Wills Electorate: Australia Day Awards, Stronger Communities Program


Peter Khalil: I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and really congratulate those members of my community in my electorate of Wills who were inducted into the Order of Australia on Australia Day this year. These are really phenomenal and very inspiring, high-achieving individuals. They very well deserve the honours that they received on Australia Day.

John Cunningham received a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition for his many achievements as a local historian of the suburb of Brunswick. I’m glad our community has someone as dedicated as he is to preserve our rich history. Joe Ficarra received an OAM for his service to the Italian-Australian community and to local government as a councillor for many, many decades.

Professor John Griffiths became an AM, a Member of the Order of Australia, in recognition of many achievements throughout his career as a musicologist and an accomplished academic. Susan Giles became an AM in recognition of her outstanding career in the arts as a director, writer and performer.

Diana Travis received an OAM for her many achievements and contributions to the Indigenous community over her lifetime, particularly for campaigning in the 1967 referendum campaign.

These people join a select group of inductees to our unique Australian Honours system, and they are indeed remarkable people. As their representative in this place, it is my absolute pleasure to thank them for their meritorious service to our community and to our nation.

As well as individuals, there were a number of very well deserving community groups, sporting clubs and organisations in the electorate who received grants from the Stronger Communities Program. I had the great pleasure to support those nominations for those grants over that period.

I want to congratulation the Glenroy Bowls Club, which received a grant for new seating, tables and sunshades. Baptcare received a grant to do some really important work called ‘connecting up’, a project that provides Sanctuary residents with wireless internet access and it is quite important for the welfare of people seeking asylum. It helps them connect with their loved ones during that period and it increases digital literacy and access to resources, helping them to rebuild their lives.

The Glenroy Cricket Club got a new roller pitch and will have their first female cricket side next week. The Pascoe Vale footy club got an upgrade to modernise their club canteen and function room. The Pontian Community of Melbourne and Victoria got a new concrete floor. The Fawkner Tennis Club got a grant as well. CERES Joe’s Market Garden got a new sprinkler system for the wonderful garden and organic produce that comes out of that wonderful farm in the middle of urban Melbourne. Youthworx of Youth Development Australia was granted a grant to help fit out classrooms to run digital media, graphic design and film classes for youth that are in trouble and seeking to get certification. The Central Pontian Association of Melbourne and Victoria also received a grant. There was Newlands and East Coburg Community Hubs. Girls Rock! received a grant for a lending library as well as the Brunswick Zebras Football Club, the West Coburg Football Club and the Hadfield Football Club.