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Thursday, 13 October 2011
Page: 11888

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (Werriwa) (16:46): It was interesting to hear the member for Cook, who spoke earlier, trying with the most distorted logic possible to justify the coalition's adherence to Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Brown with regard to the immigration policy. We have seen in the last week the way they have attempted to ensure that there will be more boats coming to this country. This is because of the desperate belief by the Leader of the Opposition that the more boats that come the longer that we do not have an effective policy to deter people. It is in the opposition's interest. People will become frustrated with the number of people claiming asylum in this manner. This is much, of course, in detriment to those people waiting in camps overseas. Unlike those who have onshore processing and can fight the government—Labor or Liberal—for two decades, with totally fallacious claims, people in offshore processing basically get a review by a departmental person. They are either rejected or approved and that is the end of the story.

Today I turn more particularly to the question of volunteers in my electorate in the context of the government's recent announcement of $50,000 worth of grants to local organisations. These drive home the reality that our society depends on volunteers, with people moving more frequently, relationships collapsing more quickly, people being affected by casualisation of the workforce et cetera and many organisations that are at the cliff face.

Among those who received money are the Prestons and Robert Townson schools' parents and citizens organisations, respectively led by parents Raymond Roscue and Christine Wright. From the federal government's funding they received materials such as filing cabinets, coolers, eskies, thermos flasks, et cetera. They both work towards special needs children—in the case of Prestons in particular—and community participation by Robert Townson. Amongst other groups that have received money are the Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals Incorporated, who seek to respond to local drug and alcohol problems and to foster a dialogue about the causes and impact of drug addiction in the Vietnamese community, most particularly. The Macquarie Fields Swimming Club, established in 1973, which provides opportunities for young people and families from three to 70 years of age received $5,000 for outdoor furniture.

Amongst other recipients were the Australian Uyghur Association—significantly refugees, fleeing suppression in China, of the Turkic minority—which received $4,800 towards a computer laptop and external hard-drive. The Eaglevale community centre—the speaker has been to that local school—and their Community Development Association received $5,000 towards a video camera and projectors. They are community based and their volunteers deliver a range of community services to benefit local residents and, more particularly, organise recreational activities. Glenquarie Anglican Church has a number of local initiatives—a men's shed, a community garden and community focused programs in general—and they received money towards a public address system. I particularly recognise Reverend Swanepoel.

Liverpool Titans Junior Rugby League Club was established in 2001 through the efforts of Darcey Brown and Scott Baverstock, who wanted to have rugby league in that region. They introduced to it a significant number of young people who earlier had no options in that direction and they have a number of people such as Kerri Booth, a Department of Education worker, Paul Doyan, Phil Dodd and Sandra Baverstock. They had to suffer a one-year preclusion period so they would not take children from other local clubs. They have certainly been very active in that sport in the Liverpool subregion.

Macarthur Triathlon Club was given $1,600 towards a barbecue. The club provides competitive swimming, cycling and running facilities for local people. The Liverpool Genealogy Society has a name that is a bit of a misnomer because they work beyond genealogy and into general local history of the Liverpool region. For those not from New South Wales, Liverpool was a very early settlement on the fringes of the city of Sydney. They are amongst those who received money. The Junction Works received about $4,000 for chairs and training courses et cetera.

I want to recognise these local organisations, the volunteers, who are all the more necessary in our society when we see our schools having to contract-out tuckshops, and we see difficulties in obtaining trainers and coaches of teams. Our society is only held together by these people and it is crucial that governments at all levels support their efforts.