Kim O’KEEFFE (Shepparton) (10:58): I rise today to pay tribute to my very special friend, elder Aunty Faye Lynam, a wonderful Yorta Yorta woman, who sadly passed away on 12 May. It is a great loss to our community. Aunty Faye dedicated her life to better health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal communities, not only making a difference locally but also across the state. For over 30 years Aunty Faye was a foster carer to many children who came in and out of the youth justice and child protection services. She sat on numerous boards and was an adviser on youth justice issues that impacted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. Aunty Faye was a tireless advocate for the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal people and her contributions were immeasurable. She was there for all of the community, regardless of race, culture, faith or circumstance.
Aunty Faye was from the stolen generations. She shared her heartache, the trauma and the tragic circumstances she had faced. Her strength, courage and her determination to make a difference inspires me every single day. We became very close friends, and we loved to spend time together. She had a profound impact on me. Like many, I will miss her love, warmth, affection, kindness, her words of wisdom and encouragement and her infectious laugh. ‘Go for it, my darling,’ she would say, ‘I am so very proud of you.’ Aunty Faye was loved by so many in the community. She was well known and so respected. She was always so proud to do her welcome to country. That is something I know will be sorely missed. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and my thoughts are with her husband Uncle Greg.