I rise this evening to talk about a group of exceptional people in my constituency who we collectively honoured at the 12th annual Holt Australia Day Awards at the Day of Nations celebrations in Hampton Park. We honoured 33 outstanding individuals and seven local organisations for their contributions to the Holt community. This event was attended by a large group of people. It was organised by Erica Maliki and Vanassa Gerdes, from the Hampton Park Networking Group, and supported by the City of Casey.
I am going to read into the record the names of those individuals and organisations who received an Australia Day award. They are: Suz Arnott, Senior Sergeant Phillip Byrne, Jennifer Davis, Francine Dishon, Wendi Emmerson, Elsie Hoare, Tina Jom, Ron Lamb, Raisa Lashkariov, William Logan, Kevin Manning, Shami and Charlotte Jane Marandawela, Chris Marsh, Ron and Val Marshall, Sultan Miakhal, Nerraj Nanda, Nivas Nivandhana, Daniel Phillips, Reverend David Powys, Tehana Ranatunga, Chantelle Riordan, Reverend Peter Roberts, Nicole Ryan, Shabnam Safa, Tracey Scott, Shirley Smith, Judy Symons, Mark Titford, Doug Tucker, Kaushaliya Vaghela, Father Albert Yogarajah, Doveton North Cricket Club Committee, Islamic Education and Welfare Association of Dandenong, Lynbrook Residents Association, Meals on Wheels Cranbourne, Nanaksar Thaat Sikh Temple, National Servicemen’s Association of Australia and Young Veterans RSL That is quite a list of people and organisations.
Australia Day is a great day where we can recognise people who have made a contribution to our community in that often understated and quintessentially Australian way. They might not be in front of TV cameras but they are the glue that makes our community work and makes our community a great place to live. It is just wonderful to publicly recognise these people on our national day.
I will give you the flavour of some of the people who received the award. One was Nicole Ryan, who was the mastermind of the Narre-Cranbourne Relay for Life. Nicole, unfortunately, officially stepped down as the chairwoman last year. Just after Christmas about 12 years ago Nicole’s father, Clive, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In Nicole’s words, her father just ‘shut down’. With nowhere left to turn, Nicole rang the Cancer Council, who suggested they take part in the Relay for Life. Seeking to start up her own cancer fundraiser Nicole set the wheels in motion to run her own event and by 2012 the Narre-Cranbourne Relay for Life was established. Four years on, and with 15 people on the organising committee, the event has raised over $300,000. This is an amazing achievement.
Also amongst the award recipients were the Young Veterans RSL. Young Veterans started when three mates and fellow veterans felt that there was a lack of social welfare groups providing activities for a very significant cohort of young veterans and ex-serving defence members across Australia. In conjunction with Dandenong RSL they set out to purchase three ex-Defence Land Rovers and drive them from the southernmost point of the Australian mainland, which is Wilson Promontory, to the northernmost point at the tip of Cape York. This is one of several activities that the Young Veterans organised throughout 2015 that raised funds and increased awareness of the contribution of our young veteran community. The Young Veterans engaged as many RSL sub-branches as possible along the way, and the feedback was absolutely sensational. They also visited schools, conducted presentations and set up catch-ups with the sub-branches about contemporary veteran issues as well as conducting a few other activities along the way.
Another worthy recipient is an outstanding young woman—Shabnam Safa. Twenty-one-year-old Shabnam was born in Afghanistan, raised as a refugee in Pakistan and migrated to Australia in 2009. She has a passion for martial arts—and has achieved quite a high level in her chosen field—and serving the community. She served as an Australia Day study tour recipient and was the 2012 Casey Youth Ambassador. She is an amazing individual. She started up her own foundation that assists migrants to integrate into the community.
There were so many people I was honoured to honour on that day. It just shows the flavour and the quality of the people who make up my great electorate and place in the world.