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PO Box 1224
Ms Parke (12:46 pm) — On Monday this week the parliament welcomed Mr Ross Robertson, Labor member for Manukau East in the New Zealand parliament, deputy speaker in that parliament and also the international president of the Parliamentarians for Global Action or PGA. Mr Robertson came to Canberra from New Zealand for the purpose of reinvigorating the Australian branch of the PGA, which was formerly led by the member for Lingiari, now Minister Warren Snowdon. I want to thank the many members and senators from all parties who came to hear Mr Robertson and Minister Snowdon speak and who have now joined the PGA. I was honoured to have been elected chair of the new Australian branch of the PGA; Senator Simon Birmingham was elected deputy chair, the member for Page was elected secretary; and the member for Moore was elected treasurer.
Ms Parke (9:40 am) – The 17 December 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of Australia's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I took the opportunity on that occasion to table a motion in which I outlined a number of promising and not-so-promising aspects of child protection both in Australia and overseas. These included the significant progress that has been made in the reduction of global child mortality, where now something like 10,000 fewer children die each day than did 20 years ago. That is a wonderful statistic. There has also been a sizeable increase in the number of children who have access to primary education compared with just 12 years ago following the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals.
Ms Parke (7:13 pm) — I take this opportunity to make some observations about the issue of housing availability and affordability. These are critical needs across Australia and they are certainly present within my electorate of Fremantle. The housing challenge cuts across all areas of Australian society, but it particularly affects those who have the least, namely low-income earners, Indigenous people in remote communities, the disabled and the elderly. At the recent Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) national conference it was made clear that the lack of affordable housing has reached crisis levels. Housing experts say there is a shortfall of tens of thousands of social housing homes, a number that will only grow unless more is done to tackle the problem. The situation in Western Australia has been made worse by the resources boom, with the influx of workers, record low unemployment and high wages leading to a severe shortage in rental properties and a corresponding spike in rents. Only about four per cent of rentals in Perth are classed as affordable for someone earning less than $35,000. A recent report conducted by Anglicare WA found that, for someone earning the minimum wage, only 12 out of 3,500 listed rental properties in Perth were affordable. These conditions exist in parts of my electorate, and especially in the City of Fremantle, where the rental vacancy rate hovers around the one per cent mark.
Ms Parke (4:20 pm) — A constituent recently recounted to me a story about an encounter she had had with a resident of Albany. This person was considering the case she had heard for marine parks. She recounted that she came from a former whaling family. She said, looking back, that the experience of transitioning out of whaling in the seventies was hard for her family and they opposed it at the time but that they had come to realise that it was the right thing to do. After some consideration, this person, whose family had subsequently moved into commercial fishing, felt that the move to put in place a network of marine sanctuaries was another of those important moments—the right thing to do.