I rise to give my congratulations to some particularly special local achievers in my electorate. The Geelong Awards for People with a Disability, run by local service provider Karingal and the City of Greater Geelong, took place at the fantastic new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre earlier this year. Some exceptional individuals were recognised in seven categories for demonstrating that a disability is not a barrier to achievement or to living a happy and fulfilling life.
Artist Liam O’Neil, who has autism, was recognised for his incredible painting ability. His works have been exhibited numerous times, with funds raised from the sale of his art going to charity. Paralympian Sam McIntosh was recognised in the sporting category. Sam recently set a new Australian record for the wheelchair 100-metre sprint, and I wish him all the best for the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro later this year. Tamika Simpson was recognised in the volunteers category for dedicating her time helping out at the local op shop and with youth gymnastics.
Lynne Foreman, an Australian of the Year nominee this year, was recognised for her leadership and advocacy for people with disabilities in the Every Australian Counts campaign. Kylie McCutcheon was recognised for her achievement in advocating for herself with the National Disability Insurance Agency. Sarah Foley was recognised in the outstanding employee category for her work as a chef. And last but not least, Tyson Bell, 9, and Cooper Hall, 10, were both recognised as young achievers for overcoming challenges at school to achieve academically and socially.