GAYLE TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (09:48): I rise today to congratulate the 17 constituents of Western Victoria Region whose contributions to our community were recognised in January’s Order of Australia awards. Foremost is the late Archie Roach, just one of six Australians to become a companion, an AC, in the general division for service to the performing arts, to Indigenous rights and reconciliation and for his support of emerging First Nations artists.
A number do outstanding work in their fields of expertise but most received the Order of Australia for volunteering in diverse activities that are crucial to community life. Portland’s Charles Debono is a fantastic example. Charles was awarded the Emergency Services Medal after 40 years of work with VICSES in Portland and Heywood. He has put his energies to responding to road accidents, major floods in Victoria and New South Wales, bushfires and even in Western Australia a tropical cyclone. VICSES has benefited from his leadership and his ongoing mentoring of young and new members.
Joy Leggo OAM has combined professional life and volunteering since she was 15 in an incredible range of roles, including health, multicultural and aged care services, Lifeline counselling, volunteering with schools and as the chair and director of Sirovilla, a social housing enterprise for disadvantaged people. Joy is currently CEO of the not-for-profit Cultura, which offers community services, training and education in Geelong and the Surf Coast, including working with refugees in Colac.
As with so many award recipients, Charles and Joy have made it clear that their primary motivation is about helping people and working for the community. Across the electorate (time expired) award recipients volunteered in philanthropic ventures, environmental protection, preservation and conservation of our natural and built heritage, music, support for the not-for-profit sector, education, sport and more.
I thank them all.