Prospect Electorate Community Organisations

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [7.31 p.m.]: Today I inform the House about some of the wonderful community organisations that are such an important and valued part of the community in the Prospect electorate. 

The first is the Assyrian Universal Alliance [AUA]. I commend the alliance for its fine work in our community. Since its establishment the AUA has become a powerful and effective voice of the Assyrian community, committing itself to embracing, upholding and enhancing the Assyrian name globally. Its ultimate aim is to secure the national rights of the Assyrian people in their homeland and advocating human rights worldwide. In Prospect they represent the large Assyrian community, a large portion of which has escaped violence in the Middle East. The Assyrian people are pretty much the main victims of ISIS. They are a valuable part of our community. Even today much of their historical homeland is being destroyed by ISIS.

I hope that one day all Assyrian families can be free from the suffering caused by violence and that their persecution will come to an end. Until that day, Prospect and indeed Australia should be proud of the fact that it provides a safe refuge for some of these families. I meet with the leaders of the Assyrian community, my good friends David David, Hermiz Shahen and Simon Ezekiel, almost weekly and will continue to maintain a strong relationship with them in the future.

Another group I draw attention to is MTC. I commend MTC for its work. MTC Australia helps young people in New South Wales to find employment through education, skills training, work experience and mentoring. This not-for-profit organisation has outstanding success, particularly in my electorate of Prospect. I am pleased to hear that MTC is looking forward to building a new facility—it is a new school for people who have dropped out of school but who will come back and do their Higher School Certificate through non-traditional means, which is great—in my electorate. No doubt many young people will be helped in years to come. I congratulate MTC Australia on what it brings to our community.

Another group is the Canal Reserve Action Group. Before the election I met with the dedicated members of the Canal Reserve Action Group in my community. The suburb of Greystanes is little known, but it has a historical and beautiful canal with surrounding bushland. The reserve is overlooked by an aqueduct that looks like it was crafted by the Romans, and provides a scenic backdrop for a beautiful landscape. The Canal Reserve Action Group was formed to fight for the creation of the Lower Prospect Canal Reserve, and is now its guardian. In that time the group has looked after maintenance, engaged our community about the importance of protecting the environment and kept property developers on their toes during the construction of the new suburb of Pemulwuy. I congratulate the Canal Reserve Action Group on more than 20 years of dedicated service to our community.

Another group is the Cumberland Business Chamber, of which I have the privilege of being on the board. I commend the Cumberland Business Chamber for its work in promoting, developing and providing networking opportunities for businesses in Western Sydney whose legacy will be a sustainable, productive and vibrant business community that contributes to our region being an attractive place to work and live. Within Prospect I am privileged to have probably the biggest industrial area in the country—Wetherill Park, Smithfield Industrial Estate, Eastern Creek and Huntingwood. The business chamber is an integral part of ensuring that these businesses are well heard and industry is promoted throughout Western Sydney and the country. It is an important corporate citizen. The fact that it supports TAFE and other organisations in our area is important.

Another group is the Maltese Community Council of New South Wales, which is an umbrella body for 16 associations. It provides a centre with a library and a permanent exhibit for Maltese arts and crafts, computer classes for the elderly, a weekly radio program on 2GLF 89 on a Sunday, Maltese language and culture classes, day care facilities for elderly Maltese Australians, a welfare worker to assist with Maltese groups, and a welfare assistance and referral service. It does an excellent job.

The final group is the Cassia Community Centre. Cassia is a community development organisation based in Pendle Hill that is committed to improving the quality of life in Holroyd. It is run by a volunteer community management committee and directs various programs and projects designed to bring about change on a personal level and a community level. Music and movement for babies is one program, and there is a Fun and Mingle Play Group. The centre has a facilitator-family worker who helps the local community. It also provides TAFE literacy classes, as well as play groups. The manager, Kerrie Denton, does a wonderful job. The centre is an integral part of Pendle Hill. These are only some of the wonderful community groups that play an important role in our community of Prospect and I commend them to the House.

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