Speech: Order of Australia Honours

Speech: Order of Australia Honours Main Image

Mrs PHILLIPS (Gilmore) (19:22): I'd like to thank the member for Berowra for bringing this motion forward today. It is certainly a true privilege to receive an Order of Australia award. These awards recognise local people who have demonstrated outstanding service or an exceptional achievement during the year. Often they are the quiet achievers of our community who are doing their bit every day to help our community and to give back, never wanting or expecting anything from it. This year we have seen even more why these people are so special. I am always delighted to have an opportunity to celebrate people like this in our community on the New South Wales South Coast and I want to take the time now to thank each and every local recipient for the work they do every day in our community.

Professor Robert Constable, AM, of Kangaroo Valley became a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to music education, to performance and to composition. Dr Michael McDonald, OAM, of Gerroa, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the Catholic Church and to the community. The Reverend Dr John Pender, OAM, of Berry, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the Uniting Church in Australia and to education. Mrs Merrin Ross, OAM, of North Nowra, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the performing arts—particularly to musical theatre. And Mrs Julie Sydenham, OAM, of Milton, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the creative arts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all these amazing community members, and congratulations on this magnificent achievement.

The meritorious service awards hold a special significance this year after our community's experience during 2019-2020 bushfires. All of our frontline workers deserve our praise and recognition for the work they did, but I am thrilled to congratulate some special members of our local emergency services who received special recognition in this year's awards.

Chief Inspector Peter Volf, APM, from Moruya, received the Australian Police Medal for his years of work and leadership in the New South Wales police force, including during the Tathra bushfires in 2018, and for his work as Local Emergency Operations Controller during the 2019-20 Far South Coast bushfires. Mr John Dun, AFSM, of West Nowra, a stalwart of Fire and Rescue New South Wales, received the Australian Fire Service Medal. Captain Dennis Stannard, AFSM, of Sussex Inlet, received the Australian Fire Service Medal for his dedication to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, including as a Heavy Plant Supervisor, Sector Commander and Divisional Commander during the recent Currowan bushfires. I would like to make a special mention of Captain Stannard for his role in successfully rescuing two firefighters from an overturned fire tanker during the unprecedented bushfire in Conjola on New Year's Eve 2019 in what were extremely dangerous and difficult conditions. Thank you, Captain Stannard.

The South Coast is also extremely proud of the locals who received recognition as part of the Order of Australia's Military Division this year. Congratulations and thank you to these recipients. Lieutenant Commander Daniel Hodgkinson, CSM, of Vincentia, received the Conspicuous Service Medal for his meritorious devotion to duty as the head of officer initial training at HMAS Creswell and the executive officer of the Royal Australian Naval College. Lieutenant Commander Hodgkinson's leadership has been described as 'tireless, flexible, influential, inclusive and inspirational'. He has been credited with making a substantial contribution to remediating the Royal Australian Navy's officer workforce shortage. Well done!

Finally, Warrant Officer William McConnell, CSM, of Cambewarra, received the Conspicuous Service Medal for his meritorious achievement in the field of Navy aviation maintenance. Warrant Officer McConnell's technical mastery was said to have been critical in overcoming the unique, complex and challenging circumstances associated with the introduction and development of the maritime support helicopter capability for the Royal Australian Navy.

Once again, thank you and congratulations to all our 2021 Order of Australia and Australia Day honours recipients for your dedication and service to the people of the South Coast.