By Justin Flynn
Rosemary Nugent has lived in Geelong West for 35 years and says she enjoys its community atmosphere.
Ms Nugent was, on Monday, awarded an OAM for service to the communities of Geelong and East Timor.
“I have had a long involvement with our friends in the neighbouring nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor) as they suffered great hardship under the Indonesian occupation,” she says.
“Since the celebration of independence in 2002, the East Timorese have been reconstructing their country. Since 2001 the Geelong Friends of Viqueque and then the Geelong Friendship Schools have been instrumental in developing and maintaining friendships and assisting in a variety of ways, particularly in the areas of health and education.
“I visited Timor-Leste in 2011, and then in 2019 was lucky enough to be part of a study tour led by Kirsty Sword-Gusmão, the First Lady of Timor-Leste.”
Ms Nugent has also been a passionate advocate for refugees. She has been involved with advocacy groups GRAIN (Geelong Refugee Action and Information Network), RAR (Rural Australians for Refugees) and CRAG (Combined Refugee Action Group).
“For a long time I have been very concerned about the plight of people who have been persecuted and displaced, but have not been welcomed by our country,” she says.
Ms Nugent is also an advocate for the environment.
“People are belatedly taking measures to curb the climate emergency that is threatening our fragile planet,” she says.
“We must all do our bit to lead sustainable lives and embrace a circular economy, even if it is in small ways.
“I have learnt a lot by being involved with Geelong Organic Gardeners, Geelong Sustainability, Geelong West Community Garden, Ashby Community Garden and Transition Streets.”