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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4509 ..


We have worked together in this place to improve the situation for babies, mums and dads. We have got facilities in this building now that we did not have a couple of years ago. We have change tables, we have breastfeeding spaces with a lock on the door, which has been a bit of a fight, but I really credit the government for taking that seriously. Already this morning Liliana has been changed on the change table just around the corner in the public area. We have used our recently installed facilities and I am sure mums here at functions into the future will be very glad to have that space.

I am aware that there is a breastfeeding strategy that the ACT government ticked off in 2010. I am aware that there is an updating process going on. I am not sure why we did not update it earlier, but I do hope that we have been working on this issue over the time in between. So let us get the important work done.

I commend Ms Cheyne for the motion. I acknowledge the very hard work of breastfeeding advocates in the ACT. Members of the Breastfeeding Association are present today in the gallery.

I also want to say that when I was a new mum living in Ngunnawal with my first baby and with practically no idea what to do, I went to a few ABA meetings in someone’s house nearby and it really gave me the community that I needed to get started. I was not able to continue and be a long-term part of the daily organisation, but I certainly recommended the breastfeeding helpline to a few people to call because I think, to those who are uninitiated, breastfeeding is something that just happens. Any of us who have actually lived through it know that that is far from the case. It is a skill, it is a skill to be learned and for some people it is not even possible.

The ABA’s work in Australia has really changed the landscape for breastfeeding here, and you only have to look at the UK and the low rates of particularly younger women breastfeeding to know that it is the ABA who has changed the culture in Australia, and for the better.

I commend Ms Cheyne for the motion. We were all babies once. We were all vulnerable and needing feeding. Also, given that these babies are our future, let us give them every chance to thrive. We will be supporting the motion.

MADAM SPEAKER: There is a lot of quiet clapping in the gallery, members, I can assure you.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.39): I agree with basically everything that the two previous speakers have said. I think this is going to be one of the Assembly’s rare love-in motions, particularly with the visitors in the public gallery, some of whom are particularly cute.

Members interjecting—

MS LE COUTEUR: I do not think I put that quite right. The mothers are very supportive and well-meaning but you have some competition, I am afraid. I will try to be a little more serious. As previous speakers have noted, there are reasons why


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