Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:17): I rise to support the motion in an amended form and note:

That this house—

(a) notes that 5 December 2023 is International Volunteer Day;

(b) expresses thanks to the nearly one million South Australians who volunteer each year;

(c) acknowledges the work of our emergency service volunteers and other volunteers who assist our community during times of natural disasters, such as floods, bushfires and storm events;

(d) acknowledges the support provided by Volunteering SA/NT as the peak body and the Volunteer Resource Centre; and—

deleting paragraph (e) and substituting—

(e) notes the work of all governments in supporting and promoting volunteering in South Australia.

I do not think there is anything greater than volunteering for your state and for your country. We have seen volunteers sign up to serve in our armed forces, and that has the potential of paying the ultimate sacrifice.

We also see volunteers sign up for so many other roles, and not necessarily signing up; it can be as simple as helping a next-door neighbour, it could be putting a bin out, doing the gardening, assisting with volunteer driving—which is quite essential in country areas—and getting people to medical appointments or out to do their shopping. Many people have a renewed, vibrant lifestyle doing this, meeting new people, being able to get people to appointments and look after them in that way.

We also have the sporting clubs. I got a letter from one of my sporting clubs—it was one of my local football clubs—noting that they need more volunteers. COVID obviously caused people to stay at home, and I think it had a real impact on the levels of volunteerism. You cannot just expect to turn up to junior netball, junior football or any other sporting event, drop the kids off, go home and think it all just happens. It does not all just happen: it happens because of the work of volunteers, as has already been stated. It might be coaches, or it might be doing the time keeping or goal umpiring.

There is nothing like goal umpiring when you have your neighbour's young son questioning your decision quite vigorously to your face while you are waving the flag; he thought it was a goal and you signalled it as a point. You just get on with the game. It is such a necessity. It is said that a volunteer is worth close to $50 an hour, but they really are priceless. No government, whether on a state basis or a federal basis, would be able to put up the money to pay the billions of dollars that would be needed over time for all the volunteer efforts that are made.

I mentioned COVID and sporting events and the issues there. Some people who were the heads of leagues and that sort of thing really stepped up and did massive COVID plans just for holding sporting events in communities, doing the square metreage and all the numbers that needed to be done with the health guidelines. Even the motorsport park in Tailem Bend, which I think covers over 1,700 acres, had to put these plans in place, but it obviously had plenty of room if you calculate all the space for the punters coming out to see motorsport.

Motorsport is another area where a whole lot of volunteers come on board to work, whether it is on the track out there at Tailem Bend or now with the new dragway, which was so good to see going the other day with 35,000 people turning up over the weekend. Sadly, I am old enough to have been there 44 years ago when Waltzing Matilda the jet truck went down the track from the other direction. It is so good to see the drags back there, and that is ably helped by many volunteers to make sure the teams can get out there.

Certainly, our service clubs are tireless in their efforts right across the state. I will name some, though I will not get them all. It could be Lions, or it could be Rotary—there are a whole range of service clubs that do things like catering in the community just to make sure that people can get an egg and bacon roll or have the barbecue running. I have seen some pretty exquisite barbecues set up by clubs to serve the community.

Our emergency services do such a great job. We have the SES, with over 1,750 members at 69 stations across the state. It was great to see the new station at Strathalbyn, and we commissioned that station to be built while we were in government. The new rescue vessel, the Mulyawonk, is stationed at Murray Bridge. It was good to go to Loxton a few weeks ago with the member for Chaffey. We saw Cosi Costello and the crew doing a recruitment drive. There are fantastic facilities in Loxton. From all things, I understand quite a few people signed up when they saw the equipment and the facilities that they are dealing with there to work with people up and down the river and elsewhere.

I certainly thank the SES for all they do and obviously the Country Fire Service, the CFS, which I am a member of, as is the member for Waite and as possibly are others in this house. They do great work, not just in the fire season, which we are obviously into now, but right throughout the year: the road crash rescue and working alongside SES. In some cases the CFS are the lead agency, as we found out the other night when we had the incidents at Coomandook. I managed to get to one, but I was up here for the second one, with two trucks burning down within the space of four days on the Dukes Highway. But just to get there and see those volunteers work all night and then have to go to work the next day on their farms and their other businesses to make sure that everything is safe is fantastic.

I want to recognise the many, many volunteers, including those unrecognised due to being in an organisation like the CFS or the SES and particularly the SES and CFS volunteers who helped with the recent floods right up and down the river, from up in Chaffey around Renmark all the way down to Wellington and who did magnificent work. It was so good to meet people who had come from Adelaide and other places to help fill up sandbags or place sandbags and just get on with the job of supporting communities that a lot of them probably did not have any direct connection to. It is so good to see that level of volunteering.

In relation to firefighting I reflect on the Yumali-Netherton fire, where I took out my private unit that day. I want to recognise those farmers with their private units because they are the ones who are usually first on the scene, especially when a harvester lights up—and they do. They usually have enough facilities there, enough tankers, enough fire units—to get there and blow it out in a hurry so it does not start a big event. In the Yumali-Netherton fire, which was now over three years ago, I was so proud to see the farm firefighting units working alongside the CFS to get that under control. The best thing is late in the day when you see those strike teams come from out of area, as they did that day from down the South-East so that we could head home about 9.30 and get up at daylight and get going again. They made sure that we did not lose those structures that we had saved the previous day.

To all our volunteers, I just say thank you: we cannot get enough of you. It does not matter what you are volunteering for, it does not matter how big your role is; it is special, it is unique and it is necessary to make sure that this great state of ours functions. And it does not matter who is in government. We need the volunteers because if we did not have them we would not see the goodwill that is achieved by so many South Australians in this state.

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