Friday, 15 February 2019
Their work is done day in and day out, week in and week out, every month of every year, without asking for recognition or special awards. They do not seek any benefits other than knowing that they have made a positive contribution to our community. I am talking about volunteers. Volunteers turn a suburb into a community. However, the vast majority of our volunteers rarely seek acknowledgement for their services and are often amongst our most humble and modest citizens. I take this opportunity to thank and pay tribute to all of our volunteers. Please know that we do notice your efforts and your communities do recognise the invaluable role you play to make others' lives richer and better.
In Queensland, 18.8 per cent, or more than 714,000 Queenslanders, volunteer. Contributing more than 133 million hours of work annually, it is estimated that Queensland volunteers' worth to the state's economy is more than $11 billion. But it's not all about the money. Many volunteers feel what is colloquially known as a helper's high when directly helping others.
In my electorate of Ryan, I have always been delighted to participate in a diverse range of volunteer organisations that all add to our community cohesion. Take, for example, the many volunteers who make Scouts Queensland the success it is today. As chairman of the Brisbane North Region Scouts, I take great pride in the efforts of everyone who involves themselves to make this such an outstanding movement. I pay particular appreciation to the Queensland commissioner, Daryl Scott, who is always prepared to go that extra step to ensure this nurturing organisation continues to train and prepare our future leaders.
Let me also mention the work of volunteers at our many RSLs. From their advocacy services to their camaraderie and their reach into the wider community, I know that my local RSL members are aware of the deep appreciation we have for their continued work.
Local environmental groups throughout the Ryan electorate remain pivotal to the success of so many community programs. I regret that I don't have more time to attend all of the various activities. Many thanks must go in particular to the Brisbane West Conservation Network, Save Our Waterways Now, THECA and the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network. There are too many environmental groups for me to thank in one speech, but I can say to all of them: congratulations and thank you for greening and protecting our local community.
Rotary, Probus and the CWA are volunteer groups that continue to achieve both internationally and locally for those who are less fortunate. I would also like to acknowledge the work of my Zonta club, which continues to pursue our goal to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta Club of Brisbane North celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018. I know that it will remain a leading advocate for women's rights and ensure equality and a life free of violence for all women for many years to come. Sadly, there is still so much to overcome.
Approximately 15,000 volunteers in Queensland deliver 1.9 million meals a year to more than 11,500 people, with a wide variety of support needs, through Meals on Wheels. Independence is something we all value and is made all the more possible for many through this wonderful service. I want to recognise and say thank you to all the volunteers who make it more than just a meal.
Whether it is a flood, fire or cyclone, Australians are the best in the world for volunteering in trying and challenging times. We all know of the vital and important community support provided by our police, fire and ambulance services, and for this we are truly grateful. But I would like to pay tribute and thanks to our Queensland State Emergency Service, the SES. With approximate 6,000 unpaid active members, the SES empowers people to help themselves and others in their communities during times of emergency and disaster, a concept of self-help and mutual assistance.