ANZAC Day

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (15:11): I rise today to commend the outstanding efforts of local youth groups in my electorate and thank them for their contribution to local ANZAC Day commemorations. The Mitcham Hills has an incredibly active and community-minded spirit, and it is a spirit I am very pleased to see being passed on to the next generation.

The 13th annual ANZAC Eve vigil ceremony was held on 24 April at the war memorial located adjacent to the Blackwood roundabout. Each year, youth from various groups come together to participate, remaining there overnight until they are relieved by senior defence personnel at 6am on ANZAC Day. Together with the Liberal candidate for the new seat of Davenport, Steve Murray, I was grateful to attend the vigil and lay a wreath in memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as pay my respects to all those who served and continue to serve our great country.

It was a cold and drizzly evening, as ANZAC Eve always seems to be, and, in an age when we repeatedly hear about the inability of our youth to unplug, it was pleasing to see so many young people prepared to give up the comforts of home, especially a warm bed, to spend the evening in these uncomfortable conditions. I would like to thank the groups involved in this ceremony: the St John Ambulance cadets, Scouts SA; Girl Guides South Australia and the Sturt CFS Group cadets. They are to be congratulated on their leadership, altruism and ongoing service to our community.

For many years, I was a St John Ambulance cadet, including being SA Cadet Leader of the Year way back in the early 2000s. It is an outstanding environment offering an active youth program for juniors aged eight to 12 and cadets up to 18 years of age. Being a St John cadet not only helps develop social skills but St John Ambulance also plays an important role in first-aid education and support services at public events. Their dedication to helping people in sickness, distress, suffering or danger is perhaps taken for granted, as we are so used to seeing them in the community. We forget that each year St John Ambulance Australia delivers 1.2 million hours of voluntary community service, so I thank all those St John juniors, cadets and senior members who give up their time to help and serve others.

The Mitcham Hills has a very rich history of scout and girl guide participation as well, and it was wonderful to see such a large number at the ANZAC vigil representing their local branch, with scout groups from Belair, Blackwood, Eden Hills, Flagstaff Hill and the 2nd Adelaide Scout Group in Mitcham, as well as the Belair and Flagstaff Hill Girl Guides all participating at that vigil. Scouts and girl guides are an important part of our local community, providing an opportunity for children to have fun, make friends, gain confidence, learn new skills and develop a strong appreciation of community mindedness. Our scout and guide leaders, as well as the many volunteers, are to be commended for their work in helping our youth become constructive citizens in our communities, and I would like to thank Nicola Capon from the Flagstaff Hill Scout Group for her work in coordinating the ANZAC vigil.

The Mitcham Hills landscape is a mixture of urban housing, light industries, rural farmland and native vegetation, which can present a wide variety of emergencies, including being amongst the highest bushfire risk areas in South Australia. Local residents and community leaders are indebted to the many hours our CFS volunteers dedicate to protecting our lives, property and environment.

The Sturt CFS Group, which has five brigades throughout my electorate, is supported by almost 200 volunteers who respond to approximately 260 emergency incidents each year. The CFS cadet program is integral to developing the next generation of emergency responders. Boys and girls aged between 11 and 18 undertake basic training and activities that prepare them for an active role within the CFS. It is a testament to the CFS leaders responsible for training and developing the cadets that Mitcham Hills is well supported by a committed and active group of young adults.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the Blackwood RSL on once again presenting and conducting an outstanding ANZAC program. Each Sunday immediately before ANZAC Day, a memorial church service is held at the Blackwood RSL clubrooms, followed by a luncheon. There is an annual march on ANZAC morning, which travels along Shepherds Hill Road to the war memorial and culminates in the dawn service, which this year was attended by around 2,500 to 3,000 people.

The Blackwood RSL continues to grow the community's understanding and appreciation of the ANZAC story through their hard work and commitment to involving people of all ages in the commemoration of ANZAC Day. I thank them for their ongoing efforts. I thank their president, Frank Blamey, and all the members of the committee for their dedication to honouring our service men and women.