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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 512 ..

Colleagues and members of the ACT’s Tenth Legislative Assembly, I have moved that this Assembly calls on the ACT government to support the establishment of a Molonglo Valley community council. As the ACT’s newest greenfield development, gazetted in 2010, the Molonglo Valley area has diverse needs as it continues to grow and develop. The Molonglo Valley currently has a population approaching 10,000 people, with projections to expand to 50,000 people over the coming decades. As the neighbourhoods start to settle, as residents move in, what is striking is the youthfulness and ethnic diversity of these suburbs.

Although the previous 2016 census would not be entirely accurate in the picture it creates today, it definitely provides an insight. What we see from 2016 is a population of Molonglo Valley that is, on average, between 25 and 44 years old. Most have an above year 12 level of education and work full time; many residents have young children, and a significant proportion of the population was born overseas.

I do not currently live in Molonglo Valley, but I did for a very pivotal time in my life, from 2017 to 2018. I was establishing a new chapter in my life for myself and my children, and Molonglo Valley provided a location of healing and growth for me personally. The townhouse I was renting was a stone’s throw away from the Stromlo Forest Park, providing every bit of the bush capital and city living experience that you could dream of. The sense of community was new and developing. Personally, the feeling that really struck me from living in Molonglo was the sense of excitement for the future of the area and the will of the residents to develop connections and a sense of community.

The ACT government’s Suburban Land Agency has led the Mingle program over the last few years in Wright and Coombs. Mingle is a community development program designed to identify community needs and build connected and sustainable communities within the new estates in the ACT. The Mingle program is finishing up in those suburbs and will begin work in Whitlam.

As the population of Molonglo has grown and issues have arisen, residents have increasingly engaged informally through the Weston Creek Community Council, informal community groups and Facebook pages. In recent months, members of the Molonglo Valley community have established their own Molonglo Valley Community Forum. This group has been formed to advocate for the interests and needs of the local community. The group’s stated purpose is to preserve and improve the social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of the Molonglo Valley and its community.

Members of this group more recently sought guidance from the ACT government on becoming formally recognised as a community council for the Molonglo Valley. Eligibility to become a community council requires that the organisation is an incorporated body under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991. The ACT community councils incorporated under this act are established as non-political not-for-profit organisations, representing a broad range of interests and needs of the local communities in which they engage.

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