Friday, 29 June 2012

Rudd Report - Cerebral Palsy League

It was a pleasure to recently attend the Cerebral Palsy League’s Theatre Group musical performance.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the group of passionate young performers sang and danced the night away at Red Cross Hall in Greenslopes with their original musical, ‘Let’s Imagine’, which they have been developing during workshops over the last twelve weeks.

Screech Theatre Coordinator Sandy Paterson said the performance was about letting the children’s imagination run wild and giving them the chance to let their creativity shine. She explained that the theatre group, which the Cerebral Palsy League has been running since 2003, is a medium for creativity that also builds skills these young people can transfer to everyday life.

Find more information on the Cerebral Palsy League here

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Rudd Report - International Languages Forum

I believe it is fundamentally important to encourage the study of international languages here on the Southside.

Recently, I hosted a forum with more than fifty Southside teachers and Principals aimed at identifying specific areas of concern and generating ideas on how to improve the facilitation of international languages teaching.

We noted common interests in relation to providing quality teaching and learning and the growing importance for Australian businesses and education providers to engage with the Asia-Pacific.

Following our discussion, I called for feedback from the participants on how we can improve things in our own community.

I also recently spoke at an Asialink event at Melbourne University about the importance of developing an Asia-Literate Australia.

You can read more about the work that Asialink are doing here in Australia – 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Constituent Statement - Common Ground

Homelessness is one of the great challenges we face in Australia. According to the last census data, almost 105,000 Australians were homeless, including nearly 7,500 families. If you are from Brisbane, as I am, you think of the Suncorp Stadium and fill it twice: that is a lot of people, and therefore a challenge for us all. In Queensland alone, the data tells us that we have the second-highest homeless population in Australia, with more than 26,000 people considered homeless.

Last year, together with many others, I participated in the St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleepout. I did that in Melbourne. This year, I did it in Brisbane. This year St Vinnies should be congratulated for the fact that they attracted more than 1,000 CEOs from across Australia who collectively raised more than $5 million for their work in dealing with the challenge of homelessness. This is something which the entire country should have as a continuing core priority.

When this government was elected, we embraced a new National Affordable Housing Agreement between the Commonwealth and the states of $6.2 billion over five years, starting in 2008-09. As part of our early and significant action to respond to the global financial crisis and keep Australia out of recession we also embarked upon a program to repair some 80,000 units of social housing, including 12,000 of those units which were, as of then, uninhabitable. We also constructed a further 19,300 new social housing dwellings. We also have more than 7,000 affordable homes and nearly 8,000 rented or available for rent under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which is on track I am advised, to have boosted the stock of affordable housing by 50,000 units by 2015. These are important achievements. They do not solve the problem of homelessness, but they do add extra capacity nationwide. That is where we must go if we are to deal with this in the long term.

Following the CEO Sleepout, which the member for Wentworth also participated in Sydney, I also went down the road to the new facility run by Brisbane Common Ground. This is a $129 million investment with the Australian government in Common Ground facilities across Australia. In Brisbane we have invested some $40 million in this facility. It is a 146-unit permanent supported housing solution which aims to end chronic homelessness for those who are sleeping rough of an evening. Half of these units will be made available to people who are permanently homeless. They are also wheelchair accessible. This is important. On 7 July, the first people move in. Common Ground should be congratulated, as should all efforts to deal with the challenge of homelessness.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rudd Report - Visiting San Sisto College

Recently, I spent some time with the Year 11 and Year 12 students of San Sisto College in Carina. I spoke to them about their experiences as seniors, the challenges they face as young leaders and the ways in which they can motivate themselves and lift themselves up when times are tough.

As part of my visit, I toured ‘The Well’, the College’s Centre for Wellbeing: Enhanced: Life: Learning. The Principal, Margaret Lee, is a passionate advocate for the prevention and management of mental health concerns among young women and has developed ‘The Well’ as a ways and means of addressing mental health concerns among young women.

‘The Well’ has a psychologist, counsellor, massage therapist, yoga teacher and social worker on staff. The students told me that this has made a huge difference to their school lives and has provided them with a safe and supportive environment to share their concerns.

You can watch a video of the visit here

Monday, 25 June 2012

Rudd Report - Building a National Disability Insurance Scheme

Meeting with David, Jaden, Tanya, Bonnie and Christine 
People in our community have been telling me of the need for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), to support families on the Southside like Tanya and David who care for their son Jaden.

The Budget delivers $1 billion in funding to kick start the NDIS. There is still a long way to go. The 2020 Summit back in 2008 raised the possibility of an NDIS. It was then taken up by the Government as one of nine proposals put forward by the community that the Government would further work on.

In 2009 the NDIS was referred to the Productivity Commission for advice. The
Productivity Commission, on 31 July 2011, recommended a scheme that ensures all Australians with a significant and ongoing disability receive long-term care and support.

The Government, on 10 August 2011, then announced that we would proceed with a scheme. Now an NDIS will help people in our community living with disability.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Rudd Report - Wellers Hill State School BER Opening

It was an honour to open the new Multipurpose Music Centre at Wellers Hill State School.In 1985, the music block at WellersHill State School burnt to the ground.Since then, students have beenperforming in make-shift classrooms throughout the school.

With a brand new building specifically designed for music performance and production, the students now have access to state of-the-art facilities and resources to help them reach their full potential.

Across the Southside, 44 schools just like Wellers Hill now have brand new buildings. In each and every primary school, we have built libraries, classrooms, computer rooms or multipurpose halls.But, the bricks and mortar are merely the foundation. These facilities are an investment in our future and will help to deliver better educational outcomes for students in our community and throughout Australia.

I thank the Principal, John Webster, and all the teachers, for their kind invitation and for the work that they do in educating our young leaders of tomorrow.

You can watch the video here

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Motor Neurone Disease

Today is Motor Neurone Disease Global Day. Motor neurone disease is the name given to a group of diseases in which the muscles gradually weaken and waste away. One by one, people lose the ability to walk, talk and then to swallow. 

This disease has no known cause, no known cure and no effective treatment. It is estimated there are about 1,400 people Australians who have been diagnosed with MND.

Today I would like to pay tribute to one of these people. His name is Scott Sullivan. I met Scott just a few weeks ago. Scott, his wife Sarah, and their two young children Abbey and Charlie, live in Coorparoo in my local community in Brisbane.

In 2010, Scott who is a very young man was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He told me his life expectancy is between three and five years. He is a strong man and resolute. Shortly after his diagnosis, Scott helped launch the MND and Me Foundation. A few months back he was awarded the Pride of Australia Courage Medal for Queensland for his efforts. 

The MND and Me Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that raises funds for research into finding a cure and provides practical support to ensure that those who live with this terrible disease and their families are properly looked after. 

I urge all honourable members and the entire Australian community to show your support for organisations like the MND and Me Foundation. Let us try to beat this insidious disease.