Page 571 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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I am also pleased to see the rising numbers in local youth and mature age people being employed in areas where there are shortages of qualified tradespersons. I am pleased to see the support and encouragement that NECA is providing through their other initiatives to those looking at future trade careers. NECA’s national awards of excellence, national apprenticeship awards and secondary schools awards are a testament to their commitment to the cause.

I would like to thank the New South Wales and ACT chief executive, Lindsay Le Compte, the New South Wales president, Steve Griffiths, and the ACT president, Greg Kempton, for the invitation to the launch. I look forward, as I am sure all members here today do as well, to seeing the positive results of such an important organisation.

St Vincent de Paul


MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.14): Mr Speaker, I want to talk about two matters: firstly, St Vincent de Paul and their community assistance. I want to particularly talk about Vinnie’s road patrol. I joined them last night for their Tuesday night patrol which they conduct in the city. I joined with Peter Sutton, who is the coordinator of the Tuesday night patrol, and his four volunteers. They volunteer on the basis of one night a month, so they have a pretty good array of volunteers. The Vinnie’s patrol on Tuesdays sets up at the back of the Canberra Centre and they sit there from about 7.20 until about 8.20 for an hour or so and give sustenance and assistance and a meal to people who are down and out. They come from around the city and meet with the patrol at that particular place. That patrol then moves on and sets up again around in Garema Place at the junction with the bus interchange and stays there for about another hour or so. It is a very, very good service and I was very impressed with what I saw last night.

The patrol has a new vehicle; it is a four-seater cab utility with a little mobile kitchen established on the back. It is very efficient, and they just lay things out. That particular vehicle was recently purchased through funds from the Paul Newman Foundation, which provides funding to St Vincent de Paul. Other groups that contribute to the running of that patrol include Canberra Milk, ActewAGL, the Southern Cross Club and there are a number of others as well. It was a pretty impressive patrol. I saw eight customers at the back of the Canberra Centre. These people were in dire straits, and I was certainly very pleased to see that patrol.

The second matter I wish to raise runs on the back of that. One of the customers of the patrol was a tenant from the housing commission complex located adjacent to the Canberra Centre. He told me quite a horrific story, and this chap was in quite a bad way. I have passed on the details of his story to Mrs Burke and Mr Stefaniak to take up with the government to confirm or deny what this particular fellow has said. The facts as he told me are that there is allegedly a serial offender tenant in the complex who has been making life in that complex hell for everybody. He has been a problem over many, many, many months, including, allegedly, in recent times throwing a Molotov cocktail at a single mother’s flat and damaging her two-year-old daughter’s bedroom. If the facts are as he has told me, then that is a pretty serious matter.

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