Welcome to country
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and respectfully recognise their elders both past and present.
I welcome you all to my inaugural “Lalor Heroes” awards night.
Having grown up in this community I know first-hand the value of those in our community who go the extra mile, who take a personal passion and build from it to a shared passion, in some cases an organisation that adds to the lives of our residents and the fabric of our community.
In my own history I owe an enormous debt to such people. As a youngster I was involved in many sports but one became my passion – netball. Through netball I met and was influenced by some amazing women who gave of themselves tirelessly and had enormous impact on many lives.
Tonight as we award our Lalor Heroes, I will be thinking about them and the service they did for our community through my lifetime – I think of Irene Cooney, Jenny Toohey and Wilma Ryan from whom I learnt so much – not least of which was about service to community.
Becoming the Member for Lalor has increased my knowledge and understanding of those givers in our community. Of the incredible breadth and depth of community activity that is supported by these passionate people. The many hundreds who give of themselves to create interest in worthwhile pursuits that ultimately create our great community spirit.
I have spoken often in the parliament in the past twelve months about our great community spirit.
It is important as a community to recognise those that value the community spirit enough to make a considerable contribution.
That’s why I decided to initiate the Lalor Heroes volunteer awards.
There has been an overwhelming response from sporting and community groups in nominating their ‘heroes’.
As a school Principal I was always aware of the work of school volunteers and so created a separate category to commend this work. Schools have however elected to acknowledge their nominees at their regular end of year speech or presentation nights, so as I acknowledge school children with their end of year awards, I will also pay tribute to the school volunteers.
So onto the important part of this evening- recognising our heroes!
Angela Broadbent (Services to Werribee Softball Association)
Angela has maintained a lifelong involvement with the Werribee Softball Association (WSA) since she first joined as a junior player.
Angela has been an active member of the WSA committee for many years. She is currently a Vice President of the Werribee Softball Association and is also the President of her own softball club the City Raiders.
Angela works tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the competition from the juniors to the adults. She is the first to volunteer in a mentor capacity. Angela has represented Werribee at state competitions and other competitions not only a player but also as a coach, manager, scorer and umpire.
Angela is the backbone of the WSA, a focal point for questions, a source for answers and someone who is respected, admired but often not recognised or appreciated enough.
Today we recognise Angela!
Ed Cachia – (Services to Werribee Centrals Sport & Youth Club)
Ed has been instrumental in the growth of the junior section of the Werribee Centrals Sports & Youth Club.
Ed has been involved with the club for 10 years holding the Junior Presidents position for the past 5 years and now also taking on the role of Senior Division Vice President.
Ed has been a champion of making sure the club looks after children of all abilities not just the gifted ones.
John Campbell (Service to the Wyndham Rotary Club)
John is unable to join us tonight, his award is being accepted by Alastair Robinson.
John is an extremely active member of the Wyndham Rotary Club. He is the driving force behind the ‘Bunnings’ BBQ, from setup to clean up. John is active in the ‘Donations in Kind’ Rotary Group, based in Braybrook, this groups collects equipment and donations that are then shipped to needy countries like the Philippines, Timor Leste and Cambodia.
John works with the team from the Salvation Army and helps as a supervisor at the community garden at Ison House. This group provides support by gardening and growing vegetables that are distributed to those in need.
John is also an active member of the ‘Rotary to the Rescue’ team, that helps with lawn mowing and garden cleans ups. One of their ongoing projects is maintaining the gardens and facilities at the Werribee Mercy’s mental health unit.
John also helps on a Friday night with the Salvation Army, food van located at the Werribee Railway station. Not just helping with the cooking, but actively supporting those who may need assistance.
John is overseas at the moment, hopefully resting after all this hard work!
Peter Gavaghan (Services to Wyndham Track & Field Club)
Peter has spent over 20 years as a qualified athletics official at both little athletic and senior athletic levels.
He is a passionate supporter of the sport of athletics and spends countless hours in training sessions, usually at least 4 days a week. Peter also spends over over 4 hours at a stretch in competitions.
The countless hours Peter spends with the Wyndham Track and Field Club is unpaid and he is a retiree- The Club considers him as truly one of our community’s unsung heroes.
