Page 1023 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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reflect then and see how we can improve and make those dollars go further by using them to develop our arts, sports, intellectual and other groups and, with them, the broader community.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.11): I am pleased to be able to join with Ms MacDonald in supporting the celebrations that we experienced over the weekend in recognition of Canberra’s 92nd birthday and the way we celebrate Canberra. Among the events that occurred to celebrate Canberra’s birthday and which took place in Commonwealth Park, on Saturday morning I, along with Ms MacDonald, the Chief Minister, Senator Lundy and Ms Ellis, the member for Canberra, had the privilege and honour, as Ms Macdonald was saying, to present the gold awards to Canberrans who had lived in Canberra for over 50 years. There are over 10,000 people currently living in Canberra who are eligible to receive these gold awards. However, sadly, only a little over a thousand were nominated. I certainly hope that many more of those who are eligible will be nominated so that next year we will be faced with an even bigger task of presenting the certificates because of the large number of people that have been nominated.

The pride and joy on the faces of the people and the warmth of their handshake as I presented them with their certificates and congratulated them was palpable. I met one family who had two generations collecting their certificates, who were fifth generation Canberrans. Their forebears had arrived in the area that we now call Canberra in 1838. Many of those who were standing in line to receive their certificates were chatting and swapping stories about their family histories and about their experience of living in Canberra.

Prior to the presentations of the certificates, those of us present witnessed the awarding of the citizen of the year for 2005. As Ms MacDonald said, this year this award went to the staff and volunteers of Clare Holland House. Members of course are aware of the work of both the paid and volunteer staff of Clare Holland House. I wish to add my personal congratulations to all those who have worked so tirelessly and selflessly over so many years. Such wonderful services as provided by Clare Holland House would have been wonderful had they been available to my own mother, who died some 11 years ago in Wollongong. I would also like to congratulate the recipients of the community protection medals.

I would have welcomed the opportunity to be present at the afternoon’s entertainment. I understand that over 20,000 young people rocked away to the sounds of many popular bands, including Killing Heidi. I would have, as I said, welcomed the opportunity to join with young Canberrans as they enjoyed that, but I was spending the afternoon and early evening with the people of Charnwood at the Charnwood Community Carnival, at which the Chief Minister also joined us in the afternoon. I am sure that he was glad, along with me, to enjoy the Charny idols, 12 young Charnwood residents aged from seven to their mid-teens, who entertained a crowd of thousands. This carnival is another fine example of how Canberrans join together to celebrate. I hope to have the opportunity to advise the Assembly further on the success of this carnival at a later time but, as I said, I can report that in its second year there were thousands of happy people in the crowd, and I am sure that the contribution of $10,000 by the ACT government to this event was very well spent.

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