Page 809 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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LGBTIQA+ community—Capital Queers

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (6.23): I would like to share with the Assembly tonight my appreciation for the work done by Doug, Rod and their volunteer crew at Capital Queers for the past 13 years. Capital Queers have organised not-for-profit community floats in Sydney’s Mardi Gras 11 times, providing opportunities for more than 800 members of Canberra’s LGBTIQA+ community to participate, including our own Chief Minister, as well as my fellow #DavoCaucus member of the ACT Greens, Johnathan Davis, who has been participating for the entire time that Capital Queers have been doing this fabulous work.

Doug and Rod have done the planning, fundraising, costume creation, choreography, organisation of rehearsals, setting up of the ute, managing the chaos on the night, and cleaning up afterwards. This work is exhausting. As the ACT minister responsible for volunteers, as someone who has been volunteering regularly with many groups for most of my life, and as someone who believes in radical love, I know why Doug and Rod do this work. They do it because they love and support the LGBTIQA+ community in Canberra.

Let us never forget that Mardi Gras began as a protest, and there is still work for us to do to create communities that are truly inclusive of the beautiful diversity of genders and sexualities. We have seen some great progress this month here in the ACT, with the introduction of nation-leading legislation to ensure intersex people can make their own decisions about their own bodies. We also strengthened the ACT’s anti-discrimination laws, and we saw a great turnout from the LGBTIQA+ community and their allies in support of trans and intersex people’s rights at Parliament House.

I am committed, and I know my ACT Greens colleagues are also committed, to continuing to make Canberra the most inclusive, kind and caring city we can be, including for our LGBTIQA+ community members.

When I was invited to march with Capital Queers at Mardi Gras last month, I did not know that my first-ever experience of Mardi Gras was also going to be Doug and Rod’s last year organising the Capital Queers float. It was a truly amazing experience, and I am so thankful to them for the honour of being able to participate alongside a welcoming, fun crew with some really great dance moves.

Thank you to Capital Queers, and I look forward to seeing a new generation of LGBTIQA+ Canberrans organising not-for-profit community Mardi Gras floats in future. Love wins.

Planning—ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (6.26): I would like to speak briefly about a particular aspect of the current planning reform. As many Canberrans are aware, the government’s rather self-congratulatory and self-serving planning system review is in full swing, and feedback I am receiving indicates what a mess it is in.

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