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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13735

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (12:49): The other night I had the pleasure of attending a combined Kiwanis Club dinner, and 2011 is a significant year for the three Kiwanis clubs in my electorate. The Darwin branch of Kiwanis celebrates the 40th anniversary of its existence in the Top End and the Casuarina Kiwanis club celebrates its 30th anniversary. The Casuarina Kiwanis club has special significance for me as I became a member of it many years ago. In fact, I was their first-ever female member. My membership was supported by a past district governor, Mr Frank Fotiades. Frank was recognised earlier this year for his significant contribution to the Darwin community through his work in Kiwanis. The third club is the Palmerston and Rural branch of Kiwanis, which celebrates its 26th anniversary. This club is very active around the city of Palmerston.

The work that these three clubs have provided to the Darwin and Palmerston communities over the last 40 years is extraordinary. They have provided hundreds and thousands of man-hours and tens of thousands of dollars to various community groups. Kiwanis clubs have supported various Red Cross doorknock appeals and many sausage sizzles and barbecues in my electorate. In the eighties and nineties they were involved in catering for concerts, which included the Eurogliders, Johnny Farnham, Jimmy Barnes, Tina Turner and Dire Straits. Each year they support the Darwin Christmas Association's Carols by Candlelight. They have provided TVs to the hospice at the Royal Darwin Hospital and each year you can count on Kiwanis clubs to run various Australia Day events.

Globally, Kiwanis clubs have launched the Eliminate Project, which plans to eradicate maternal and neonatal tetanus around the world by 2015—a very ambitious target indeed. I would like to acknowledge the following dedicated Kiwanis members who have undertaken hundreds and hundreds of hours of community service across my electorate. I would like to thank them on behalf of Darwin and Palmerston residents for their effort in making our community a better place. These fine members are Frank Fotiades, George Loch, Trevor Tschirpig, Maggie Schoenfisch, Phil and Anne Hedger, Noel Land, Jan Fliss, Robin Burnup, Leslie Allaway, Maurie and Bev Johnson, Tony Schelling, Tony Prentice, Ray Willoughby, Wolf Lake, Bob Kirby—the person who got me involved in Kiwanis—Ollie and Michelle Henderson and the late Chris Clayton.

Madam Deputy Speaker D'Ath, with what time I have left, I would like to make you aware that many of my constituents tell me that they are doing it tough. Regular families are really doing it tough. The household belts have yet again been tightened, and it is our small businesses and retail shops that are suffering. The small businesses are, as you know, the backbone of the Australian economy, and they are really hurting. This is largely as a result of Labor's mismanagement and their tax and spend mentality, implementing imposts like the carbon tax and the mining tax and their knee-jerk reaction to the ban on live exports. They have all contributed to people doing it tough in my electorate.

Families in my electorate are still suffering as a result of the housing crisis—something that this government could have done something about by simply making the 206 vacant RAAF Base Darwin houses available for use. Instead, it has chosen to defy the will of the parliament by ignoring my private member's motion which called on the government to make use of the RAAF base houses and not to let them rot away. Shame on this terrible Labor government for wasting such valuable taxpayer funded resources. I am really disappointed with Minister Snowdon, a fellow Territorian. He had the opportunity when he was the minister to do something about it, but he did not. He ignored Territorians. Shame also on the Territory Labor Henderson government for being complicit in such wasteful behaviour. They could be lobbying this government on behalf of Territorians, but what they are doing—as they always do—is what the Gillard government Labor government tells them to do. Shame on them.

Housing is not the only thing that this government has let Territorians down on. There has been inaction on the health system. I am still waiting for Minister Roxon to call me regarding the $5 million that was taken away from the Territory, only to be given to a GP superclinic in Redcliffe—something that you, Madam Deputy Speaker, might be familiar with. Interestingly, though, I met with a group of local doctors the other day—a dedicated group of doctors—who have almost finished building a bulk-billing private practice in the northern suburbs. We are not sure why the government needs to spend more money on building GP superclinics when we have the private sector doing it without any government funding at all. These guys advised me that they met with the Territory health minister earlier this year to let him know of their intention to build a bulk-billing GP practice in the suburbs, and they said the minister could not offer them any support at all. (Time expired)