Page 924 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 24 February 2009

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I simply echo the words of my colleagues in congratulating Coralie Wood and the board and also the participants in the CAT awards.

Canberra area theatre awards

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.03): It is getting a bit repetitive, but I rise also to add my congratulations to Coralie Wood OAM for the wonderful work that she has been doing over numbers of years. I will not repeat everything that I said that evening as patron; you have echoed what I said on Saturday evening when I stood and spoke at the awards as patron.

It is very sobering to think that it was not so many years ago that Coralie said to me after one of the award nights, “This will be our last award night.” I was shocked to hear her say that. She disclosed that she had been funding the awards for numbers of years out of her own pocket. I was distressed to find that out. I asked her why she had not applied for some funding to assist her with this work. As members have already said, this is a fantastic award because it highlights the work that these volunteers do, not only in treading the boards but in all the work that goes on behind the scenes and that gives us so much pleasure as audiences throughout the region as well as in the ACT and that develops wonderful skills in our young people in particular, and in older people. It is a wonderful thing that we have; we are very privileged to have the CAT awards.

However, Coralie felt that it was not something she wanted to go down the route of. She did not want to form an incorporated organisation so that she could apply for funds, because she felt that that would take a lot of work and she would have to involve a lot of people in that. She did not want to approach people to help her; she thought she could do it on her own. But she was running out of steam. I suggested to her that she might like to think about forming an incorporated organisation—first of all, a steering committee—and that she might like to think about some people who were very close to her who would be devastated, like I was, that it was not going to go ahead.

To give her credit, she did this. She bit the bullet and she gathered together some people, some of whom were mentioned, who are now board members. On Saturday night, those people were mentioned and recognised; I too recognise them for their hard work. I too recognise Ian Peters for coming forward the minute I asked him to consider sponsoring it, to be the first major sponsor for the CAT awards. I thank him for that. Sadly, he is unable to provide that sponsorship through Telstra any more, because he has moved on.

However, we were very pleased that ActewAGL has now committed to be a major sponsor. We know how much ActewAGL pours into this city and how much it supports many community activities. We thank them for doing that. We thank everybody—all the volunteers and everyone who is involved in giving us such wonderful pleasure, as other members have said, not only here but in so many cities and towns around our region.

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