Page 1677 - Week 05 - Thursday, 5 May 2016

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we as a government are also actively seeking to reduce court waiting times and improve the accessibility of justice services here in Canberra.

This month the sod was turned on the new courts precinct, which will mean that more courts can sit simultaneously, consequently reducing waiting periods for proceedings that must come before the courts. Minister Corbell also recently announced that the ACT government has selected a fifth justice for the Supreme Court, which will further reduce strain on the system and speed up legal hearings in the territory.

I have a strong commitment to legal equity in our community based on my decades of experience as a lawyer in the ACT. I volunteered on numerous occasions over the years for the ACT Law Society’s legal advice bureau, which provides initial advice to members of the public during lunchtimes.

I have been a part of other organisations which provide legal advice and representation to people from low socioeconomic backgrounds. As chairman of Bendigo community bank, I actively sought to sponsor the local women’s legal services as a means of making sure that women in difficult circumstances had access to legal services and advice that they needed.

It is because of this record that I understand how important it is that organisations like the new Canberra Community Law socio-legal practice clinic are successful. I commend Canberra Community Law on its vision to seek ways to better target the community and its needs. These actions represent an honest and determined effort to assist people in the community who need it most.

Royal Society for the Blind

Canberra Blind Society

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.32): I rise this evening to speak about the Royal Society for the Blind and the Canberra Blind Society. The Royal Society for the Blind was founded by Andrew Whyte Hendry, who was himself blinded from the age of six. Hendry established an industrial training school in North Adelaide, the Institution for the Blind, in 1884. The goal of the institution was to assist Australians who were blind or vision impaired to live independently and improve their quality of life.

The institute employed blind and vision impaired people and produced goods such as brooms and brushes that were in high demand. Over time the institute expanded its facilities to include a braille library and accommodation for elderly people who were blind or vision impaired. The institute was renamed the Royal Society for the Blind in 1972 and continued to expand its manufacturing activities as well as providing practical assistance for blind or vision impaired people across South Australia.

The Canberra Blind Society has been a major provider of services to blind or vision impaired people in the ACT for over 50 years. Together with the Royal Society for the Blind, the Canberra Blind Society works to provide a wide range of services for more than 550 blind or vision impaired people to help them live independently. These services include occupational therapy, independent living assessments, case management, support and counselling, adaptive technology, print alternatives, training and service providers, social support programs, and workplace assessments.

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