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Thursday, 26 October 2017
Page: 12248


Dr McVEIGH (Groom) (10:40): In late 2005 a number of business and community leaders met with the goal of developing and promoting Toowoomba as a caring and supportive environment for families. Out of this meeting an organisation called Toowoomba Supports Families was formed. The Family Week activity is an initiative of theirs, with the main strategy of promoting the Toowoomba region as a great place for families to live. Its goals include businesses, clubs and individuals organising initiatives, activities and other events which recognise the importance of families in our region as the basis of our community. It's about celebrating all of the wonderful qualities that make families special and helping to support and strengthen families on the Darling Downs.

Over the years, Family Week has enjoyed amazing support from the Toowoomba community, with thousands of people participating in activities and events right across our city. Participants include: leading business people; community organisations; leaders at local, state and federal government levels over the years; faith community leaders; and, of course, our mayor, Paul Antonio, in particular. The support this activity receives right throughout our community, particularly from these leaders, is magnificent. Just this morning there was an official Family Week breakfast, which attracted 150 family groups and leaders to the University of Southern Queensland's refectory to hear a number of speakers on the topic of 'Family as the basis of our society'.

Family Week is very much about celebrating family, obviously, and building community through that focus. Being a part of Family Week has been so easy for may people over the years in Toowoomba: inviting friends, family members or neighbours over for barbecues and so forth, or organising for those at work to enjoy picnics and other family based activities in workplaces right across our city. School fetes and the Come to the Table event are other ways for students and families to attend Family Week, and for community to be developed. Many early childhood centres use Family Week as a great opportunity to celebrate families in the community, and that is certainly a feature of the activity.

This week recognises that every generation has a role in building this community activity—young and old. For many people as they age, life can become isolating. Helping a neighbour, inviting them over for a cuppa or lending a hand can make such a difference and build that sense of community for everyone. This week runs from 21 October to 29 October, so we're right in the middle of it. I applaud those behind Family Week in Toowoomba. We are one of the most recognised family-friendly cities in Australia.