Page 2496 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 29 June 2005

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Belconnen, in general, will work hard together over the next 12 months to make Belconnen’s big four-0 party a party for all of us to remember. I look forward to playing my part in the lead-up to 23 June next year.

Croatian national day
Weston Creek
Community fire units

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (6.18): On a couple of issues: I spoke last Thursday, I believe, about Croatian national day. I had the opportunity on Saturday night to attend the Croatian national day celebrations. Treasurer Quinlan was there. It was a good evening. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the main organiser, Andelko Jurisic, and all the leaders of the Croatian community who made me and my wife, Ros, feel so welcome.

I also met with members of the Weston Creek Community Council earlier this month. I was impressed with the council’s commitment to expressing the needs of the Weston Creek area and the general approach to researching and substantiating their needs. Council members, including the chairperson, raised a number of issues that they were concerned about.

By way of background, Weston Creek makes up a substantial population base in south Canberra. It consists of eight suburbs, and a total population of approximately 24,000. Weston Creek has some particular attributes that make it unique. It has six primary schools, one high school and a college campus attached to Canberra college. The area has a shifting age demographic as the balance of age distribution is increasing. The district is home to three retirement villages and a respite centre for the elderly.

The Weston Creek area has, of course, also been most affected by the 2003 bushfires, not only at great personal cost to many residents but also at the community level. Long-term residents experienced irretrievable loss of surrounding bushland—the very thing that drew many of them to the area in the first place—and this loss is being sorely felt.

There is also considerable grief over not being warned about the bushfires, and this continues to be a sore point in parts of the Weston Creek community. This sense of grief experienced by many residents is aggravated by fear of concentrated suburban development in the surrounding former bushland area; a sense of abandonment at government level as residents seek to maintain and develop community-based facilities; and a sense of lack of fair play when it comes to provision of parkland, resolution of neighbourhood shopping facility redevelopment and provision of services.

Council put forward some strong arguments for a library for Weston Creek. Libraries are provided in all regional areas. Whilst Weston Creek’s population is such that, on the basis of numbers alone, a library might not be considered justified, Weston Creek has a demographic which makes the argument for specific facilities unique.

Belconnen has two libraries, one at Kippax. Inner north Canberra also has two, one at Dickson. Tuggeranong has two, one at the town centre and one at Erindale. Our newest town development, Gungahlin, has a library also. One library to meet the needs of

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