SOUTH WEST ITALO-AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATION ANNUAL BALL
Mr NINOS KHOSHABA
(Smithfield) [6.07 p.m.]: Recently I had the honour of attending the South West Italo-Australian Association [SWIAA] Annual Ball at Club Marconi. The ball is the association's annual major fundraising event, which helps raise funds towards the association's retirement village in Bossley Park. Fundraising for this village started 12 years ago by the former Mayor of Fairfield City and now Chairman of the SWIAA Board, Mr Tony Campolongo. Back then this project was a dream for many, and many thought that it would never be a reality. After a lot of hard work, lobbying and fundraising, the SWIAA Retirement Village was opened in December 2002. The village currently comprises the Marconi Village, which consists of 40 self-care villas and the SWIAA Gardens, which is a low-care aged facility for over 50 residents. The SWIAA Board is now in the process of building a new aged care facility, which will provide 20 high-care beds and 40 low-care beds, which includes beds for low-care dementia residents.
My electorate of Smithfield comprises approximately 3,000 families of Italian heritage. The Italian community is one of the longest standing ethnic groups in south-west Sydney. The Italian community has made a significant contribution to the cultural, social and economic life of south-west Sydney. It is inspiring to see the village and, indeed, our local Italian community still supporting its own members and providing this wonderful community facility, which accommodates so many of our retired residents from all nationalities. For this reason it is important to remember the retired and aged members of our community, who have helped our city and country, which we know and love today. That is why events such as SWIAA's annual ball are important for the continued growth of the village.
There were approximately 450 people in attendance at the SWIAA ball, including my parliamentary colleagues the Hon. Joe Tripodi, who is an Australian of Italian heritage from south-west Sydney, and Mr Nick Lalich, the member for Cabramatta and Mayor of Fairfield City Council. Due to the generous donations of the 450 guests, approximately $40,000 was raised from the ball. Club Marconi presented a cheque of $15,000 to the SWIAA Board of Directors, which will go towards further construction of the village. Club Marconi has been a supporter of SWIAA for the past 12 years and has been instrumental in the success of the association. Italians have always worked hard and are not satisfied with doing well just for their family; they want to help and assist the wider community. Through the efforts of the SWIAA board, Club Marconi and the many volunteers, the retirement village will continue to grow and provide excellent care for the aged and disabled in our community. SWIAA is to be commended for its very successful contribution to the community in south-western Sydney.
I take this opportunity to acknowledge the following members of the SWIAA board who have contributed their time and efforts to this great association: the president, Tony Campolongo; the vice-president, Charlie Barone; the treasurer, Graziano De Bortoli; the secretary, Debbie Feening, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Club Marconi; board members Arthur Brotherhood, John Thompson and Nancy Messina; and club representatives Roland Melosi, Andrea Carnuccio and Marilyn Fetch. There are also many volunteers who have worked hard organising fundraising for the association over many years. I take this opportunity to acknowledge also Mrs Josephine Campolongo, who has been instrumental in organising fundraising for the association, together with Amelia Capogna and Sylvia Gava. These volunteers and board members have worked tirelessly to realise a vision that many thought would never be a reality. I congratulate all those people who contributed to this wonderful facility.