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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 2589..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

All in all, it was an excellent series of events which I know all the vets who came thoroughly enjoyed. The Vietnam veterans motorcycle group finished the parade by driving off on their Harleys and other powerful motorcycles after the Federation Guard, the three APCs and the Iroquois helicopters had done their bit. All in all, that culminated in an excellent finale to what was a great series of events. I commend the organisers, the local organisers especially, on the effort they put in.


Kama scout group

National day of honour

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.03): I rise to highlight three recent events that I was asked to officiate at recently. I do so because they are good examples of community building. The first was the official opening of the first Auswide project outlet in Belconnen where I spoke, along with Senator Humphries, in recognition of this important event. Auswide was established in 1987 as a skills-share in Merimbula on the South Coast. It now has staff of over 60 and offices in Merimbula, Bega Valley, Cooma and three outlets in Canberra. Auswide is a not-for-profit organisation which provides practical assistance and training to those who are wanting to return to the work force or are entering the work force for the first time.

We all know that the ACT has achieved a record low unemployment rate of 2.8 per cent, so one would think that returning to work or entering the work force was as simple as fronting up. However, in this fast-moving, changing world the workplace is changing too and re-skilling is often sought. We are aware that the ACT and the nation are suffering a skills shortage at the moment. The ACT government has again committed additional resources to this matter in the 2006-07 budget.

Projects such as Auswide are, therefore, important. I was pleased to see that Auswide has a relationship with Volunteering ACT and Volunteering Australia in referring some people to voluntary work to assist them in gaining valuable work experience and confidence in the workplace. Our confidence is often the first thing to be dented if we become unemployed or have difficulty finding a suitable position. This is also an important role for this project, helping people feel better about themselves and their prospects. So I was pleased to congratulate the staff, including the site manager, Paul Thompson, and the CEO of Auswide, Kevin Stevens, and celebrate with them.

The second event was the opening of the Kama scout group's newly refurbished kitchen. This recognised the behind-the-scenes, very important repair and maintenance work conducted at their hall through a $20,000 grant as part of the ACT government's renewed community facilities infrastructure program. I congratulate the Kama president, Bronwyn Parsons, and the group leader, Rob Bashfield.

As with many such programs, the funds that the ACT government provided made up only half of the equation. The other half, like much of the repair and maintenance, is hidden and goes on without much fanfare. This is the contribution of in-kind support and labour by the scout leaders, parents, volunteers and the local business community. It is because that contribution is often hidden that it needs to be recognised by this Assembly.

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