Page 875 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022

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Perhaps one of the most valuable initiatives of Sharon’s was her setting up the monthly cafe catch-ups at the Florey shops. They are humble, with Sharon providing a few chairs and tables, plenty of Neighbourhood Watch information and handy items, from newsletters and lights to, more recently, masks and sanitiser. They run for an hour, anyone can join, and groups range from intimate to large enough to have to pull up several extra chairs. People enjoy coffee from the nearby Oscar’s. Save for COVID, they have been held every month without fail and I have enjoyed getting along to as many as I can. They are a great way to share information about the community, to provide tips on how to look out for yourself and each other, and that vital community connection. It goes back to that very first meeting that was the instigation of the group: knowing your neighbours is a key part of helping to prevent and respond to crime.

Sharon has been a Westfield Local Hero finalist, in recognition of her efforts, and she became Neighbourhood Watch’s local area coordinator—and it is not hard to see why. Tonight marks a Belconnen region Neighbourhood Watch meeting, where Florey Neighbourhood Watch and its members will have a strong presence. However, save for the cafe catch-up next week, this is expected to be Sharon’s last formal event as convenor because she happens to be moving.

In just a few years Florey Neighbourhood Watch has grown into an organisation characterised by not just its neighbourliness but its effectiveness. I want to take this opportunity to put on the record my sincere thanks and appreciation for just how much Sharon has exemplified community leadership, as well as my thanks for her friendship. It is hard to imagine Florey without Sharon. There are very big shoes to fill. Thank you.

Active travel—e-bikes

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (5.08): This afternoon I would like to talk about some of my adventures on an e-bike in the last week. I have had an amazing week. It has been an amazing journey for me. I have previously had a pushbike, which I guess is nearly 20 years old now, and my experiences on that bike have really been limited to my fitness and my confidence, and also probably to the fact that I normally have had three little children, who are now bigger, riding along with me.

Coming into this Assembly, so much of our debate is around public transport and active travel, as exemplified by the motion this afternoon. I guess it has inspired me to understand more about active travel. I, like many other Canberrans, had never come across an e-bike before. I had no experience with an e-bike, but through this position I came to understand about the e-bike library. This is an initiative that is run by SEE-Change and Switched on Cycles and supported by the ACT government. You put your name down on a waiting list and then you wait your turn for a week to trial an e-bike. I probably put my name down about seven or eight months ago. My name came up and I was really excited to have a go.

Basically, you pick the bike up from Downer. I rode it down to the Assembly, which was quite a big deal for me. I could not have imagined riding that far but zoomed it.

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