South Sudanese Community

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:25 :32 ): I rise today to speak about two events I have attended recently which have been organised by members of the South Sudanese community living in South Australia. As members would well recognise, South Sudan is the world's newest nation, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011. However, instability and conflict have plagued South Sudan since its independence, with more than half of its citizens living in poverty and an adult literacy rate of less than 25 per cent. South Sudan is currently one of the least developed nations in the world.

On 12 August this year, I attended the launch of the South Sudanese Adult Education and Skills Development Centre. The centre is an initiative of the South Sudanese Employment Pathways Reference Group of South Australia and aims at supporting South Sudanese people living in this state. The South Sudanese Employment Pathways Reference Group of South Australia is voluntary, not for profit, non-political, non-ethnic and non-religious. It aims to support South Sudanese people in several ways: by providing work experience and training; education about work, health and safety and employment laws; and by collaborating with government and non-government organisations to best further the interests and employment opportunities of South Sudanese people.

The group hopes that by empowering students with numeracy, literacy and communication skills they will be better equipped to gain and enjoy employment. The centre is based at the Fremont‑Elizabeth City High School and I was delighted that the Mayor of the City of Playford (Mr Glenn Docherty) attended and officially launched the centre.

Additionally, on 29 August I was pleased to attend and speak at the Magwi Development Agency Australia Inc. (MADAA) fundraising dinner at Greenwith. MADAA is a not-for-profit organisation that was founded in 2008 and is responsible for the construction and operation of the Leopoldo Anywar College in the Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan. The school, which was opened in February 2014, provides education and support to boys and girls.

In South Sudan's recent state of turmoil, more than 4.6 million people are facing emergency levels of food scarcity and MADAA helps to provide food to the local community via donations. In the longer term MADAA hopes to help develop a primary production industry and a self-sufficient society. Both of these groups have made a positive impact on the South Sudanese community, both in South Sudan and here in South Australia. Education is one of the key ways of empowering people with skills to make them employable and able to rise out of poverty. I was pleased to be able to take part in these initiatives and to be able to continue my engagement with the South Sudanese community in this state.

I would like to thank Mr Buol Garang Anyieth Juuk, chair of the South Sudanese Adult Education and Skills Development Centre, for welcoming me to the launch of the centre. I was there particularly representing the Hon. Jing Lee on that occasion. Additionally, I would like to thank the Magwi Development Agency Australia for giving me the opportunity to speak at its event and particularly Mr Celian Kidega for his leadership of that group.

Certainly, I mentioned that I represented the Hon. Jing Lee at the first of those events; I have done quite a bit of that in recent times, and I give her great credit. At many of the multicultural events I have attended, you only have to mention the Hon. Jing Lee's name to see the recognition she gets as someone who works very hard in the multicultural community.

I know that the Hon. Tung Ngo, with whom I have been at events as well, would recognise the great encouragement that many of those groups get from the regular attendance of members of parliament at those events, and that is something that both he and my colleague the Hon. Jing Lee do a great deal of. With those words, I am very pleased to support the South Sudanese community and their efforts in South Australia.