Page 2172 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 3 August 2021

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Most of you will remember that this was the first motion I moved in the Assembly, in February this year. It called on the ACT government to support the establishment of a community council for the Molonglo Valley. I moved the motion following requests from passionate and inspired community residents. These individuals were already leading change and building a strong sense of community in Molonglo. They recognised that the area had unique needs, distinct from other areas across Canberra, and needed its own level of representation.

Molonglo Valley is the ACT’s newest greenfield development and fastest growing suburban area. Residents of Molonglo Valley sought positive, constructive solutions and worked with me, as an elected representative, and the ACT government to work out how to best represent and benefit their community now and into the future. I am so pleased to have been part of this journey, to date. I look forward to continuing to support this group and the community as they begin to evolve.

The establishment of the Molonglo Valley Community Council is a great example of democracy in action. Community members came forward and presented an idea to government; tripartisan support was provided; and the community, ACT government staff and elected members here in the Assembly worked hard, and worked together, to make it happen. Examples like this demonstrate the difference and impact members of our community can have in helping to shape their future and that of their friends, relatives and neighbourhoods. I want all members of the ACT community to never underestimate the power and opportunity they have as democratic citizens by working collaboratively and constructively with elected members and the ACT government.

Across the ACT, community councils are a great way for residents to get involved in what is happening in their area and to advocate to government to shape positive future outcomes. Across the ACT there are now eight community councils. These groups operate as non-political, not-for-profit organisations, representing a broad range of interests and the needs of their community.

The community councils often feed back to the ACT government on issues affecting planning, traffic and transport, community safety and the environment, amongst other matters. Most community councils meet monthly to discuss matters important to them and receive presentations on specific areas and topics of relevance. The meetings are open to all residents, and anyone can participate by attending meetings, staying up to date and providing comment and input though Facebook pages, websites, newsletters and other communication channels.

The more diverse the range of community members participating in community councils, the stronger the outcome that can be achieved and the more they reflect the diversity of our communities. In establishing the Molonglo Valley Community Council, the ACT government has sought to ensure diverse membership that is reflective and inclusive of the area’s broad population and demographics by encouraging the council to explore innovative engagement methods.

I have seen this already occurring. I commend the group, in its less formal role as the Molonglo Valley Community Forum, for engaging with students at the local school to

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