In what has become an important part of the local calendar, women from every part of the community joined Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Federal MP Ed Husic for the Coral McLean Award Breakfast.
“The Coral McLean Award helps celebrate International Women’s Day and remembers the life of a wonderful woman, who many referred to as the ‘Mother of Mt Druitt’,” said Mr Husic.
“Coral passed away in February 2011 after a long battle with cancer. I created the Award in her name to inspire others and recognise them for their efforts.
“The breakfast held at Mt Druitt TAFE’s CREATE Training Restaurant, also raised money to help the work of Learning Ground at Bidwill.”
This year’s recipient of the Coral McLean Award was Margaret Boyd of Woodcroft. Margaret devotes a great deal of her time, volunteering in support of The Childen’s Hospital at Westmead; Dunrossil Disability Services and Rooty Hill Naval Association.
Rita Tobin of Willmot and Alicia Martin of Marayong were jointly named Chifley Women of the Year.
Rita returned to study at age 74 completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Aboriginal Studies. In 1998 she became involved in the Mt Druitt and Districts Reconciliation Group where she worked closely with Coral McLean.
Alicia founded the non-profit organisation Food Within which provides low to middle income families struggling to make ends meet with healthier lifestyle choices. Food Within focuses on educating families, predominantly women getting them to take part in budgeting and cooking classes to help them find better ways to feed their families with healthier foods.
26 year old Liza Moscatelli was named Young Chifley Woman of the Year. She is heavily involved with the Tedd Noffs Foundation Mt Druitt where she inspires others in her passion for music and photography. She has completed a social work degree and has been part of the Street University initiative for two years and facilitates Art workshops.
Because of the depth of the nominations this year, the judges decided to make a Judges Commendation Award which went to Ambika Dhungyel. Ambika came to Australia four years ago under the Australian Government Humanitarian Settlement Program and has been an active volunteer in the Bhutanese Community in Sydney.
“I have no doubt that Coral would be delighted at the work being done by other women in our community to improve the lives of others.”
“I want to thank the Award judges, Alice Wheatley – the Regional Manager, Anglicare Mount Druitt; Merleen Millson, the Secretary, Mt Druitt Area Legal Centre; and Yasodai Selvakumaran – HSIE and Aboriginal Studies teacher, Rooty Hill High School.”
“I commend their diligence in assessing each nomination and coming up with the woman we’ve honoured today.”