In a matter of days the nations of the Commonwealth will come together for the 21st Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. There is no doubt that sport is a great unifier. It unifies countries and it unifies communities, particularly country communities. Indeed, sport often helps define the identities of villages, towns and cities across country Australia, and some of our country's sporting rivalries are legendary. We saw the unifying effect of sport recently when the communities of the Central West again came together to participate in the Queen's Baton Relay. I'd like to pay tribute to those relay participants from the Calare electorate and acknowledge their important achievements and contributions to our communities.
Firstly, Harry Betts, from Ophir, is the youngest of Calare's baton bearers. This 17-year-old from Canobolas High is a stand-out basketballer, taking out the award for Orange District Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player Under 18 for the 2017 season.
Sister Mary Trainor, from Orange, has been a wonderful contributor to her community for many years. She worked as a chaplain at Bloomfield Hospital for over 20 years and is presently a member of the Bloomfield Hospital/Riverside Auxiliary.
Louise and Matthew Best, from Mudgee, have been dedicated organisers, supporters and volunteers within the equestrian organisations of our area for over 40 years, giving hundreds of hours of their time at branch, state and national levels.
John Collins from Orange has founded the Orange Bush Nippers, an organisation which teaches our country kids water safety. Three groups of Nippers from Orange have now attained their surf rescue certificates through the Orange Bush Nippers.
Tony Gorringe from Orange has been deaf since he was two, but this hasn't held him back at all. He's represented New South Wales and Australia at lawn bowls at the championship level, joining this with his sporting and civil advocacy for the deaf community at state and international levels.
Pearl Butcher from Orange has passionate community spirit, exhibited in the fact that she started the Colour City Dragon Boat Club, which now counts over 50 breast cancer survivors within its membership, and she often press-gangs me into competing in local regattas.
Les Hopkins from Blayney has shared his love of competitive swimming with his community. Since competing internationally for Australia in the 1970s, he's moved on to coach dozens of young swimming champions in the Blayney district over the subsequent years.
Carolyn Sheehan from Mudgee is a committed volunteer with the Lions club, with her parish and with the local cricket, netball and softball sporting clubs. She has received a lifetime award for cricket coaching and has been named assistant coach for the New South Wales country women's team for two years running.
Dr David Howe from Orange has contributed tremendously to the Orange community through his work in local health, particularly as a general practitioner, and he builds on this with his volunteering for Camp Quality.
Edwina Bone, a gold medallist for Australia as a Hockeyroo at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, moved on to an Olympic debut at Rio. She's a current member of Hockey Australia's 25-member senior women's squad for 2018.
Dr Anna Windsor is from Orange, and she is a dual Olympian swimmer. She represented Australia in the relay in Atlanta in 1996 and again at the individual medley at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. She led the Australian team to take out gold in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
Tony Rodd from Orange is an intrinsic part of the Salvation Army's Red Shield Appeal, chairing its 2017 fundraising efforts.
Russell Tym from Orange is a prime mover in our local community and, as race director of the Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge, has galvanised citizens to race 11 gruelling kilometres to the top of Mount Canobolas. They are people of all ages. They come from stations near and far.
Toireasa Gallagher from Perthville is a multiple-medal-winning Paralympian and world champion cyclist. She's worked with the Rural Fire Service, has been president of the Perthville Public School P&C and continues to support competitive cycling in the Central West.
Jenni Buckley from Mudgee is an active member of the Mudgee community. Her community commitments saw her undertake a fun run of over 500 kilometres during a five-month period, raising $21,000 for Parkes Hospital.
Kathleen Keech from White Rock is active within the Anglican diocese of Bathurst and is a keen contributor to the Bathurst Netball Association. She's also a coach with the local Nova Pursuit netball team.
Des Crawford from Bathurst teaches at Denison College. He's played and coached rugby league over many years in Bathurst.
Ben Austin OAM from Wellington is a paraswimmer who has competed at three Commonwealth Games and has since retired from competition but gives his time selflessly, speaking to and inspiring children and adults from all over Australia.
As this House can see, all of the Queen's Baton Relay participants were very worthy, and we congratulate them on their achievements and their contributions to our local community.