Page 2901 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022
In 2011, she rescued a fellow venturer from drowning, receiving a meritorious medal from the Chief Scout for her heroics. Following her passing, Brontë donated her organs to those in need, saving the lives of a further four individuals. Brontë embodied the sense of community, generosity and love that we as the Canberran community cherish and strive for.
I have already written to the planning and city services ministers about this issue, and I understand that under the current protocol, memorial infrastructure needs to be for notable Canberrans who can reflect the spirit of Australians and of Canberra. Sadly, the application for a memorial bench has thus far been declined.
While Brontë was young, she lived a full and purposeful life and, more importantly, she represents hundreds of young Australians gone too soon in tragic circumstances. A memorial to her would be also one to them.
The government has previously rejected installing the bench, but based on Brontë’s incredible service to the community, even after her passing, I believe this rejection lacks merit. I urge the government to reconsider the installation of this bench as a memorial of her—a memorial of life lost too soon, a sentiment that is unfortunately not uncommon and one that regrettably connects our community in many ways. I mention as well that Janine and Peter have offered to bear the full cost of the installation of this bench and they propose it to be made of recyclable material. (Extension of time granted.)
While unfortunately only 234 of these signatures are in order and can therefore be lodged, I would like the Assembly to take note that approximately 600 people wanted the opportunity for Brontë to have her memorial bench. I am very, very confident that if we polled the community, particularly in West Belconnen, there would be almost unanimous support for this installation.
Shepherds Lookout has become a destination known around the country and is greatly appreciated by non-ACT residents as well. It is a place to visit in the territory. I do urge the government to reconsider this bench as it is a reminder and a reflection of the unsung community contributions that make Canberra the special place it is. This bench proposed at Shepherds Lookout would serve as a memorial of a deeply loved and missed person and as a reminder of lives lost too soon. Further, the bench’s addition would be of major benefit to the wider community, a place for locals or people from far away to rest, relax and reflect, while absorbing the majestic countryside Canberra has to offer.
Supported by almost 600 Canberrans and residents from the surrounds, I call on the government to install a bench in honour of Brontë Haskins at Shepherds Lookout. Again, the cost would be borne by the parents. I urge the government to consider the life and legacy of not just Brontë but of unsung contributions that make our community all the richer. A memorial bench at Shepherds Lookout in memory of Brontë is something I believe the ACT community, as I have said, would strongly support. It would be a tribute to her and her family, and a reminder that even those challenged by mental health and harmful substances can find solace and hope for a better life.