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Tuesday, 3 June 2003
Page: 15839


Ms HALL (9:19 PM) —The Two Bishops Trusts, established by the Anglican-Catholic Bishops of Newcastle, operates under the auspices of the Samaritans Foundation. The trust was established to address unemployment, relieve poverty and engender self-worth in people in disadvantaged areas in the Hunter. One such area is Windale in the electorate of Shortland and another is Booragul in the electorate of Charlton. Bill Palmer is the employment and business development officer for these two areas. The state government has funded an urban renewal scheme in Windale—the suburb that was identified in the Vincent report as possibly the most disadvantaged area in Australia. The urban renewal scheme is aimed at addressing the disadvantage in the area and, coupled with the Two Bishops Trust, has delivered some outstanding results.

Recently an assistant nursing program was run there. To give you an idea of the sorts of results it is achieving, I will refer to this report and the women in it by their initial letter. R did some volunteer work in a nursing home and is now doing regular casual shifts. L tells how her children now study and do their homework because `mum is doing hers'. J asked a question in class for the first time in her life; it was a big thing for her to do, and now she regularly contributes in class. C's family calls her `a walking dictionary'. T looks forward to every Thursday and Friday so that she can go to school. Many students tell Bill Palmer that they feel so much better about themselves and that they have a direction, a reason to get out of the house. S has a job as an assistant in nursing, an AIN, in a nursing home. She is enrolled in the nursing course and will have an interview for a wards person's position at John Hunter Hospital.

The enthusiasm of the group is growing as they organise their work placements. Many students are looking forward to these work placements so that they can work as real nurses. The average attendance is 27 a day; I think there are 30 in the group. These women have not worked for a very long time and have very low self-esteem. These are outstanding results, which have been achieved because of the dedication of Bill Palmer and the money contributed through the Two Bishops Trust.

A Men's Shed program has recently been approved through DOTARS. There has been $70,000 allocated to this project which predominantly targets unemployed men, using retired, redundant and disabled skilled manual workers as mentors. The shed project is being sponsored by the Lake Macquarie Council and the Lake Macquarie Police Citizens Youth Club and it has the support of TAFE, Schools to Work Transition program, Wesley Employment, WorkCover and industry. Whether or not this program actually gets up off the ground depends on Bill Palmer's position receiving continuing funding.

Two Bishops Trust has submitted another application for a Lake Macquarie sustainable employment program with the Department of Family and Community Services. It details how disadvantaged the area is. The project is targeting unemployed men and women between the age of 16 and 55 that are seeking part-time or full-time work. It looks at establishing partnerships between community, government and the private sector for local employment building construction developments. It looks at long-term construction, and employment, developing self-esteem and social worth and reversing some of the social problems that people living in the area have. It is a very worthwhile project.

Bill is an outstanding worker. The application seeks funding of $100,000 over two years. I recommend it to the House. These are very worthwhile projects and ones that we, as members of parliament, should be really proud to support, because these programs seek to make real change—changing the life of people and giving them opportunities that they have not had in the past. (Time expired)