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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1397 ..

unit rather than remain in her large house with its large garden. She agreed to do this and after some time she moved into this unit.

Her daughter was also concerned that she may need some extra assistance. So she suggested to her mother one day, who was in her late 90s, “Mum, what about meals on wheels?” And her mother said, “Oh, no, dear, I think I am a little bit past volunteering now.” I think there are a lot of volunteers out there in their 90s. I congratulate all of them and I thank them for the work they do and the contribution they make to the economy of the ACT.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.22): I rise to support Ms Porter’s motion and to recognise the importance of older Canberrans’ contribution to the community through volunteerism. The importance of the work done by volunteers of all ages in the community should be recognised and applauded. The work of our senior Canberrans brings a level of care and expertise that deserves particular recognition and acknowledgement.

Many sectors in our local community are reliant on a network of volunteers in a wide range of areas. In fact, many areas of our community would not be operable at all were it not for the selfless input from volunteers. What would Saturdays be like for our kids who like to play sport if it were not for the contribution of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, officials and officers who help to manage and run the many soccer, football, cricket or netball games that kids participate in? What would it be like for those kids who perhaps enjoy music, dancing, acting or other artistic pursuits? How well would our community-based childcare centres operate if it were not for the weekend contribution of volunteers to running the centres, maintaining the grounds or assisting the staff with excursions?

There are the contributions to the community organisations that employ volunteers, such as Lifeline or Meals on Wheels, that have provided a great deal of support to our more vulnerable Canberrans. Many of these organisations rely on volunteers and many of those volunteers are older members of our community. It is our older volunteers who often have the time and inclination to become involved and the experience and expertise to make that involvement not just valuable but vital. Without these volunteers, and many of them are older Canberrans, providing this support, Canberra would be a much poorer place.

As I mentioned, a large number of the volunteers that keep our community sector ticking over are older Canberrans. According to Communities@Work, tasks can be as varied and diverse as providing parent support and being a friendship visitor. This includes visiting a parent in their own home for a relaxed chat and a cuppa; nursing, playing with or reading to children while the parent feeds or attends to other children; and providing another pair of hands.

It can include being a transport driver. This might entail picking up a client from their home, driving them to their medical or social appointment and returning them home; assisting the client into and out of your car if required; assisting with mobility aids; assisting the client into or out of the venue of their appointment, if required; and supporting the client in a friendly and caring manner.

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