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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9094

Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (10:46): I too commend the member for Ryan and all of the previous speakers in talking about the Australian Red Cross and the remarkable work that they do. I am also very pleased to speak about the Red Cross and to highlight the work they have undertaken over the past 100 years. The centenary of the Australian Red Cross was officially marked on 13 August this year. As we have heard many speakers say today, the Red Cross is an iconic institution which has served the community continually since its inception in 1914. Their mission, 'to prevent or reduce human suffering, wherever it is found' is indeed reflected in all their actions.

The Red Cross was founded in 1914 following the outbreak of World War I and is part of the largest humanitarian movement in the world. It is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which has millions of members and volunteers operating in 189 countries. There are three components of the international movement: the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

This being the centenary of the Australian Red Cross, it is important to reflect on the role it has played in our nation's humanitarian service to those most in need. Over its 100-year history, the Red Cross has undertaken very important humanitarian roles, providing assistance in both war zones and at times of natural disasters. Red Cross also work with the most vulnerable people and communities both in Australia and internationally. Currently the Red Cross's focus revolves around seven prioritised areas, which include emergency services in Australia, international services, partnering with    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, supporting and encouraging social inclusion, supporting stronger communities, providing support for people in war areas and providing migration support.

On a local level, like others here today, I have had long associations with Red Cross groups and have seen firsthand the remarkable work of our Red Cross volunteers. In particular, I would like to mention one of the local branches in my electorate of Richmond—the Bangalow branch. It is the only branch in Australia which has 100 years of unbroken service. Congratulations to all of those at the Bangalow Red Cross. It truly is a remarkable achievement.

I have seen my local Red Cross groups involved in an array of programs that have helped so many locals, including the program under which the Red Cross provides teddies to sick children, and Telecross, a remarkable service which provides daily calls particularly to isolated and elderly people, who get great peace of mind from receiving calls to check on their wellbeing and safety. Under the Community Visitors Scheme, the Red Cross visits elderly people in nursing homes. There are also wonderful programs like Hands on Care.

On 31 July this year I had the honour of attending the annual general meeting of the Tweed Heads branch of the Australian Red Cross. The President, Marie Ivos, paid tribute to her group of 70 hardworking members, now one of the strongest branches on the north coast of New South Wales. I spoke to the group about the fact that the Red Cross has such a fine history of giving to our local community—and they have a lot to be proud of locally, nationally and internationally. The members of the North Coast Red Cross have every right to be proud of the work they do. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community and really deserve so much gratitude. It was also great to see the regional manager, Moray Ralph, at the Tweed Heads AGM. He paid tribute to the success of the branches that he has the pleasure to work alongside for a long period of time.

As a local member it is always a pleasure to attend these meetings and to see firsthand how much of a contribution these wonderful volunteers make. Also in acknowledging the great work of the Red Cross, I was pleased on 13 August to join members at the local shopping centre to celebrate 100 years of Red Cross service to the community. It was an enormous privilege to be invited to cut the wonderful large cake, along with the Zone 1 representative, Marie Ivos; the patron, Joyce Kingston; and Moray Ralph, the regional manager.

I would like to thank all those who support and all those who volunteer their time with Red Cross right around the country. They do a thoroughly remarkable job in making our community, our nation and our world a better place. Throughout 2014 the Red Cross will be celebrating its past and also looking to the future. The organisation has, indeed, built a very proud legacy and now needs a new generation of younger Australians to help shape the future of the Red Cross over the next 100 years. I know that they are reaching out to the public to get more involved with the many activities that the Red Cross have so that they continue to provide that very vital support. Without it, they could not continue to keep providing that support both nationally and internationally. I encourage everyone to get involved and help the Red Cross in their humanitarian mission so that they can keep changing and improving lives for the next 100 years.

Debate adjourned.