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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (23 October) . .

Page.. 3601..

and pay TV, but we need to do more and do everything we can to be inclusive of this community. We still have a way to go to improve communication access in schools, in the legal system, in hospitals and in workplaces, to name just a few.

But just as importantly, we can recognise and promote awareness that there are a number of programs to assist communication access, such as the workplace modifications scheme, the Auslan for employment program, the national Auslan booking service, or NABS, for interpreters for medical appointments, the provision of captioning at many performances at the Canberra Theatre, the national relay service, and much more.

I recognise that many of these programs have come about due to the systemic advocacy and lobbying of organisations such as Deaf Australia, Deafness Forum of Australia, the ACT Deafness Resource Centre, Deaf Children Australia, Aussie Deaf Kids, and many more.

In addition, a number of outstanding individuals have contributed, and continue to contribute, to championing the rights of deaf people. There are also many organisations, such as deaf netball clubs, deaf touch footy, other sporting groups, parent support groups, teachers of the deaf, interpreters and those who teach Auslan, and many others to thank for their ongoing work.

One of my own teachers was interpreter Mandy, to whom I am very grateful, although she is probably a bit disappointed by how much I have forgotten and my lapses into bad habits over the years.

Thank you very much to the Auslan interpreters who assist with communication access for deaf people. Just the other night I was at an AFL football club presentation and met a group of deaf friends, one of whom had played football in a women's AFL team this past season, and interpreter Sarah was with them.

Thank you to all those whose job it is or who volunteer their time and effort to support and include others, including Pete Halsey and Mark Parkinson at the ACT Deafness Resource Centre. You can find out more about the ACT Deafness Resource Centre at I especially thank interpreter Mandy for being here today.

Diwali festival of lights

Volunteering ACT

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.31): I would like to talk about two recent events at which I was fortunate to represent ministers. The first was the MARSS celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, on Friday night, where I represented Minister Burch. It was organised by the hardworking staff under Dewani Bakkum and her board under Raewyn Bastion. Diwali celebrates the coming of light to drive away darkness. It brings together many faiths, including the Hindus, Sikhs and those of the Jain faith. As we talked about yesterday, we live in a very multicultural city, and people from the four corners of the earth celebrated together, sharing food, music and dance. This message of coming together to drive away darkness by the giving of light is so important, particularly right now.

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