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Monday, 25 May 2009
Page: 4209

Mrs MAY (6:35 PM) —I recently had the honour of attending an event to celebrate 30 years of service delivery by the Blair Athol Accommodation and Support Program on the southern Gold Coast. Thirty years ago, Tweed Coast Uniting Church parishioners Pat and Bill Bryant started taking tea, coffee and sandwiches to the local homeless people and they quickly realised that ongoing help was needed. A committee was then formed by the church, which resulted in Blair Athol.

Blair Athol is not just about emergency accommodation. The services offered included emergency accommodation for those over 18 years of age, crisis intervention, counselling, living skills, emotional support, practical assistance, advocacy, budgeting skills and financial management. It is the extra support programs that make Blair Athol’s program so successful. The aim always is to get people back into our community.

The dedicated staff work seven days a week, 24 hours a day and no-one is more dedicated than current manager Liz Fritz. Liz is the life and soul of Blair Athol, and I want, on behalf of our community, to thank her for the tremendous contribution she has made over the past 22 years. Liz started in the kitchen in 1987 because she wanted to get her foot in the door in welfare work. Twenty-two years later, she is more than an extremely capable manager. Apart from overseeing the day-to-day running of Blair Athol, she has been on a number of advisory committees including the previous Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness under the Howard government. I would like tonight to say congratulations to Liz and all her team for their commitment to those less fortunate in our Gold Coast community. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. AR Bevis)—Order! I am advised that the clock normally does not operate for the 90 seconds. You will have to rely on me to pull you up when you get to the 90 seconds.