Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4540 ..
Val’s contribution to the Canberra community spanned his whole lifetime. His commitment to reminding us of the significance of rural villages, particularly his beloved Tharwa, is unrivalled.
Mr Wall also said that Val fought long and hard alongside fellow Tharwa villagers to keep the Tharwa primary school open, and that the preservation and restoration of the bridge was high on the priority list for Val. These are all comments that have been made across all party lines in this place.
Even, as Mr Parton mentioned, Val’s coffin itself had bolts from the original Tharwa bridge built into it by a local craftsman, the same craftsman who made the Assembly’s mace. So it is my view that the suggestion of Mr Parton and the Canberra Liberals here is a good one. It is my view—as well as a consistent view, no doubt, across the chamber—that as a fighter and a community advocate he should be considered for the naming of the bridge which he fought for and for the community that he loved.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Advanced Technology and Space Industries) (12.22): I thank Mr Parton for his motion today about the importance of commemorating the significant contribution that the late Mr Val Jeffery OAM AFSM made to the Tharwa community and the Canberra community more broadly. Like my Assembly colleagues, and I suspect much of Tharwa and its surrounding community, I share the view that the remarkable impression left by Val should be appropriately acknowledged and celebrated.
The ACT Place Names Committee sits within my directorate and is responsible for advising me about opportunities to commemorate eminent Australians. While it is protocol to wait at least 12 months after the passing before the committee formally recommends a person for commemoration, a great deal of consideration has already taken place on how best to commemorate Val through the placenames process. In fact the current committee has discussed this topic at three separate meetings since Val’s passing. During those meetings, the placenames committee discussed a number of ideas and the practicalities of implementing those ideas. Renaming the Tharwa bridge is certainly one option the committee seriously considered. They looked into it and found that there was unlikely to be any impact on the bridge’s heritage significance, on community and social values or on historical continuity.
However, there are many considerations that factor in to place naming. The committee has found that the renaming of existing places or features is less likely to be picked up by the community, particularly if that feature is an established part of the environment. So while it could be renamed Val Jeffery Bridge, it may well still be called Tharwa bridge by most of the community.
Other ongoing investigations to honour Val include naming a new community space in Tharwa, with the idea that dedicating an unnamed place would be an appropriate way to pay respect to Val’s legacy. I understand from the committee that they have identified a potential site within the Tharwa bridge reserve for a possible nature play