Page 1655 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017

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idea for building community connections for young people. Mr Ehsan is a reliable and passionate volunteer who continually promotes wellbeing and social connections for vulnerable young people in our community.

I would like to congratulate Ms Gupta and Mr Ehsan and acknowledge all the award winners from both Monday night’s awards and the young Canberra citizen of the year awards for their volunteering efforts and contribution to our community.

As I said earlier, we recognise that volunteering offers many benefits to volunteers themselves. Volunteers who give happy live happy. Benefits range from building relationships to connecting with the community and developing skills. Volunteering can also be a gateway to work readiness and employment. But more than that, people volunteer to have fun, to give back and to get things done that are important to them in their own community. I am sure most, if not all, of us at one time or another have volunteered at a school fete, coached a sports team, helped out at one of the national institutions here in Canberra or given time to support others in times of need or emergency.

As the peak body for volunteering in the ACT, Volunteering and Contact ACT links people, government and non-government organisations. It fosters community networks and undertakes research, advocacy and public education programs. I look forward to working with Volunteering and Contact ACT as well as with other community organisations and volunteers themselves as we develop the action plan for the 2017 volunteering statement.

Finally, Madam Speaker, on behalf of the ACT government, I wish to again express my appreciation, and that of the government, to all those who volunteer and use their skills to help others volunteer in a way that is meaningful and rewarding.

I present the following paper:

Volunteering—Importance in the ACT—Ministerial statement, 11 May 2017.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (10.47): Madam Speaker, I would like to speak for a moment on volunteers in my portfolios. I would like to speak in support of the statement from the Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion and acknowledge the enormous impact volunteers have on improving the health and wellbeing of communities, not just in the ACT and Australia but worldwide.

As Minister for Police and Emergency Services, I would like to recognise the almost 1,800 volunteers from the ACT ESA, the ACT State Emergency Service, the ACT Rural Fire Service, ACT community fire units, and Mapping and Planning Support as well as the AFP’s almost 50 volunteers in policing in the ACT. Each of

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