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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Page: 20545

Mr HUNT (9:43 AM) —I rise to recognise the activities of community groups in Hastings, Somerville and Cowes. In Hastings recently, a town which has done it hard over the years but which is now going through a renaissance, a new theatre group has been established. The Pelican Theatre Company was established by people who for the most part had no experience of the theatre. They were from the town and they came together and recently produced a magnificent performance which was written, directed and composed by them. I pay tribute in particular to the founder of the company, Gordon Gribbin, and to all those who are involved, especially Wayne Smith. Wayne Smith came to my office earlier this year with a chronic injury that was causing enormous pain. He has overcome that injury and has gone on to become one of the stars in the Pelican Theatre's inaugural production of The Man from Snowy River. So that is a tremendous example of a town acting to take care of itself and to create a new sense, an ethos, in the town.

The second community group I want to commend is the Somerville Community House. The Somerville Community House, under the leadership of Dyane Bain, runs a range of courses and programs, many of them for free and many of them at extremely low cost to help people throughout that town. Somerville is a growing town. It has a tremendous range of people. These courses provide an opportunity for them to come together. The Somerville Community House gives people a focus, a central point and a capacity to act together. I cite a particular example: commencing within a week the Somerville Community House will be hosting a public speaking course for people from throughout the area who have never spoken publicly before. It is about building confidence and giving people an opportunity.

The third group which I wish to speak about is in Cowes. Cowes, which is on Phillip Island, is a magnificent town. There they have built an extraordinary Work for the Dole program for people who are low in self-confidence, under the guidance of PICAL, a group which takes care of the needs of those on Phillip Island who are disadvantaged, and in particular under the leadership of Jill Broomhall and Pauline Grotto. PICAL has put together a Work for the Dole program in screen-printing. It gives people who have not experienced control over their own lives for a number of years—by their own statements and definitions—the capacity to build a profession and to build their capabilities. This has culminated in a fantastic exhibition. To see the pride on the faces of people such as Tim and Cindi, and other participants in the Work for the Dole project, was extraordinary. I commend these three groups: the Pelican Theatre, Somerville Community House and PICAL, on Phillip Island.