Page 5383 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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I have no doubt that West Belconnen Health Cooperative Ltd will become an outstanding example of how a committed group of people are able to identify a need in their community and then work together to establish an organisation to fill that need.

I particularly wish to recognise those who were on the original steering committee and those who are now serving on the board. The board now is: chairperson, Michael Pilbrow; deputy chair, Roger Nicoll; secretary, Peter White; and board member, Brian Frith, who is also the local pharmacist. They are all originals, and they have been joined by Dr Jenny Porteus, Jo Courtney, Ross Maxwell and Paul Flint, who is the current treasurer. I just would like to make sure that those people are recognised for their tremendous effort over the last five years to bring to fruition this tremendous service. As I said, it will be opening its doors in the near future. I am very pleased to say that they have been able to attract doctors from outside of this place, so they actually are adding to the sum total of doctors that will be in the ACT.

In closing, I would also like to thank the Stanhope and Rudd governments for their financial support. I would particularly like to thank Bob McMullan and Jon Stanhope for their continuing support throughout the process.

ACT Muscular Dystrophy Association

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (6.12): Last night after the adjournment of our Assembly sitting, I was pleased to attend in my capacity as shadow disability and education minister the inaugural fundraising dinner for the ACT Muscular Dystrophy Association held at the Canberra Deakin Football Club. The invitation was sent by Miss Ella Oakley, a year 10 student at Canberra Girls Grammar School. Ella, who assisted with the organisation of this fundraiser for the ACT Muscular Dystrophy Association to help a very worthwhile cause and also as part of her studies, was inspired by her father, Rob Oakley, who has a form of muscular dystrophy and who has overcome many hurdles and challenges to become an internationally successful equestrian. He is currently competing for a place at the World Equestrian Games.

I commend Ella for her contribution to such a successful evening and also her school, Canberra Girls Grammar, for their encouragement of student involvement in such useful contributions to the community.

I met the President of ACT Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mr Tony Millar, and Mr Rob Oakley, Ella’s father, who is also heavily involved in the association and the organising of the evening. I also met Mrs Terry Millar, who has been the executive director of the association in a voluntary capacity for the past 10 years.

The ACT Muscular Dystrophy Association is a small, voluntary, self-funded, not-for-profit organisation formed to assist people in the ACT and surrounding regions affected by muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases. The majority of those affected are children, and the association plays an important role in assisting these children and their families overcome the many obstacles and difficulties, both physical and financial, they endure as a result of these diseases. I was informed that the association and the disease struggle to get recognition in the ACT, despite the fact that muscular dystrophy is very prevalent in our territory.

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