Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 November 2006) . . Page.. 3538 ..
The social capital of the electorate that I represent is centred on preschools and primary schools. Preschools are where people often get their first experience of community involvement and participating in organisations. Parents associations, parents and friends associations and parents and citizens associations are often the stepping-off point for people to become involved in the wider community, and often in politics.
But what this government is going to do is gut my electorate and the schools in my electorate and grind down years of built-up social capital in schools like Giralang, Flynn and Cook. This government is going to tell those people that their efforts are not worth it—and those people, with that experience, will be very, very unlikely, when they go to new schools, to participate as fully and as actively as they did in the school that they built up, often with the sweat of their own brow, sweating over sausage sizzles or fixing up the gardens and all of those sorts of things. They will not be prepared to do this and we will lose half a generation of people actively involved in their school community because they will not want to take it on again.
I would like to pay tribute to the people of Belconnen and I would like to wish all the residents of Belconnen, past and present, congratulations on their 40th birthday. But I also want to encourage them to not be downhearted when they are treated so badly by the Stanhope government and to not flinch in their opposition to the Stanhope government and its muddle-headed policies—the wrong policies on hospital pay parking, the wrong policies on school closures, and the added bonus from the Stanhope government for people in my electorate of rises in rates, taxes and charges this year of 36 per cent, 39 per cent, 31 per cent, suburb on suburb. Some of the poorest people in this town are being given a birthday present by the Stanhope government of more taxes and charges. So I say happy birthday to Belconnen, but I am not entirely sure what the Stanhope government would say to the people of Belconnen.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra–Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts) (3.51): As a representative of the people of Belconnen in this place for some years now, it is a great pleasure and, of course, a privilege for me to stand and support a motion to celebrate the 40th birthday of Belconnen. There was a very successful celebration over the last weekend through a festival organised by the people of Belconnen, led by the Belconnen Community Service and the Belconnen Community Council, and a range of other very committed Belconnen residents and Canberrans.
I am a long-time resident of Belconnen. I moved to Belconnen in 1974, 32 years ago, so I have lived there essentially all my adult life. My children, whilst not born in the electorate, were brought home to the electorate, attended school and got their first jobs there. Two of them attended university in Belconnen at the University of Canberra. It remains my home and at this stage it is where my wife and I intend to end our days. I note with pleasure that Hall is within my electorate and I intend to be buried in its cemetery. Such is my lifetime commitment, not just to Canberra but, indeed, to Belconnen and to the electorate.