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The inspiring work of the Hutt Street Centre

Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 12:36 :38 ): I rise today, too, to speak in support of the motion brought forward by the member for Chaffey, who is a very good member. His motion states that this house urges the state government to implement a Code Blue in regional South Australia as already in place in metropolitan Adelaide to assist homeless and rough sleepers in the regions during extreme weather events; acknowledges the need for agencies to work together during times of extreme weather events to help relocate and assist rough sleepers; and highlights the immediate need to have a Code Blue implemented in the Riverland to be used in major weather events such as a high river.

This motion was put before the house before the government actually did jump on board and do this, so I do commend the government for taking heed of the motion put forward by the member for Chaffey. Of course, we now know that we do have Code Blue in regional centres, including Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Whyalla, Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Port Lincoln and the Riverland, as requested by the member for Chaffey. Again, this is a great indication of the wonderful work he does.

We know of the plight of homeless people across this state. I know that collectively everyone in this house wants to do everything they can to eliminate homelessness from our state. There are a number of people who are doing wonderful work with this community. The member for Adelaide has already mentioned the Hutt St Centre for the homeless and the wonderful work they do.

I have a personal association with the Hutt St Centre, in that the CEO, Ian Cox, is a personal friend of mine. In fact, he was my year 8 football coach at Brighton High School. He is a great person and a great mentor. He was in the senior school as I was in the junior school. He was an outstanding person to have in our school. To see the wonderful work he has gone on to do with the Hutt St Centre is a wonderful testament to his community spirit and community-minded nature, and I really do commend him for it.

As a young person, having him as a mentor in our local region was a great thing for our community and he really did lead from the front. He coached a lot of footy, too. He played footy up in the Northern Territory and some senior football for South Adelaide, and he coached the Brighton Old Scholars with great success. He brought a great spirit to that football club. You could tell it was a very community minded and community focused way of thinking. He does great work through the Hutt St Centre as well as through his football. I know he is coaching now at Westminster as well. Again, they see the great value in having someone like Ian around their school and their students. They know that he does give back in that space. It is great to have these great people in our city and regions working in this area, making sure that we can do everything to help people who are sleeping rough, especially on those blizzardly cold nights. We know how tough it is.

Speaking of the Hutt St Centre for the homeless, they have the Walk a Mile in My Boots campaign. Through my previous life working at Channel 10, I know they had a very strong association with that campaign. They have always supported that campaign and do the walk at every opportunity. The member for Adelaide is always there doing it as well; she does a lot of other work in the kitchen at the Hutt St Centre. I know they have run the new laundry program through Hutt Street as well, which is a fantastic program. The meals and companionship they provide are absolutely outstanding.

The Walk a Mile in My Boots campaign is great. It is great to see that a lot of high profile people come out for that to make sure we are driving that awareness to everyone out there. A lot of schools get involved in that campaign as well, and that is fantastic. It is great to have young people aware and knowing what is going on in their local community.

A lot of this stuff is often hidden away. People do not see it because on the cold nights that the member for Chaffey is alluding to in his motion people who are more fortunate are cosy and comfy by the heater at home and in their beds, and they do not get to see this. So, this Walk a Mile campaign is a really great way to bring people out and have them experience something of what it is like on those cold nights for the homeless and to have people become more conscious of doing more to help people in need. A lot of the young people I speak to when I do the Walk a Mile event go away from that feeling that they want to do more and that they can do more. They go away and do more in the community.

Another thing the Hutt St Centre does has benefitted a friend of mine, Anthony Ashton, who has had an involvement with Hutt Street over a long period of time. Ian, personally, and the whole team at Hutt Street have worked with Anthony. He is a wonderful fellow. I know him from my past life when I was in the media, as Channel 10 is based on Hutt Street. He would often bail me up, have a chat, talk about sport (footy in particular) and give me a big, 'How are you going, Wizza?' any time he would see me. He is just great fellow.

I single him out as an example of someone who has worked in a Hutt Street program and he has had great success in that partnership, if you like. I bumped into him a little while ago. He had been working very closely with the crew at Hutt Street. He had an infatuation with a musical artist who was performing overseas and he had made it his goal to get overseas to see this artist perform. So, he sat down with the people at Hutt Street and they mapped out a plan for him. It was very logical and insightful as to how they helped this person set a goal to work towards and achieve.

What he had to do was put away moneys that he had and save his money, set a budget and work out how much it was going to cost to get a plane ticket, to get accommodation and work out where he was going. With this focus, Anthony just locked in and worked incredibly hard to make sure he met all his goals. He raised the money he needed. I bumped into him at one of the walks and he told me he was about to go on his trip and how proud he was. You could see him walking a foot and a half taller at the fact he had got this together and he was off to see his favourite artist perform in Europe.

I follow him on Facebook and I watch with great delight. Anthony has the gift of the gab. I mentioned before how he would always call out to me, walking up the street whenever I was around the Hutt Street area. He would come up and have a chat, and he would do that to just about anyone. He is a lovely fellow. I saw on Facebook when he went on his trip overseas that lo and behold, not only did he make it to the concert but he had made friends with the artist. He was backstage with the artist and he was in amongst everything that was going on there. He was having an experience money could not buy, all because of his wonderful nature and the fact that he worked so hard to get there and achieve this goal he had set for himself.

It was no small thanks to the people at the Hutt St Centre and the work they did to help implement this task for Anthony to achieve his dream, and from there he has kicked on. I see him around the streets every now and then around Hutt Street, and when we do the walk, he is always out there supporting the cause. It is great to see him going so well and to see the Hutt St Centre helping out in that regard.

I mentioned the member for Adelaide before. I know that she does a lot of work and probably does not spruik as loudly as she should the great work she does at the Hutt St Centre, where she is very engaged with their meals program. It is fantastic that people can go in there and get a meal. We talk about people sleeping in the cold, but there is also their ability to be able to get a staple meal, and to know you are going to get a hearty meal is of great comfort to a lot of people out there who are doing it tough, so I commend her for the work she does and also the Hutt St Centre for putting this program together.

I also mention that they are heavily involved in the laundry program. Laundry is something that people probably take for granted, but when someone who is down on their luck and is doing it a little bit tough can have their clothes laundered, they feel fresh and refreshed. It really does give them an extra spring in their step and helps them to take another step forward into potentially getting into work and helping themselves out of the tough predicament they are in.

Another program I read about recently, which I thought was absolutely fantastic, was someone who was donating their time giving haircuts to people who were doing it tough and living on the streets. The article outlined how much of an uplift it gave to people who were doing it tough. Again, you take this for granted. You might go an extra week, or in my case you are losing your hair and you think, 'Goodness, I don't want to have a haircut. I want to keep everything I have.' It is amazing what these people set up. Just getting a simple haircut is again something a lot of people take for granted and how much it can help someone who is doing it a little bit tough.

Anywhere we can have these programs in place is absolutely fantastic. To know that we have the Code Blue program in the city, which was helping people on those very, very cold nights, but did not have it in the country was concerning and alarming. To have the member for Chaffey to bring that before the house and then to have the government follow on and realise that that is what we need and to take it to those regional centres is absolutely fantastic. I thank everyone who works in this space for all the tireless work they do. We need to continue doing more to help out people who are disadvantaged.

 

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