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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 8 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3564..


On Tuesday, 2 August I attended a DisabiliTea reception at Tandem house. I thank Cheryl Pollard and her staff for putting on a function and morning tea for people to come and visit Tandem house and to learn about some of the issues they are currently handling. It was also a great opportunity to meet the new staff at Tandem and pick up information about their perspective on the national disability insurance scheme, which we discussed at length.

On 3 August I had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremony for the Ross Walker Lodge, which took place at St Margaret's church. Ross Walker Lodge is an initiative by St Margaret's church in response to a federal government initiative to make funds available to meet social housing needs in our community. The federal government gave the grant for this project under the social housing economic stimulus package.

The lodge houses six people. It is particularly focused on meeting the accommodation needs of people with disabilities. A number of residents are leaving their family home for the first time to be part of a new family at Ross Walker Lodge. The management committee that manages the lodge on behalf of St Margaret's Uniting Church has done a tremendous job in getting things shipshape with the funding they have received.

The opening ceremony was at St Margaret's church hall before moving to the front of the lodge, and there was the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon. I applaud the work of Reverend Harvey Smith, the minister of St Margaret's congregation, Uniting Church in Australia, for what they are doing for the needy in our community.

On 4 August I had the pleasure of attending the 40th anniversary mass of St John Vianney primary school in Namatjira Drive, Waramanga. I thank the principal, Mrs Vicky van der Sanden, for her hospitality. It was a great opportunity to meet with the school community as I attended their 40th anniversary mass. It was a double celebration, in fact, because it was also the occasion of the 80th birthday of parish priest, Father Brannelly. Father Brannelly has been serving not just the parish of St John Vianney but also St Jude's. It was great to see the reception he got from the children at St John Vianney primary school, who had a poem and a picture album dedicated to him as a version of The Man from Snowy River. It was a very touching exercise conducted by the young students of St John Vianney primary school. So congratulations to Father Brannelly on his 80th birthday and also to St John Vianney's for celebrating their 40th anniversary.

On Saturday, 6 August I had the pleasure of attending the Autism Asperger gala dinner at the Hotel Realm. Autism Asperger is a not-for-profit charity that exists to increase our knowledge about autism spectrum disorders and to help the children, adolescents and adults affected by the disorder to lead happy and productive lives.

I congratulate the President of Autism Asperger ACT, Gay von Ess, for the tremendous work she carries out with her committee. In particular, I congratulate the work of Hilary Huggins and her committee for bringing this event together, which raised much-needed funds for a very worthy cause. I also thank the MCs, Tim Gable and Andrea Close. I know they do a lot of work for organisations similar to Autism Asperger ACT. Once again, they performed admirably and assisted in raising a great


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