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Monday, 23 October 2017
Page: 11687

Mr DICK (Oxley) (18:15): I'm delighted to have seconded the motion before the parliament today to acknowledge the work of carers in our community. As the member for Newcastle indicated in her remarks, there is a dollar figure that we can put on the role of carers in the community, but this evening I want to talk about two very clear examples of things that money simply can't buy. I'm very proud to bring to the attention of the House two events in my electorate surrounding carers.

Every Monday morning, if you go to a hall called 'Our Place' in Elizabeth Bruce Playground Park, you will find a group of seniors, people with all sorts of abilities, dancing, singing and enjoying themselves. This has been going on for a total of 38 years. Every morning, 9 am, you will be greeted by someone and you'll have a warm cup of tea and a fun morning out. A whole range of people continue to enjoy that service, and I acknowledge in the parliament tonight Mrs Shirley Schneider, a wonderful Australian, who thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice if we could come together to give carers a break and allow their clients, across multicultural backgrounds, to come and enjoy a musical morning tea.' I've attended that event over the last 10 years, since I was first elected to the Brisbane City Council and now as a federal MP. That one event has brought so much joy and happiness—literally hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of joy—and it's all run by volunteers under the auspices of Inala Community House. It just goes to show how some of the smallest acts and events can go such a long way in supporting the work of carers.

When I speak to carers in the community they all say the same thing: they don't want any recognition or any rewards; they just want the people they love and care about to have a high quality of life. If you go to a centre in my electorate called the Inala Respite Centre you will find a large professional organisation that clients can visit, perhaps for an overnight stay or for an event or gathering—for performances, art or craft—and you'll see wonderful work being undertaken. Back in 1984, on 5 October, a group of concerned residents in Inala got together at a public meeting, and in 1985 the Inala Respite Centre was established. Over the past 30 years or so we have seen this centre grow to one of the best day respite centres in the nation. In 2016 I was proud to attend the official announcement that Inala Respite Centre would be merging with PresCare to provide services to over 180 clients in aged care, home care, independent living support, crisis and emergency accommodation. In particular, as the member for Newcastle indicated, such places offer care for younger people with disabilities as well. Sixty-five per cent of clients are aged over 65, and 35 per cent of individuals attending are young adults with disabilities.

I know from speaking to the directors and the volunteers that the one thing you hear about time and time again is the support of volunteers with caring. You cannot put into words the amount of gratitude that the community owe to the carers in our community. It may be $1 billion a week or $60 billion per year, but I have seen the smiles on the faces, particularly for those people who give so much. The people they love are in a safe and secure environment and are protected and looked after when the carers are given a well-earned break.

I acknowledge Kris Jones; Andriana Arman; the wonderful Shirley Davey, who has been the president of the centre for almost 20 years; Marj Tonkin; Charlie Vanderkruk; Joyce Swanson; Joanne Robinson; Margot Le Strange; and Sharron Charman. They are all local residents who are committed to making sure that carers and those people who need care are looked after and loved in our community. I understand that in the Oxley electorate there are 13,405 people who provide unpaid care and assistance to others. There are over 10,000 people who go about the work they do because they love and want to look after the people who need care. Today I salute the carers in Oxley and right around Australia.