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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12149

Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (10:33): Last Tuesday, 24 October, I held a pioneering expo in Windale. The community information and assistance expo was a huge success. The purpose of this expo was to provide people in an area with a high level of unemployment and a high number of people on some sort of Centrelink payment with opportunities to learn about jobs, to link to communities, to obtain their birth certificates and to deal with issues such as fines they may have incurred. This expo attracted more than 50 different groups: employers, government agencies and training and community services providers. It was a really positive day, and I would like to thank the many people involved, because it is a very important issue.

The expo addressed local employment needs in the Windale-Gateshead area and provided on-the-ground local support for people to engage in education, training and employment. It brought job opportunities and government services directly to the community so that local people could access a broad range of support and employment services within their community—remembering that this is a very disadvantaged community. So it was about taking those services to the people in that community and helping them link up with those services. People could also access important information about Medicare, Centrelink and tax matters. The presence of the Windale Men's Shed was noted, and they provided assistance to people. We had Jeff Fenech and New South Wales Swifts Susan Pratley and Kristy Durheim on hand to help out and speak to people.

I would like to acknowledge that the state member for Charlestown, who is of the opposite political persuasion to me, supported the event. I would like to thank everyone who was involved, including my staff; Centrelink; the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations; the Department of Premier and Cabinet; the Department of Education and Communities; the Lake Macquarie City Council; Career Links; and the WICA group, which is a community organisation within the Windale community, who drove the activities of the day. I would also like to thank the Newcastle Skate manager, JobQuest and Keep Australia Working, just to name a few of the organisations that were involved. I thank everybody, because the result of the day was that people from a very disadvantaged community were able to connect with the services that they will need to find employment. (Time expired)