A play date was held in the most important house in Australia to celebrate inclusive play.
The Hon. Craig Laundy and Emma Husar MP will launch the Parliamentary Friends of Inclusion in the mural hall with a play date.
The Parli Play Date is co-hosted by national charity, Touched by Olivia. Touched by Olivia’s mission is to ensure that every child had the right and ability to play in their local community. The event was sponsored by Stockland.
Inclusive playgrounds are specially designed children’s play areas where children of all abilities, irrespective of their challenges, be they physical or neurological, can play side-by-side with children of typical ability, in a secure area.
Craig Laundy is the member for Reid, the electorate that Touched by Olivia opened the first of their inclusive playspaces in.
“We hope we can make a contribution to ensuring all children and their families can be included, whether in school or the playground, or anywhere else.” Mr Laundy said.
“Today is an opportunity to hear firsthand experiences from those who have struggled to feel accepted by their peers.”
“We are inspired by their courage and resilience.”
Emma Husar, Member for Lindsay, co-chairs the Friends of Inclusion and is a long term supporter of Touched by Olivia.
“I am so proud to continue my long standing support of Touched By Olivia in Parliament.” Federal Member for Lindsay and co-chair of Parliamentary friends of inclusion said.
Husar’s involvement with the charity predates her time as even a Labor party member, having volunteered to be a community driver on the playground in Jordan Springs, over 8 years ago when her then, 3-year old son Mitch was an avid absconder.
“When I first told my son that I was going to be helping to build a playground for him and kids like him, he thought I was being literal and asked if he could also help. That he would dig the holes.”
“I am thrilled to be in a position that allows me to share with my colleagues the great work being done on inclusion for everyone. Side by side play with aged matched peers has two-way benefits.”
“When Labor was last in Government we provided vital funds for Touched By Olivia to hold a workshop here in Canberra, which I was part of. At that workshop we created a set of inclusive play design guidelines that would ultimately become world’s best practice. I am so proud of that legacy of this charity and their leadership to ensure all kids can play.”
The star of the day was Alex Coombes, who is a year 5 student. He spoke of his challenges and dreams and engaged a group of some of the best speech makers in our country.