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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 465..


Senior citizens

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald, Mr Mulcahy, Ms Porter, Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Porter be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of recognising the particular needs of senior citizens and the special role they play in the ACT community.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.35): I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this matter of public importance during National Seniors Week. Along with a number of my Assembly colleagues, I attended yesterday morning's Chief Minister's breakfast at Ainslie Football Club. This is now an annual event, which is attended by hundreds of Canberra senior citizens, and yesterday morning's guest speaker was the ACT Senior Australian of the Year, the inspirational Dr Kaye Price. Later in the morning, I again joined other colleagues from this place and the Chief Minister to celebrate the announcement of the 2007 Canberra Citizen of the Year, editor-at-large of the Canberra Times, Jack Waterford.

This ceremony also celebrated the contribution that has been made by almost 300 Canberrans who have lived in this great city for over 50 years. In recognition of that contribution, each was presented with the Chief Minister's Canberra Gold certificate. At the ceremony the Chief Minister said:

Few people have the opportunity in their lifetime to watch a city emerge from infancy to maturity, to see a place grow from being a big country town to being one of the world's most beautiful capital cities. And not just to witness this progress, but to play a part in it, to put their own handprint on a city's character.

When the Canberra Gold Awards were launched by the Chief Minister in 2005, we were all surprised at how many people now can truly be called Canberrans. Already more than 1,600 Canberrans have received a Canberra Gold Award, and to be there yesterday morning and to have the opportunity to congratulate many of the recipients and to hear their stories was truly inspirational.

Every one of the Gold Award recipients has a great story to tell about how they came to Canberra and how they helped to make Canberra a great place to live. One such recipient is Mr Frank De Marco, who is a neighbour of mine in Hawker. Mr De Marco came to Canberra with his family from his native Italy as a nine-year-old in the mid-1950s. That was about the time I came to Australia. In 1966, Mr De Marco and his elder brother Dominic opened the first supermarket in Lyons. Ten years later they opened the Charnwood supermarket.

Shortly after Mr De Marco arrived in Canberra to join their father, who had settled here a couple of years earlier, their father tragically died, leaving Mrs De Marco to raise Frank, Dominic, their three sisters and a newly born younger brother, Tony, on


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