The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(15:51:34): I am always grateful for the selfless efforts of people in our community towards helping others in a range of ways. I rise to speak first about the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund. Beginning in 2004 in honour of Joseph Seridis, who sadly passed away in 2002, the trust supports young people in Gawler and the surrounding areas who are suffering from physical and multiple disabilities by providing them with equipment to enhance their day-to-day lives and independence. To date the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund has provided over $75,000 worth of grants ranging from wheelchairs and ramps to computers and iPads, equipment that would not otherwise have been available.
As it celebrates its 10th year in operation, the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund has introduced a new initiative: the family holiday project. This project will make five separate grants of $2,000 available this year with the money going towards holiday accommodation for those suffering from disabilities and their families. Understandably, many families affected by disabilities put aside the cost of a holiday to pay for their loved ones' care. I am sure we can appreciate, however, that time away to bond with each other is important in any family, and the trust aims to give these families just that.
The Joseph Seridis Trust Fund is invested through UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide. The current trustees of the trust fund are Jim Seridis, Graham Loveday (representing UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide), Jenny Widdop and, most recently Marisa Kazonis, who has been a key supporter of the trust for many years.
Support for the trust also comes from the local business community, the most vital being the Gawler Arms Hotel owned by the well-known Giannitto family. The hotel hosts both the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund dinner every year, as well as the annual quiz night. Last year's events were able to raise in excess of $17,000 for the trust fund. Other supporters in the community include Symes Accountants, Discount Print and Stationery (Gawler), the CMV Foundation and the Gawler Apex Club, to name a few.
As well as the grants it provides, the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund also supports disabled young people in its community by providing transport in Gawler and nearby areas. The trustees generously acquired a wheelchair-accessible van nicknamed 'Joseph's Ferrari', allowing the disabled in the community easy transport and an opportunity to explore their community without the expense of other wheelchair-accessible transport services.
I applaud the trust fund, the Seridis family and Jim Seridis in particular for a decade of tireless work, and for the vital funds and support that have been given to the disabled in their community. Although I never met Joseph himself, in the past eight years of supporting the trust I have come to gain a good sense of who he was. I strongly believe that the work that the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund does is a fitting tribute to him and any interest from those who believe they can give support to the trust is greatly welcome.
I think it is also appropriate for me today to speak about the work of the Salvation Army and its annual Red Shield Appeal. I have been the chairman of the Red Shield Appeal in Gawler and surrounding areas for 15 years now and I am delighted to say that, despite a gloomy outlook about the ability of people to give to charitable organisations at the moment, there has been an extraordinary response across South Australia, particularly within the Gawler area and its surrounding districts.
It certainly looks as if the appeal in Gawler is going to harvest between $16,000 and $17,000, which I think is a very worthy amount compared to last year's figure of $14,692. I am pleased to work with all those involved with the Salvation Army in Gawler and particularly grateful for the efforts of Captain Darren Cox and his team. I think we all in this place know that the Salvation Army does work that others do not. They go in and get their hands dirty in a lot of places that other organisations are not involved in, and so I am very happy to applaud their work and, of course, as I said earlier, the work of the Joseph Seridis Trust Fund.