HEARTKIDS SA

Tuesday 17 March, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (15:36): Today I rise to talk about HeartKids South Australia, particularly to welcome the new general manager of the organisation, to draw upon an event that I recently supported, and to talk about the organisation and the organiser of this most recent function. Deputy Speaker, I believe you and also our leader, Steven Marshall, the member for Dunstan, were present at a recent HeartKids South Australia engagement, a fundraiser at the Marche Club in Paradise in the City of Campbelltown on 7 March. It was a wonderful evening.

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (15:36): Today I rise to talk about HeartKids South Australia, particularly to welcome the new general manager of the organisation, to draw upon an event that I recently supported, and to talk about the organisation and the organiser of this most recent function. Deputy Speaker, I believe you and also our leader, Steven Marshall, the member for Dunstan, were present at a recent HeartKids South Australia engagement, a fundraiser at the Marche Club in Paradise in the City of Campbelltown on 7 March. It was a wonderful evening.

It was a full event and it was all in aid of HeartKids South Australia. I welcome Jonathan Robran who is the new general manager for HeartKids in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Jonathon Robran is a fantastic man and a man who has the best interests of the community at heart. I think he recently left his role with Operation Flinders, I believe before HeartKids. He is a wonderful gentleman and I thank him for his contribution that night and I look forward to seeing the progress of HeartKids through his wonderful initiatives.

In terms of HeartKids and what it stands for, around 30 years ago it was borne out of the passion of a few families who had experienced the kaleidoscope of emotions associated with having a child with congenital heart disease. In the years on from that, HeartKids offices were established in various states in Australia, with management and a team of family support coordinators able to support families who were backed by a board and a group of committed volunteers.

In 2004, 16 delegates at their annual conference unanimously supported a proposal that an alliance of state associations be created to form an Australian HeartKids group. An interim board was established and that progressed. There were some recent developments: in June 2007, there was an appointment of a new full-time chief executive officer; in 2007 a part-time chief executive officer was appointed and this person was contracted to fulfil both HeartKids Australia and HeartKids state organisations' work.

At the 2007 national conference, the HeartKids mission, vision and core focus were confirmed and it was agreed that the organisation should review its governance structure to allow for a mix of representational and skill-based directors—and here we are. HeartKids SA was formally constituted in 1988 by key families who met and thought there was a better way to support families navigating through child heart disease issues. Today I am told that HeartKids SA supports more than 777 families across South Australia and the Northern Territory. At a glance, in the last financial year HeartKids has 721 active children with CHD in SA and NT, with 777 HeartKids families.

There is said to be over 7,500 supporters of HeartKids SA/NT and 122 new family members joined HeartKids SA/NT, including 27 from the Northern Territory. They have also supported more than 300 families in South Australia and the Northern Territory in the last financial year. It is a fantastic organisation, and I was happy to attend this function—a function which Ada Sestili has led.

Ada Sestili has led these functions for several years, and I am happy to have supported them as Liberal candidate for Hartley and now as the member for Hartley. I wanted to also pay tribute to Ada Sestili. Ada is the founder and managing director of Direct Care Australia, a dedicated disability care and aged care provider.

Let me just say that Ada has a heart of gold; she is a wonderful lady, and she always has the community and its best interests at heart. I thank Ada for putting her hand in her pocket time and time again, and putting all her energy and resources into this annual event. She does not have to do so, but she has felt so touched by the people and parents who have had this heart disease in their family that she decided she wanted to make a difference.

I am absolutely proud and honoured to be able to keep supporting her. I know that everyone there on the night—the Deputy Speaker would agree—had a wonderful evening, and much needed funds were raised for a wonderful cause. I commend the grievance to the house.