THE MOST WUTHERING HEIGHTS DAY EVER TO HELP OUR HOMELESS

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:54): Saturday, a week ago, there was a great event organised in Wollongong by one of our tremendous local organisations, Circus WOW. With Gabrielle Quigley and Libby Bloxham, Circus WOW organised locally a flash mob dance to Kate Bush's very popular 1970s song 'Wuthering Heights'. The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever event is held in cities around the world, with people coming together for good purpose to flash mob dance to Kate Bush's song.

If any colleagues remember that, it's a fairly free-flowing dance. I was really pleased to go along and support them, because they were raising funds for Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra, SAHSSI. I did reflect to those present on the day that my dancing coordination skills have not been tested for some period of time, so I didn't hold out any great hope that I'd be a real asset to the performance but I was willing to put my heart into it. I was very pleased to be joined by my state parliamentary colleague Paul Scully, the member for Wollongong. I won't say that I brought him along to make me look better, but we were both there with good intent! We were joined by a much more dance-talented colleague, Councillor Tania Brown from Wollongong City Council, and many other people—members of Circus WOW, friends and so forth—all dressed in red, to do the flash-mob dance and to raise money for the really important work of our local homelessness services.

The Illawarra Mercury reported only recently, in May, that the IRT Foundation, Wollongong Homeless Hub and Wollongong City Council had come together to do a study on the numbers of homeless people in our city. My community, like so many communities across our country, really does have an issue with people who are homeless or have unreliable housing. On the night the survey was done, they found more than 60 people sleeping rough. That's obviously pretty dramatic in the winter months. That's a lot of people with nowhere to go except the street. I thank the volunteers from the IRT Foundation and Wollongong Homeless Hub who carried out that survey. It is really important that we all have an understanding of how homelessness is affecting our community. I call on the government, post-election now, to look very closely at the fact that we need to do far more to address homelessness for those most vulnerable people, including many families.

Watch Sharon’s speech here.