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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (29 May) . . Page.. 1058..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

supply for another 20 years, might not be equal to the ferocity of the enduring drought and that recycling must be considered as a real option. In recent months, he travelled abroad to learn how others had managed the technical challenges of recycling used water and how their communities had reacted.

The death of Aspi Baria devastated the close-knit Actew team. There is no kinder way of putting it. In the midst of the toughest debate in the organisation's history, the man who, more than any other, had the gift for straightforward communication and a gently receptive heart was caught up in a calamity from which he did not emerge. A fishing trip, one of the few relaxations Aspi scheduled into his busy work and precious family life, turned to tragedy. A freak wave and a capsized boat; an anguished swim ashore. It appears that Aspi's heart, badly damaged by a cardiac arrest a decade ago, was unequal to this particular challenge involving water.

On the day of Aspi's funeral it rained—a month's worth of rain in a day. The mourners spilled out of the chapel and stood beneath umbrellas, listening to the unfamiliar sound of raindrops. One of the ushers handing out the program for the service glanced at the long lines of men and women still arriving at the chapel long after every pew had been filled. "He must have been a popular man,"she said. He was, and his death will be felt not just among his colleagues and among those on both sides of this chamber who valued his companionship, his wise counsel and his plain speaking, but in the community more generally.

I convey the deepest condolences of the ACT government to Aspi Baria's wife, Pauline, their daughter, Frena, and all of those who have worked with and befriended this most gentle and most warm of human beings.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition): I too rise to pay respectful homage to Aspi Baria. Aspi was born in Kenya in Africa. He was a Parsee Indian and he lived in Mombasa with the Parsee community. He was educated in the United Kingdom before he came out to Australia, and he also spent some time in Papua New Guinea with his family. He was very proud of his heritage, and he was also very proud of his Australian citizenship. As much as anything else, he was an absolutely fine example of the quality of people we have got from overseas. Aspi was a great Australian and a great Canberran, and he contributed mightily to his community.

Aspi was a chartered chemist when he started with the Actew Corporation back in 1989; he became a technical specialist. His main responsibilities were the management of the operation and maintenance of Actew Corporation's water and waste water business—also water planning, regulatory matters, the capital works expenditure program, and licensing and compliance matters: a pretty tough task for any one individual.

Aspi's dedication and expertise were largely responsible for delivering to the people of Canberra the quality of water that we have come to accept as part of our daily life in the territory. But his dedication to his role with the Actew Corporation meant that he had to make some pretty tough decisions in relation to water management—decisions he knew his much-loved Canberra community would not like, but decisions that he knew he had to make for the long-term good of Canberra. Indeed, the


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