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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 February 2022) . . Page.. 24 ..


The request for additional lighting at Waramanga Ovals has been noted and will be considered for future upgrade programs, in light of competing priorities.

Thank you for raising this matter. I trust this information is of assistance.

Motion to take note of petitions

MADAM SPEAKER: Pursuant to standing order 98A, I propose the question:

That the petitions and responses so lodged be noted.

Auslan—petition 33-21

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.14): It is my pleasure to rise to speak to the petition that was lodged today to improve the rights of deaf Canberrans by creating better access to Australian sign language in our community. Australian sign language, known as Auslan, is an essential method of communication for the deaf community. Our deaf community in the ACT is a diverse, vibrant group of people who have a shared experience and culture that is centred around Auslan as a shared language. Inclusion in our broader Canberra community has been a constant struggle for deaf Canberrans, with the lack of access to services and information in Auslan a key barrier in their day-to-day life.

In recent years, Canberrans, and Australians more generally, have been reminded of the importance of Auslan. Auslan interpreters have been more visible to us in the media in response to natural disasters, whether it has been bushfire seasons or throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as just a couple of examples. In the ACT in particular we have often struggled to source enough qualified Auslan interpreters. For example, during the black summer bushfires this really disadvantaged deaf Canberrans during these difficult times because they lacked access to information.

Whilst the situation has improved a bit during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still occasions when government ministers have had to have media conferences without Auslan interpreters due to the limited number of qualified interpreters available. I appreciate and acknowledge that this is not necessarily due to a lack of will from the government; it is about the availability of interpreters. Whatever the background reason is, the issue remains that deaf Canberrans are disadvantaged and desperately seek improvements to enable them to have access to everyday information that the rest of us take for granted.

The lack of interpreters is just one obvious example but by no means the only obstacle. This petition today, which has gained enough signatures to go to a committee, hopes that a committee will look at the consequences of the lack of services and information in Auslan. I would really like to acknowledge the determination and, in fact, the bravery of many Canberra deaf community members in working on this petition and ensuring the gathering of signatures. I imagine it is difficult for deaf Canberrans to have to talk about the barriers they face time and again. But they will, if there is to be an inquiry by a committee in this place. They will because, as with many other difficult systemic issues in our community, they know that only by standing up and


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