National Volunteers Awards 2012: Recognising our local heroes (05/12/2012)

nat_vol_dental_team.jpgDapto Ribbonwood Centre – Wednesday 5 December, 2012

Good morning everyone and welcome to the Throsby National Volunteer Awards ceremony for 2012 – a very important presentation day when we acknowledge the efforts of several members of the local community who have volunteered both locally and overseas.

Today being International Volunteer Day, I am delighted to be able to present National Volunteer Awards to these people to recognise the important contribution their volunteering efforts make to local and international communities.

Volunteering connects us, strengthens our sense of belonging and creates positive relationships that build stronger communities. In fact, more than five million Australians contribute more than 700 million hours to volunteering every year and you are all a part of that great accomplishment.

Volunteering in Australia is a part of our culture in a way that is distinctly Australian – it’s part of our culture of a ‘fair go’ and helping out a mate, though a lot of the time this seem commonplace can go largely unnoticed.  That’s why I think it’s really important that we take times like this to remind ourselves that we’re making a difference in the lives of so many with the volunteer work we do here. 

Today I have 18 Volunteer Awards to present. I know some of our recipients couldn’t make it to the ceremony today and I will be happy to accept them on their behalf.

I would now like the recipients that are here with us this morning to come up and accept their awards and tell us a bit about their personal volunteering stories.


  • Ann and Ray Shaw

Anne and Ray were nominated by Edgar du Bois for their volunteer work at the Koonawarra Community Centre over the last 4 years. During this time they completely transformed the outdoor garden area from an overgrown patch of weeds to a tranquil rest area for staff and local residents.

I’m told they’ve also put in a water tank and spend most weeks tending to the garden area, which had led to a significant reduction in vandalism at the centre.

Ann is a valued member of the Koonawarra Area Residents Association and was recently re-elected as Vice-President and Ray lends a hand doing small maintenance work at the Centre making improvements free of charge. They are both stellar examples of the kind of good-hearted members of the Illawarra community and I am proud to have them as part of the Throsby electorate.

Congratulations Ann and Ray on your Environmental Volunteer of the Year Award. I am looking forward to coming by the Koonawarra Community Centre soon and seeing the result of all your hard work.


  • Olive Rodwell

I personally nominated Olive for Senior Volunteer of the Year.

I’ve been working with Olive most recently on the Save Our Ports campaign to stop the privatisation of Port Kembla. She is an active campaigner in the Port Kembla community and one of the organisers behind the successful rally we held back in August. Olive is also very active with Alice and Helen in various volunteer projects such as the Illawarra Dental Health Action Group and the Illawarra Residents against Toxic Environments.


  • Dulcie Dal Molin

Our first Long-term commitment to Community Service Award goes to Dulcie Dal Molin.

Dulcie is the current President and Exhibition Director at Red Point Artists’ Association in Port Kembla. She has a passion for photography and a long career of volunteering in the community arts sector as a Life Member of Kiama Shellharbour Camera Club and a member of Wollongong Pictorial Mafia.

Her work with Red Point is commendable, especially for the tireless effort she and her colleagues have put into revitalising Wentworth Street into the buzzing hub of activity and culture it once was. One of the most recent achievements was the Billy Cart Derby last month, which drew one of the largest crowds we’ve seen in Port Kembla for some time.


  • Terry Stephens

Terry was nominated for Long-term Commitment to Community Service Award by Bruce Cowan. His volunteering accolades go all the way back to 1962 when Terry began doing maintenance on the Squash Centre at a Catholic Church in Warwick, Queensland.

Since then Terry has dedicated his time to help train the Junior Farmers Association, PCYC gymnastics and Mudgeeraba Cricket Club. Terry has also been a member of the Parish Council at the Surfers Paradise Catholic Church and Bowral Catholic Church.

His more recent efforts have been with St Vincent de Paul in Bowral and as a tour guide and general supporter of the Bradman Museum.


  • Bobby Turner

Bobby is unable to be here today to collect his Long-Term Commitment to Community Service Award. Bobby is a tireless activist in the Port Kembla community as well as being a lifetime member of the Port Kembla ALP Branch and one of my most hard-working campaigners in the 2010 Federal election. Bobby has also been a great volunteer for the Mission to Seafarers at Port Kembla and over the years, has sought to help seafarers in all kinds of practical ways. They are away from their families for long periods and may face loneliness and ill-health or injury and many times, Bobby and the team may be the only onshore hospitality they receive.

  • Ryan Todd

I nominated Ryan for Young Volunteer of the Year and it is a shame he could not make it here today to accept the award.

Ryan had just returned from a fundraising trip to East Timor to help educational and health projects in the impoverished area of Hatobuilico, about 100km south of Dili.

Ryan set himself an ambitious donation target of $5,000 and came very close, bringing in $3,500 by the end of the trip. This will go a long way to improving the lives of those living in much less fortunate conditions in Timor. It’s a great effort and I’m very proud to accept this award on his behalf.


