Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Electorate Australia Day Award Recipients

Alister with Award Recipients

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 18:31 :40 ): On Australia Day, the citizens of Ku-ring-gai traditionally reflect on the timeless beauty, tree-lined streetscapes and bushland surrounds that characterise our area. We welcome those from other lands who have chosen to become Australian citizens and celebrate the local people who have been honoured by the Ku-ring-gai Council or the Commonwealth Government for their services to the community. This year at the Bicentennial Park, West Pymble, I joined the Mayor of Ku-ring-gai, Jennifer Anderson, along with a number of Ku-ring-gai councillors, the Federal member for Bradfield and the member for Davidson to do all those things. Immigrants from 18 foreign countries became Australian citizens.

On a number of occasions in this House I have spoken about the substantial volunteer network in Ku‑ring‑gai, which is very much the glue that holds our community together. All five local winners of the Australia Day Awards for Outstanding Service to the Community are perfect examples of those who selflessly give their time, expertise and financial resources to make Ku-ring-gai a better place for others. Ku-ring-gai's Citizen of the Year, Peter Kirkwood, has been a resident of the upper North Shore for nearly 30 years. He has given extraordinary service through a number of voluntary organisations that include the Rotary Club of Wahroonga, the Hornsby Community Safety Precinct Committee, the Ku-ring-gai Police Community Safety Committee, St Paul's Anglican Church and the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Police Citizens Youth Club [PCYC].

After joining Rotary in 1999, Peter initiated a project to focus on the needs of youth and people with a disability on the upper North Shore. Last year a 16-year project was realised when the new state-of-the-art PCYC building was opened in Waitara. Not content with taking the plaudits for his efforts at the official opening ceremony, Peter impressively played the didgeridoo to accompany the welcome to country. He is a genuine force of nature and continually achieves great things from which the entire community substantially benefits. The Ku‑ring‑gai Neighbourhood Centre won the local Group Award. The centre has more than 20 community programs. Since 1979 it has helped local residents who are disadvantaged or who require help with everyday tasks such as transport, shopping, learning English, computer access and literacy, and socialising. In 2017 the centre helped more than 50,000 individuals and gave more than 100,000 hours of service to local residents. The centre encourages and enables aged people to identify opportunities and achieve their personal goals.

Last year I had the opportunity to take the Minister for Ageing, the Hon. Tanya Davies, to the centre at the time of the weekly meeting of the Yarning Group. The use of "yarning" with its double meaning is deliberate. There was certainly no shortage of either woolly handiwork or animated storytelling. I congratulate general manager Michele Bell and her team on the outstanding assistance and sense of community that they engender.For more than 26 years, Jo-Anne Perry has been synonymous with the Ku-ring-gai Netball Association and the Wahroonga Netball Club. She has been a coach, a treasurer, a website manager, a secretary and a vice-president, and is currently the association's president.Jo-Anne is a tireless advocate for netball in Ku-ring-gai, including for upgraded facilities and increased participation. Anyone who has experienced the phenomenon that is Saturday netball at the Canoon Road courts at South Turramurra knows that netball is a giant of local sport.Jo-Anne eats, sleeps and breathes netball for the 18 clubs and more than 3,500 members of the association, and she was a deserving winner of an individual award.

Richard Babb won an i ndividual a ward for both reaching out to local residents w ho are experiencing Parkinson's d isease , in his capacity as v ice -p resident of the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Parkinson's Support Group , and for the significant role he played in establishing the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter. Under Richard's stewardship, the Parkinson's Support Group provides valuable educational sessions to assist in understanding the disease, improves lifestyles through promoting available therapies, keeps members informed of recent research , and offers practical support. The women's s helter is now three years old and has safely housed more than 230   women who have been the victims of domestic violence or homelessness. Hannah Burn is Ku-ring-gai's Young Citizen of the Year. Hannah is the v olunteer c oordinator at St J ames Anglican Church in Turramurra . While only 21 years old, she oversees six voluntary teams who regularly visit nursing homes and provide gardening support f or the elderly and practical assistance to families in crisis.

I congratulate Christopher Russell — until recently of North Turramurra —on being made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to agricultural science and technology through advisory, developmental and research roles, and as a mentor and innovator. I have personally benefited from his drive and expertise as a community volunteer, especially in support of the North Turramurra A ction Group and the North  Turramurra Community Fire Unit. Mark Anderson , the Principal of Normanhurst Boys High School , was deservedly recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to secondary education in New South Wales and to educational standards. Dr David Hunt of Wahroonga was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to education and mathematics. I congratulate our local hero e s on their awards. They remind us that supporting others less fortunate than ourselves and fostering cohesive communities are values that as Australians we all admire . T here is no better day than our national day on which to celebrate those who epitomise those values.