I would like to congratulate the Lions Club of Torquay on a well organised and entertaining event and barbecue on Saturday, 26 January, at Taylor Park in Torquay. Kevin Egan and the team reminded people of our history and culture. In her speech Surf Coast shire mayor Libby Coker gave the audience a timely reminder of the importance of democracy in exercising our democratic rights and that different styles of leadership enhance democracy in local community groups and the three tiers of government.
Mayor Coker then announced two great examples of local volunteers who have made a difference, with Michele Barnes from Breamlea awarded citizen of the year and Stacey Godfrey young citizen of the year. Michele is a mother of three and works as an intervention advisor to families who have a child with autism.
She set up the Bellbrae Arts group and the Singing for Fun group as part of her work in the community. Stacey is a high-achieving year 9 student who volunteers regularly in the community, including at the Torquay Salvation Army store. She has a keen interest in the environment and solar energy.
The awards proved to be a great segue into a touching and at times emotional citizenship ceremony. It was also a poignant day to remind all of us of the issues continually faced by our Indigenous people, the oldest indigenous peoples in the world, and of how we all need to work harder to ensure that they have a great future in the healthy, modern democracy of this country.