By TONY FOSTER AM OAM JP
AS this is my first column in Brighton Community News for 2016, I want to take the opportunity to wish all members of the Brighton community all the very best for the year ahead.
No doubt, the next 12 months will bring plenty of challenges, but we can take comfort in the fact that Brighton is now better prepared for the future than ever before. Our municipality is recognised for its progress, its support for its people and its innovation in attracting new development, employment and opportunities for all. At Brighton Council we are committed to building on the achievements of the past to create an even better community for the future.
A key in building a better community is the contribution that volunteers make to our society and in Brighton we are indeed fortunate that we have a strong volunteering ethic that adds immeasurable to the lives of everyone living in the municipality.
At our recent Australia Day ceremony, Councillor Phil Owen, himself a volunteer with a number of groups, as well as sitting on Council, spoke of the importance of volunteering and the contribution made to our community. A precis of his speech appears on this page of Brighton Community News.
While we rightly expect all levels of government to support community endeavours, the reality is that many, perhaps most, clubs, groups and organisations would not survive without the magnificent contributions of highly dedicated volunteers.
Think about the school parents and friends associations, the Police and Citizens Youth Club, fire and emergency service brigades, sporting clubs and the multitude of charitable and support organisations that do great work in our community. All these rely on volunteers who collectively give thousands and thousands of dollars worth of unpaid work and support to the people of the Brighton Municipality each year.
It is fair to say that Brighton would be a very different place indeed but for the contributions made by the hundreds of volunteers who keep our community moving forward.
On the subject of volunteers, I want to particularly congratulate Graeme Panton of the Old Beach Cricket Club who was named as the Brighton Community’s Volunteer of the Year for 2016 in the annual Australia Day Awards.
The Old Beach Cricket Club is arguably the most successful cricket club in Tasmania outside the Premier League competition and each year provides a great sporting outlet for many young people in our community. The club’s success owes a lot to Graeme and his team of volunteer administrators and coaches who keep the club running week in week out.
Of course I must also congratulate our other Australia Day Citizen of the Year award winners. Our Citizen of the Year for 2016 is Bonorong Park director Greg Irons, our Young Citizen of the Year, local student Dannielle Cash and the Event of the Year is the Jordan River School Farm’s Farm Fest.
Greg is a wildlife champion, and he and Bonorong Park are Brighton institutions. Dannielle represents Brighton’s future and her contribution at the school farm and commitment to further her education this year at Claremont College provides a great example to our young people. The Jordan River Schools Farm Fest brings our community together and is most deserving of our Australia Day recognition.
All are worthy winners and individually and collectively bring great credit to our municipality.
Reflecting on their achievements and their contributions to Brighton’s life provides us with a positive start to 2016 and I look forward to many more successes in our community in the year ahead.