National Volunteer Week

Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:49): I rise to talk about a celebration we had in Chaffey last week because it was National Volunteer Week, 17 to 23 May. As many of us would know, volunteers are the fabric, particularly in regional communities, that keeps them bubbling along. There are so many different understandings of what volunteers mean.

This year's National Volunteer Week's theme was Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine. As we know, volunteers have been the absolute fabric of our regional communities, donating their time and having a positive impact on so many lives, so many institutions and so many clubs. That is why Chaffey is such a great place to live and a great place to play sport. It is a great place to just get out and be part of a community.

Volunteers are invaluable and no dollar value can be put on the contribution of the volunteers in my community. Volunteers are in all facets of the community: some of them fly under the radar and some of them give dedicated hours without question.

The CFS, the SES, the Rotary clubs, Probus, Zonta, Apex, the Lions Club, Meals on Wheels, the Cobdogla Steam Museum (home of the Humphrey Pump), the Loxton Historical Village and the vast sporting clubs around the electorate of Chaffey are all underpinned by volunteers. The local HAC boards, Destination Riverland, the council volunteers, Friends of the Industry and Olivewood Estate are just a few of those great volunteer organisations.

I have touched on sporting clubs and local associations that rely so heavily on the hard work of volunteers. Whether it is a water runner, whether it is cooking up scones, whether it is cooking the barbecues or whether it is just enabling those clubs to be able to have coaches, umpires, runners and timers—there are too many to name.

However, there are a few I want to mention and there is no-one more worthy than John Pick, who has won multiple awards for his dedication to volunteering, particularly in the tennis scene. John is an absolute institution in his own right because he has been there forever, coaching young ones, bringing young ones up through the ranks and then seeing those young ones prosper along the way.

There are volunteer-run community events in our region, the car clubs, the flower show and sporting events. These events provide an economic boost to those small communities. The Riverland is made up of many small communities and there is nothing more important than those volunteers, keeping the Christmas events, the local markets and the Easter Parade running.

This year the Morgan Meals on Wheels celebrated 40 years and I want to thank Jakob Gamertsfelder and his important crew who look after the Morgan region, the Riverland west area. Recently, I caught up with some of the volunteers from the Waikerie Meals on Wheels: Shirley Mudge, Helen Williams, Chris Hoffman, Desiree May, Susie Adams and Gurpreet Kaur. I want to acknowledge Bev Gartery, who has volunteered for more than 45 years at the Renmark Meals on Wheels. Good on you, Bev.

Some other recent award winners are Beverley O'Loughlin of Renmark, who was recently awarded the Renmark Paringa Council 2021 Australia Day Community Services Award for her dedication to volunteering at—get this—the Renmark Netball Club, the junior netball clubs, the Renmark Basketball Association, the Renmark Rovers Football Club, the Renmark Hockey Club, the Riverland SAPSASA, the Renmark Bowling Club, the Renmark Independent Living Op Shop, the Renmark Meals on Wheels and the Renmark Legacy Group. Beverley is just an outstanding gem in Renmark donating her time.

Rosslyn Dyer also of Renmark received the Renmark Paringa Council 2021 Australia Day Community Services Award for her contribution to our local community over the past 40 years, particularly with Meals on Wheels and the local Scouts groups. Also, Kym Manning is an institution at Barmera and the coordinator of the carp frenzy. He has been a long-time advocate not only for fishing but for a healthy River Murray. He is also widely renowned for his great work of putting structures back into the river.

Wayne 'Bluey' Fennel has 10 years' volunteering. Brenda Orchard has 18 years' volunteering. Simone Skinner has four years' volunteering with Renmark Mini Movers. Julie Ahrens has 30 years' supporting her community in the regional Girl Guides. Tyson Lindsay was an influential Riverlanders, promoting the Indigenous Round, bringing recognition to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to sport. Tyson, you are a great ambassador for the Aboriginal community in the Riverland. My heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers in Chaffey.

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