Page 3748 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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Given that this work has significant implications for our precious Namadgi National Park, we particularly thank them for this work.

The ACT Environmentalist of the Year is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution. This year, the award was won by the indominable Jean Casburn. Jean has been doing incredible work supporting and championing the citizen science that has highlighted the importance of Bluett’s Block in relation to ecosystems and important species. She was recognised for her extensive efforts to protect Bluett’s Block from expanding urbanisation and her tireless work to publicise its conservation value within the ACT and beyond.

We are indebted to the work of local conservationists, environmentalists and environmental volunteers. I know that all members of the Assembly will join me in congratulating these wonderful contributors to our local biodiversity, and the thousands of other Canberrans who are committed to preserving our ecosystems, our species and our natural resources. As Margaret Meed noted many, many years ago:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

—and, in this case, continues to.

Multicultural affairs—events

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (5.48): It is always delightful to get around to our various multicultural groups. It has been my delight over the last four to six weeks to get around to so many varied gatherings. We have had the season of Diwali and it was a great pleasure to be able to attend three different versions of this—one sponsored by the ACT government in the building next door; one for University of Canberra students, with some rough lessons on Bollywood dancing undertaken by me and other MLAs who were in attendance; and then one with the Nepalese community, who have their own version of Diwali, which exhibits joyful dancing, including gathering strangers up from the crowd to join in.

It is the beginning of our Christmas season as well. Probably the earliest Christmas carol service I attended was just under two weeks ago, with the Indian Orthodox Church, which met at Canberra Grammar. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises I got was attending the Anglo-Indian Association ball. I know some of my colleagues here in this room were there. I would never have thought to attend a multicultural event where the dance of choice was rock and roll, which seemed to go on right throughout the evening.

As members are perhaps aware, I have a son-in-law with Keralan heritage—that is, from the southern Indian state of Kerala. I was able to attend a Kerala Piravi celebration of the founding of Kerala state in November 1956, with the Canberra Malayalees Association.

Then there was another food fest, with the Indian Food Festival down across the other side of the lake, hosted by St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church. It was also a delight to attend, again with several MLAs from this Assembly, the Hindu Temple and

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