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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11514

Mr VAN MANEN (FordeGovernment Whip) (17:34): I would like to take this opportunity to speak on the very important topic of volunteering and the terrific and wonderful role that volunteers play in bringing the Australian community together. I would like to pay tribute to the many groups of volunteers in my electorate of Forde, such Nightlight, Twin Rivers Community Care, Brigalow Country Community Club, and our men's sheds at Pimpama and Beenleigh. In addition to these and many other great community organisations, our sporting clubs are run very successfully thanks to the tireless efforts of our volunteers.

Nightlight provides help, care and support to the homeless and people in crisis. Nightlight goes the extra mile, providing anything from a coffee to transportation to and from detox and rehab centres. Nothing is too big or small for the team at Nightlight. It was a great privilege to attend their thanksgiving dinner over the weekend, which acknowledged the great work of all the volunteers who make Nightlight such a success. I know, from speaking with John and Michaela during the week, the number of calls they've had in the past week from those in crisis, looking for accommodation.

Last week, I also met with Twin Rivers Community Care, where the Minister for Families and Social Services, Minister Fletcher, and I announced that they would receive $220,000 in funding over the next 4½ years to provide emergency relief to residents in the Logan-Beaudesert area. Twin Rivers is a food co-op in my electorate, providing affordable food and household products for those in need. In addition, they also provide traineeships, hospitality courses and employment opportunities to disadvantaged youth. I thank the many volunteers who contribute their time at Twin Rivers Community Care, and in particular Noel and Gayle Roberts for the terrific work they've done over many, many years now, in building the food co-op. I also thank Reuben and Michelle Roos, who are the senior pastors at Twin Rivers Church.

Brigalow Country Community Club hosts two Saturday social events every month for those with disabilities. Not only does it provide a place for the community to get together, but Max Noble, the club president, helps those in our community who have fallen on hard times however he can. Whether it's providing an electric wheelchair, a scooter, products to assist the disabled or furniture, Max and his team at Brigalow Country Community Club will always look to find a solution to a problem.

Our men's sheds in Beenleigh and Pimpama and also the Make and Do Association at Loganholme are other incredible organisations in my electorate. I recently had the privilege of awarding the Pimpama Men's Shed with $3,750 as part of the government's successful Stronger Communities grant program. The contributions of the men's sheds often go unnoticed—restoring furniture, building a cubby house or stools for local schools, while providing a space for retirees to stay connected. We discussed at Pimpama Men's Shed the importance of mental health for many of these gentlemen who have left the workforce, sometimes involuntarily, and have not had the opportunity to recommence meaningful work. The men's shed gives them an opportunity to talk to fellow men and share their concerns and worries and allows them to deal with the issues that they're facing.

With over 8.7 million volunteers across Australia in organisations such as sports clubs, charities and schools, we, as a country, should be very proud of those organisations, because they do so much to make our local communities what they are today.

I've mentioned a couple of my local organisations, but I'd also like to pay special thanks to a number of other groups in my electorate, including Quota International, the Rotary Club, the Queensland Country Women's Association, our local Lions clubs and—as I noted in my earlier comments—our many and varied sporting clubs for the terrific work they do each and every weekend and through the week in the sporting fields around my electorate to ensure that the kids in my electorate have the opportunity to play sports and be part of our community. I'd like to thank our volunteers. Thank you.