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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13429


Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (18:11): I am very pleased this evening to have the opportunity to draw to the attention of the House the important work of a number of organisations in my local electorate of Banks. Yesterday, I was very pleased to attend the first game of the new cricket season for the Georges River District Cricket Club.

The Georges River District Cricket Club draws on a wide range of areas in southern Sydney and particularly within my electorate of Banks. The under-24s were looking forward to this season, because they are the defending premiers, having won the championship last year. It was nice to be there yesterday to congratulate them on their success and to wish them success for this year as well.

I also want to congratulate the ground staff at Bexley Oval and its groundsman Trent Malley, who has again won the best ground in the Sydney cricket area for curation at Bexley Oval. Congratulations to Trent. I was very pleased to present the Frank Gray Shield and the premiership cap to the captain Daniel Yates. I very much enjoyed the visit. I had a good discussion with the president Kevin Croom who was there and I also want to thank Matt Ellis from the club for all the work he does in making Georges River such a strong and successful club in our area. It was a very good visit, and I thank the club for it.

Last week, I was also able to visit Kogarah Community Services and to visit the new community services hub. This is a magnificent space next to Kogarah's Jubilee Oval, which would be well-known to fans of rugby league as one of the home grounds of St George. Next to Kogarah's Jubilee Oval, Kogarah Community Services has a great new home from which to run its many community services. The opening of that community hub coincided with the 40th anniversary of the organisation. It is a very wide-ranging organisation that services seniors' activities, has various activities for people of non-English-speaking backgrounds and activities for families with children. It takes a very active role in leading our community in fighting against the scourge of domestic violence. Indeed for a number of years now, it has run the One Billion Rising event at Kogarah which encourages local people to take action against domestic violence.

There are about 50 people who work at Kogarah Community Services and they serve many hundreds of members of the local community. I would particularly like to thank the CEO, Shelley Ross, who is very ably assisted by the other senior managers, Cathy Nisbet and Oonagh McCallan, both of whom do a great job. I said in my speech the other day that one of the things I really like about Kogarah Community Services is the very optimistic and positive environment the organisation has. That stands it in great stead and has been a great part of its success, I think, in dealing with so many different issues and challenges in our community.

There is another organisation which I was also able to visit on Friday—and indeed I helped launch its brand-new name. That organisation, formerly known as the St George Migrant Resource Centre, is now known as Advance Diversity Services. Advance Diversity Services is one of the largest community organisations anywhere in the St George region, but interestingly its services are now extending not just through the St George region but further afield as well. Initially the Migrant Resource Centre was set up in the early 1980s to service the needs of recent immigrants to Australia from all parts of the world. Over time its activities have expanded to include disability services, aged-care services and various other activities.

Earlier in the year I worked very closely with Advance Diversity Services on a fundraising activity I held after the Nepalese earthquake. In conjunction with Advance Diversity Services and with the support of many other great organisations—Penshurst RSL, for example, and various others—we were able to raise well over $17,000 for the Red Cross Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal. I want to thank Chura Belbase and Rishi Acharya for their work, particularly in the Nepalese community, as well as the chief executive, Antoinette Chow, who provides very strong leadership to Advance Diversity Services. It was terrific to help them launch their new name last Friday.

In recent weeks, I was also able to visit the Salvation Army corps at Panania. This is a very important and central organisation in the Picnic Point and Panania region of southern Sydney. It is run by corps officers Nathan and Kylie Hodges and undertakes church services and various other community activities for seniors, young people and so on. For some years the Salvation Army has run a really important retail outlet, the Panania Family Store. It is a thriving retail store that services people in our community, providing goods at a very low price thanks to the generosity of our local community in donating clothing and various other items.

Each year the Panania Salvation Army runs a Christmas appeal. Last year, through their efforts, food and toy hampers were provided to over 500 local families. That is something that is enormously appreciated in our community. The money raised from the store goes directly to fund the work of the Salvation Army in the Panania area. There are a range of activities and one of the most interesting is Mini Muzos, which is a kids playgroup run at the Salvation Army each week. The kids have fun, meet new friends and learn about music too. To Nathan and everyone at the Salvation Army at Panania: thank you so much for what you do.

Also earlier in the month I attended a Deepavali function at St George Girls High School. It was a particularly timely function, celebrating as Deepavali does, the triumph of light over darkness. As we have seen through the horrific events in Paris and elsewhere there is, as there always has been, darkness in the world. But for literally thousands of years Deepavali has celebrated the enduring triumph of good over evil. Whilst horrendous things do happen in our world, in the long run our world gets better and improves. I think Deepavali encapsulates that sentiment.

It was a terrific night at St George Girls High School. There was dancing, with lots of presentations by local kids and some very talented musicians and others who performed on the night. Two really important local organisations organised this event: the South Asian Hindi School, which is led by its very charismatic principal, Madhulika Roy, who is a very strong advocate for the Hindu and Hindi-speaking community in the St George area, and my good friend Sudha Natarajan at the Resourceful Australian Indian Network, who is also a wonderful leader who provides a great deal of support to the Indian community in my electorate.

The RAIN community is so strong that when they decided that they wanted to get a community centre for the Indian community, the community came together and bought a house. I think that demonstrates the depth of their commitment to community activities.

So thank you to the organisers for that Deepavali function. It was a tremendous event.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Claydon ): An unusual situation: the member for Fairfax is presenting himself to the chamber. I understand that you have already participated in this debate?

Mr Palmer: I seek leave to speak again.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: For yourself or on behalf of someone?

Mr Palmer: I have Cathy McGowan's spot. She asked me to come down.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can I just seek some clarification? Is the speech your speech, or are you speaking on behalf of the member for Indi?

Mr Palmer: I cannot speak on behalf of the member for Indi. She has asked me to come to deliver a speech—to take her place. I am quite happy not to deliver the speech.

Leave not granted.