Page 4217 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 24 October 2018

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freshly cooked bacon and egg rolls, safety training and a brief orientation. We were then divided into 10 teams and sent out to 10 different homes in the community for a backyard blitz.

Belconnen residents who are struggling to stay on top of their gardens are invited to apply for this program, and priority is given to applications where the occupants are at risk of eviction or homelessness due to the current condition of the garden; an overgrown garden presents a high fire risk; physical limitations prevent the occupants from maintaining outdoor areas; or current conditions prevent the family from using the outside area.

Life has a way of getting on top of people sometimes and it can be extremely difficult to get back on top of tasks. The 10/10 program is a brilliant opportunity, not unlike a number of popular reality television shows, to help people who are overwhelmed for one reason or another get back into a position where they can cope. This is a great opportunity for people in our community who need a helping hand. It is also a great opportunity for all of the volunteers who pitch in and make a real difference in the lives of others.

Volunteers this past Friday included staff from Belconnen Community Service and Housing ACT. We were joined as well by a group of students from Kaleen high school and various volunteers from throughout the community. I was also grateful that two of my staff put their hands up to labour alongside us. The team I was assigned to was sent to a house with gardens that were tremendously overgrown. All of the volunteers cheerfully went to work and tackled the difficult task of pruning, cleaning and clearing. When we had finished, the joy on the owner’s face was wonderful. Her grandchildren were so happy to run around in the restored backyard.

I wish to publicly thank Mandy Green, the acting Chief Executive Officer of Belconnen Community Service, along with all her staff. A special thankyou goes to Graham McKerchar, BCS’s transport program manager, who coordinates the event each year. He made sure we were well equipped with mowers, whipper snippers, gloves, skips, water and snacks, with teams well matched to each home’s particular needs. I also want to thank the volunteers from ACT Housing who prepared not only the much-needed breakfast but also cooked a delicious lunch for all of us.

I believe strongly in the importance of community. This past Friday’s 10/10 program is a perfect example of what happens when people band together to help their neighbours. I think many of us want to do that, but it can certainly help when an organisation like BCS makes it so easy and enjoyable to get involved. I am already looking forward to next year’s project and wholeheartedly invite community-minded Belconnen residents to join us in this act of service.

White Ribbon—reproductive rights

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (5.16): Tonight I rise shocked. Recently White Ribbon, an organisation that many of us are aware of, decided to celebrate Queensland’s decriminalisation of abortion by withdrawing their support on reproductive rights and declaring themselves agnostic on safe, legal termination.

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