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MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.31pm): I rise this afternoon to speak about the ACT Chamber of Women in Business, a not-for-profit association which has been operating in the ACT since 1992. It was created by, and is run by, women to provide support and opportunities to professional women in and around the ACT. On 21 August the Chamber of Women in Business award winners were announced. Today I would like to congratulate these hardworking, motivated and talented women and tell you a little bit about them and their businesses.

The business woman of the year was awarded to Karen Groves, the principal of Successful Alliances. Her business helps small to medium sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations grow through high quality consulting and bookkeeping services. Having started as a one-woman operation, she has expanded to six staff and is operating from a commercial space with various national clients. Karen has built Successful Alliances in a manner that always ensures they are at the forefront of new technology.

The young business woman of the year was awarded toClaire Naidufrom Claire Naidu & Co Lawyers. Claire is an accredited family law specialist with a master of laws majoring in dispute resolution. She completed a bachelor of commerce and bachelor of laws at the Australian National University and has also received accreditation in mediation through Bond University.

The young business woman of the year highly commended was awarded to Stacy Cave who is the manager of the Griffin Legal's mortgage settlement practice.

The best new business award went to Karen Murphy for her local lending business, Resi Canberra Southern. Karen set up Resi Canberra Southern to ensure there was a lending service where you could receive good old-fashioned customer service.

The best new business highly commended was awarded to Samantha Gibbs of the Landlords Club, a business which is created for property investors and the management of their rental properties. Sam provides her clients with exceptional service and has been successful as a result of her thorough knowledge of tenancy legislation and always making sure she is looking out for her clients.

Karen Coe of Ray White Canberra was awarded the outstanding community spirit award. Karen is the manager of corporate services for the Ray White Canberra group. She has a diploma in interior design and is studying to complete her bachelor of business and professional communication.

Fiona Allardyce of Hamper Art was awarded the highly commended in the community spirit award. Fiona owns and runs Hamper Art in Canberra, a business that creates luxury hampers. They are designed with an artistic look with each hamper having a personal touch. Fiona is a working mother and enjoys being creative and experimenting with new ideas.

All of these women are very deserving of their awards. Running a business, especially in Canberra, is always a big task. These women are stars in their chosen field and deserve to be congratulated for their dedication and hard work to our private sector in the ACT. Congratulations to all the winners, as well as all nominees. They too must have been doing an exceptional job just to be nominated. Congratulations also to the ACT Chamber of Women in Business for organising these awards.

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