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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 514 ..

From here, the Molonglo Valley Community Forum can become incorporated. It then needs to put governance arrangements in place—a formal constitution and a committee. It will then be able to seek recognition as a community council for the Molonglo region. The government would be very supportive of that occurring, and the new community council would then be eligible for funding through the annual deed of grant process.

I do acknowledge a very good point that Dr Paterson raised. To ensure that the new community council attracts regular engagement from a representative range of community voices, I have asked my directorate to work with the new council to support the establishment of some innovative community engagement models that would bring more voices to the table. I would hope that, with successful trial implementation of those models and new ways of engagement for the Molonglo Valley community council, that might spread throughout the rest of the city’s community councils.

Having said that, I commend Dr Paterson for her advocacy on behalf of her Molonglo Valley constituents. I look forward to the establishment of the Molonglo Valley community council and to being able to sign off on the deed of grant for funding for the council as soon as those governance arrangements—that is, the constitution and a committee—are in place.

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (5.20): I thank Dr Paterson for bringing this important motion to the chamber today. It is absolutely time to have a dedicated community council for the Molonglo Valley. I first moved to the creek in 2009, when my family decided we needed a bigger backyard and play space for our children. Even when I arrived, the new Molonglo Valley was just rolling grass hills, and it has been amazing to watch a new community become established over the years. It used to be considered to be the back way to Belconnen. One of my elderly neighbours told me that it was the best way to go if you had had a few to drink, because you would never get caught.

At the 2016 election there were two suburbs partly inhabited. In the term leading up to the election last year we had lots of work to do to properly communicate with the great residents across Coombs, Wright and Denman Prospect. These communities are vibrant and are developing their community spirit. I have taken time to survey residents, to engage in in-depth, one-on-one conversations, and I have made many friends in the area. The area is so very different from our neighbouring area of Weston Creek, which was developed in the 1960s, 1970s and beyond, and which is home to many of the original residents of the creek who are deeply attached to our village atmosphere.

There are many concerns to be addressed in Weston Creek, and via the local members and the community council there is much to ask government to do. However, the needs of the newer area are quite different. As Dr Paterson said, it is a youthful, multicultural, diverse area—not just because people in the valley seem to be younger and living a somewhat different lifestyle, but also because of the long list of failures for which the government must take responsibility in the development of the area, where it has fallen short in so many ways.

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