Page 1628 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022

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fashion, and a few intimidating dalek robots, a la Doctor Who, who went around saying, “Exterminate! Exterminate1”

It was great to see so many committed and passionate volunteers—those with COTA ACT and many other organisations as well. Some of my Assembly colleagues were there on the day, at various stalls, and many organisations were represented. There were representatives of some of Canberra’s most important volunteering community organisations, including Rotary, the Men’s Shed, St John Ambulance, the Red Cross, the ACT Deafness Resource Centre, the Heart Foundation, the Cancer Council and Meridian ACT. The list went on and on. ArtSound FM were there as well. There were hundreds of stalls.

We had presentations showcasing electric vehicles. There were medical, financial and legal services available, an impressive vintage car display, and wonderful performances by local music groups. I also note that the Canberra Ornithologists Group had a stall there, featuring our friend Mr Hermes, who used to work in this building. I also enjoyed chatting with members of the Canberra Model Railway Club, which is a very welcoming organisation that provides a space for ACT residents to enjoy a hobby—model railways—and socialise.

Our older Canberrans have faced many challenges over the past couple of years, with the health concerns and isolation difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the rising cost of living pressures that they are facing. But the atmosphere and enthusiasm felt at the Silver is Gold Festival, after it had been cancelled for the previous two years, reminded me of the strength and resilience of our senior community.

I would like to thank COTA ACT for all that they do in their advocacy and support for our senior Canberrans and for organising last Thursday’s seniors festival—the staff of COTA ACT, the board members and their many volunteers. It is a huge undertaking to put on this expo from which, as I said, thousands and thousands of older Canberrans benefit. I congratulate them on what was a great atmosphere. It was buzzing, and there were so many great conversations to be had.

I look forward to attending future Silver is Gold festivals. I say to every volunteer from every community organisation and business that was there, and to the sponsors, which include LDK at Greenway: thank you for your support and your continued commitment to improving the lives of older Canberrans.

Small business—Rotary initiative

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (4.56): I want to speak briefly tonight to congratulate the Rotary Club of Belconnen and the Rotary Club of Canberra Weston Creek on the establishment of their fantastic initiative, the Rotary Small Business Breakfast series, which I was very pleased to get along to and launch last Wednesday.

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