Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland) (19:53:4): There is little that defines the fabric of Australia better than our willingness to salute those who served in our armed forces in active service or who were impacted by the service of another. We lean in to support those who carry the scars from their service, and we mourn those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It is therefore very fitting that the dedicated service of East Maitland RSL Sub-Branch stalwart Neil Cromarty has been recognised with the presentation of a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Neil, a veteran of Vietnam, has been a member of the sub-branch for more than 40 years and has served as its secretary for almost a quarter of a century. He has been integral to so many successes during this time —procuring massive grants to improve facilities, organising Anzac and Remembrance Day ceremonies, and serving as welfare officer while our veteran community was fragmented and isolated in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to all the work I have referred to, he also worked very hard in the Royal Newcastle Aero Club.

Neil has done a marvellous job caring for and connecting members of our veteran community, and I know he is not done. Congratulations to Neil on his OAM—it is a most deserved honour.