Brian Geary (services to the Werribee Plains District Scouts)
Brian has been an active member of the Scouting movement for many years. He has contributed from the local level to the State level, having served as the State Commissioner for Adult Training and Development.
Brian has held the Werribee District together with his organisation of district function and events for youth members.
Brian was instrumental in creating the Grey Fund. This fund was established after a house was left to the Werribee Plains Scout district. The proceeds of this generous donation are now held in a trust fund that supports youth members and their leaders.
Brian has also driven the 1st Point Cook Scout Group. This group now consists of a Joey group, two Cub Scout packs and a Scout Troup. All they need now is their own Hall! Something Brian, I’m sure, is working on.
Errol Hart – (Services to Wyndham Track & Field Club)
Errol has been a volunteer athletics coach in the Wyndham Community for over 22 years.
In that time Errol has mentored and trained three athletes that have gone onto international competitions.
Errol consistently develops youth and junior athletes to a national level.
Errol has also managed the Athletics Victoria Health squad for over two years. More recently he has been the driving force behind the development of Wyndham’s first athletic club and the Kickstart Athletics primary school sport programs in the community.
Sharon Jurisic (Services to the Wyndham Community and Education Centre)
Sharon has been a volunteer at the Wyndham Community and Education Centre since 2008. Sharon is an integral part of the Saffron Kitchen Team. She was there at the start when is operated from 4 Synnot St and is the key volunteer at the Wayaperri House service, volunteering four days a week.
Sharon’s passion is baking and she loves to cater for individual requests. Sharon is also a key driver of the Biggest Morning Tea fundraisers, donating knitted goods.
Sharon’s extensive experience now means she is a fantastic volunteer trainer, gently guiding and training new volunteers that join the service.
Jordan Morgan (Services to Werribee Warriors BMX)
Jordan has been racing BMX for well over 14 years. In that time Jordon has won multiple titles, he is four times State Champion, three times Australian Champion and has been in the world rankings on 7 occasions.
Jordan has been instrumental in the success of the Wyndham BMX Club since its inception 10 years ago, having served on the club committee.
Jordan also conducts regular coaching clinics for club members and has done so for many years. Currently Jordan is working as a volunteer with the AIS to deliver the BMX After School Sports program.
Bev Morrissey (Services to the Point Cook Coffee Group)
Bev is a volunteer board member at the Jamieson Way Community Centre. Through the Centre, Bev has established the Seniors Coffee Club, a fortnightly lunch group, a weekly coffee and craft group and the Point Cook walking group.
Bev also organises bus and train trips for seniors, the annual Biggest Morning Tea, and the St Peter’s Piety Store.
Bev is a volunteer Committee Member for the Point Cook Relay for Life, volunteers for Do Care, organises the Australia Day BBQ and along with her husband drive the Bendigo Bank Community Bus.
Mario Piovesan (services to the Werribee Orchid Club)
Mario joined the Werribee Orchid club back in 1993 and has been an active member ever since. He has served a number of years as club president. During his years as president he grew the club through the development of ties into local business and community groups.
Finally now at the age of 72, Mario is letting the younger ones take on some of the tasks! This has shone a light on just how much he has contributed over time.
In addition to his work at the Werribee Orchid Club, Mario is also active in the Geelong Branch of the Orchid Society.
Mario has also been active in the Bacchus March branch of the Victorian Field and Game Federation, the Altona Gaters and the St Andrew’s Basketball Clubs and the St Andrew’s Playgroup, as their official Santa each year.
Helen Powley (Services to the Point Cook Evening View Club)
Helen is unable to be here tonight but I will still let you know a little about her achievements.
Helen is an active volunteer at the Wyndham Park Primary School Homework Club. Helen has taken much pleasure in donating her time (and sometimes funds) to helping out students needing extra support.
Helen assists with Maths games, reading and many other activities.
This work has led to becoming a volunteer tutor to a group of Sudanese students, helping them with their school work in the own home.
Helen is also an active volunteer with the Red Cross Blood bank in Altona, serving refreshments to blood donors.
