Kim O’KEEFFE (Shepparton) (13:07): I rise today to pay tribute to Patricia Smith OAM, a wonderful lady in my electorate who recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Patricia is a much-loved, well-known and respected member of the community who has spent most of her life serving the community. In 1976 Patricia became the first woman in Victoria to be appointed as a town clerk. Town clerk was equivalent to a current council chief executive officer role, a position she held until 1981. Patricia had 32 years in local government, in which she began as a junior telephonist in 1949 and went on to achieve a very successful career path. Patricia was definitely a trailblazer and ahead of her time. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2004 to acknowledge her service to local government and to the community.
Following Patricia’s time in local government, she continued to make a difference in the community. Patricia was instrumental in the establishment of GV Hospice, a wonderful palliative care service established in the 1980s. Patricia established Friends of Hospice and was the president for many years, and she is still volunteering and fundraising to this day. I have known Patricia for many years, and I have looked up to her as a mentor and with such admiration for all that she has achieved and the support that she still continues to give to the community to this day. Patricia plays an important part in history that will continue to inspire other women to follow their desired career path. Happy 90th birthday, Patricia.