Ms Bird (Cunningham) (16:48):


I'm wearing this blue flower as Sunday is Global Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day. Motor neurone disease affects more than 350,000 people across the world, and 2,100 Australians are currently living with it. One of those is the Wollongong man I've spoken about many times in this place, Professor Justin Yerbury. Justin works at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and the University of Wollongong School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience. While living with MND, he has spent the last decade trying to understand the underlying causes of MND, along with his colleagues—and I particularly acknowledge Dr Luke McAlary and Senior Research Assistant Natalie Farrawell.


In past years, Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW has seen the awareness week marked by a fundraising event, the Walk to d'Feet MND event at Bulli, which is supported by many individuals and community groups. Professor Yerbury's team of researchers last year were among the 360 people who registered to take part in the five kilometre coastal walk.

It was an extremely lovely day and a really good outcome. While we obviously won't be walking this year, I did want to give a shout-out to Justin, his family and his colleagues on Global Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day and extend that to all Australians either researching and working in this field or living with motor neurone disease.


Several locals from my area were recognised in the Queen's birthday honours and I want to let the House know about some of these people. Terry Wetherall was acknowledged with an AM for his significant service to business and commerce, the superannuation sector and the community. Terry has been known to me for a very long time, as was his father, Ray, who also received an OAM. Terry, in his dad's tradition of community service, I have to say, and as he would say, has been the president of the Illawarra Business Chamber, the New South Wales Business Chamber and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He's the director of Industry SuperFunds and the chair of CareSuper, a member of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Communications Cities Reference Group and a member of both the Planning Institute of Australia and the Australian Property Institute. He is a justice of the peace and a founding member of an amazing local mental health service, One Door Mental Health, in Illawarra. He played rugby for Kiama and went on to become president of Illawarra rugby. He was also active in lobbying to get us a team in rugby. As if all that weren't enough to keep anyone very busy, he has also served on the sub-branch of the Port Kembla RSL. Terry absolutely epitomises community service. Congratulations, Terry.

Joe Davidson is also very well known to me personally, and I was very pleased to see him receive an award. He's been secretary of the Wollongong sub-branch of the RSL since 2008 and served as the administrator of the Port Kembla RSL sub-branch previously. He was a trainer and strapper for the collegians and west rugby league clubs over 24 years and told the Illawarra Mercury his most cherished award was being best club man three times. He is also the former head trainer for the Illawarra Steelers and St George Illawarra Dragons and strapper for them as well. His community contributions include many other roles such as justice of the peace, first state officer, one-time national serviceman and RSL welfare officer. He's a very humble man but very well deserving of the award. Congratulations, Joe.

Bede Parkes is from Helensburgh and got her award for service to Helensburgh. She is a very dearly loved and respected member of that community and has given great, great service to that community over many, many years. In particular, for example, she manned the white elephant stall at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School for 40 years and has volunteered for the Holy Cross Catholic Church for her whole life. Congratulations, Bede.


I don't have a great deal of time left, but I want to just let the House know that I'm a great advocate of the arts and I will be taking another opportunity to recognise Machiel Berghuis, who also received an award, and to acknowledge the police officers from my area—Superintendent Stephen Hegarty, Chief Inspector John Klepczarek and police education officer John Morahan—for their awards in the Queen's honours.



Watch Sharon’s speech on Global Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day here.


Watch Sharon’s speech congratulating Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients here.