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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (12 August) . .

Page.. 2405..


Megan was a key architect of the government's tax reform agenda as a panel member for the ACT Taxation Review and she also co-chaired the ACT government's Expenditure Review and Evaluation Committee. During her time as the Director-General of the former Commerce and Works Directorate, Megan was instrumental in overseeing the sale of ACTTAB, a process which has resulted in a sale price of over $100 million, which was announced a couple of weeks ago. Megan was also responsible for the implementation of Shared Services across the ACT government and more recently championed the development of the new iConnect initiative.

I would like to put on the record on behalf of the Deputy Chief Minister, myself and my colleagues on the government benches the ACT government's thanks and my personal thanks to Megan Smithies for her hard work, her high-quality advice and her many achievements serving the community of the ACT. I wish her all the best for her next career.

Birthing Kit Foundation

MR COE (Ginninderra) (9.49): I rise this evening to talk about the Birthing Kit Foundation, commonly known as the Zonta birthing kit project. The Birthing Kit Foundation provides birthing kits to women in remote and rural areas of the world who, for whatever reason, cannot access a medical facility to give birth. These kits include essential hygiene items such as soap and gloves, and they are designed to prevent women dying during childbirth. Each year it is estimated that 385,000 women die during childbirth, many from preventable infections.

The idea for the project in Australia began in 1995 with Dr Joy O'Hazy, a member of the Adelaide Hills Zonta Club. In that year Dr O'Hazy attended the world health conference where she heard a speech from actor Sally Field about how a birthing kit, costing less than $1, can save a life. Four years later in 1999 the first 100 birthing kits were sent to Papua New Guinea, receiving very positive feedback. In 2000 the birthing kits officially became known as the Zonta birthing kits.

Since then the project has gone from strength to strength in Australia, so much so that the decision to incorporate the Birthing Kit Foundation (Australia) was made in September 2006. Some of the great work done by the Birthing Kit Foundation to date has included: delivering over 1 million birthing kits to over 30 countries; training over 7,800 birthing attendants in Vietnam, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and India; and currently providing about 140,000 birthing kits annually, a number which will surely only grow.

I speak of the Birthing Kit Foundation today because I recently had the opportunity to help in the preparation of these kits. I would like to thank the Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast for hosting the assembly day, where 3,000 birthing kits were assembled, a truly great effort. Despite the corporatisation of the foundation, the Zonta clubs have remained the greatest supporter of the project in Australia. I encourage all members to contact the Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast at canberrabreakfast@zontadistrict24.org if they would like to get involved with the organisation. The club, in conjunction with members from the Zonta Club of Canberra, hosted a wonderful and well-organised packing day at the Lyneham chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


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