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Tribute to Sharyn Anderson-Cullis

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-126137

Hansard session: Fifty-Seventh Parliament, First Session (57-1)

Tribute to Sharyn Anderson-Cullis

Mr MARK COURE (OatleyMinister for Multiculturalism, and Minister for Seniors) (18:39:57):

— I acknowledge and pay my respects to the late Sharyn Anderson‑Cullis, who passed away peacefully on 12 June this year at age 69. I was deeply saddened to hear of Sharyn's passing. She was a dedicated environmental activist within our local community who devoted her entire life to advocacy work and conservation efforts within the southern Sydney region. As a founder of the Georges River Environmental Alliance, Sharyn showed dedication and commitment in her mission to protect local flora and fauna. She oversaw many projects, including advocating for the protection of some of our community's most wonderful natural spaces, like the Georges River, Oatley Park and Myles Dunphy Reserve. Those local assets are gems of the St George region, and Sharyn always played a large role in ensuring that they remained healthy and vibrant.

Sharyn was also dedicated to protecting the local koala population and other native animals through her involvement in Save Sydney's Koalas as vice‑president. Sharyn fought fearlessly to enact real change within the community. I was proud to fight alongside her to establish the Dharawal National Park—a sacred 6,500‑plus hectare site spanning from the Georges River to the Illawarra. It protects a range of diverse native species and remains an invaluable asset to this day. Sharyn was extremely passionate about the local environment, but she was also a warm and brilliant leader. She led the charge during her time as principal of the Georges River Environmental Centre and remained an active member of the Alliance and the Georges River Combined Councils' Committee—also known as Riverkeeper—until her passing.

For those reasons she was recognised on Riverkeeper's honour board in April this year alongside Kim Wagstaff—another environmental activist who does fantastic work in the local community. That was due in part to her contributions towards the Streamwatch program, which oversees the testing and monitoring of local waterways to ensure that our local river systems remain healthy. Sharyn's years of commitment and advocacy inspired many others in the community to take a stance on environmental conservation. We are thankful for environmental advocates like Sharyn who impress upon the next generation the need to care for our environment. Conservation issues will continue to arise in the future, so it is important that the next generation of community leaders are ready to take on the challenge and stand up for the local environment.

We are so dependent on the environment to support and sustain us, so the work that activists do within our community benefits not only the local ecosystem but also the St George region as a whole. Sharyn was a firm believer in those principles. I am sure that members of the local community will continue her trailblazing work. I send my condolences to Sharyn's husband, Phillip, who I saw two weeks ago; and to her daughter, Tamzin; and to all who knew her as a campaigner and friend. I acknowledge Sharyn's incredible legacy and contributions to the local community in the St George region and our wonderful environment. For that contribution, on many occasions she was awarded a St George community award. In fact, recently I wrote to the Minister for Environment and Heritage to acknowledge her wonderful contributions and bring them to his attention. Sharyn will certainly be missed. May she rest in peace.

Mr JAMES GRIFFIN (ManlyMinister for Environment and Heritage) (18:44:02):

— With the indulgence of the House, I also acknowledge the passing of Sharyn. I thank her for her efforts in the St George area, and for her work in conservation and in ensuring that that beautiful part of the world remains beautiful.