Wednesday 21 November 2007


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I would like to note an incident of great philanthropic generosity.  Unlike places like the United States where philanthropy is a long tradition, a small State like ours does not see many cases of big public donations.  However, the Launceston-based, family-owned building company, Vos Construction & Joinery has donated $500 000 to local charities to mark the company's fiftieth anniversary. 

My electorate of Rosevears is an extraordinarily generous community.  Grindelwald is the hub and, as people might recall, it was the vision of immigrant retailer, Rolf Vos, to build a Swiss village in Tasmania.  Rolf and the family company established the Vos Foundation and what people have not realised is that Rolf and then his family have donated to the community for most of 50 years, very humble and very low-key.  In this support for community the St Giles Society has received $350 000 and the Launceston City Mission and the Clifford Craig Medical Research Trust, $50 000 each.  There is also money for undergraduate scholarships for the University of Tasmania's architecture school. 

Those gifts were announced by the Chairman of Vos Construction and Joinery, Michael Vos at a dinner in my electorate to mark 50 years of building.  Gifts of that size, Mr President, as compared to sponsorship deals, are not seen often in Tasmania.  I might point out, the Vos family has been a big sponsor of St Giles for most of that 50 years.

Some years ago the Vos family encouraged the building and business community in Hobart to build the Home on the Hill.  You might remember that, Mr Leader.  It was at Tolmans Hill and it was auctioned to help raise money to build a respite centre in Kingston for St Giles.  In 1999 the Vos company was involved in a respite centre in McKellar Road and there will be a third children's respite centre built at St Giles - the only three children's respite centres in Tasmania. 

Michael Vos has been a director of St Giles, as have other members of the family.  Their donations, as I have mentioned, have always been low-key with very few strings attached.  Michael Setori from St Giles has expressed his profound appreciation of the Vos Foundation support and suggests that it sets a very exemplary philanthropic example to the rest of Australia.  I know that Michael Setori was recently hosting some visitors from America, of course, which is very philanthropic and could not quite believe the support that St Giles received, particularly from the Vos family.

I just wanted to put on record my thanks on behalf of the community to the Vos Foundation.