End of Year Message 2020

End of Year Message 2020 Main Image

10 December 2020

 This year has been tough on the coast. We faced the threat of bushfires, floods and the virus. I'm proud of the way our community has pulled together. In my last speech in this place for the year, I'd like to recognise some special local people and volunteer groups who have helped us all through 2020. I'd like to start by recognising the volunteers of the local Rural Fire Service brigade from Berkeley Vale, Blue Haven, Charmhaven, Tuggerah, Ourimbah, Warnervale, Yarramalong, Kulnura, Dooralong, Wamberal, Wadalba, Narara and Matcham-Holgate, the Wyong Operational Support Brigade, the Wyong caterers brigade and the Central Coast Communications Brigade, who worked tirelessly during the Black Summer bushfires keeping locals safe and travelling to help brigades in communities under threat. The Central Coast strike team helped fight fires on the Mid North Coast, the South Coast, the Southern Highlands and the tablelands.


While everyone did a tremendous job, I would like to acknowledge the superintendent for the Central Coast Rural Fire Service, Viki Campbell, who was recognised as the Central Coast Australia Day ambassador for 2020. As brigades prepare for the fire season, they are spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer with their annual firetruck Santa runs across the coast, kicking off last week and finishing on Christmas Eve. Last year the Charmhaven RFS Santa run raised $6,500 to help rebuild the Rainbow Flat RFS station destroyed in the Hillville fire.


This year, through COVID, like many others, I've missed visiting local schools. But that hasn't meant missing out on meeting inspiring young people doing their bit for our community. Getting rid of fireweed at Long Jetty Landcare, I met 11-year-old Matilda Baldwin. One of the youngest volunteers, Matilda comes along each month with her sister, Georgia, and her mum, Carly. On top of Landcare, Matilda collects bottles to raise money for her school, Our Lady of the Rosary at the Entrance, and is a driving force behind the school's composting and worm farm, and the new year should have a school garden up and running. Matilda also collects soft plastics for recycling and bottle caps for Lids 4 Kids. Thank you for all you do, Matilda.


This summer we are expecting a bumper season on local beaches as people holiday closer to home, and they are very welcome. Keeping us safe on the sand and in the water are the hundreds of local surf lifesavers. I'd like to give a shout out to Ben, of Toowoon Bay Surf Life Saving Club. Ben is 18 and he lives with an intellectual disability. After achieving his surf rescue certificate four years ago, he trained at Toowoon Bay. I'd also like to congratulate Ben on achieving his Certificate II in Kitchen Operations. I was delighted to recognise Ben with a Dobell award this year.


Now I'll go to a volunteer with an outstanding record of service in our community who has gone that extra mile in 2020. It's Chris Miles. Chris joined Wyong District Netball Association almost 50 years ago and has helped the association grow to over 2,600 registered players. Chris is a coach, an umpire and the longest-standing secretary of our association, and current president of WDNA. This year Chris, along with the entire executive team, worked tirelessly as WDNA adapted to meet the COVID-safe requirements of New South Wales Health, the Office of Sport, and Netball New South Wales so our local competition could go ahead. I'm proud to have known Chris since I was 11 years old and wish her the best for Christmas.


It's been a particularly tough year for the arts community, so I'm delighted to recognise Josh Maxwell. Josh is the 2020 New South Wales volunteer of the year for the coast and has been the driving force behind the artistic community in our area for 14 years. A volunteer theatre producer, he's racked up 30 productions. He co-founded Jopuka, the coast's own youth arts company, where he is the volunteer director. This year Josh was also a member of the youth arts COVID-19 impact study working party, which mapped the impact of the pandemic on this sector. Thank you, Josh.


Finally, I turn to one very special daughter determined to give her dad the best 90th birthday party. When COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, birthdays, weddings—like for my brother, Iggi, and his partner—and family celebrations were postponed or cancelled. So Sharon Lucas did her very best to make the 90th birthday of her dad, Arnold Keating, memorable. Sharon planned a month of celebrations, organising 13 lunches and dinners at her parent's house in Mardi, with a small number of guests on each occasion. Each birthday was a three-course meal of Arnold's favourite food, followed by a cake. I think I joined Arnold's 12th 90th birthday party in November. Happy birthday, Arnold. I would like to thank Viki, Matilda, Ben, Chris, Josh, Sharon and everyone who's made 2020 that little bit easier or brighter for someone else.


I'd like to finish by wishing everyone on the Central Coast a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year. Finally, to my nephew Gabriel, my godson, happy 21st birthday. I'm looking forward to celebrating with you at Nanna's place on Saturday. Congratulations!