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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1898 ..

task that I gave him. Even though his name did not appear on the education strategy that we released last week, a lot of Neil’s work, blood, sweat and tears was in there.

Neil is retiring. I know he looks a lot younger than you might imagine, members, but he is retiring! But, for Neil, that will not mean retirement. He will be moving on to his next adventure. Neil started off as a scientist, doing zoology at university. He has done a myriad of things. If you ever have a yarn with Neil, he has got a million stories. Luckily, we are both gentlemen of the same age. I have heard most of his stories many times, but I have forgotten them and just learn them again when he tells me the next time!

He is a bird lover and he is the president of the Canberra Ornithologists. He has written 20 books. I am not sure if you are aware that he is a published author of some renown. His latest book has gone into reprint; it is so popular. I will just read the bit off the back cover:

Neil Hermes—

he probably wrote this himself—

has been an avid birder since childhood. He has had over 40 years’ association with the Canberra Ornithologists Group having variously served as President, Editor and Field Trips Organiser. He has written over 20 books including Birds of Norfolk Island and Australia’s Endangered Species.

In the early 1980s on Norfolk Island, Neil was responsible for rescuing the Norfolk Island Green Parrot, the rarest species of parrot in the world.

There was one small declining population of fewer than 15 to 20 surviving birds. Neil took some of the remaining parrots into captivity, started controlling feral pest birds and eradicated rabbits from a nearby island. As a result of his efforts, the parrot now numbers about 200 birds in two separate locations. It continues:

For nearly ten years he was Deputy Director of Australia's National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon) and has an Honours Degree in Science (Zoology) from the Australian National University.

It is a great book. I do not want to get in trouble by encouraging you to read it or buy one, but it is a great book. He is a business operator. He had a business out at the rock, a very successful business that went broke. That is a whole story, a tragic story, but it is not one that is unknown to a lot of people that go into business. He has a business again, Canberra Guided Tours, and runs that business whilst working here.

At the nub of it, Neil is a family man and that is the thing that is most dear to him: his beautiful wife, Margaret, who is also a dear friend of mine and Fleur’s; his four children Lindsay, Nick, Alex and Alice, all so different but all wonderful people; and his three grandchildren Zachary Hermes, Summer Hermes and Lily Hermes.

Neil, I will miss you. Many people here will miss you. But we all look forward to what adventure comes next for you and I look forward to being part of that journey in some way, I hope.

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