Page 22 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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Valley. The interweaving of sporting, community organisations and activities creates a vibrant and dynamic Tuggeranong.

The living opportunities in Brindabella are constantly evolving. In 1979 I rallied through the streets of what is now Richardson, and watched the Castrol international rally in what is now Macarthur. Neither is an option now, with the development of the area as a home for many residents of Brindabella. But it is clear that, where we develop, we must also develop the possibilities for people to be involved. These opportunities need to be accessible and supported by government, from ensuring the maintenance and protection of public space to support for local community organisations. Government has a powerful role in encouraging the development of opportunities for all Canberrans to participate in the community around them.

The work of the government is rarely more important than in striving for the provision of quality and accessible public services for the people of Canberra. Having raised a family in the Tuggeranong area, I realise the importance of quality public education and health services, and the significance of ensuring both their quality and accessibility into the future. Retaining and improving public housing stock is an essential function of government, as part of realising the importance of the provision of public housing, and to ensure quality, safe and accessible support for those in our community who need it most.

The extension of services to residents of Tuggeranong has been of primary concern over the last decade as the region grows and flourishes. Into the future we must ensure that the services continue to meet the need that still exists, and work for their continued improvement. The Stanhope Labor government has done an excellent job of meeting this need through the development of public services in Brindabella. As the area continues to develop and change, it is an essential role of a representative to work with the community to address these changing needs into the future.

Progressive government necessarily concerns core issues such as the provision of quality and accessible public services, delivering decent working conditions and fair wages to our workers, and realising the potential of our community by encouraging involvement and participation. Yet, more than this, not only must representation respond to the needs and demands of our community; it must also provide a vision for the future.

I am committed to working to represent the people of Brindabella in this Assembly; this was the commitment I made in standing for election. I think it is important, however, that we in the Assembly recognise that the debate occurs in our community itself, through the work of community organisations, the labour movement and activists working for change. Working for the people of Canberra demands a commitment to bringing this picture together and realising a collective vision. Having vision is not to be all things to all people. I do not believe in fence-sitting but in standing proudly for the things that I am passionately committed to—the labour movement, the working families of Canberra and Brindabella and our elderly, who deserve respect and thanks for their continuing contributions to our community.

It has been said that a society can be judged by the way it treats its elderly. Australia’s elderly have been left behind by the federal Howard government. While there are limitations on our capacity to address this shared responsibility, it is imperative that we as a community, and we as members of the Legislative Assembly, work to ensure that

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