Page 3699 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 23 August 2011

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Research has shown that a child’s learning ability significantly improves if the hearing impairment is identified before 12 months. If left until two years of age, it is apparently very difficult to reverse the damage that lack of stimulation to the aural nerve causes. However, in New South Wales and the ACT we still lag behind other states like Victoria and Queensland in early detection and implant. The Shepherd Centre works on evidence-based therapy. It advises that a normal hearing child will require repetition of up to 300 times to learn a sound. In a hearing-impaired child, it is 900 times. So the earlier a child can hear the faster and easier they can learn and develop language and speaking skills at a normal rate.

The First Voice report also brought to us a very important message: that for every dollar invested in hearing loss early intervention, there is an almost 200 per cent benefit in return.

I would like to commend the work being done by First Voice, the peak body for hearing loss centres in Australia, in commissioning research into hearing loss in Australia and to congratulate local centres, such as the Shepherd Centre, on the excellent work it does in assisting children and adults with a hearing impediment to lead better lives, particularly the centre’s early intervention program, which allows children to access a range of services, including language groups, music groups, play groups and parent information and education evenings.

Canberra Southern Cross Club

MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.16): I rise this evening to speak about the contribution that the Canberra Southern Cross Club makes to the ACT community. I note that my colleague Mr Smyth also passed on his thanks and congratulations for the work the Canberra Southern Cross Club do to make our place, our city, the place it is. The Canberra Southern Cross Club is well known to all people in this place and, indeed, well known to, I would say, the vast majority of Canberrans who do have some involvement with the club. In fact, 85,000 people in Canberra are members of the club, which is a testament to its success and also to the satisfaction that we in the community have with the place.

The club has been a fixture in Canberra since 1972 and, in saying that, I note that next year will be 40 years of the club being involved in the lives of Canberrans. The objectives of the club are to be the premier club in the Australian Capital Territory by developing and reviewing a strategy for quality investments, services and memberships; maintaining innovative, diverse, responsible cost-effective services to members; exploring and developing opportunities for diversifying investments; fostering family values and Christian standards; and being recognised for positive and constructive community support.

Of course, the clubs industry is not without its critics and is not without its issues. Poker machine issues, reforms with regard to smoking and regulations thereof, amongst other things, are all things that the club are contending with. However, I commend them for the constructive way in which they are approaching each of these issues and I urge the government and, indeed, all in this place to engage with the clubs

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