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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3194 ..

Schools—Miles Franklin Primary School

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (5.52): I speak briefly on a matter that has affected my local area. As members would be aware, the Miles Franklin Primary School has suffered the devastating loss of part of their playground, including some equipment and shade sail, due to an act of arson on Friday, 29 October—not that long ago. Miles Franklin School is just down the road from our home in Evatt.

I have heard from Ginninderra residents how difficult this news has been for that school community. I am devastated for the Miles Franklin Primary School community and the children that were so looking forward to getting back to school and using their playground. The shade sail would have been used in the summer months upcoming and would have supported the encouragement of outdoor learning.

The school community have told me that they have had trouble raising funds over the previous period because of COVID disruptions. So it is heartbreaking to hear that they are now faced with this tragedy at the end of so much disruption.

As a local member, I do want to congratulate the minister for her fast response in choosing to support the Miles Franklin Primary School by insurance coverage and to help them rebuild this vital infrastructure. I will, of course, be keeping a close eye on how quickly these repairs are done.

No primary school should go without play equipment for a lengthy period of time or a shady area during the warmer weather. So I do want to indicate my support and encouragement to the school community, letting them know I am also available to assist where needed.

Asylum seekers—Anniversary of SIEV X sinking

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong) (5.54): Today I rise to speak about the 353 people who drowned at sea in 2001 en route to Australia in a boat known as SIEV X—19 October marked the 20th anniversary of this desperate day, the worst asylum seeker boat tragedy on record for those trying to reach Australia. The boat departed Indonesia with over 400 people on board, most from Afghanistan and Iraq. When the boat’s engine failed in heavy seas, it capsized and sank; 353 people drowned—146 children, 142 women and 65 men.

SEIV stands for suspected illegal entry vessel. It is the acronym used for a boat or vessel that has entered Australian waters without prior permission. X is a designation used where a tracking number has not yet been assigned.

The boat sank 70 kilometres south of Java. This area is in international waters but it also fell within both Indonesia’s internationally designated zone of search and rescue responsibility as well as the border protection surveillance area temporarily designated by Australia. Over 20 hours after the SIEV X sank, 45 survivors were rescued by Indonesian fishing boats.

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