Page 2914 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 24 June 2009

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has made as patron of the Spastic Centre to the organisation over 20 years. The organisation, in their journal, have printed quite a tribute to Ms Reid. They said they are privileged to have had the support and backing of such an esteemed identity who is well known to the Canberra community and throughout Australia. Obviously, Margaret is well known to our Assembly and to politics in Canberra and nationally overall.

Apart from her contribution over that extended period of time, after obtaining her Bachelor of Laws from Adelaide University Margaret worked as a barrister before entering federal parliament, and she is the first woman to have been elected President of the Senate, after serving in various positions in the federal parliament. Margaret was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977 and the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1987. She is married with two sons and two daughters. I also acknowledge her contribution to the Spastic Centre.

A few weeks ago, as part of my work within the portfolio of Sport and Recreation and also in my position as shadow minister for disability, I had the pleasure of meeting with Stephen Fagg and Robert Altamore OAM, members of the board of Vision Impaired Sport ACT, VISACT. Vision Impaired Sport ACT, VISACT, was formed in 2004 to meet a void in the sporting sector within the ACT and surrounding areas of southern New South Wales. Prior to this time, no single body existed to assist people who are blind or vision impaired with sport and recreation options in the ACT.

The patron of VISACT is a senator for the ACT, the Hon Gary Humphries, and the executive board of VISACT is Justin Simpson, Stephen Fagg and Robert Altamore OAM. There are 25 members of VISACT, playing in mainstream sports such as soccer, rugby union and martial arts, as well as modified sports for the blind and vision impaired.

As the ACT member of Blind Sports Australia, VISACT works closely with the Australian Sports Commission, Sport and Recreation Services ACT, ACT Health, Canberra Blind Society, Guide Dogs Association and Vision Australia to influence policy and the future promotion and development of blind sports in the ACT.

Blind sports provide an opportunity for people who are blind or vision impaired to develop not only in the sporting arena but also as a productive member of the local community. They offer essential social skills as well as important team-building skills and encourage participation by people of all ages.

VISACT has a strong emphasis on integration into the community and breaking down barriers and stereotypes about what being blind and vision impaired means. This is achieved through social matches in various blind sports against sighted teams who are blindfolded or wear goggles, replicating the various forms of vision loss. An example is blind cricket and blind baseball, beepball.

VISACT has as its primary focus encouraging the development of all aspects of sport and recreation for people who are blind or vision impaired in the ACT and to represent the interests of VISACT and its members to government and non-government bodies. VISACT recognises that it holds a unique position as being

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