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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 April 2019) . . Page.. 1121 ..


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr John Turner AM

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr John Turner AM, former Chief Executive of the ACT Department of Urban Services from 1989 to 1997 and tenders its profound sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

John Turner was in many ways a founding father of modern Canberra, not only through his work as a dedicated public servant over many decades, but also through his extensive community engagement. John’s contribution to the ACT’s transition to effective self-government really cannot be overstated, and his lifetime of engagement with local community organisations and not-for-profit organisations was second to none.

John’s connection with the ACT actually began in Melbourne. He started his public service career with the Department of the Navy, and later moved to the Department of the Interior, where he first became involved in the management of the ACT. In 1959, as part of the broader transfer of commonwealth departments from Melbourne, John moved to Canberra, which he described as being like a “big country town” back then. Like many who have made such a move, John ultimately made Canberra his permanent home. In 1994 he told the Canberra Times he loved our national capital so much that he decided to stay. Madam Speaker, we are pleased that he did.

After joining the commonwealth Department of the Capital Territory, John became involved in moves to establish self-government for the territory during the years of the Whitlam and Fraser governments. He then went on to become one of the architects of self-government following Bob Hawke’s election in 1983.

In 1987 John became the ACT city manager, overseeing roads, technical services, public transport, parks and conservation, recreation, housing, and the ACT Fire Brigade. No small task, Madam Speaker; one that is currently overseen by a number of different ministers. John told the Canberra Times that he loved this role because of the direct relevance it had to the community in which he lived.

After self-government in 1989, John became the Chief Executive of the ACT Department of Urban Services, a role he held until his retirement from the public


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