Page 1935 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 14 May 2013

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In Canberra there is no doubt that volunteers—and I meet them regularly as part of my work—develop social capital across the ACT by participating in society, through the networks and sense of belonging, through supporting economic growth and through shared values around social cohesion. It is what makes our city strong. It is great to see the ACT leading the way in relation to volunteers, and it is also really good to acknowledge the efforts of young volunteers. Young people are often probably not acknowledged for their volunteering work, but the fact is that large numbers of them, over a third of young people aged in the 18 to 24 year age group, are active volunteers across the ACT.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, can you outline for the Assembly what contributions volunteers have made over the past 40 years at the Canberra Hospital and how their achievements have been honoured this week?

MS GALLAGHER: ACT Health has over 450 volunteers that work across the portfolio, ranging in age from 18 to 85. They give their time to assist by working across 20 different programs within ACT Health, including running the shop, the Canberra Hospital auxiliary, the chaplaincy, hand and foot massage, volunteering in paediatrics and, of course, within the women’s and children’s hospital. Other not-for-profit organisations who provide volunteer services within the hospital include the Cancer Council wig service, Bosom Buddies and Miracle Babies.

On 1 May 1973, the Woden Valley Hospital opened with 36 beds. In the same year the hospital kiosk, under the auspices of the Woden Valley auxiliary, opened for business. Forty years on, ACT Health is celebrating a small group of volunteers who commenced in that year and who are still today providing volunteer support to the hospital auxiliary and pastoral care.

Volunteer pastoral carers from the Society of the Sacred Mission continue to assist with wheeling patients to church services held on Sundays within the hospital. These contributions are acknowledged every year, but they were acknowledged this year at a breakfast which was held on Monday. It particularly recognised three volunteers for their commitment to volunteering since 1973: Lesley Thompson at the auxiliary, Isobel Bain at the auxiliary and Maire Cook from the Canberra Hospital pastoral care services. They were particularly acknowledged.

I would also say that I have had the privilege of meeting a number of volunteers, being the Minister for Health. They turn up every week, rain, hail and shine, to add to the quality of care provided across the health system. Again, I think this week gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and thank them for their efforts.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, in what other important areas of our community activities are volunteers active?

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