Ms JO HAYLEN (Summer Hill) (10:57): In continuation of my contribution I again thank the member for Heathcote for bringing this motion in support of volunteers to the House. Volunteers work across the community ensuring that we stay safe, that our environment is nurtured and protected and that our arts and culture remain central to community life. Volunteers protect the legal rights of citizens, help women affected by domestic violence, assist the aged to remain connected to community life, and work to give kids in our community the richest and most fulfilling life possible.
Volunteer organisations are prevalent in Summer Hill, in the inner west of Sydney, and some of them do incredibly important work. These organisations include the Addison Road Community Centre, Reverse Garbage, Marrickville Legal Centre, the Exodus Foundation, Youth Off The Streets, the Mudcrabs, Inner West Council Bushcare, the Haberfield Association and many other sports and arts groups across the inner west. I say to each and every one of those volunteers that I am incredibly grateful for the selfless work that they do and for care that they provide to our community with great generosity. I also specifically note the good work of the Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville SES units. The very first thing I did on being appointed the shadow Minister for volunteers was to visit the Marrickville SES at its state-of-the art station in Sydenham. It is a fantastic facility provided by the former Marrickville Council, and those volunteers work many nights of the week training and preparing to help our community in times of need. I thank them for their service and for their support of the community more broadly. These volunteers dedicate their time to protect our safety and our property in the face of storms and flooding, and in Marrickville that is often along the Cook River. So many other groups are working to provide community resilience in the face of storms and disasters. I am really proud that that unit is running a groundbreaking course, which helps local women prepare their homes and protect their safety in the event of those storms. I look forward to participating in the first of its workshops in coming weeks.
I take this opportunity to note that as demands for not for profits increase there is a greater need to help guide and resource community organisations. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that New South Wales has among the lowest volunteer rates in Australia, and that has to change. We must support our volunteer organisations. We must do more. I welcome the announcement by the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services that consultation has begun on the third NSW Volunteering Strategy. In the course of the consultation the Government will need to hear from the many volunteers so that we have the best supported volunteers. I believe that also requires a dedicated Minister for volunteers. I reiterate that call to the Government. I thank the member for Heathcote for bringing this motion to the house.