Tuesday, 25 May 2021
National Volunteer Week
Last week marked National Volunteer Week. My electorate is home to hundreds of amazing volunteer groups and organisations. From our emergency service workers to our local community gardeners, there are volunteers doing important and vital work in every pocket of our region. These organisations look to create quality outcomes for their communities and work hard to bring locals together.
But, over the last year and a half, our communities have been kept apart. Through fires, floods and a pandemic, it's been difficult to maintain our local sense of community. As we begin the process of recovery, our local volunteer organisations are often the first places that locals will come together. There are organisations such as the Country Women's Association, which operates 24 branches across our region and recently hosted its New South Wales state conference in Bega. Thank you to all the CWA members who have continued their work in creating our local sense of community and giving women a safe place to come together.
There are organisations like the Sapphire Community Pantry in Bega, who I visited last month with Labor's COVID-19 recovery task force. The Sapphire Community Pantry been providing affordable meals and groceries to residents across the Bega Valley since 2017 and have been running a mobile pantry service to those in need in our more remote communities. So do Sapphire Life Opportunities. They run a similar food pantry in Merimbula, with the aim of decreasing social isolation and bringing their communities together, especially in the aftermath of fires.
These services provide a volunteer service to the Bega Valley and help those that need it the most. They join tens of other local charities who've stepped up over the last few years to help their communities. Across our region, we have St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Anglicare, who provide irreplaceable services to our local communities.
We couldn't talk about volunteers without mentioning our local volunteer rescue associations—Marine Rescue NSW and our rural fire service brigades, who exemplify the selflessness and community spirit we see regularly every day in our regional communities.
My region has been impacted by a number of natural disasters. In that time, the state emergency service branches in Bermagui, Bega, Eden, Bombala, Nimmitabel, Cooma-Monaro, Snowy River, Khancoban, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Yass, Sutton, Bungendore, Braidwood, Captain's Flat and Queanbeyan have gone above and beyond in supporting our communities. Our SES units have provided an invaluable and irreplaceable service to our local communities. Last week marked WOW Day, Wear Orange Wednesday. It serves as an opportunity to thank all of our local SES branches for everything they do. Thank you for your bravery and selflessness in our communities. Thank you to all of our local volunteers who have been helping bring our communities back together.