29 May 2017


I rise today to praise the efforts of three remarkable women who have each been recognised as a Local Woman of the Year for 2017. 

These awards recognise outstanding contributions made by women who go above and beyond in their communities. In my electorate of Greenway, three women received this honour in 2017, covering Blacktown, Riverstone and Seven Hills.

The Blacktown Woman of the Year this year is Elfa Moriatakis, Chief Executive Officer of SydWest Multicultural Services.

Sydwest is an exceptional community support service, based in Blacktown, which provides support to people from ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds, particularly in such a multicultural part of Australia as mine.  

Elfa is an incredibly hard-working and passionate advocate for women in our community, especially those going through the settlement journey.

Elfa is an outspoken supporter for action on the scourge of domestic violence, which, unfortunately, disproportionally affects women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  

Elfa is also a passionate supporter of empowering women through education.

Sydwest’s services help to empower women to reach their goals and to seek help when they need it.

The esteem in which Sydwest is held in our community is a testament to Elfa’s dedication and leadership and, of course, to the way in which she inspires her whole team.

The Riverstone Woman of the Year for 2017 is Nicole Winram, a resident of Stanhope Gardens who is a community advocate for cancer patients and palliative care, and one of the most driven people I have ever met.

Her work was born out of the experiences of her late husband, who passed away eight years ago from oesophageal cancer.

Nicole has been a tireless advocate for reducing the cost burdens on cancer patients and has been involved with the Cancer Council’s CanAct volunteer program, along with the NSW Saving Life campaign. 

As a result of her advocacy, in 2015 the NSW Government removed co-payments on many specialised cancer drugs.

Nicole is continues to agitiate for palliative care services, including working with Westmead Hospital to move palliative care out of oncology ward and into a trial stand-alone ward. 

Nicole is an inspiring woman who has been rightly recognised for her commitment to improving the lives of people and families affected by cancer.

The Seven Hills Woman of the Year for 2017 is Joan van den Burg, a fellow resident of Glenwood and the administrative director of Hills-Kellyville Rotary Club.

Locally, the club is renowned for their work assisting Northwest Disability Services as well as their annual Australia Day breakfast and citizenship ceremony. 

Joan has worked in child protection and disability services and it is wonderful to see that she has continued to pursue these passions in her volunteer work with Rotary. 

Remarkably, when Joan first got involved with Rotary, women were not able to become Rotary members.

Joan has made a remarkable contribution to the efforts of Rotary in our community over many years and it is pleasing to see her efforts and passion recognised.

I warmly congratulate Elfa, Nicole, and Joan on their recognition as local women of the year.