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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 7883

Mr BYRNE (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade) (9:57 AM) —I would just like to commend the member opposite for his interest in mental health. It is a much undervalued and under-resourced area.

But today I would like to talk about my experiences as a member of parliament, particularly meeting inspirational individuals. It is one of the great joys and pleasures of being a member of parliament, particularly a member of federal parliament, where you get to meet a range of incredible individuals, inspiring people who are determined to make a difference in our community, often in the face of adversity, often when they do not have the personal time, often when they are burdened with so many other responsibilities. But overwhelmingly, these people are driven by a passion to make a difference to their communities.

One such person that I have the honour of knowing is Erica Maliki. She is a person that I have come to meet through her assiduous advocacy for those in the Hampton Park area. Erica has been a resident of the Hampton Park area for over 20 years. She has been president of the Cairns Road Recreation Reserve Committee of Management. She is a former president of the committee of the Hampton Park Junior Football Club and one of the community representatives of the Hampton Park Community Renewal project. She is also a small-business owner—she runs an SME upholstery business in Hallam. She was also the main organiser of the recent Walk for Hallam Road, which was held on 1 August and which was attended by over 500 people to raise the profile—and she did it in a very appropriate way—of the dangerous intersection on the corner of Hallam and Ormond Roads. You would have seen some of the stories about this in the national media.

As a result of this quiet, effective advocacy, traffic lights were installed recently after a series of terribly tragic accidents where we lost five young people—horrific accidents at this intersection. In fact, in her working life she has taken on local apprentices who have not been able to find work due to the global financial crisis, particularly through the VCAL placements. One is an apprentice who is going to continue on from Hampton Park Secondary College, which Erica has a bit to do with. Incredibly, she achieves all of these things as the proud mother of six children. Erica is phenomenal in terms of the way she can balance her work and family life and her capacity to contribute to the community. Erica is an absolute ornament to her community, and we are very, very lucky to have a person of her strength and her energy and her courage and determination to advocate for those in the Hampton Park area.

Additionally, Erica is a fixture of the Hampton Park Secondary College. I met her again recently at a ceremony I attended as part of the National School Pride Program. She was responsible for advocating for a refurbished commercial kitchen. Their old kitchen needed to be brought up to standard. As a consequence of this advocacy and the school investing the money, this new kitchen is going to be used by 100 students per day, five days a week for 40 weeks of the year—something in the order of about 20,000 student hours in the course of one year. She is a fantastic ornament to the community and one I want to stand up and proudly commend in this chamber.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.