Page 119 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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abroad who have dedicated their lives to improving the wellbeing of Mexicans and other Latinos.

Ohtli symbolises “path” or “road”—essentially providing a pathway for others. Victor is the first Canberran ever to have received the award, and he is in the company of the likes of Eva Longoria.

Victor, for those who do not know, first arrived in Canberra as a refugee from Chile in 1975 and, almost immediately, despite having come from incredibly difficult circumstances, he began the voluntary work that has become synonymous with his name, establishing the first Spanish language program on Community Radio 2XXFM, Coneccion Latinoamericano, or Latin American Connection. Victor has maintained his passion for this incredible service for more than 45 years. During that 45 years he also became the first Spanish-speaking justice of the peace. That was 42 years ago.

Victor was a founding member of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum and he continues to serve as an ACT Multicultural Honorary Ambassador with the ACT government. He has been instrumental in connecting Latin America to business, sports and cultural opportunities here in Canberra, including, of course, the National Multicultural Festival, and in providing significant diplomatic support.

I have barely scratched the surface of Victor’s contribution to Australian and Latin American communities and, of course, the Canberra community, and the deepening ties that he has helped to create between us. This is clearly worthy recognition, and I know that I and other members in this place are delighted that he has received such high recognition.

Melba—play spaces

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (5.16): I want to take a moment to mention the SMILE Melba petition. We saw the government response on that project come through earlier today. On 8 November last year a Legislative Assembly petition with 251 signatures, an alternative e-petition with 185 signatures and a regular paper petition with 95 signatures, totalling 531 all up, were tabled in the Assembly. Today we heard a response about those.

I am a bit disappointed that it is not being implemented by the government at the moment. That petition came to this Assembly from locals. It brought a really creative solution to a local problem. We have an under-utilised bit of land in Melba, next to the school. We have a real need for an all-abilities playground there. We have a lot of kids and parents who want this, and a lot of people who are really enthusiastic. There was a marvellous barbecue. There was a beautiful project design. There was a Facebook group. There were a lot of people talking on the radio about this. There was a real buzz about it.

It is important that we listen to the community when they bring these ideas to us. They know best what works well in their neighbourhoods. This proposal had such grassroots support and such visionary work behind it. Tim, Hector and the Belconnen

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