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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 756 ..

Sadly, we are seeing the loss of mother languages. As many as half of the world’s 7,000 languages are expected to be extinct by the end of the century. It is particularly important for us in our own context as we reflect on the impact of the loss of language of our First Nations Peoples. We know the significance of loss of language in relation to the impact of a sense of identity, self-determination and connection to culture.

It is extremely exciting to see in our own community the reintroduction of the Ngunnawal language in a range of settings including in this chamber, with our acknowledgement of country spoken in Ngunnawal language by you, Madam Speaker. I wish you all a belated happy International Mother Language Day.

Yerrabi electorate—community events

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (5.30): I rise today to highlight two fabulous events that have impacted my electorate of Yerrabi over the last week or so. I congratulate Michelle from Belconnen Arts, and her team. They ran a fabulous Celebrate Gungahlin Festival and had many marquees for satellite events across the week, despite crazy weather challenges. It was wonderful to see the community come together with an orchestra and music and talent concerts and all sorts of wonderful things.

Also, at the AHA Hospitality Awards this week two of our local businesses won awards. Siren Bar won the best beer quality draft and the best pub eatery, and BentSpoke won the best beer quality craft local and the general division for the year. So BentSpoke being my favourite, I was very pleased to hear both those businesses called out, and I congratulate them.

ACT Down Syndrome Association

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (5.31): Elizabeth Lee and I had the privilege last Friday evening of attending the Alderson Awards held at the Canberra Southern Cross Club in Woden hosted by the ACT Down Syndrome Association. What a fantastic event that so many looked forward to attending, especially after the delays that COVID-19 brought last year. As a result, awards for both the 2020 and 2021 years were presented, recognising, showcasing and celebrating the personal achievements as well as community contributions of Canberrans with Down syndrome.

There were nominees and winners of all ages, and I was humbled by the vision, optimism and dedication of all of the award participants. The attendees were met with good food, entertainment, a silent auction and games, with the enthusiastic support of local businesses and other community members.

The evening was also an opportunity to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, which was observed on 21 March. It is estimated that there are 13,000 to 15,000 people living with Down syndrome in Australia and hundreds of them are beloved Canberrans. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet so many individuals and families and to listen to their stories of courage and faith and love. People with Down syndrome want to and absolutely can live fulfilling lives, and the lives of others are

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