Page 4647 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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contribution to our front-line defences for the community’s sake as well as their own. They have responded to the volunteer call. They are being ignored by the Stanhope government. They are being ignored by the pathetic reflection of a minister over there.

The government ignores supporting our volunteer organisations at its own peril. Not only does the government need to attract volunteers for the dangerous jobs, but also it has to retain them, to give them confidence and to best demonstrate its belief in and respect for the volunteer ethic. This government does not show that. This is a sham of a motion. They stand up here on volunteers day and they pretend to show great concern for volunteers. They do not put their money where their mouth is. They do not put the money into our most essential volunteer force, a force which puts its life on the line, our volunteers who protect our suburbs. They cannot even find $500,000 to get that program regenerated and moving.

The Chief Minister talks about lazy work. This is a classic example of lazy behaviour. We have sitting over there as minister for emergency services the most pathetic, lazy representation of any minister or performance I have seen in this place in four years. While ever we have this minister for emergency services presiding over the management, the training, the welfare and the equipping of our volunteers, we will not retrain volunteers. Shame on you. What a sham of a motion.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.14): Ms Porter uses International Volunteer Day, 5 December, to bring forward this motion in her claim of support for volunteering.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Dunne! You have mentioned that this debate is about a motion. It is on a matter of public importance. I just wanted to bring your attention to that. Mr Pratt mentioned it earlier, too.

Mr Pratt: I apologise to the house, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I also apologise for that lapse, and well spotted. The importance of volunteering as raised in this matter of public importance cannot be denied. Mr Pratt has spoken eloquently and with passion about the importance of volunteering in the Rural Fire Service and in those other volunteer brigades designed to protect our suburbs. Mr Hargreaves touched on the importance of volunteering in a whole realm of different places. I am very conscious of, and highly support, the work done by environment volunteers in organisations such as landcare and parkcare. As Mr Pratt has said, all of these volunteers extend the work done by governments. It is almost a bit cliched now to say that governments could not perform their work without the voluntary contributions of countless people.

I have to say that I am always a little wary of the propensity in modern life to regulate and corporatise all of this activity. While it is important to have people and organisations to advocate on behalf of volunteers, I am not entirely convinced—Ms Porter is; perhaps I should bow to her superior knowledge on this matter—that the average person who goes out and chips weeds in a national park or a reserve somewhere is really there because of the burning satisfaction they get from the fact that the volunteers are professionally managed. I think most people would volunteer irrespective of the level of professional management. There is a tendency to want to professionalise everything,

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