It is with great sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to an incredible Canberran, Rusty Woodward, who passed away last month. Rusty was an active member of the Tuggeranong Community Council, the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club, the Australian Lung Foundation, the ACT Lung Life Support Group and the Council on the Ageing.
Rusty was the driving force behind the establishment of the Tuggeranong over 55 Plus Club's permanent home in the Tuggeranong Valley—a beautiful community facility that is a permanent reminder of Rusty's tenacity. Through her extensive work with COTA, Rusty initiated a survey of seniors in Canberra that formed part of a COTA submission to the Harmer review into pensions. Rusty, who herself had a serious breathing and lung condition, was also an advocate for clean air and worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the impact of residential wood smoke pollution on people living with a heart or lung condition in the Tuggeranong Valley and throughout Canberra.
Last year I was proud to honour Rusty for her community service by unveiling a plaque in her name on the wall of the Tuggeranong Town Park as part of the Footsteps to Follow Centenary Project—a lasting tribute to a valuable and much loved member of the Tuggeranong Valley's community. It is difficult to believe, but Rusty only lived in Canberra for seven years. In that short time, she had a greater impact on our city than I think most residents could hope to have over the course of a lifetime. She was a shining example of the fact that illness and disability need not be an impairment to community service. Farewell, Rusty Woodward. May you rest in peace.