Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 15, 2023



The Hon. F. PANGALLO (15:39): 'Thank God for the Salvos': it is a brilliant catchcry for the Salvation Army and all the outstanding work it does. But today I am going to say, 'Thank heavens for Anglicare South Australia,' and pay my respects to the incredible work this exceptional charity does for the community day in, day out, every day of the year.

From its humble beginnings more than 160 years ago, AnglicareSA has made an enviable reputation, supporting South Australians in need with one goal in mind: to transform their lives for the better. With more than 2,000 hardworking staff and 300 dedicated volunteers, the organisation supports more than 55,000 vulnerable, in need South Australians each year; not that you would know it, given its humble and modest nature.

Today, I want to share just one story of the 55,000 people Anglicare South Australia supports each year. My office has been assisting a South Australian Housing Authority tenant in Parkside over the past year who is facing eviction for failing to keep her property in a clean and tenantable state. This is a very complex matter involving a long-term PTSD sufferer, which has led to a severe psychological condition that has manifested into an extreme hoarding disorder, which is significantly impeding her quality of life.

Hoarding, or what SA Health refers to as 'severe domestic squalor', is not a matter of laziness or an unreasonable unwillingness to throw things out: it is a debilitating and emotionally constraining disease, with the sufferer having a complete inability to cure themselves or, if forced to, does so with significant stress and emotion. This woman—and I will not name her to save her the ignominy—lives a lonely life in squalor. Such is her condition and the mountainous piles of belongings she keeps, there is no place in her two-bedroom apartment to lie down and sleep.

She does not have any family to help her with her dilemma. She does, however, continue to receive some wonderful support from her support person at SA Housing, a psychologist and a former work colleague, but they alone cannot physically help the woman undertake the decluttering of her townhouse that needs to occur to appease the authorities, such is the volume of the material that needs to be removed.

Enter AnglicareSA, who I approached for help prior to a hearing the woman was ordered to attend before SACAT. Together, we put together an action plan that involved removing a large volume of the woman's belongings from her property and storing it. This is a process being overseen by Dominic Gagliardi, Anglicare's executive general manager of social enterprise, and Paul Gent, its warehouse manager. It was a start, but there is still much work to be done.

The next stage is another commitment from AnglicareSA to store another 40 boxes of the woman's belongings. This will occur over the ensuing weeks in the hope that the woman's property will soon be returned to a state that satisfies the SA Housing Authority and she can get on living her life in a property she has called home for more than 20 years without the fear of eviction and confronting homelessness. All of this would not have been achieved without the outstanding work of AnglicareSA, but as Dominic says, that is what they do. For that, and from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you, and thank heavens for AnglicareSA.

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. H.M. Girolamo): I call on the Hon. Mira El Dannawi to deliver her first matter of interest.