Disability Volunteers

I gave half a dozen speeches yesterday, amounting to about an hour on my feet. Here's one recognising disability volunteers.
Disabilility Volunteers, 22 August 2011

Today I rise to pay tribute to community sector workers in my electorate who are working with individuals who have a disability. I attended two community events recently that brought home to me the valuable work that this sector is doing. On 2 August I attended a DisabiliTEA event in Holt, hosted by the Sharing Places organisation.

I acknowledge the participants in the program: Carl Blakers, Veronica Sadkowski, Mirella Sadkowski, Rebecca Johns, Stephen Perry, Sean Henderson, Tracey Green, Caroline Frey, Kerry Scott and Tiffany Stevenson. The Sharing Places staff: Susan Healy, Kylie Stokes, Kaz Kaczmarek, Alicia Gaudie, Spozmai Nozhat, Donggook Kang, Lynnette Thompson, Fiona Lukacs, Abbie Costa. And other attendees supporting the work of Sharing Places: Ken Baker, Emily Weeks, Justyn McDonald, Dee McGrath, Felicity Cotterill, Helen Walker and Julie Grehan. All of these attendees were there to support the proposal for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. They recognise the valuable contribution that a National Disability Insurance Scheme will do for people with disability in Australia.The next day, on 3 August—by coincidence my birthday—I attended the opening ceremony of Ross Walker Lodge in the St Margaret’s Church Hall. The Ross Walker Lodge will support six people in the ACT with intellectual disabilities, and I would like to pay tribute to Harvey Smith, John Goss, Gordon Ramsay, Audrey Walker, the widow of Ross Walker, and the many ACT MLAs who were in attendance, particularly Joy Burch, the Minister for Community Services.

Ross Walker, after whom the lodge is named, was born at about the same time as my paternal grandfather, Keith Leigh. They both entered the Methodist ministry in the post-war era and both were committed to a service in the community that involved focusing on the most disadvantaged, bringing the gospel but also bringing social change to the community. The Ross Walker Lodge fits proudly in that tradition, which is of great pride to many of us on this side of the House. The Ross Walker Lodge will be an important part of the work in the community that the Uniting Church does, and I am sure that many volunteers will continue to assist with that. I pay tribute to all of those involved in these two important disability events.

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