27 June 2018

Delivered in the Federation Chamber

Today I rise to pay tribute to two outstanding local residents whom I have the privilege to represent as the member for Greenway. They've been awarded Queen's Birthday honours this year.

Ken and Marj Freeman of Lalor Park, who live down the road from where I grew up, have been awarded Order of Australia medals for their service to the community of Blacktown. Ken and Marj are long-term locals. They moved to the Blacktown area in 1966, and, since that time, they have been active members of our local community. I think it's accurate to say that Ken and Marj live and breathe Blacktown.

Their local community involvement began in 1966, the year Play School first aired on Australian television, with a quest and, ultimately, a campaign to install street lighting on what was then a semirural street. My house at this time, of course, was also in a virtually semirural area. I think it was chicken farms, and now, of course, it's all houses.

Their involvement with the Blacktown community since that time spans many decades with service to countless community organisations. Their work has included service to Blacktown Meals on Wheels from as far back as 1970 and volunteer efforts with the Probus Club of Blacktown City, which are still going on today. This is in addition to an ongoing involvement with the fantastic Blacktown Relay For Life, the Cancer Council and the 'Simply Voices' Blacktown Seniors Choir, who are absolutely amazing. Their involvement with the 'Simply Voices' choir is in visiting local nursing homes to bring joy and happiness to others.

Marj is also a survivor of breast cancer, and I pay tribute to her for that. She was first diagnosed at the age of 38, and the fact that she is still going strong is a testament to her determination and also to Ken's support. They've been determined, of course, to continue helping others alongside their own personal trials, and that's a true testament to their great character. It's so fitting that one of our highest national honours is bestowed upon those who strive always to serve their local community with such dedication and without fanfare. They've never sought the spotlight, and I think we can all say that, as we observe the qualities in our local residents who receive these honours, that would have to be one of the most consistent values. Quite simply, they do it because they love to help people and they are simply lovely people themselves.

I'm so proud to acknowledge the service of Ken and Marj in the Chamber today. I thank them most sincerely on behalf of all of the Blacktown community for helping us to thrive and prosper. I am very certain they will continue to make an impact on the lives of those around them, particularly older Australians in our area. Congratulations, Ken and Marj, on being awarded Order of Australia medals in recognition of your dedicated, ongoing service to the Blacktown community. I look forward to your involvement for many years to come.