MAMMA LENA AND DINO GUSTIN FOUNDATION
Ms ANGELA D'AMORE
(Drummoyne—Parliamentary Secretary) [5.50 p.m.]: This evening I acknowledge the contribution of the Mamma Lena and Dino Gustin Foundation established in 2001 with the express purpose of performing acts of kindness and assistance for people in need. On 26 October this year I was pleased to host the 2010 annual Mamma Lena Foundation Awards at Parliament House at which a number of organisations were presented with grants to assist with their work in the community. The benefactors of this foundation included the Starlight Foundation, which received funding to upgrade in-house television facilities in the Starlight room at Westmead Children's Hospital, and the Room to Read organisation, which received funding to establish a reading room for children in a local school in Zambia.
The Room to Read organisation partners with local communities throughout the developing world to establish libraries and invest in children's education. This wonderful organisation has, over the past 10 years, built 1,000 schools, funded 10,000 libraries, distributed 7.4 million books and provided 8,900 scholarships to girls so that they can attend school. The Bellinger Valley Surf Life Saving Club received funding to purchase a much-needed inflatable rescue boat and the Mary MacKillop Outreach Men's Shed received funding to purchase equipment for a furniture restoration project, and I note that John Columbo, Ken Curtis and Brother Phil Redding were present to accept the grant. Each organisation provided an understanding of how the grant moneys would assist local communities and, as a member of Parliament, it was wonderful to participate and to hear about the great work undertaken by those fantastic organisations. The evening was well attended and it was a pleasure for me to be able to assist the foundation to highlight the great legacy that is passed on every year.
The Mamma Lena and Dino Gustin Foundation was established by Dino Gustin, who later made a sizeable bequest that has enabled the foundation to continue to provide a number of grants and to develop the foundation's website, which provides a chronology of the vast body of work completed by Mamma Lena and Dino during their long and productive lives. These acts of kindness show the selfless contributions made by two remarkable human beings from the time they arrived in Australia in 1956 until their deaths in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Interest on funds from the 2008 sale of the Mamma Lena Child Care Centre can now be used to help fulfil the mission of the foundation encompassing the five pillars of help. It is also envisaged that from time to time the foundation may receive gifts and bequests from those in the Italian community.
The activities of the Mamma Lena and Dino Foundation are focused on five pillars of assistance. They are: scholarships that encompass the fields of language, journalism and the arts; naming rights and bequests, which include hospital equipment, special projects and Third World community assistance; special purpose awards inspired by projects in fields as diverse as ecology, literature and the arts; humanitarian support for those who, through their own actions, improve the lives of the less fortunate within Australia and overseas; and helping individuals in need in times of stress. For more than 50 years Mamma Lena and Dino provided assistance and compassion to Italians migrating to Australia. Their tireless work ranged from all aspects of social and financial assistance to fundraising in times of natural disasters. Through Mamma Lena's columns in La Fiamma
, an Italian newspaper, and their weeknight radio programs spanning from 1957 to 1985 on 2CH, 2KY and 2SERFM, Mamma Lena and Dino kept the Italian community in Australia informed of current news and social and entertainment events in Australia and Italy. As a brilliant producer of radio programs and organiser of events, Dino galvanised the Italian community to a level of involvement not seen since those memorable years.
For her work, Mamma Lena was awarded an MBE by the Australian Government, the Cross of Cavaliere and the title of Commendatore by the Italian Government. Dino was honoured with the Cross of Cavaliere. I still vividly remember listening to Mamma Lena on Italian radio with my mother in our kitchen—a memory I am sure that many Italian-Australians of my generation share. It is with gratitude and esteem that I thank the board of trustees for its commitment and efforts in keeping the foundation legacy alive. I acknowledge Chairman Joe Buda, OAM; President Michael Cantali, Treasurer Rose Cantali; secretary and public officer Rosalba Gustin, the daughter of Mamma Lena and Dino; as well as board members Peter Campbell, Amelia Capogna, John Orlando, Ivana Smaniotto and advisory board member Anthony Zappia. I look forward to continuing my support of this great foundation and to hosting future annual awards evenings for it.