Page 1631 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017
central and loving part of his life. Through his sailing and his support for others, Matt has touched the lives of many in a very positive and profound way.
There are few more likable people than Matt Owen. He is loved by a great many people in the sailing community and well beyond across the world. I am sure that Matt would want me to acknowledge the efforts of the medical professionals here in Canberra and interstate. Along with Karen’s and Matt’s own efforts, they have delivered what could only be described as a miracle in medical science over the past couple of years.
I thank Matt for his contribution to the ACT community on behalf of the Assembly, on behalf of the Canberra sailing community and on behalf of the hundreds of underprivileged kids that he has helped. I am very proud that this champion Canberran, this champion sailor and this champion bloke is a good mate of mine. Keep on sailing, mate.
Mr Wieslaw Lichacz
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (6.40): I rise today to celebrate Mr Wieslaw Lichacz from ACT Fire & Rescue. I must say two things first. I apologise in advance and I seek his forgiveness for murdering his name. My only excuse is that I am somewhat dyslexic. And I welcome him, because he is here today.
Mr Lichacz recently received an ACT community protection medal for 2017. He has been with the ACT fire brigade community fire unit—CFU—program since its inception in 2004. Mr Lichacz is a long-serving member of the CFU consultative committee and he represents over 900 volunteers.
He is passionate about building community resilience and self-reliance in the face of the climate crisis we are facing through training of community members to strengthen our ability to deal with extreme weather. During the 2003 fires Wieslaw worked with his neighbours to put out ember-attacked roof fires, and put out fires in gardens and garages. When the power poles burnt down, he rigged up his 30-year-old solar panels and batteries from the tip to have basic power for news and weather broadcasts, as the power was, of course, not restored for weeks, despite many electricity agencies from interstate assisting ACT utilities.
He started in the CFU in Kambah a few months after the 2003 fires and became team leader in 2006, and he is still active there today. As an example, just before last Christmas, he led the CFU team to mount the first response to potentially catastrophic fires in Tuggeranong after a stolen car was dumped and set on fire in tall grassland near Mount Arawang. His efforts included warning horse owners near the Kambah pony club and Arawang homestead whilst police were busy investigating an armed robbery in Bonython.
After Boxing Day, he led teams to fill many fire tankers from Fire & Rescue, parks and wildlife and the Rural Fire Service, putting out a bushfire near Millaparoo on the southern side of Mount Arawang that would have hit the neighbourhood from the same direction as the catastrophic 2003 fires. Mr Lichacz’s leadership in coordinating