House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Constituency Statements

Bean Electorate: The Fred Hollows Foundation, Bean Electorate: National Threatened Species Day

10:31 am

Photo of David SmithDavid Smith (Bean, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I recently met with Ian Wishart, CEO, and Oliver White, head of government relations, at The Fred Hollows Foundation. The foundation's mission, to end avoidable blindness, is being actualised in more than 25 countries, including Australia's own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

In July I visited the foundation's groundbreaking clinic in the Solomon Islands, delivered in partnership with the Australian government. There I was profoundly moved by the 'patch off' moment, witnessing a patient see clearly for the first time post-surgery. This impactful visit reminded me that the remarkable generosity of my constituents in Bean is making a global difference. We have more than 5,000 donors here who have contributed a staggering $5.73 million to The Fred Hollows Foundation. This is more than financial support; it's a catalyst for transformative action. Just $25 can fund a life-changing eye surgery abroad, while here at home the foundation is making important strides in Indigenous eye health. Remarkably they've halved the rate of blindness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

The donations from Bean constituents are tangible acts of compassion, funding surgeries, providing antibiotics and supporting community health workers. Together we're realising Fred Hollows's vision of a world without avoidable blindness. To those generous donors in Bean, thank you for your steadfast support. Let's continue to drive change and uphold human dignity.

Last week we recognised National Threatened Species Day, marking 87 years since Australia's last Tasmanian tiger went extinct. Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. In the ACT and Bean, as part of our threatened species action plan, the Albanese government has worked diligently to protect threatened species such as the Canberra grassland earless dragon, the swift parrot and the eastern quoll. Last week, some in this chamber may have met some of my furry constituents who visited the House. Earlier this year I partnered with the Conservation Council ACT Region's Bush Buds program to promote local threatened species, where I chose the gang-gang cockatoo to be my bush bud.

We can all do our part to protect our threatened species—ensuring we are responsible cat owners, for example, or volunteering at a local community organisation. We should all be working together to do what we can in this place and outside this place to reverse these trends and end mass extinctions, like what happened with the Tasmanian tiger.