Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2994..
MS PORTER (continuing):
there with their parents, as does my stepson. It is a wonderful place for families and for community. I would like to wish Belconnen a very happy birthday.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (5.50): I would echo Ms Porter's happy birthday message for Belconnen. In fact, I was in Canberra when Doug Anthony took that step back in 1966—perhaps a bit more about that shortly.
I do not want to take particular umbrage at anything Ms Porter said. She is a very positive member who does a great lot of work in the electorate of Belconnen. I certainly admire her for that, but I will just correct her on one point. She said that Prime Minister Menzies was a great advocate for the development of Canberra, unlike the present Prime Minister. Bob Menzies certainly was a great advocate for Canberra. Indeed, I think we owe a lot to him for the growth of the city. But I think it is a bit churlish to say "unlike the present Prime Minister". In recent times, he has been behind great projects such as the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Australia. In the last federal budget there were about an extra 7,000 federal public servants coming into Canberra. That will help our city immensely.
Getting back to Belconnen, it certainly has grown a lot since 1966. I can recall going to parties in Aranda, then a very new suburb, when I was still at school in about 1969 and in the early days when I was at university in 1970-71. I also recall, as a year 12 student, working on the Canberra College of Advanced Education. Indeed, in a way I suppose I am one of the foundation members, having dug some foundations and levelled off the floor area of building No 1 there. I certainly go back quite a long way with the area. I was delighted to have moved there in 1994. I lived in Flynn. I have lived in Macgregor—indeed, opposite Ms Porter's stepson—for 111/2 years. You will probably have to take Shirley and me out of the place in a box.
It is a great place to live. I am pleased to have seen some good developments there. It concerns me, and it has since I have had the honour of representing Ginninderra, that in many ways Belconnen is often regarded as the ugly duckling or the poor cousin of other, more glamorous areas of Canberra—even, dare I say it, Tuggeranong. For those reasons, I have always been keen to push for and support any measures that will assist the Belconnen region. I was delighted to see such measures as a theatre at the community centre. There was not a huge amount of money spent there. I think it was $200,000. I was delighted to be able to put that in a budget in 1997 or 1998. There was the saga of the old Belconnen swimming pool, which finally came to fruition in 2000 or 2001. That is a magnificent addition to Belconnen.
I urge the current government to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is kept up. My colleague Mrs Dunne—and I am not going to steal her thunder—will talk about one thing the government certainly is not doing. That is in relation to school closures. I am not going to delve into that in the short time available to me in this speech. She will most eloquently, I am sure, point out some of the problems there. But it is important to ensure that the infrastructure is kept up.
One other matter I would urge the government on is sporting grounds. I have been concerned to see the number of grounds just let go. I drive past Fraser primary school oval, for example. That is one of the low maintenance ovals that we brought back to full maintenance in the late nineties under a very innovative plan. That was one of the first