Thank you Madam/Deputy Speaker. Today I rise to speak on the Special Care Central Recognition Awards that were recently held in Bonner. In particular I would like to talk about two outstanding individuals from my electorate who’ve gone above and beyond to help people with special needs.


This year marked the 7th year of the Special Care Central Recognition Awards. These are a fantastic set of awards for a fantastic set of local individuals and businesses. The awards shine a light on those in our community who are making a real difference for disabled people. They’re held as part of the Disability Awareness Expo, which itself helps raise the profile of our disabled community.


I’ve been so privileged to be a part of the Disability Awareness Expo and the Recognition Awards over the years. It was unfortunate this year I had to be in Canberra the same week this wonderful event was held. However I must thank my good friend Yvonne Campbell from Special Care Central for allowing me to sponsor a new award this year.


The Local Hero Award was created to recognise people in the community for the positive contribution they’ve made to the lives of individuals with special needs. I was pleased to hear that two noteworthy individuals received the inaugural award for 2015 and I’d like to take a moment to single out their remarkable achievements.


Thomas Spencer is a young man with a disability who has overcome many obstacles in his life to achieve his goals. He has worked hard to help and inspire others with special needs to realise their potential. He was extremely deserving of the Local Hero Award for all that he’s accomplished from such a passionate and selfless perspective.


The second recipient of the Local Hero Award has dedicated many years to helping students with special needs. Lyndall Hayes has led the Step-Up to Employment program at Darling Point Special School since it began in 2013. In the years beforehand she coordinated the vocational education programs at Darling Point Special School.


The Step-Up program helps disabled students get work-ready and fosters their independence. Lyndall and her team help each Step-Up student progress in their senior education while helping them work toward achieving their hopes and aspirations. Students learn important life skills and benefit from work experience opportunities with local businesses. Many graduates have gone on to paid and volunteer work. Thanks to Lyndall’s dedication, Step-Up has been a great success setting up students for a bright future.


Thank you to Thomas and Lyndall for your amazing work. Congratulations also to the people and businesses who were nominated for a Special Care Recognition Award this year. I want to thank all of you and also Special Care Central for everything you’ve done for the disabled community. I look forward to attending the Awards at next year’s Disability Awareness Expo.

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