Page 2902 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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Again, I want to thank Janine and Peter for entrusting me with telling this story and for their own courage in coming out publicly with Brontë’s story. It is a great honour for me to be a part of that.

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) (10.09): I want to rise in support of this petition and to thank Mr Cain and of course Brontë’s family for bringing this, and I acknowledge what is perhaps an error in the approach of the current small memorials policy. Could I also acknowledge, Madam Speaker, the presence of Brontë’s family here today. And to echo Mr Cain’s words regarding their courage and just how much they have shone a light, not only on Brontë’s legacy and her contribution but also what this means going forward for other Canberrans and to hopefully effect change more broadly, including with our justice system. Thank you for continuing this deeply hard work on behalf of so many, but of course, on Brontë’s behalf as well.

We do have the small memorials policy in our ACT forests and reserves. As Mr Cain outlined there is a scope, which is not unusual for these types of things, which flags that requests will be considered for small memorials that commemorate an outstanding contribution by a person, group, or organisation, to the ACT, the ACT government, a particular area of land or an event of historical significance to that area of land. If we take a step back here, Brontë’s contribution, and that of her family, is something that is extraordinary, not just in the contribution that Brontë made to her family and to her friends, to animals that she loved so dearly and cared for, but particularly what I spoke of earlier, Madam Speaker, her legacy. There is something really quite extraordinary that has come from this absolute tragedy. I acknowledge there has been such strong support for the community and a real rallying around the last two and a half years since the tragic death of Brontë and that there is change as a result of this. Shepherds Lookout, as Mr Cain flagged, is a special place. I know it is special for all members of Belconnen and indeed all community members of Belconnen. It really is that place to just be and to reflect. I think this would be a very fitting memorial, a very fitting way to recognise Brontë and her legacy and the tireless efforts of her family.

I certainly wholeheartedly support the petition and urge those responsible for the policy to perhaps take another look at this. I do think it would be a very fitting part of remembering Brontë, but also to provide that support for people who are there at that space, whether they knew Brontë or they did not. I think everyone deserves to understand her legacy and what this means for Canberrans. A simple bench, supported by Brontë’s family, is a small way that we can do that.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.13): I wanted to express again my condolences to Janine and Peter and friends of Brontë. I wanted to apologise for not getting back in touch with Janine and Peter about this bench and the memorial to Brontë. I hope you will accept my apology. I am very sorry.

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