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Media Releases | St John Ambulance
MEDIA RELEASE: Volunteering: Benefit or Burden?
  02 Aug 2022

2022 National Senior Australian of the Year Valmai Dempsey and 2022 NT Senior Australian of the Year Robyne Burridge OAM will explore the topic of Volunteering: Benefit of Burden at OZ Forum at the NT Library, Parliament House this Wednesday, 3 August.

They will be joined by community volunteer and mental health advocate Malia Ford and St John NT volunteer Yvette Amos.

Australia Day Council Northern Territory Chair Dr Richard Fejo said “This is a great opportunity to hear from those who selflessly give their time to the community. We hope that this forum will also encourage others to give back to the community by volunteering”.

The free public Q&A style event, is presented by the Australia Day Council Northern Territory during Seniors Month will be facilitated by Jeannette Button, Marketing and Communications Manager of St John NT and former Chair of the Australia Day Council Northern Territory.

Tickets to the event are available at

Speakers Bios

Valmai Dempsey

Val received the Senior Australian of the Year Awards for dedicating over 50 years of her life to St John Ambulance. She’s one of the Australian Capital Territory’s longest-serving volunteers and, year after year, she still dedicates more hours than any other volunteer.

In 2020, Val faced her biggest challenge yet as a St John Ambulance volunteer – first with the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, she led 40 fellow volunteers as they supported fire-affected communities during the emergency that stretched over many weeks.

Then when the pandemic hit, Val displayed unwavering commitment to the St John team, despite heavy impacts on team morale. Without hesitation, she personally contacted every volunteer to check they were ‘doing OK’ in terms of welfare, mental health and morale.

Robyne Burridge OAM

Robyne is a founding member of Integrated DisAbility Action, and a member of the governance committee on the Northern Territory Primary Health Network. She served 20 years as an Alderman with the Darwin City Council, including one year as Deputy Lord Mayor.

In 1997, Robyne established Focus-A-Bility to provide advocacy, case management and information to individuals with disability.

Robyne is highly regarded as a leader, advocate and activist in the disability sector. Her lived experience of cerebral palsy and expertise in disability advocacy has seen her mentor many executives in the sector

The recipient of many awards, in 2020, Robyne received an Order of Australia Medal for service to people with a disability.

Malia Ford

Malia was born and bred in the Territory and strives towards empowering the Territories Youth. Set to complete her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at the end of 2022, she hopes to improve the lives of many Territorians through empowerment and inclusive practice and uses her own experiences of disadvantage to reduce stigma around homelessness and childhood abuse.

She is an alumnus of the Youth Round Table 2016, has previous experience as an executive member of the Young Professionals Network Committee, founding Vice Chair of Two Two One Mental Health Charity and founding President of CDU student club Allied Health Collective.

She can often be found around the community volunteering at various events and is a current Nightcliff Lions Club member as well as a current member of the Volunteering NT committee.

Yvette Amos

Yvette was born in the snowy Mountains of NSW and started volunteering with SES at 16. In 2018 Yvette joined the army and in 2019 was posted to Darwin where she then joined up to volunteer with St. John NT. Over the years Yvette has completed the training and certificates needed to become an Advanced responder with Palmerston Division.

Yvette has helped out at a number of local events including the V8 Supercars, Obstacle Hell and various motor sports events managing all kinds of injuries and illness.

Yvette is also a current serving member of the Australian Defence Force.

OZ Forum is a free event proudly brought to the community by the Australian Day Council Northern Territory and supported by NT Library, Northern Territory Government and St John NT.

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