Daniel Ramadu (service to the St Thomas Anglican Church)
Daniel has been an active member of the St Thomas Anglican church for over 15 years. Daniel assists with administration and with helping those in need, sometimes those experiencing a family crisis.
Daniel, as a former anaesthetic technician, is an active volunteer at the Werribee Mercy Emergency department, helping those experiencing difficulties, often providing distraction to children through books and toys and supporting the emergency staff.
Daniel is also active at the St Vincents Op Shop at Werribee Plaza, the Red Cross Breakfast Club, the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program, the Werrama Festival and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Daniel assists with Secondbite, which redistributes surplus food to community food programs, was an event assistant at the World Youth Day in 2008, was a Volunteer at the Masters and Commonwealth Games and is a volunteer at the Avalon Air Show every 2 years.
Pat Scanlon (services to Uniting Care Support and Housing)
Pat has been an active volunteer at the Uniting Care Support and Housing group for eight years. He regularly assists in the Breakfast BBQ program, fundraisers and the furniture program.
Pat also collects food donations from three Aldi Supermakets and other Food Bank pickups, this is then used to support vulnerable residents.
Pat is a young retiree in his 70’s and our community is benefiting from his hard work.
Robert (Bob) Stevens – (Services to Werribee Softball Association)
Bob has given many hours of outstanding service to his local community. Bob is a founding and life member of both the Iramoo Softball Club & the Werribee Softball Association.
For over 35 years Bob has given up much of his time to assist the running of both the club and the association. During this time he has held many positions including that of President of both organisations at the same time.
Bob has been an active player and coach during these years, including coaching Werribee Representative Teams.
Now in his early 70’s Bob will still put on his glove and play to ensure numbers for our men’s team when they are short.
Vince Taylor – (Services to Wyndham City Swimming Club)
Vince has been involved with the Wyndham City Swimming Club since 1987 and is their current President, a role that he has held since 1991.
Through Vince’s hard work and commitment the club attained Swimming Australia’s “Platinum Award” for club excellence in season 2013/14.
Vince attends weekend competitions in all parts of Victoria, to watch the club’s swimmers compete at all levels. He is the first to put his hand up to do anything that is required around the club, and does so with a minimum of fuss.
Kerry Tuxworth – (Services to Glenorden Sports Club)
Kerry is unable to join us tonight, her award is being accepted by David Franklin and Mark Bartlett
Kerry has worked tirelessly to re-establish the junior program at Glenorden Football Club.
Through her hard work and dedication the club has seen junior participation soar to levels not seen at the club for a number of years.
Kerry also runs the Auskick and Milo cricket programs at the club. Kerry is always one of the first to raise her hand to volunteer for many of the thankless tasks around the club.
Mae Sie Win (Service to the Wyndham Community and Education Centre)
Mae Sie, having arrived in Australia from Burma, as a refugee in 2010, has devoted himself to helping the Karenni Community, both here locally, in Australian more broadly and back in Thailand.
In 2013, Mae Sie raised over $65,000 to assist the survivors of the Mae Surin refugee camp fire, where 37 lost their lives and thousands were left homeless.
Mai Sie is now the president of the Karenni Federation of Australia. He works full time as a settlement worker at the Wyndham Community and Education Centre where he assists newly arrive migrants to settle into their new country. He doesn’t just do this during working hours but also after hours and on the weekends.
Somehow Mai Sie has also managed to study, completing his Masters of International Community Development last year. Mai Sie also proudly became an Australian Citizen in August this year.
I think you will join me in acknowledging that this is indeed an impressive group of recipients for the first Lalor Heroes awards.
The interesting thing I have observed in our community is we have so many active members who don’t seek acknowledgment, so I’m very pleased to acknowledge their great work.
Can I also encourage you to think about making nominations to our National Awards, the Australia Day and Queens Birthday Honours? Our Community is often underrepresented in National Awards, not because we don’t have worthy recipients, but because our quiet achievers don’t ask for acknowledgement. If you or your organisation would like assistance to make an application, don’t hesitate to contact my office for assistance.
Thank you all for coming and please stay for a cup of tea and chat. Can all the award recipients please come forward for a group photo.