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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . .

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Jude McKarem, Lynne Mulcahy. Support is provided by over 40 casual staff, who continually work to provide better lifestyles for the intellectually disabled. Additionally, the board consisting of Wilhelm Harnisch, Scott Harris, Damien Power, Dominic Staun, Margaret Verick and John Wilson also warrant acknowledgement for providing services and expertise to such a fantastic organisation.

I look forward to further engagement with Focus ACT, and I encourage members to learn more about this organisation and others within our community that go above and beyond to enrich the lives of people with a disability.

St John Ambulance

MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.28): I rise this afternoon to talk about the wonderful work that St John Ambulance does in the ACT. As many members would be aware, St John Ambulance provides emergency first aid and first-aid training through a group of dedicated volunteers. Starting in England in the 19th century, the organisation is modelled on the Knights of St John, who would offer healthcare and shelter to pilgrims and crusaders during medieval times. As with many things British, the organisation came to Australia, and in 1883 St John Ambulance Australia was born. The organisation has since spread around Australia, and we are lucky enough to have an office of St John Ambulance based here in Canberra.

Last year, volunteers from St John ACT attended over 300 events and, in doing so, donated over 1,400 hours of their time to providing emergency first-aid services right across the ACT. The majority of this time was donated at community and sporting events, with the National Folk Festival receiving the greatest donation, of 504 volunteer hours.

St John Ambulance also last year ran "project survival", an education and awareness program. This program allows volunteers to enter detox and refuge centres to teach Canberra's most vulnerable some lifesaving skills. This program is highly beneficial because not only will these people be likely to require first-aid skills, but they are less likely to have the opportunity to obtain them.

Crucially, St John Ambulance provides first-aid training to schoolchildren, equipping them with essential first-aid skills which might one day save a life. Last year was St John Ambulance's best year to date, with 5,781 schoolchildren taught first aid in ACT schools. This educational program is absolutely free to students and the school, and was last year recognised when it won the national resilient Australia award.

On top of all this, St John Ambulance runs first-aid training and refresher courses. This month alone, St John Ambulance will run 14 one-day first-aid training courses.

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate all those involved in St John Ambulance in the ACT, including the past chair, Colonel (Retd) John Quantrill; the current chair, Jane Brooks; and the CEO, Mr Chris Ward. Thank you also to all the volunteers who work tirelessly and efficiently for this cause. Whenever Canberrans celebrate by going to the footy, a community event, a concert or a school fundraiser, a St John Ambulance volunteer will probably be there to keep Canberrans safe.


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