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Tuesday, 28 September 1999
Page: 10831

Ms GERICK (10:49 PM) —I hope that the member for Dawson informed the member for Dickson that she was about to make those comments. This Sunday, 3 October, marks the first anniversary of a number of members entering federal parliament for the first time. Tonight I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family, friends, volunteers and the many wonderful volunteer groups in Canning who have made my first year so pleasurable. It has been a year in which I have met many wonderful volunteers and seen how they have worked to overcome the lack of resources by the federal government, particularly in the rural segments of my electorate.

The first group that I would like to mention are the volunteers who work on the boards of senior age places in Canning. There are three main centres: Bedingfeld Park in Pinjarra, Amaroo in Gosnells and Dale Cottages in Armadale. Each of these boards works tirelessly to raise money to improve the conditions of their residents. But what we really need is more money for nursing home beds. It hurts every time I go to an aged care facility, particularly in Pinjarra, and hear of residents who are having to face the horrible decision to move away from the place where they have spent their entire lives. This needs addressing. It does not need listening; it just needs action.

In the city area, there are two groups who do superb work. The first is the Armadale home help group. They help senior citizens who want to spend longer in their own homes. They provide help in catering, gardening and taking people shopping if they need it. Again, they are volunteers and they are constantly under pressure for extra funding. Last week a number of us had the opportunity to see the older women's network perform at Parliament House. I was extremely proud of the performance put on by the Perth group and, in particular, the number of women from Gosnells in my electorate. These women sang wonderful songs that pointed out the failings of a GST, privatisation and lack of transport. Again, more action is needed. As I move around the electorate, I meet many councillors who work very hard and are dedicated to making our area a better place to live. They are to be commended for all the work they do.

Another area where we have a number of problems is with young people. There are two groups, Armadale Youth Resources and Emergency Accommodation in Armadale, whose staff work so hard and long to help young people get their lives back on track. This area is one where we need to be putting resources into helping young people find work. They need to be encouraged and they need to be provided with the training that is going to lead to employment.

Recently I attended the small business awards in Canning. This group encourages business people to further improve their efficiency. I was pleased to see a number of young people embarking on the adventure of business, something I did in my own youth. It is a wonderful way to learn. It is, of course, a difficult life and one that is not going to be made any easier with the burden of a GST and the proposed changes to the collection of taxation. This is going to put huge pressure on cash flow and demonstrates that the government does not really understand small business. We should be putting more work into this, because obviously small business is where employment is to be found.

One of the groups I have met is Kincare. They are families with children with disabilities. They provide support for each other. Again, they need additional funding. I am looking forward later in the year to being adopted by a family with three children, two of whom have disabilities, to help me better represent that group in my electorate.

Finally, I am sure it is a joy for all of us to visit schools in our electorate, to see young children growing up with wonderful standards, enthusiasm and skills. I am going to have fond memories of the Yale Primary School, where they did a rousing rendition of She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain, complete with actions, for a long time to come.

I thank each one in my electorate for making my first year so good. I note with sorrow that two volunteers, Mr John Wright and Mr Dick Keegan, will not be available for future work. Sadly, they passed away recently. I extend my sympathies to their families. I look forward to working in Canning for a long time to come.