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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3626..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

I have attached a brief, outlining our activities and requesting that you support our application in the Assembly.

Mr Wain writes to the government about an application to the Land Development Agency for the purchase of the former parks and gardens depot at 3 Burkitt Street in Page. I am sure most members have been to the facility. It is a facility that, over the years, the Vietnam Veterans Federation have poured tens of thousands of dollars into. According to the summary attached, something like 3,000 hours of effort have been put into improving the facility.

They are asking for support to purchase the property outright. That is what they are after. Being a volunteer group and being broke, they have offered the government the princely sum of $1 to purchase the property so they can get security of tenure. To quote:

The offer is ... intended to reflect the improvements made to the asset and in recognition of our contribution to the veterans' community.

They want to improve it some more. There are two applications that they are going to put in. The first is to the federal government in relation to water saving. It is for a water tank and rainwater recycling system. The second is for seed funding to support a scoping study into ACT veterans who are living in social isolation. That proposal has the support of ACTCOSS, the Red Cross and a local psychologist who is assisting them with the medical aspects of the support.

They have recently had a number of barbecues. One of their initiatives is to host a frail, aged veteran widower each Tuesday for a barbecue lunch. The Red Cross drops him off and then picks him up at about 2.30. The benefit for this guy is that he is not isolated; he is with former veterans; and he has the ability to get out into the community.

There are some things they have done to the current premises. They have rewired it and put in telephone and computer wiring. They have rebuilt the administration building. It has been refurbished throughout and now has a reception area, four offices and a filing room. There is a large shed on the block. It is an L-shaped building. It has been insulated, lined and partitioned, and a ceiling has been installed. It has a woodwork shop, a metalwork shop, a kitchen and a conference room.

The small shed was originally a large double garage. They have now put on a wooden door. It has been insulated; it has been lined; it has a ceiling; it has been carpeted and they have put lighting in. The original lighting has been replaced. They have built a number of structures including storage sheds. They have also erected a computer storage area and a workshop attached to the small shed.

The other thing they have done is landscape. The landscape gardeners association came to the assistance of the federation and put in labour and materials. They have called the whole area the garden of peace. It is at the rear of the premises, if people have not seen it. It is a nice, calm, soothing environment. It is a place for veterans to go and relax or have counselling. It is a nice place to go to sit and admire the weather.


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