Page 2167 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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Lifeline Book Fair

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.45): I rise today to talk about the southside Lifeline Book Fair that I recently had the pleasure of opening. It took place at the Erindale Vikings Club. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Vikings Club in providing a venue for the book fair this year. Lifeline run these book fairs a couple of times a year. There is the big one of the year that is held at EPIC later in the year and a southside one, which was held recently.

Late last year they also held one, a mini book fair, at Calwell shopping centre, which was also a great success. The southside Lifeline Book Fair that took place between Friday, 24 June and Sunday, 26 June helps to support the great work of Lifeline Canberra. They hold a number of fundraisers throughout the year, but the book fairs are, I guess, the most popular and raise a lot of money to support their important work.

The southside Lifeline Book Fair in June saw over 4,000 people go through the doors over three days. It raised more than $10,000 more than last year. They sold 90 per cent of the books that they had there on site, and they also collected 250 items for the Communities@Work community pantry. What they did was encourage people either to make a gold coin donation or bring some long-life food or pantry item and donate it to Communities@Work. So it was a win-win in a number of aspects for our community.

The fundraising that took place through the gold coin donation at the door plus the sale of the books helps to keep their suicide prevention telephone crisis support service available to our community. The work that Lifeline does goes well and truly beyond politics. It is so important when someone is struggling and they are going through a difficult time in their life that there is someone there to listen to them.

Often Lifeline volunteers struggle through the critical hours between midnight and 6 am. While many of us are home asleep in our beds, especially on these cold winter nights, many people are reaching out looking for help and Lifeline volunteers are there. They are not in their beds in those dark hours; they are there helping other people in our community.

Of course, this is often a time when people feel the loneliest and most detached from their community. Having a friendly ear at the other end of the telephone is something that is so valuable and has helped many people in Canberra. Our colleagues here, I am sure, are all very much aware of the wonderful work that Lifeline is doing in their own electorates.

I would like to commend and acknowledge the hundreds of people involved in the Lifeline book fairs throughout Canberra but also those volunteers who staff the telephones and dedicate their time, day in and day out, to those who are going through a really difficult time in their lives.

Regardless of how big or small the problem might seem to someone else, it is so important to that individual. I hope we can continue to unite in supporting Lifeline, including through their fantastic book fairs, to help them to do good work to assist, care for and protect the people in the ACT.

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