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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3663 ..

I believe that these are very worthy nominations and commend them to the Assembly. This government is committed to improving the representation of women in the commemoration of our public places. There will be many more opportunities to do this, including, I must add, in estates in and around the Gungahlin Town Centre. Further research will be undertaken by PALM and the Place Names Committee to identify suitable names. As always, I will welcome suggestions and contributions that can assist the Place Names Committee in its research.

MS TUCKER (3.40): Ms Dundas has raised an interesting issue here about how streets get their names. I guess that street names are just something we take for granted; they are certainly necessary for finding our way around the city and for locating specific places. As with most names, there is little indication of how they came to be chosen. They serve a very functional purpose, and their original meaning or significance is generally lost over time.

They are, however, signposts to layers of history. We may not think about who the street was named after every day, but it does get in. Local history booklets are also produced from time to time, which explain the background to names. The information is there for people who get interested and seek it out.

I am not sure about other cities, but I am aware that there is quite a tradition of naming streets in Canberra. Given that we are the national capital, our city's founders decided that it was important to recognise significant Australian people, places and things, including our Aboriginal heritage, in the names of our suburbs and streets. I believe this started with the establishment in 1927 of the National Memorials Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, no less.

This, of course, raises the issue of balance and representativeness. The determination of street names is usually not something the Assembly gets involved in. It is left to the Places Names Committee to do the historical research on possible names and apply various conventions for street naming in order to come up with a final list for a particular area. This committee is chaired by Professor Ken Taylor and has members from PALM, ACT Heritage Unit, ACT City Services Group and nominated historians and cultural experts from external agencies, organisations and/or community groups.

This committee has developed a number of policies for naming streets and places, but Ms Dundas has raised the issue of gender balance, which does not appear to be explicitly covered by the committee's current policies. This instrument contains 19 new streets that are all named after men. The division of Gungahlin, where these streets are located, has the theme of industrialists and Gungahlin pioneers.

The minister stated in a letter to Ms Dundas on this matter that industry has proven to be a difficult field from which to identify women because their contributions were not properly recognised or recorded in the early to mid-20th century. I note that, of the existing streets in the division of Gungahlin, 14 are named after men and 4 are named after women.

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