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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18689


Mr CIOBO (1:52 PM) —Concurrent with my speaking in this chamber, the Grandparents and Grandchildren Society of the Gold Coast, in conjunction with Connect the Coast Association, is holding a celebration of senior parenting in the Nerang Bicentennial Hall. Maree Newman, the convener of GAGS—as it is affectionately known—is a dedicated and indefatigable campaigner for the grandparents of the Gold Coast who, due to a myriad of reasons, assume the role of being the guardians for their grandchildren. Today's celebration is a chance to bring together people from different walks of life to share their experience and talk about the rewards and challenges of raising grandchildren. I know from my numerous meetings with Maree that those grandparents raising children view it as a blessing. I also know that, in far too many instances, the reason children are in the care of their grandparents is that their parents are often too addicted to drugs to provide for the basic needs and wants of their children.

As a nation we should be grateful for the selfless way these grandparents take in grandchildren who may otherwise become wards of the state. At a time when many are retiring and enjoying a stage in their lives when they could pursue their own interests, members of GAGS are putting themselves second in providing for their new children. I say to all of the GAGS members: thank you for what you do.