CITY OF WOLLONGONG AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS

I want to share with the chamber some amazing local people and their stories. On 22 January I attended the City of Wollongong Australia Day Awards. An amazing group of people was recognised, and I want to acknowledge and put that on the record of this parliament. The Citizen of the Year is Dr Justin Yerbury. I have spoken in the House before about what an amazing man he is, as he does significant research into motor neurone disease whilst he battles the awful disease himself. It was received to a standing ovation. People were so thrilled that he became our citizen of the year.

The Senior Citizen of the Year is Dr James Turner. Dr Turner is a GP. He started at Wollongong Hospital in 1957 and has been a very well loved GP. In particular, I want to acknowledge much of the work he did on the early antismoking campaigns in Australia. He has done a lot with drug and alcohol work and was a founding member of the suicide prevention group Dads in Distress. A wonderful senior citizen recognition.

The Young Citizen of the Year is Narayan Khanal. He was born in a Bhutanese refugee camp and then was resettled in Australia, living in the wonderful area of Wollongong. He's an inspirational advocate for young people. He's the founder of the Multicultural Society of University of Wollongong club. Through that club and advisory group they do tremendous work for young people.

The community award went to Green Connect, an employment service that produces some wonderful sustainably produced food; and employs former refugees, providing training, support and paid work. It's a great local organisation.

The outstanding achievement award went to Andrew and Lyndell Clark, who are part of the fantastic Lego robotics tournaments that go on. They've had some international successes with the teams that they've supported, inspiring young people to get into STEM.

The outstanding innovation award went to plastICS, which is students from Illawarra Christian School working to educate students and families on the importance and impact of soft plastics on our environment. In 2018, they travelled to America and won the international Future Problem Solving Program championship.

The arts and culture award went to Dulcie Dal Molin, a wonderful Port Kembla born and bred woman. People were very pleased that her work was recognised.

The sport achievement award went to Peter Fitzgerald, who was one of the founders of the Men of League Foundation.

In the time left, I will name those who got the Lord Mayor's special awards: Joe Alves, President of the South Coast Portuguese Association; Wendy Akhurst and Lynda Murphy from Keiraview Singers; Alfred Chidembo, who does great community work; Damien Cook; and Richard Tognetti.

Watch Sharon’s speech here.