Page 5487 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

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Rose Rutherford, Bennett Schnieder, Sam Sharp, Michael Tran, Ben Walsh and Alex Wu. The lighting was provided by Kristy Truman and front of house by Minh Ngoc.

I had the pleasure of meeting many of the cast and the director, Nikki Dudgeon, after the production. As I said at the outset, it was a very intense play. It showed the talents of a very talented group of young students from Narrabundah college. Once again, my congratulations to Nikki Dudgeon, the director, on putting together the cast as well as the production that they all performed in.

On 2 November I had the pleasure of attending the YMCA of Canberra’s RAID basketball program. I would like to pay tribute to the YMCA of Canberra and also to the commitment of people like George Huitker, director of cocurricular at Radford college, and his many students who assist with the RAID basketball project each Wednesday night at Dickson college gymnasium.

The RAID basketball program has been operated continuously by the YMCA since 1984. The program provides an opportunity for around 40 male and female teams and adults with moderate to severe intellectual disability to participate in a weekly basketball competition to benefit from all aspects of team participation in a physically challenging sport. Teams are supported by two paid staff and up to 10 volunteers—young people from Radford college, as I mentioned, as well as some parents and carers.

The health benefits of the program include the development of a sense of belonging and camaraderie by all participants, increased self-esteem through a feeling of a sense of achievement and self-worth and, of course, regular physical activity to help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Once again, I thought it was a very inspirational evening from a number of points of view. One was to see the enthusiasm and the ability of these young people who are playing basketball to the best of their ability and also the enthusiasm and the assistance provided by the Radford college students. I also once again underline the fact that this work has been going on for a number of years, being carried out by George Huitker, who is well recognised within the education field and also in the disability arena for the contribution that he is making to the understanding of the issues that children with special needs experience.

He is also giving students an opportunity to interact with children with special needs and giving them better understanding of the issues that many in our community have to confront on a daily basis. Once again, it is a great program. It has been carried out for quite a number of years through the YMCA of Canberra. People like George Huitker, his fellow volunteers and the students of Radford college all deserve our plaudits.

Forgotten Australians

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (9.35): Tonight I would like to talk about a gathering that I went to this morning. It was a gathering that recognised the second anniversary of the apology to the forgotten Australians. And

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