Tuesday, 26 January 2021


NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today congratulated Kelly’s Plains education and digital technology leader Chris Hancock, Uralla rugby league stalwart Noel O’Halloran, former Inverell Shire Councillor Les Parsons and Glen Innes Severn Council Local Emergency Management Officer Charles (Mac) MacLachlan, who were today named in the Australia Day Honours list as recipients of the Member of the Order of Australia (AM), the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and the Public Service Medal (PSM).


Mr Marshall said the awards were official recognition of the outstanding contributions all four recipients had made in their respective communities and fields.


“Through his work developing educational links between nations and advancing online research Chris Hancock AM is a leading voice in Australia’s digital communications sector,” Mr Marshall said.


“Having spent time as a director and board member of a variety of prominent organisations including Optus, Vodaphone, Seven Network and the Internet Industry Association, Chris has been at the leading edge of digital and educational development since 1988.


“Locally, Chris is a former board director of the New England Girls School, while internationally, his involvement with the Australian American Leadership Dialogue has been important in fostering Australia-USA relations.”


Mr Marshall said since the 1970s Uralla’s Noel O’Halloran OAM had been a prominent rugby league trainer, administrator and teacher of sports medicine.


“There would be very few people who have been so heavily involved with the game of rugby league, at all its levels, than Noel,” he said.


“With a career as a teacher and sports master spanning four decades, Noel’s knowledge of exercise and the human body has seen him perform the role of trainer for multiple representative rugby league teams.


“Noel’s involvement as President and trainer in Group 19 Junior Rugby League has also seen him recognised with a life membership.”


Former Inverell Shire Councillor Les Parsons OAM has worked tirelessly to develop tourism opportunities in the Inverell Shire and wider region.


“First elected to Inverell Shire Council in 1980, Les served two terms as an elected representative while at the same time continuing his involvement with Inverell Bushfire Brigade and Inverell Macintyre Lions Club.


“Throughout his career Les has been involved in a number of influential tourism and regional development bodies including NSW Council of Tourist Associations, Tourism New England and New England North West Tourism Marketing Committee, of which he is still Chair.”


Glen Innes Severn Council Local Emergency Management Officer (LEMO) Charles (Mac) MacLachlan PSM had an instrumental role supporting emergency services during the 2019 Section 44 bushfire emergency.


“As LEMO, Mac developed and implemented effective systems within the Emergency Operations Centre to integrate communication between multiple agencies operating on different communication platforms,” Mr Marshall said.


“He was also instrumental in establishing the 200-person Rural Fire Services basecamp in Glen Innes and, despite level five water restrictions, he developed an alternate water supply (effluent reuse) and coordinated its transport for firefighting activities.


“I personally cannot thank Mac enough for the hours he spent during that disastrous time supporting his colleagues, emergency service personnel and community.”


Mr Marshall said to be acknowledged on Australia Day in the Honours List was one of the highest individual acknowledgements of service to the community.


“Chris, Noel, Les and Mac are such positive influences in our community and I’m delighted they have been honoured in this way,” he said.


“I extend my hearty congratulations all four recipients and on behalf of the community, my most sincere gratitude for their service.”




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