  • Mary Johnston

Mary is one of our fantastic Community Volunteers of the Year today. She is President of the Wollongong Justice Association and Publicity Officer for the Dapto Sub-Branch. She also volunteers for the Anglican op-shop on Thursday afternoons.

Through her work with the Dapto Anglican church, Mary has also helped support a Sudanese family who have recently moved to the Illawarra.

If that’s not enough on her plate already, Mary is the co-ordinator of the William Beach Day Club and the Day Club Committee in Sydney for Day Clubs NSW. 


  • Steven Krinks

Steven is the Vice President of the Warilla Surf Club and a good mate of mine. He is a motivated resident of Warilla who is passionate about local issues who has grown up locally and been involved in many community and sporting groups.

I admire Steven particularly for his work in engaging younger people through volunteering, be it at the Surf Club or through his work with great organisations like Healthy Cities Child Friendly by Design work to spruce up the parks in the Warilla area to give local kids nicer places in which to play.


  • Alan Maidman

Alan started work in community transport back in 2008 after working for 44 years at BlueScope. After acquiring a MR class licence, Alan took it upon himself to approach various organisations in the area to offer his services as a bus driver for elderly and infirm residents.

Currently, Alan drives the health bus for Community Transport between Wollongong and Shellharbour two to three days a week getting people to doctors appointments, nursing homes and shopping trips. He also enjoys driving for the many outings organised by seniors clubs in the area.

Congratulations on your great efforts Alan. 


  • Keith Harding

Keith was nominated for the Disability Volunteer of the Year Award by Judy Augustyn at Greenacres Disability Services.

Keith supports the employees of Greenacres in many different ways, from job coaching to problem solving and encouraging work skills such as focus, teamwork and positive behaviour.

He has been volunteering a day each week for six years now and will be upping this to two days next year. What’s more is that Keith spends 2 and a half hours travelling to and from Greenacres whenever he volunteers. This is an astounding act of dedication and one that I’m sure we can all be very proud of. 


  • Studio 10

Studio 10 runs a centre art program that promotes elf-expression and creates an opportunity for people with disability to participate in an artistic environment. Volunteers assist with media artistry such as showcasing of video performance work, artwork and education.

The organisation is an essential part of the local area, creating a stronger sense of community and promoting social inclusion for people with disability in the Illawarra. Unfortunatley, Studio 10 are holding an art exhibition this morning and could not make it. I would like to accept this award on behalf of their employees –

Aiden Simmons , Chris Bourgeois, Tasmin Hulmes, Suzie Munilla, Violetta Strabic, Andrea Hulmes, Amy Dunwoody and Community Participation Programs Manager, Grant Vukasinovic.


  • Alice Scott and Illawarra Dental Health Action Group

Congratulations Alice on your Health Campaigner of the Year Award. For those who don’t know, Alice is the Chairperson of the Illawarra Dental Health Action Group, who have been lobbying tirelessly for more than ten years for better dental health for people of the Illawarra.

In fact, my predecessor Jennie George mentioned the group nearly a decade ago in Parliament when the group travelled to Canberra to present a 6,000 signature petition for the abolition of the Commonwealth Dental Health Program by the Howard government in their first budget.

More recently, Alice met with Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in February 2012 to discuss oral health for the region and how can be improved.

Along with this, Alice is also director of local radio station VOXfm 106.9, and a voluntary member of The Area Health Advisory Council, the Illawarra Residents against Toxic Environments and Wollongong Against Corruption.


  • Tom Ward

Tom is also a member of the Dental Health Action Group as well as a campaigner on a number of health issues in the Illawarra for many years.

A long-serving member of the ALP Port Kembla Branch, Tom has dedicated a great deal of his time to furthering awareness for Alzheimer’s Australia and even stood on the picket line at Port Kembla Hospital when they closed the emergency department.

Thank you so much for your service to the health of the region. 


  • Albion Park Chamber of Commerce and Lawrence Moody

For my MP’s Volunteer of the Year, I have nominated local bloke Lawrence Moody (who is unable to be here today) and the Albion Park Chamber of Commerce for their hard work this year campaigning to get the National Broadband Network on the rollout map for the Albion Park area.

Lawrence has been particularly valuable in organising and handing out and collecting the ‘WE WANT THE NBN’ petition that we started to gather support for the rollout in the area.

The Chamber has also been key in helping organise local community meetings and events to communicate with local residents about their issues and concerns when it comes to local access to broadband.

This came to a head recently when the Minister for Broadband Stephen Conroy came to the Illawarra and took the time to meet with members of the Albion Park Chamber of Commerce, who presented him with the petition with almost 1,000 signatures.

This was a very impressive result from our Albion Park Chamber and passionate locals like Lawrence and left little doubt left in the Minister’s mind that we’re determined to get the area on the new rollout map in March 2013.