WORLD AIDS DAY
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY
Mrs JUDY HOPWOOD
(Hornsby) [5.15 p.m.]: I pay tribute to people who work in disability services in my electorate. However, before doing so, I acknowledge World AIDS Day, which was commemorated on 1 December. This important day is marked by the wearing of a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness since 1991. It represents solidarity and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The International Day of People with a Disability slogan is Don't DIS my ABILITY. I commend those in my electorate whose efforts are acknowledged on this important day. They must continue those efforts every day of the year in support of people with a disability and their families. A wonderful celebration was held yesterday in Hornsby Mall. I extend my thanks to those who worked so hard to make it a success, including the Hornsby Shire Council, the Hornsby Access Committee, the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, information stallholders and those who wandered through. I make special mention of the Achieve Foundation and other groups such as the Hornsby Rockets, a disabled tenpin bowling team. I was very privileged to make a short speech at the event.
The Achieve Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that was until recently known as Hornsby Challenge, was established in 1964 and is committed to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to live and work in the community and to be recognised as equal citizens. The foundation was one of the first groups in Australia to commence deinstitutionalisation in 1985 by moving people with disabilities into community-based accommodation and employment. Today it provides employment and accommodation support services for people with disabilities. Its primary aims are choice in every-day as well as life-defining matters, the respect of other members of the community, presence in t4 December 2007he community, living and working as part of the community, competence in carrying out activities, relationships and a network of valued friendships with people in the community.
Samantha Connolly is an 18-year-old woman who has done work experience in my office over the past 18 months. I first met Samantha when she and her mother attended the playgroup that my children and I attended at the Hornsby Baptist church. Samantha was born in 1989 with hydrocephalus, which has resulted in disabilities, including vision problems. I lost contact with her family after the playgroup encounter, but I caught up with her through the St Edmund's School work experience program. I pay tribute to my staff for regularly assisting Samantha. She is a gem and has maintained her contact with my office. She is hoping to attend another fantastic non-government organisation in my electorate known as Studio ARTES next year after completing her high school education. She will be participating in art and recreation activities and she will be undertaking training for future employment. She will be given a great deal of support. Wendy Escott and Sue Byatt do a wonderful job in arranging many opportunities for people with disabilities. They have gone from strength to strength. I congratulate Studio ARTES on its achievements, including its recent art exhibition.