Ms Ley (FarrerDeputy Leader of the Opposition) – 14 Feb 2023

We’re all part of the story.

Regardless of how you chose to mark Australia Day, that’s a wonderful phrase which captures our nation’s spirit: we are all part of the story.

With those words, I wish to tell the story briefly of some of those in my electorate who were recognised a few weeks ago.

Stuart and Annette Baker, from Albury, are among nine new OAMs in Farrer. They have fought tirelessly since the death of their daughter in 2011 to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

Another champion for mental health awareness and reform, Lourene Liebenberg, the Edward River Citizen of the Year, is a passionate advocate for her Deniliquin community.

With much of Farrer suffering from flooding late last year, Nick Smith from Rankins Springs dropped everything to help locals escape overflows from Lachlan River. Nick is Citizen of the Year in Carrathool shire.

Leeanne Dalitz,  Oakland’s go-to person for help, has provided 30 years of service to schools, sporting clubs and community groups. She was presented with Federation Council’s top gong.

To the leaders of tomorrow: young Daniel Hawkins from Curlwaa is Wentworth’s Young Citizen of the Year. During the year, as primary school prefect, he managed to pack in local football, cricket and rowing, as well as the Scouts, volunteering at the annual swimming carnival, the Wentworth show, the gymkhana and Pooncarie’s Desert Dash.

Speaking of events, I was delighted to see the Euston Salami Festival celebrated with an award. If you want a marker of modern Australia’s melting pot of personalities, customs and flavours, I suggest you book early for the next festival, in November.

Another event celebrated, and one I was honoured to attend last year, was the opening of the Berrigan Memorial Wall. Helped with some federal funding, the local RSL and community have built a magnificent and considered tribute to those who have served in this nation’s conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

I want to make a special mention of Paul Maytom, a mayor and former councillor for over 30 years with the Shire of Leeton. Paul was made a Member of the Order of Australia after countless hours spent on various community groups and charities as a volunteer. He, like so many local Australia Day honours recipients, noted that he never sought such recognition but it’s kind of nice when it comes along!

It was the same for Albury’s volunteer of the year, Chris Thomas, the driving force behind local cancer support group Brave Hearts on the Murray.

Time prevents me mentioning every one of the honours bestowed to so many worthy recipients, but you are all part of the story.

So too, the 100 or so new citizens of Farrer who chose to become part of our proud, ancient, multicultural nation.

And however you marked 26 January, this is very much worth remembering.