Page 1169 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2012

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I would like to congratulate the Canberra Seniors Centre and the members on the great club that they run. I thank them, particularly the president, David, and all the members, for hosting me for what was a very enjoyable and entertaining lunch.

Mr Joel Lyneham

Mr Chris Steel

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (4.53): I want to rise very briefly and acknowledge that two of my longer serving staff will be leaving my office tomorrow. They are telling me that these are great opportunities for them. I do not think there is a greater opportunity than working in the office for Minister Burch, but these two young men, Chris Steel and Joel Lyneham, will be finishing up in my office tomorrow.

Joel Lyneham has been with me since I came to this place in 2008. We have both been part of the learning curve which many of us of the class of 2008 have gone through. Joel has been with me since the beginning of that. He has worked as my chief of staff when I was a backbencher and also when I was a minister, when I came to that role—in 2009, from memory; it seems so long ago. He has also worked with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He has had a strong interest in Indigenous affairs and arts and has been a stalwart—the backbone in working with our constituent inquiries.

Towards the latter part of last year Joel took a well-earned break. He came back and has made the bold decision to relocate to Adelaide. So South Australia will be the beneficiary of Joel Lyneham. I am sure he will settle into South Australia and find his feet and grow into his new job and his new life there. But I just wanted to thank Joel. He has been the source of support in the office and also, at some level, an ongoing source of entertainment for the office. Joel will be missed.

Chris Steel, who has been with me since I became minister, has been the adviser for the office for youth and family services. He is an incredibly bright young man. He is taking up an opportunity with a federal member in the Australian federal government, and I wish him well in those endeavours.

Chris has worked incredibly hard to make a difference for Canberra families, and I want to thank him for his work in the office. He has been there through a very tough year last year, through youth justice and care and protection issues, but he has held his own. He has a very clear policy head and has provided me with great support. Canberra families are a beneficiary of his policy acumen; scholarship programs, investment in children’s services and a whole range of policy areas will make our vulnerable young Canberrans and the families of Canberra value the work that a Labor government does when we collectively put our minds to it. Chris also will be missed.

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