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Moree’s Cathy Duncan added to the 2016 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll

CONGRATULATIONS continue to pour in for unsung Moree social worker Cathy Duncan, who was one of just 90 women from across NSW to be added to the 2016 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.

The decoration is due recognition of Ms Duncan’s tireless work as a volunteer within the Moree community.

The Hidden Treasures Honour Roll, inaugurated in 2010, is an annual initiative of the Department of Primary Industries’ Rural Women’s Network.

It recognises the outstanding efforts of women volunteers in NSW, and its aim is to promote the valuable role that volunteering plays in communities, both large and small.

“I was a bit shocked about the nomination and very surprised,” Ms Duncan said.

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Tireless Moree community volunteer Cathy Duncan has been added to the 2016 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.

“As a person from the country I am not really into accolades . . .  I am very humbled by it all, so thank -you to whoever nominated me,” she smiled.

Ms Duncan, the founding CEO of Moree’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES), is the current chair of Pius X Aboriginal Corporation, chair of the Beyond Empathy Local Reference Group and a Moree Reconciliation Action Plan Committee member.

She is also a Moree Reconciliation Group member and helps coordinate and facilitate the celebration of Reconciliation Week in Moree, which entails more than 100 hours of volunteer work.

“To be honest, I just do what I do as I love the bush – I love coming from the country,” Ms Duncan said.

“I have been offered many jobs to work in the city but I love calling Moree home.”

Ms Duncan takes a hands-on approach to everything she gets involved in and has been known to call a spade a shovel when the need arises.

She gets deeply involved at all levels, whether she is chairing meetings, lobbying State and federal ministers or mentoring and supporting staff.

She knows how to whip up a damn good barbecue at charity events as well, according to colleagues.

Being added to the 2016 Hidden Treasures List means that Ms Duncan was recognised as a true asset to the Moree and wider community – “a generous and selfless individual who continues to devote her time, expertise and kindness to the Moree community”.

“There are so many women who give up their time for the betterment of the community, it’s just not me,” Ms Duncan said.

“I especially love working with my community and helping with events and being on boards and committees that promote equality, opportunity, humanity, and promotes Moree as a positive place to live,” she said.

Beyond Empathy director Kim McConville acknowledged Ms Duncan’s huge contribution to the local community.

“We at Beyond Empathy are so grateful for all she does to enable us to do our work in Moree,” Ms McConville said.

“We would be so diminished without her invaluable support and efforts – and all the goddamn sausages she cooks,” she laughed.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said the Hidden Treasures List, now in its seventh year, has to date recognised more than 800 volunteers across NSW.

“It recognises the role volunteers play in our everyday lives,” Mr Blair said.

“The stories included in this year’s Hidden Treasures recognise and pay tribute to those women who give their time, expertise and energy to wide-ranging social and community organisations and initiatives,” he said.

Words and Photo: Bill Poulos