Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (19:40): On September 25, Blacktown said thanks and farewell to someone who has made a real difference to the quality of life in our city.
After serving seven years in the Blacktown Local Area Command, five as area commander, Superintendent Mark Wright saw out his last day of official duty in our city.
Tonight, I seek to share his achievements with the Australian parliament and ensure that in some small measure we can recognise his duty and care for the city of Blacktown.
Since joining the police force in 1981, Superintendent Mark Wright has amassed an impressive CV. It did not take him long to establish a penchant for, and obvious skill in, covert policing.
In receiving his commission in 1999, Mark Wright was promoted to the rank of detective inspector at the State Surveillance Branch, during which he conducted an international review of covert physical surveillance, seeing him work with agencies such as the FBI, the Royal Canadian Mounties and the London Metropolitan Police.
In January 2003, the then detective superintendent became chief of staff to the Deputy Commissioner of Specialist Operations. In 2005 Superintendent Wright became the local area commander at Quakers Hill and three years later commander at Blacktown.
If policing at an extremely high level isn't demanding enough, Mark Wright served the community at large in a long, long list of noble ways.
In the process he demonstrated he was a person of profound substance: a White Ribbon Ambassador in the battle against domestic violence against women; awarded a humanitarian award by the Refugee Council of Australia; and named a Rotary Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance in improving understanding and relations between peoples of the world.
What I especially valued about Superintendent Wright was his lateral approach to policing.
While conscious of the expectation to maintain order in our city, he sought to look closer at the issues that might be affecting the calm of community life.
For instance, in our major local shopping centre we experienced a growing instance of unrest between groups of young people where fights and antisocial behaviour were becoming a regular problem and causing anxiety in local residents.
The automatic response might have been to simply increase police presence and shift the issue to another part of the city. Superintendent Wright did something different.
He became a founder and chair of COM-4-UNITY, which is short for connecting our minds for unity. He brought together NGOs such as the terrific Marist Youth Care and Blacktown Police, who then set about talking with local youth, finding positive outlets for their energies and guiding them in their own personal development.
The program was such a success I was delighted to see it awarded with federal funding in August to help expand its reach and continue its work. And at a wider level, the breadth of Superintendent Wright's approach sat neatly within a policing method and program that saw annual average decreases in most crime statistics.
Having grown up in Blacktown, I can confidently say to this chamber that this is something that our community values enormously and it is something that Superintendent Wright can be properly proud of.
Not content with limiting his efforts within his work life, Superintendent Wright would also volunteer time for local community groups.
For instance, he became vice-chair of Syd-West Multicultural Services, where he continued to learn and work with the diverse range of communities that have made their home in our region.
Obviously he is a man who cares for others and finds ways to bring them together for the betterment of others, so he is a big loss to the city and the electorate of Chifley.
It is a fact of life that good people, talented people, dedicated people, do get sought out for or naturally move on to new challenges.
His move to the role of Commander, Management and Leadership Development, Education and Training is a measure of the trust his superiors have in his ability to make the New South Wales Police Force an even sharper organisation.
Superintendent Wright, on behalf of the people of Chifley we thank you for your service and wish you and your family all the best for the future and your continued dedication to the people of New South Wales.