate every aspect of Australian society. My electorate of Mitchell hosts a strong, committed volunteer workforce.

The Hills Shire Council's 2020 Australia Day Awards also recognised individuals, community groups and organisations. Many were recognised this year by the Hills Shire Council. I would like to commend the following people for their ongoing commitment and service to the Mitchell community. I commend Mrs Ruth Didsbury, the Citizen of the Year, for her tireless work as a member of the Hills Relay for Life committee for over 15 years. The Hills Relay for Life is one of the most successful, well-run events in our electorate and in the state of New South Wales, and one of the largest events run by that organisation. Ruth also volunteers with the Cancer Council and joined the Hills Light the Night organising committee, raising aware and funds for the Leukaemia Foundation. I want to thank Ruth for her tireless dedication.

I commend Mrs Carol Harding, the Senior Citizen of the Year, who has worked for the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy at St Michael's Family Centre in the family support and accommodation program at Baulkham Hills for over 25 years, the last nine years as a coordinator. Carol has also been a tireless member of the Hills Domestic Violence Prevention Network since 1995. Carol is a passionate advocate on issues around domestic violence and homelessness, and speaks at many events and to students on these issues affecting women and children. I thank her for it.

I commend Mr Austin Rosier, the Young Citizen of the Year, for his role as an Anzac secondary school ambassador for the Centenary of Anzac committee for the Hills in 2015, and what a fantastic committee it was. The service had 5,000 people—the second-biggest service in Sydney. Austin served with success, demonstrating commitment to teamwork, interpersonal skills and dedication to the service of war veterans. Austin has continued to serve in the program as a mentor. In 2019 he joined the selection panel for the program as well. He is also a carer of two young men with autism as well as mentoring and leading a youth group at St Paul's Anglican Church at Castle Hill.

I commend Budokan Judo Club for being the Community Group of the Year and I commend Rob Katz for his long-term dedication to the sport of judo. They cater for a diverse demographic of toddlers, recreational players, members with spectrum disorders, veteran competitors and indeed a number of Olympians. The Olympian record at that club is outstanding and amazing, and I commend them for their ongoing dedication.

The Hills Shire mayor awarded a lifetime honorary award for outstanding service to the late Allan Drew OAM, who I've spoken about before in this place. I want to again commend him for his service and legacy to our community and for a life well lived.

I congratulate all of the volunteers.