Page 5897 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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know from the RSL, is very active in a range of community activities. He is one of these Canberrans who spend much of his time volunteering and helping those who are less advantaged than he is. Also present was Maryanne. Maryanne is a member of the Palliative Care Society and I know she is also a volunteer at the Canberra Hospital emergency department, a program that she praised. Also I got to meet Nat and Crystal, two other great volunteers.

I will read from the web here:

The Night Patrol is a van that provides a mobile outreach service offering refreshments and friendly faces to people on the streets at various hours of the night. It is a service which engages with people by offering friendship, support, and compassion. Volunteers provide warm drinks, something to eat, warm clothing as required, and friendly conversation.

The Night Patrol has been operating in the Canberra region since August 2001, and is currently operated by 150 volunteers who visit various locations in a specially equipped van.

All are welcome when Night Patrol arrives. It is not only the homeless, or those isolated by health or circumstances that obtain great support from our volunteers. Both regulars and new acquaintances drop in for a chat and companionship

Referrals to other community services are available from the Night Patrol.

We visited a couple of locations. We started outside the Canberra Centre at 7 pm and ended up at Garema Place. In the course of the evening I had the opportunity to meet many Canberrans who are more disadvantaged than we are. Many were people coming out of public housing flats in the nearby area and all of them that I spoke to had the very highest regard for the service provided by Vinnie’s night patrol. Obviously it was something that they attended regularly. Indeed one lady I met came from Kambah to visit the night patrol. Obviously it is providing companionship as well as a coffee or a cup of tea for many hundreds of Canberrans.

The fact that there are 150 volunteers, I think, is remarkable and I would like to commend all of those people—not just Maryanne, Nat, Crystal and Peter but all of the 150 volunteers who give of their time and are out there every night. While we are in bed at home or enjoying a movie, they are out there helping the disadvantaged on the streets of Canberra in either the freezing cold or in the heat of summer.

Well done to the Vinnie’s night patrol. It is great work that you are doing and I would encourage those members who have not had the opportunity to go out with the night patrol to do so.

Carbon dioxide emissions

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (7.12): I rise tonight to briefly comment on some very disturbing news. Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production grew by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and unfortunately that means that, while there was a decrease of 1.4 per cent in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, it has been more than offset.

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