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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1732 ..

In my own electorate of Yerrabi, I am lucky enough to live near some incredible green spaces—Yerrabi Pond, Mulligans Flat nature reserve and more grasslands than you can poke a stick at. These reserves are home to many native species and are incredibly unique and rich ecosystems. Mulligans Flat in particular is home to many species that have been locally extinct for over 60 years. There are many incredible parklands like this dotted right across the territory, and they are some of the main tourist attractions Canberra has to offer.

What makes Canberra so special is that, throughout our city and our suburbs, you only have to walk a short distance before you find an exceptional parkland. Throughout the pandemic, I am sure that all of us have had the experience of staying home for often weeks on end. More than ever, we are starting to understand the importance of spending time outdoors and in nature.

Studies have shown that spending regular time in nature and green spaces is beneficial both for our physical and mental health. Having protected and well-maintained parklands is extremely beneficial to the health of Canberrans, and making Canberra a national park city will promote a culture of community involvement in our local green spaces.

London is currently the only national park city in the world. Since its creation in July 2019, the national park city organisation has worked towards building a community movement that makes London greener and healthier and encourages residents to use the great outdoors more. Throughout the year, the organisation runs talks, workshops and events where London residents can learn how to live a healthier lifestyle and be more involved with nature.

Adelaide has already begun the process of becoming a national park city. I would like to see Canberra begin this process too. Canberra is Australia’s bush capital, and our city should be internationally recognised as a green, ecofriendly, sustainable destination.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.53): I am pleased to support the motion for Canberra to become a national park city. In doing so, I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the ACT and honour the cultural legacy of their ancestors and the ongoing responsibility they have in managing country today.

This region was a significant meeting place for neighbouring language and clan groups. They came for ceremonies, trade, seasonal resources and the exchange of knowledge, and to maintain spiritual, social and environmental connectivity between traditional caretakers.

For thousands of years, the Ngunnawal people have maintained a tangible and intangible cultural, social, environmental, spiritual and economic connection to these lands and waters. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge their continued connection to country.

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