Fusion Australia Hornsby Facilities

About this Item
SubjectsInfrastructure; Railways; Voluntary Workers; Youth; Hornsby
SpeakersHopwood Mrs Judy
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 17767

    Mrs JUDY HOPWOOD (Hornsby) [5.52 p.m.]: Fusion Australia is an international organisation that began its life working with at-risk young people in the Hornsby region in 1960. Today Fusion has centres in Canada, the West Indies, Greece and the United Kingdom, as well as across Australia. I know the work of Fusion well and speak regularly with Steven and Belinda Wade, who lead the Fusion groups in the Hornsby area. They are extremely committed young people and the Hornsby electorate is all the richer for their contribution. I thank them for their commitment to the many different facets of Fusion.

    Unfortunately, Fusion's youth work in Hornsby is about to be severely impeded by construction of the fifth platform at Hornsby station. Jack's Island Youth Café, an old Railway Institute building in which Fusion conducts much of its youth work, will be demolished as part of this work. The existing structure cannot be moved as it contains asbestos. I call on the Minister for Transport to consider seriously, as part of the construction of the station's fifth platform, a place where Fusion can continue to do its valuable work. Such a building could be similar to that constructed for the Red Cross, which has a new custom-built facility where it can continue to sell its goods. I believe Fusion's vision will be greatly served if the Ministry of Transport, the Minister's office and the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation were to provide a custom-built facility in which the organisation can continue its work. Fusion's mission statement says:

    Fusion is a national movement of local Christians in fellowship building and restoring a future of hope for the whole community and next generation.

    Fusion's initial youth work grew quickly to include families and community development. It has more than 200 full-time staff and thousands of part-time volunteers across Australia. Fusion's youth centre in Hornsby began its work in 1993 and it is crucial that it continue unimpeded. The addition of a commercial component such as a coffee shop could value add to the railway station complex. Fusion has assisted thousands of young people and currently serves about 150 local youth. The youth centre receives more than 2,000 visits from young people each year. The numbers fluctuate so that is probably a fairly conservative figure.

    Jack's Island Youth Café has a thriving peer leadership program through which young people are mentored in leadership and regard themselves as part of the team. They play a vital role in maintaining the healthy culture of the café, where young people can come and feel safe and be treated with respect by each other and by the team. The team of youth workers comes from a broad cross-section of ages and stages—some of the best youth workers are grandparents. This means that young people and their families can form broad support networks. The café is staffed fully by trained volunteers from the local community and has a ratio of staff to young people of approximately 1:4. It does extremely valuable work.

    I have visited Jack's Island Youth Café several times and I have always found it to be a happy place, where young people thrive with the assistance of specially trained volunteers, who provide a great service. These young people come from a wide cross-section of the community, including State and local private schools, so the café clearly meets needs across the board. Jack's Island Youth Café is currently supported by State Rail, which offers Fusion use of the property at heavily discounted rent. I believe it should continue this valuable assistance. Several ideas for venues have been canvassed, but a custom-built venue is obviously preferable to venues where higher rents may have to be paid. Those employed by Fusion are aware of the issues relating to young people and public space at Hornsby station and would love to work with State Rail to provide a more helpful and dynamic facility there.