Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4538 ..
persuasions to get action on the things he saw as important. Val’s public spirit dominated his lifetime, and the community reaped much benefit from his efforts.
It is worth recalling the sheer expanse of Val’s contribution to our community, not just for Tharwa but for the territory in general. At the territory level he was the chair of the ACT Bushfire Council for a decade and received the Australian Fire Service Medal for some 60 years’ support to the Rural Fire Service, 38 of which were served as captain of the local fire brigade.
If that was Val’s only civic contribution it would have been an impressive achievement in its own right, but with Val it did not stop there, not by a long shot. Val was the President of the Tharwa Show Society. He also served on a number of other community bodies, including the Tharwa progress association, the Tharwa community hall trust, the Tidbinbilla Pioneers Association, Junior Farmers in Tharwa and the Tharwa school board. He was a lifetime advocate for Tharwa and, among other things, he fought hard to keep the local primary school open.
In the disastrous bushfires of 2003 we all recall that Val Jeffery anticipated the risk to Tharwa and led the brigade in burning a firebreak around the western side of the village on the night of 17 January 2003. According to the Canberra Times, on the afternoon of 18 January in that year Val persuaded the police not to evacuate Tharwa because residents were well-prepared and needed to be on the ground to protect their homes. These actions were regarded as instrumental in saving the village.
Towards the end of a long and fruitful life, Valentine Jeffery became a member of this Assembly where he continued to advocate for the ideals and interests he saw as vital to his community’s wellbeing. Of relevance to this motion, he also fought hard to have the Tharwa bridge restored and reopened. He lobbied hard against its closure.
The Tharwa bridge is an iconic structure within the territory. It reflects the architectural and engineering form of another age, and it certainly provides character to the local heritage. It also provides vital connectivity between the far south of the territory and the city of Canberra. Whenever the Murrumbidgee floods, the bridge ensures that residents living south and west of the river still have access to the city when Point Hut might be inaccessible.
Val Jeffery not only recognised the crucial function of the bridge but also its character and aesthetics, and he worked tirelessly to make sure that it was preserved. As a result, a major investment was dedicated to its refurbishment. Thanks to Val’s efforts, we continue to enjoy this historic structure and the way it complements the character of the Tharwa village. We need to remember that parts of the bridge are resting with Val: they were buried with him as a symbol of his passion for this structure, and I am sure Val’s spirit is with the bridge itself.
I have been in discussion with Mr Gentleman and his staff and I understand that Mr Gentleman will be moving some amendments which move this motion away somewhat from a focus on the Tharwa bridge for reasons that Mr Gentleman will soon explain. I acknowledge that, by and large, he and I have been on the same page on this matter for some time but, as Mr Gentleman will explain, the machinations and