Watkins, Ms C

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (2.40 pm): My electorate of Noosa is a community of communities. It is a place where each local community is special. Each has a unique character and each is special in its own way. One thing which each of these places has in common is a great sense of local belonging and a sense of ownership and responsibility for the things that occur there. These places tend to use their initiative and combine community talents to make things hum, to make things happen and to better their own community from within.

The second thing they have in common is that they all have local community heroes, and Carol Watkins is one such hero. She concluded a career in human resource management by branching out to manage her own recruitment consultancy in Brisbane. In a dramatic sea change she moved to Black Mountain on the Sunshine Coast and created a home studio to take up pottery. She also formed Hinterland Ceramics to further her interest in the craft through workshops with visiting tutors to learn new techniques in both hand-building and throwing and to exchange ideas with like-minded artists. She now exhibits, including at the Cooroy Butter Factory exhibition space

Carol also gives back as a volunteer member of the State Emergency Service. She has just been awarded the minister’s cup for Queensland as the State Emergency Service member of the year, the premier award. This follows the distinction of becoming the regional member of the year for Queensland. While Carol’s individual effort has been recognised with these prestigious awards, the work she does mirrors that of so many SES volunteers throughout the state. Every member here would be familiar with the orange jumpsuited community members who give so much in times of need and emergency. Whether it is flood recovery, bushfires, car accidents or searches for lost people, SES volunteers give tirelessly and generously of their time.

Carol was appointed as group leader for the Cooroy SES group after only 12 months with the team and only four years later was appointed deputy local controller the SES group. She has demonstrated a distinguished level of service to the SES in Queensland through her eight-plus years of service with the unit. It costs her to spend countless hours away from her loved ones, putting herself in uncomfortable conditions and at risk, but she does so willingly to support and assist the less fortunate and vulnerable not only in her own community but also in other communities which make up the broader Noosa community.

On behalf of Noosa, thank you Carol. You are what makes our community of communities so great. And thank you to the hundreds of other SES volunteers who have not received an award but whose work is appreciated by the communities they serve.