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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 5082..


I would like to briefly outline the four programs that will be run out of the newly renovated space. The first is Charity Computers Australia, which is an organisation which has been operating at the site for nine years. They train and skill people in IT and provide low-cost, refurbished and fully supported computers to the community. They also recycle e-waste. There is the Re-Runs op shop, which is very popular in the provision of clothing and other household items for families. They, too, have been operating for nine years. There is HandUp food care services, which provides food to hundreds of families in the local community every week. And there is CAP, which is a budgeting, debt and financial counselling service that has been making a difference in the area for about a year or so. This is a very worthy service and one that is very much in demand.

As I said at the time of the opening last week, whilst there is much that can be done with money, with tax revenue, no amount of money can buy the values, motivation and commitment of the dozens of staff and volunteers that make these initiatives happen. It is the commitment and professionalism of the volunteers that mean that they are not simply undertaking transactions, but are genuinely engaging with all who come through the doors seeking support in one form or another.

Whilst Canberra as a whole is an affluent city, this generality means nothing to someone who is struggling to put food on the table, cannot operate a computer, cannot type up their CV for a job interview, is struggling to get out of credit card debt or needs clothes for themselves or their family. To offer such services with dignity and respect is a marvellous gift to our community that tax dollars cannot buy.

We must ensure that whatever government support or government facilitation is required, it is not so rigid that it stifles in any way the operations of the programs. We as a legislature, and the agencies and funding bodies as regulators, should acknowledge the good work of such groups and work with them to get the optimal outcome for the community and for our tax dollars.

I look forward to working with Ms Porter, who was at the launch, my Ginninderra colleague Mrs Vicki Dunne MLA, and others to ensure that Charity Computers Australia, Re-Runs op shop, HandUp food care services and CAP do not need to go through excessive red tape and are duly recognised for the services they provide.

In conclusion, I once again applaud all those involved with the ongoing delivery of these great services to residents of Belconnen and beyond.

Refugees—SIEV X

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (6.02): The 19th of October marked the ninth anniversary of the tragic sinking of the boat called SIEV X. The boat was only 19.5 metres long and it was destined for Australia. It held about 400 passengers, and the sinking resulted in the terrible loss of 353 lives. Only 45 people survived the sinking, clinging to the wreckage for over 20 hours before they were eventually rescued by Indonesian fishing boats. Only seven of those people eventually made it to Australian shores, where they could only receive temporary protection visas.


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