Page 1472 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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Initiative unites comedians against family violence through charity comedy events. Its work has encouraged people to speak out about their own experiences of family violence and has united people to make a difference. On a day where we are remembering the life of Jayson Hinder, it is important to note that the Fearless Comedy Gala was something he helped to get off the ground.

Also last night, the volunteers in policing program won the Canberra’s choice award. This was an award voted for by the community. There are 49 police volunteers in Canberra and the program has contributed over 200,000 volunteer hours since the program first commenced in 2001. These volunteers provide front office assistance, fingerprinting and role playing, as well as catering for members who might be involved in a missing persons search, for example.

Volunteers come in many forms, and all deserve our recognition. Volunteers may doorknock to raise money, help out at a local school or a charity shop, work on the board of a local community group or provide professional skills on a pro bono basis, to name just a few examples.

In my electorate of Ginninderra the not-for-profit charitable organisation Pegasus relies on the efforts of volunteers to bring joy and excitement to the lives of young Canberrans with a disability. Rather than focusing on disability, Pegasus aims to extend participants’ abilities by creating a welcoming and accessible environment in which they can learn to interact with ponies and horses. Pegasus relies on volunteers and donations to keep putting huge smiles on kids’ faces as they build confidence and strength and improve mobility with their new equine friends. Their open day each year is a highlight on many people’s calendars. I was sorry to miss it this past weekend, but I understand that you, Madam Assistant Speaker, had a very good time there.

I would also like to take a moment to mention the hard work of the board members of the Belconnen Arts Centre and Belconnen Community Service and the committee of the Belconnen Community Council. I know each of these organisations very well. They support a huge range of community services in Belconnen and inject life into our local arts scene. The board and committee members offer their time and skills for free to ensure that these community organisations continue to meet the needs of Belconnen residents and enhance our broader community.

It is widely recognised that not only does volunteering deliver invaluable services to the community but volunteers can also benefit from their altruism. Volunteering provides opportunities to gain new skills and knowledge, connect to the community, build self-esteem and develop personal relationships with a wide range of people. Ninety-six per cent of people say that volunteering makes them happy, and I can testify to this, having experienced these benefits for myself. One example is that since early 2009 I have volunteered for Radio 1RPH, or radio for the print handicapped. I know other members too, like Mrs Dunne, have a very long association with the organisation.

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