Page 1676 - Week 05 - Thursday, 5 May 2016

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2 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre. It truly was a gala ball. It was a sensational event. The entertainment, the decorations and the food were all outstanding. More importantly, the event raised in excess of $400,000.

The work of Ronald McDonald House is nothing short of admirable. Research shows that families are stronger when they are together. At a time when families of a sick child are at their most vulnerable, it is great to know that they have the support of Ronald McDonald House Canberra. Ronald McDonald House Canberra has supported over 950 families since its opening in October 2012. It is uniquely situated inside the Canberra women and children’s hospital. Staying at Ronald McDonald House provides families with a place of comfort, hope and love.

I would like to congratulate and acknowledge the gala organising committee on their hard work. They included Hani Sidaros, the gala ball committee chair and Ronald McDonald House Canberra board treasurer; Michelle McCormack, the executive officer for Ronald McDonald House and ball committee treasurer; Ben Stockbridge, McDonald’s ACT licensee; Mirko Milic, dealer principal of Lexus of Canberra; Eoghan O’Byrne, general manager of Canberra FM; Troy Cassell, owner of Leader Security, and Karen Cassell of Leader Security; Ivan Slavich, CEO of Parasol EMT; and Nerissa Richardson, operations assistant at Ronald McDonald House Canberra. Thank you to those committee members and to the board members of Ronald McDonald House for their ongoing work in supporting vulnerable families when they really need it, with a sick child in hospital.

Canberra Community Law—socio-legal practice clinic

MR HINDER (Ginninderra) (6.28): It was with great pleasure that this week I attended the launch of Canberra Community Law’s socio-legal practice clinic. My colleague the Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, opened the clinic and rightly described it as an important step forward in improving access to justice in the ACT.

The clinic opened earlier this year and adds to the services already provided by Canberra Community Law to the ACT and its most vulnerable residents. The clinic uses a particularly effective form of model of practice. The approach combines both legal and social work advocacy, meaning that clients can access services beyond legal advice. This recognises that vulnerable people experience complex social issues which give rise to the need for legal assistance. This kind of service delivery model is particularly innovative and addresses socio-legal needs and accounts for urgency. These could include urgent access to legal services in order to prevent eviction from public housing.

The clinic is particularly focusing on preventing homelessness for women and children affected by domestic violence. A key goal of the clinic is to empower clients to overcome the difficulties they face on a daily basis and plan for a better future. All Canberrans should have supports in place to overcome hurdles. These supports are all too important for the most vulnerable in our community.

Given my legal background, I am particularly interested in ways to improve access to justice in the ACT. While this government applauds the work of NGOs in this area,

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