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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11676

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (11:27): I would like to also place on record my congratulations to the member for Parramatta, and thank her for her thoughtfulness and her care in bringing this motion to the House. I also want to thank all of the previous speakers who have spoken on this very important motion.

It is indeed National Week of Deaf People, which runs from 17 to 24 October. When you see the figures that the member for Parramatta has listed in this motion—that one in six Australians are affected by hearing loss and there are 30,000 deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss—they are absolutely staggering. I was very interested to see that recently Hear and Say Centre in my electorate put out a press release celebrating Loud Shirt Day on Friday, 16 October. All of our communities got together and rallied around Loud Shirt Day and raised money for Hear and Say. In their press release, they said that three in every 1,000 Australian children are diagnosed with significant hearing loss, one in every 1,000 babies are born deaf, and around 23 children per 10,000 will acquire a hearing impairment by the age of 17 through accident, illness or other causes.

I want to pay tribute to the people at Hear and Say, particularly the CEO, Chris McCarthy, and of course its wonderful founder, Dr Dimity Dornan AO. The Hear and Say CEO said that the organisation, in conjunction with First Voice—the national alliance of organisations providing listening and spoken language to children who are deaf—raises funds and they all got together on this day to provide deaf children with hearing, listening and speaking opportunities.

We are indeed blessed in the electorate of Brisbane to have such a wonderful organisation. It was started some years ago, by Dimity Dornan AO, as I have mentioned, and they have an incredible mission: to enable families to achieve optimal outcomes for their children with hearing loss by teaching them to hear, listen and speak using world-leading and end-to-end service delivery models. Their vision is to provide provision of access to listening and spoken language for children with hearing loss and their families worldwide. They have a number of principles that they adhere to. They have an auditory verbal approach and promote newborn hearing screening and end-to-end programs for children with their families, and auditory verbal therapy and full parent involvement and spoken language through listening. The most important things that the Hear and Say centre does are early intervention, diagnosis of appropriate hearing aids and one-to-one therapy sessions with a parent or caregiver. There is the use of current research data to support those outcomes. We heard from the member for Reid the incredible experience that he had recently when his younger daughter was fitted with a new type of hearing aid.

I want to place on record the incredible work that they do and thank Hear and Say. They are doing some phenomenal, world-leading research. They see over 600 families each year and have a team of 50 people across Queensland in six centres and in rural areas in particular. Rural areas are the ones that are most impacted by the lack of services. Ninety-two per cent of children with hearing loss have parents who can both hear. Those figures are absolutely extraordinary.

The member for Parramatta has also reaffirmed many things, including the outstanding contribution that the deaf community has made to this country, and I want to reaffirm that and thank everyone who has contributed enormously across all areas of endeavour, whether it is IT, academia or any of those areas throughout the community. I thank them for what they have done to contribute to our great nation. She acknowledges Auslan, and indeed I and other members from this side absolutely support her in reaffirming her support for and acknowledgement of Auslan and trying to integrate that more in the dealings that occur in the Australian community. In particular what we need to do as a government is make sure that that challenge that is faced is integrated across government departments. I support her wholeheartedly, as we all do, and look forward to working with her further to include Auslan. I thank her for her wonderful motion.

Debate adjourned.