Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Fava, Mrs Grazia (Grace), Luke, Ms Julie
I'd like to take the opportunity to bring the parliament's attention to two great women from my electorate. In the recent Australia Day honours, Grace Fava was awarded the Order of Australia medal for her services to community health. I'm truly privileged to know Grace, who is a passionate and effective advocate for those with autism in our community. Grace has run the Autism Advisory and Support Service for over 10 years. The service has assisted countless numbers of families in our region and beyond. It is the only service offering a 24-hour autism hotline. They receive calls from parents, professionals, teachers and friends of kids with autism and provide practical support, suggestions and referrals. From time to time, they even get calls from the UK, from people confused about which Liverpool it actually is.
Grace started AASS from the front room of her home, after the diagnosis of her sons almost 15 years ago. Now housed in a cottage in Liverpool, they provide counselling, music therapy, support, playgroups, a young adult social group and support groups for families, in addition to the 24-hour hotline. Grace's family, especially her sons, are the lights of her life. Her motivation is very clear when she shares their milestones with me. I congratulate Grace and thank her for the work she does for our community every day.
Julie Luke has been the CEO of the Western Suburbs Junior Rugby League for almost 30 years and is a stalwart in our community. Julie was recognised after the 2018 season by the New South Wales Rugby League with the John Quinn Award. Julie was the longest serving female administrator in the New South Wales Junior Rugby League.
I am one of the parents whose family has benefited from the work that Julie and the board of the junior league did for our area. Julie's passion and commitment to children and families in our region has seen countless young players go on and succeed, get fit and enjoy life. During the season, Julie often works seven days a week. In early season registrations, it's not unusual for her to still be at the office late into the night, making sure that every player and every team is ready to play on that first weekend of competition.
It is sad, then, to report to the House that, due to funding being withdrawn by the major sponsor last year, Julie will no longer be the CEO of the Junior League. Equally disappointing is that that same funding not forthcoming last year is now suddenly available, and there will be a junior competition. It comes, however, without Julie or the board being involved—despite many years volunteer service.
I acknowledge, recognise and thank Julie and Grace for their commitment to our area and, more importantly, our children and their community.