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Tribute to Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter

13 March 2018

Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation) (13:12): The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter is one of the most important community organisations in Hornsby. February marked three years of operation for the amazing organisation that has helped give a home to 231 women who came to the shelter when they had nowhere else to turn. Having grown up on the North Shore, Chief Executive Officer of Women's Community Shelters Annabelle Daniel saw a desperate need for a shelter in the Hornsby area. With only one other shelter located in Manly, those living in northern Sydney had limited choice if they needed to leave their home. Fifty per cent of the start-up costs came from the Women's Community Shelter, while the other 50 per cent was raised by the wonderful Hornsby community. Head of the steering committee was the great John Lockyer, who has since been made a life member. He was instrumental in raising the funds and getting the shelter up and running. He went on to head the board of directors until October 2016.

The community answered the call to raise money in a big way. A group from Ku-ring-gai led by Vanessa Smithyman raised $80,000 at a black tie ball. Hornsby locals Marianne Ioffrida, Kylie Macri and Michelle Chahine, along with Pete Smith, who runs the Facebook page "You grew up around Hornsby if you remember …", raised more than $20,000. The Harry Potter Alliance, run by young Hornsby siblings Sean, Zoe and Sasha Landis, also raised money for the start-up costs. The steering committee also included Julie Griffin, who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her work with women; Dick and Dob Babb; and Carroll Howell. Mayor of Ku-ring-gai Jennifer Anderson, former member for Hornsby Judy Hopwood and Karen Wiley were heavily involved in the creation of the shelter and are still lending their time serving as patrons.

Their continued support for the shelter over the last three years has been absolutely phenomenal. I mention some local businesses and community organisations that have provided vital financial support for the shelter over the past three years: SOS Removals and Storage at Thornleigh; Rotary Club of Wahroonga; Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Ecumenical Choir, which holds an annual performance of Handel'sMessiah; Carols at Asquith Oval donates its proceeds each year; Hornsby RSL Club; Asquith Magpies; Bendigo Bank; Bank of Queensland; Hornsby Lions Club; and Soroptimist International.

The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women's Shelter had an amazing success rate. Within 72 hours of arriving at the shelter, 97 per cent of clients receive a tailored case plan, and 82 per cent were successfully housed in accommodation after their stay. The board of directors is headed up by the amazing Sallianne McClelland. Recently I named her the 2018 Hornsby Woman of the Year recently because of her incredible work and determination to see the success of our community shelter. As well as being involved in the running of the shelter, her Apron Project has raised a massive $40,000. The Apron Project sees artists design and paint aprons which are auctioned off. It is an extremely popular fundraiser that the Hornsby community looks forward to every year. This is just one of the many fundraisers spearheaded by this amazing woman. Vice President Stafford Hamilton, Treasurer Lianne Bolton and Secretary Deborah Harrigan assist Sallianne on the board. Those wonderful people spend many hours ensuring that the women's shelter is run efficiently and successfully. Louise McCann, Kiki Paul, Heidi Tamlyn, Anne Sheehan, Carmel Aitken and hardworking Hornsby Councillor Nathan Tilbury serve as current board members.

Recently the shelter opened a transitional home which allows clients to have somewhere to go once their three months with the shelter comes to an end. This home was completely set up using donations from the community and local business groups. The shelter has also set up an outreach program to continue to monitor clients once they have left the centre. They also provide support at Hornsby Court every Tuesday to assist women in domestic violence situations. Many of these initiatives have been overseen by Hylette Evans, who has recently taken over as shelter manager. She worked as a caseworker on the first shift when the centre opened in February 2015. Her dedication to the shelter and these women is without question. To celebrate their amazing work over the past three years they celebrated their birthday with an Aussie Rock night, run by Ian Westmoreland. The sell‑out crowd was entertained by local band Ministry of Rock. The band is fronted by Hornsby general practitioner Geoff Darvas and supported by Andy Day, Nic Brown, James Noble, Paul Colley, Col Blair, Stu Abbott and Stu Pringle.

I was pleased to hear of plans for a massive fundraising event this year organised by local Kim Warwick, which will include top Australian tennis players. I thank all the board members, patrons, volunteers, shelter staff and the Hornsby community for supporting this amazing and important organisation. I congratulate them on reaching three successful years in operation and I thank them on behalf of the hundreds of women who have taken advantage of their wonderful service.