Volunteer Services

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (15:31): I rise today to recognise the work of the many volunteers who assisted residents and the community on 14 September, when we experienced one of the wettest September days on record. In the Mitcham Hills, creeks were flowing fast, hard enough to damage bridges and walkways in Coromandel Valley and cause serious flooding in the Brownhill Creek area. Reserves and streets were flooded, and houses were damaged in Mitcham.

On behalf of all residents of the Mitcham Hills, I want to extend my gratitude to the many SES and CFS volunteers, especially members of the Sturt SES and Sturt CFS group, SA Police and local council workers, for their help through the day and night to assist our community. While most of us were sheltered from the rain, these people were outside in the wind and rain helping their community, and I am grateful to them all.

In the spirit of recognising volunteers who work outdoors in my beautiful electorate, I would like to thank Barbara, Hayley and Mark of the Friends of Belair National Park for inviting me to join their working bee last Friday. It was a lovely spring morning, and it was good to be outside with 20 other volunteers weeding broom, pittosporum and rhamnus, as well as cleaning up after the rain.

In an electorate as green as mine, there are many volunteers who care for bushland, parks and reserves, as well as the many historical sites that we have.

As many in the house know, Mitcham Hills is blessed with wonderful areas of bushland and home to the previously mentioned iconic Belair National Park, as well as the Wittunga Botanic Garden, the Sturt Gorge recreation reserve, the Blackwood Forest reserve, Shepherds Hill Recreation Park, Watiparinga Reserve, and the Wirraparinga area (otherwise known as Brownhill Creek). If this was not enough green space for one community, there also exists the Karinya Reserve on the Colebrook site, which is home to a sad but touching monument to the stolen generation.

Every one of these parks, reserves and gardens has dedicated volunteers who weed, prune and keep clean their respective green space. These volunteers also raise money, take guided tours and promote the enjoyment of the outdoors in the Mitcham Hills area. With your indulgence, Deputy Speaker, I would also like to mention the Friends of Belair National Park, the Friends of Blackwood Forest Recreation Park, the Friends of Blackwood Hill Reserve, the Friends of Chambers Creek, the Friends of Shepherds Hill Recreation Park, the Friends of Sturt Gorge Recreation Park, the Friends of Brownhill Creek and the Brownhill Creek Association, the Friends of Wittunga, and the Friends of Windy Point Reserve.

These groups have many enthusiastic volunteers who care for their respective parks, reserves and, of course, the Wittunga Botanic Garden. Without them, the Department of Environment, and indeed those who work for the department and our rangers, would not have the support they need to continue with their daily work. I am particularly grateful to the friends groups for their commitment to eradicating noxious weeds—not the most glamorous task—the planting of native plants, and for the work they do to encourage the local community to enjoy their respective spaces. Of course, they also deal with vermin in the parks, such as feral cats and foxes.

With a wealth of volunteers in the Mitcham Hills, of course it does not stop with just these friends groups. The Friends of the Gamble Garden provide gardening care for the historic Gamble Cottage and sell plants to raise money to keep the garden looking at its best all year round. The Friends of the Belair Station keep the station and its surrounds in good order, and the Blackwood Action Group spends hours each week improving the streetscape of the Blackwood CBD. Other groups in Davenport include the Watiparinga Reserve Management Committee, which cares for the Watiparinga Reserve, and the Trees for Life group, which works in the Karinya Reserve on the old Colebrook site.

The Grey Box Community Group promotes awareness of the need to preserve the plants and native grey box eucalyptus tree in the grassy woodlands of the Adelaide Hills, and the Junior Field Naturalists South Australia meet at Bellevue Heights Primary School and work to engage primary school-age children with a love of all things natural: animals, reptiles, rocks and crystals. This list is not exhaustive, although I apologise if I have exhausted you with the enormous number of volunteer groups in the Mitcham Hills.

The National Parks Heritage Committee, the Red Gum Gully Our Patch group, the Hill Reserve Residents Action Group, the Mitcham Hills Tree and Garden Society and the Blackwood-Belair Districts Community Association all make a fantastic contribution to greening, beautifying and looking after the historic atmosphere of the Mitcham Hills. Indeed, I am a fortunate person to be representing an electorate with a wealth of green space, historic ambience and wonderful volunteers.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I invite you and all the members of the house to visit Wittunga Botanical Gardens, the Belair National Park or the historic Gamble Garden this spring—you will not be disappointed. In light of the recent closure of Waterfall Gully and that popular run, I encourage walkers out there to come and walk through some of the reserves in my electorate.