Speech: Community Outreach Program

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (15:18): I rise to speak about my community outreach program and how residents in my electorate have responded to the pandemic that we are facing. We know that everyone has felt the impact of COVID-19 in some way, great or small. We know that many upcoming and thriving businesses were forced to close and may still be closed. We know that people have lost their jobs overnight and we know that many residents in our community have been living a completely unfamiliar life.

To deal with self-isolation and social distancing and to shirk away from physical contact goes against human nature. We all crave social interaction. With that in mind, the team in my office has been doing an outstanding job diligently phoning residents in the community as part of our community outreach program over the past few months. This was a fantastic way to look out for residents and check on their welfare in the community, especially the welfare of the elderly and vulnerable.

During our outreach phone calls, we spoke with Ms Daphne Coventry. Ms Coventry is aged in her 80s. Like so many others, she stayed at home and avoided going out where she could when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. Before the pandemic, Ms Coventry would frequently visit Coles at Westfield Marion and she enjoyed her trips there. Her daily rituals and habits, like all of ours, were altered by the pandemic.

As she tried to do the safe thing, Ms Coventry told us about some of her difficulties with grocery shopping. To help her out over the phone, we set up a Coles online account for Ms Coventry, who qualified for the Coles Online Priority Service as a My Aged Care user. We walked her through using the service, which offers home deliveries. We later learnt that she had successfully purchased and received much-needed groceries, which were delivered to her door. It was great to be able to help out in some small way.

Another lady whose welfare we checked on was Mrs Elizabeth Bailey. I spoke to Mrs Bailey, who is aged in her 70s and lives with her husband, David. Over a number of weeks, we got in touch with her several times to check on her and her husband. At this difficult time, Mrs Bailey was also able to get the support of a volunteer from the council to do their grocery shopping.

Their news made us recognise once again the amazing work that volunteers do in our community, especially the work they have done over the past few months, and I want to thank volunteers everywhere for what they have done. Working quietly and diligently, they have helped provide the Baileys and countless others who may have been self-isolating or who are in a vulnerable or elderly group.

Staff and volunteers from Marion council's Positive Ageing and Inclusion service are to be commended. I congratulate the CEO of Marion Council, Adrian Skull, and his team on their good work. As at last week, they had delivered 436 meals to people over 65 or living with a disability over a five-week period. The hard work of everyone involved in this operation has been greatly beneficial to our community and I thank them for that.

Turning now to ANZAC Day, as we know it was unlike any other that we have experienced in our lifetime, yet regardless of our circumstance and regardless of social distancing and limits on gatherings, our local community found other ways to support each other and remember those who fought and died for their country. You may have heard of Sue Norman. Sue is an extremely skilled local artist whose works of art at Brighton Beach have drawn much attention and praise. For ANZAC Day this year, she drew a mandala in the sand. Her mandala commemorated the names of Australians who had fought and died in wartime. Her beautiful tribute moved those who saw it on the beach and those who later saw it online.

So much young and precious life lost in war is very heartbreaking, and Sue's artwork was a fitting way to commemorate this: there on the beach one moment and then gone, swallowed up by the ocean the next. At a time when it has been challenging for us to connect with each other, Sue's tribute was more important than ever and I am grateful to her for her wonderful artwork. Thank you on behalf of our community.

The last few months have certainly been hard and challenging, but we have seen many other qualities too. Community members have been resilient, looked out for one another and kept up their spirits and hope knowing full well that, with the passing of time and as long as we stay united and together, things will look better and brighter. As we begin to ease restrictions this week, things are looking better and brighter every day. It is no cause to be complacent and we must stress that point. Now is not a time for complacency, but instead let's keep working together as a strong community to help each other through these difficult times.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login