Page 4634 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009
St Vincent de Paul does such a fantastic job in our community. Many of us in the community have had bits and pieces to do with them. We have always participated in things like the St Vincent de Paul doorknock, and I have had family members who have had a deeper association with the St Vincent de Paul Society. But the night patrol in particular provides just another one of those wonderful services that St Vincent de Paul provides for many people. It attracts a real cross-section of the community. It attracts, sometimes, rough sleepers who come and get a feed and some warm clothing. It attracts others who are not sleeping rough but might be in need for whatever reason. It sometimes just attracts kids who are running around Civic and who need a cool drink. But it also provides a place of social interaction for many. It actually connects them to someone. In the conversations I had there last night with some of the regulars, some of whom I remembered from a couple of years ago, I saw that the social interaction is critically important.
It was also brought to my attention that there is no ACT government funding for the night patrol. That was what was put to me last night; if that is incorrect I am happy for the minister or someone in the government to correct that. But it is something we need to put on the agenda. There are always calls from community organisations and from charities for funding, but there is no doubt that Vinnies do a sensational job in our communities. There is no doubt that the Vinnies night patrol is an important part of that and we would want to see it continue. I would want to see it continue. I know they receive sponsorship from time to time from groups such as the Southern Cross Club, and I pay tribute to them, but I understand it costs about $50,000 a year to run the Vinnies night patrol and I think we should put it on the agenda and have a discussion about that.
We see areas of government spending where there is waste; there is no doubt about it. And sometimes when we highlight areas of waste that are in that vicinity of $50,000 or $100,000, those on the other side scoff. But it does put it into stark context when you see the kind of work that can be done for $50,000 by a charitable organisation like St Vincent de Paul. Every dollar of taxpayers’ money should be used wisely so that we can divert our resources and put our resources where they are most needed.
I put it to the Assembly that the work of St Vincent de Paul and the work of the night patrol, is very worthy work, worthy of our support and something that we all need to consider going forward. To those whom I had cause to meet with last night, both those attending the night patrol and those volunteering, I put on record my thanks for the opportunity to meet with them and my admiration for the work that the volunteers do. Last night there were Max, Lesley, Maddie and Theo. I pay tribute to all of them and to all of the volunteers at St Vincent de Paul for the wonderful work that they do.
MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (5.58): Mr Speaker, I would like to address the Assembly on two subjects in the next five minutes. The first one, very quickly, is to place on the record my appreciation to all of the staff of the departments with which I have been connected over the last five years, particularly their chief executives but most