Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (11:36): I think it is very important that the majority of people in this place stand and acknowledge the great work that volunteers do, whether it is in their electorate, whether it is statewide or internationally. I think they have a very, very important role to play but, in saying that, they make our communities a better place to live. They provide a better environment for the time that they give and the service that they provide to the common person here in South Australia.
Of course I want to talk about the great electorate of Chaffey and the volunteering base that is committed. They commit their precious time and their efforts towards making the Riverland and Mallee communities both safer, and of course they are a privilege to be a part of. The operation of many of the local organisations would not be possible without the dedication and the passion that volunteers put on display at every opportunity. If you are looking for a job to get done, and are looking for a volunteer to do it, normally people would say, 'Ask a busy volunteer. Ask a person that is busy to get the best that you can out of those volunteer bases.'
Sadly, over time, what we are seeing is that while we appreciate the volunteering of those individuals, we are seeing an ageing base of volunteers. So this is a call-out to those younger people, no matter what generation that you are from, to stand up and contribute to making society, to making your community a better place to live, work and enjoy.
As other speakers have said, we cannot put a value or a monetary number on the contribution by volunteers, but we do need to reach out and make sure that during times of uncertainty we have volunteer bases—whether it be through emergency services, whether it be through the CFS, the SES, all those volunteering groups—that come out and help.
We know that neighbours can be a great source of volunteering in times of crisis, whether it is fire, whether it is famine, whether it is flood, and of course the Riverland by and large, and particularly Chaffey, have experienced a significant challenge over the last six or even eight months knowing that we have had to prepare. We have used a lot of professional services to come in and better prepare for the flood, but we have seen a significant influx of volunteer hours put on display so that we can demonstrate how united our communities are.
I think particularly—I will speak on behalf of a regional community—that regional community volunteers are the fabric. They are the glue that keeps people together. They are the glue that keeps sporting clubs functioning. They are the glue that continues to go from strength to strength. There is nothing better than seeing Lions, Rotary, Apex, Probus, Legacy and all the rest of them with their sausage sizzles, raising money, out there cleaning up roadsides, out there planting trees or out there just doing one of the many, many roles that volunteers play. I say thank you to all of them.
Meals on Wheels is one of the great institutions. Every now and again, I jump in and help volunteer, delivering meals to those who are either ageing or less fortunate. I think it is a very valuable service, particularly to regional communities, because distance is the tyranny of a challenge. Many people in regional communities do not live next door to people; they live on a property, they live out of town, or they live some distance from a support service. I say thank you to every Meals on Wheels volunteer.
Sporting clubs: we could not go past thanking all the volunteers, whether it is a coach, whether it is a runner, whether it is someone on the sporting board or the sporting committee. They are also those less visible people who are there raising funds to keep those clubs afloat, making sure that the canteens are manned, making sure that the grounds are mowed and looked after and that the lines are there or the line marking is put in place. The list goes on for many, many of those sporting organisations.
I want to highlight the Cobdogla Steam Museum. It is home to the Humphrey pump, the only working Humphrey pump in the world. Sadly, this mean government has taken away the opportunity for the ongoing viability of this steam museum. It is an institution. It has a significant number of dedicated volunteers who continue to keep the artefacts and history alive, making sure that, as a volunteer base, they are looking after the only working Humphrey pump in the world, but they are now having that support funding taken away from them. I think it is an absolute crime. I say thank you for the great work that those volunteers are doing at the Cobby steam museum.
Recently, we have celebrated Citizen of the Year Awards, and there are many of them. I have a number of council areas that have given those awards out. Bert Haslam is the Loxton Citizen of the Year. He has done some great work through the Loxton Rotary Club, the footy club and also The Pines historic house and garden committee. Mr Ian Tolley has been around, and he has done it all. He is a great contributor, not only to the horticultural industry but through Lions and also the Chaffey Theatre complex development.
Glenys Matthews is the Berri Barmera Council Citizen of the Year. She is a great contributor through the Riverland Rose and Garden Festival as well as the Cancer Council, and is a Royal Flying Doctors volunteer. Carmel Wuttke is the Waikerie Citizen of the Year for Meals on Wheels. She is also a volunteer at the Rain Moth Gallery, Santa's cave, and, of course, the many music programs in that beautiful area.
Angela Lukacs is the Mid-Murray Council Citizen of the Year. She comes from Cadell. She is the Chairperson for the Riverland West Chamber of Commerce. She provides first-aid training to local non-profit organisations and she is an attendee at the Careers Expo event. Ian Wood is the District Council of Karoonda East Murray Citizen of the Year. He does a great job, particularly at the Karoonda farm fair and the show, and he is a regular volunteer at the sporting clubs.
I just want to say thank you to all the volunteers in the Riverland and Mallee. I want to say thank you to all the volunteers everywhere, right around the country. I also want to say to anyone that if you see a volunteer at work, just stop for a moment and say thank you and thank them for their commitment. Say thank you to them for making the community a place that is just a little bit better to live, work and play.